With Developing Lives, each student provides a personal profile, selects a virtual partner (or chooses to be a single parent) and marks the arrival of their newborn (represented by a unique avatar based on the parents’ characteristics). As the child grows, the student responds to events both planned and unforeseen, making important decisions (nutrition choices, doctor visits, sleeping location) and facing uncertain moments (illness, divorce, a new baby), with each choice affecting how the child grows. Throughout, Developing Lives deepens each student’s attachment and understanding of key concepts in the field with immediate, customized feedback based on child development research.
How does Developing Lives work?
What are the modules in Developing Lives?
In the first module of Developing Lives, students will get an introduction to the program and answer a bunch of questions that will help customize the program. Students will also have a chance to customize their avatar (and that of their partner, if they choose to have one) and find out a little about the genetic—and environmental—origins of each of us.
Prenatal DevelopmentIn the second module of Developing Lives, a small bunch of cells will begin to develop into a baby. Students will get to make choices about everything from prenatal care to the kind of birth they hope for. Covering conception to birth, this module covers the crucial months of prenatal development.
Babies and ToddlersIn this next module of Developing Lives, the squirming newborn will grow into a walking, talking three-year-old. Students will get a chance to test their baby's reflexes, visual accuity and cognitive development. And choices abound: breastfeeding or bottle? Which daycare? Television or tummy time? And how much do any of these options really effect how a little one turns out? How does their journey compare with other parents?
Early ChildhoodLike the other segments of the lifespan, early childhood is a time of firsts: The first day of kindergarten, the first lost tooth, the first friend, and the first time the little one writes their name. The child’s own strengths will start to emerge and students will get a chance to make choices about parenting, education and health care. Students will get a chance to test the child’s self-control and see how they do in the classic Piaget conservation task.
Middle ChildhoodNow that they’re in school, the child has a life outside of what a parent can control—but because this isn’t real life, students will have a chance to peek and see exactly what is going on in the classroom and when they’re playing with their friends. Students will even get a chance to peek inside their child’s growing brains to see what’s changing inside. Students will find out how social their child is, how they are doing in school, and along the way students can make choices about how to support the child as they grow.
AdolescenceThe teenage years often have a terrible reputation—but adolescents are capable of great things. And scary ones. Will the baby turn out to be a model student, a sports star or any of a thousand options in between? Is risk-taking typical for teenagers? What about getting into trouble and talking back? When should parents expect that their child will look like an adult and should parents be worried if they don’t? Students will have a chance to read their little ones’ text messages and their report cards and watch as they blossom into adulthood. Not everyone’s journey will be sunny, however: Remember that there may be some exciting and scary moments along the way. But no matter what the little one’s path—this will be parents’ last moment to make their mark on the child’s development.
What resources are in Developing Lives?Developing Lives includes a variety of pedagogical resources, including more than 200 videos and animations (many new to this project) plus quizzes and essay questions that are easy to assign and assess.
- Complex decision-making and realistic family scenarios—including the option to be a single parent, a gay or lesbian parent and to raise your child in a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.
- Just-in-time information about development that students can access as they are making decisions about “their child” when they are primed and motivated. (See the Explain tab.)
- Recreations of classic experiments in development from theory of mind to the conservation task that help students master both the science and the application of developmental psychology.
- A game-like token system designed to encourage students to spend more time in the program, watching videos and reading extra material (including embedded articles from Scientific American). The more time students spend in the program, the more they’ll have an opportunity to earn tokens that they can use to customize their simulated child. (See the Learn More and Store areas.)
- In-depth coverage of the biological and brain side of development—an area that students sometimes struggle with—with animations and videos explaining what’s going on inside baby’s growing body and brain. (See the Look Inside Tab.)