07/03/2011 09:25 am ET Updated Sep 02, 2011

Sandra Day O'Connor: Teaching Civics With Video Games

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has launched a series of videogames that teach kids about government. She talks to Danielle Friedman about getting into gaming at age 81.

Mario and Luigi save princesses. Laura Croft raids tombs. And then there's Chuck Freepress, a computer-game constitutional lawyer—created by retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor—who scores courtroom victories and boasts a heroic knowledge of the First Amendment.

O'Connor's unlikely venture into the video game world may not have produced a Resident Evil-level blockbuster, but so far it has hooked kids in 12,000 classrooms across the U.S. on a selection of civics-themed games—now played more than 2 million times. The goal: revive the teaching of civics in American schools to help prepare the next generation of kids to participate as citizens in a democracy.

As O'Connor points out, America's public schools were founded in part to prepare kids for citizenship, not just college and career. "That was the theory, and schools followed it until recently," she told Newsweek. "Now our schools aren't supporting it anymore. And I think that's dangerous."

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