Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly May.12th, 2012

What’s happening in the Convergence of Play and Learn …


SIIA Announces CODiE™ Award Winners for Education Technology  —  Best Education Game or Simulation:

  • DimensionU Learning System
  • ExploreLearning Reflex
  • Terminal Velocity in The Jason Project
  • Smarty Ants
  • Sokikom
  • Practice Marketing

Video Game Class Provides Students Advanced Computer and Technology Skills

Some Eastern Iowa schools have started offering specialized classes that cater to the interests of students. At Cedar Rapids Washington, Jefferson and Kennedy, one business class is doing just that. It’s called “Video Game Marketing and Design” and it has students piling into the classroom to learn more. It could be because for an hour a day, class work seems less of a task and more like entertainment….

Announcing the 2012 Demo Spotlight Featured Games

We have just completed selection of the four titles for this year’s Demo Spotlight. This section of the Games for Change Festival showcases games presently in development and seeking partners to provide additional funding, design expertise and/or publishing strategies. The 4 games are truly diverse, spanning titles that focus on education, reducing physically risky behavior, autism therapy, and… zombies?

Retired Justice’s Online Game Teaches Civics

Counties Work will be awarded the 2012 Gold Circle Award for Innovative Communications Award by the American Society of Association Executives on May 24. Nonprofit civic education group iCivics, led by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, partnered with the National Association of Counties (NACo) to develop a free, online game called Counties Work to help increase knowledge of the functions of county government, targeted toward junior high and high school age students.

Students learn business tips through video games

The students, from various high schools throughout the area, held competitions in their classrooms. Then, the winners of those games went head to head in the Junior Achievement High-Tech Business Challenge Wednesday at Columbia Basin College. The video game teaches students how to run a business and sell products.

Educational Games Studio Launches Online Science Quiz

Spongelab Interactive, an online science education company, has launched a free online version of Knowledge Mine, an interactive science quiz and trivia game that combines puzzle genres to challenge and reward players’ knowledge of biology.

Signal Mountain teacher wins national innovation award

Signal Mountain Middle School teacher Kimberly Brown wanted to combine her students’ love of all things technological with her desire to teach them as well as possible. So she developed an interactive gaming app that would help her students to learn science in a fun way. The program, which she named “Curriculum APPlications,” has now been singled out by the NEA Foundation who, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and Microsoft Partners in Learning, has named her idea one of the top ten ideas in country.

Assessment Games Design Challenge! – BrainPOP Community

ETS,  designers of the SAT, the GRE and the AP examinations is pleased to announce the official launch of the ETS Assessment Games Design Challenge!  ETS is encouraging game developers and educators to create a math assessment task in the form of a game. The ETS Assessment Games Challenge will accept entries from May 1, 2012, through August 17, 2012. Complete guidelines and details on how to enter are available at

Science teachers to use video games

Computer games could be used in science lessons… The idea is being looked at by 40 science teachers from the UK and India as part of Unbox21, a project funded by the British Council India. The ideas will now be put to the test in the classroom, in both countries, and teachers will develop lesson ideas supported by research on the impact on pupils learning.

Watch Online: Can Video Games Improve Higher Education?

A national academic panel of writing and gaming experts will convene at Excelsior College at 10:30 a.m. ET to debate the use of “serious games” – or digitally immersing students in real-world issues and situations – in higher ed.

SAN BERARDINO: Professors hope games will help students

Can game applications help math-challenged students understand math and algebra concepts? That’s what Cal State San Bernardino math professors Peter Williams, Joe Chavez and Joyce Ahlgren hope to determine. They, along with educators and researchers from the UCLA and the USC, have received a three-year grant from the Department of Defense to study the effects of game play to diagnose and remediate students’ misconceptions in solving equations, said Williams, who is chair of the CSUSB math department.

Articles to Read

An Educational Word Arcade Game (PowerPoint presentation from Elizabeth Pyatt, Instructional Designer at Penn State since 2000. Visit the website: Educational Gaming Commons ) – highly recommended reading!

Virtual Reality & Digital Game Based Learning

What is amazing to me is that most of our College and University Tenured (PhD’s) Professors are still using the first 4 methods of instruction while lamenting over the new adult learner and how they do not take their learning seriously.

The percentages listed represent the average amount of information that is retained through that particular learning method. Note what method produces the highest retention rate.
  1. Lecture = 5%
  2. Reading = 10%
  3. Audiovisual = 20%
  4. Demonstration = 30%
  5. Discussion Group = 50%
  6. Practice by doing = 75%
  7. Teach others / immediate use of learning = 90% 

The Conversation: Should We Make Civic Participation More Appealing?

MindMixer works as a virtual town hall, giving citizens a forum to launch ideas that others can comment on and vote up. But the feature that’s made it a success is that all of these actions award points to the ideas and their creators. It’s a “wisdom of crowds” situation. Citizens and municipalities alike in San Francisco, Fargo, North Dakota, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama are using the Mindmixer template in a variety of interesting ways.

7 Examples: Put Gamification To Work (in business and workplace, could be a reference for education)

 Gartner has identified four principal means of driving engagement using gamification techniques:

1. Accelerated feedback cycles: Gamification increases the velocity of feedback loops to maintain engagement.

2. Clear goals and rules of play: Gamification provides clear goals and well-defined rules of play to ensure players feel empowered to achieve goals.

3. A compelling narrative: Gamification builds a narrative that engages players to participate and achieve the goals of the activity.

4. Tasks that are challenging but achievable: Gamification provides many short-term, achievable goals to maintain engagement.

10 of the best educational games of Ludum Dare 23

Ludum Dare is a tri-annual game development competition in which designers from around the world have a mere 48 hours to build and submit a new game entirely from scratch. doesn’t have a separate category for scoring the educational value of submitted games, but because learning is key here at brainsforgames, I’ve spent the past week diligently ploughing through the competition’s submissions in search of games with balance of educational value and fun. Fortunately, this competition’s “Tiny Worlds” theme seems to have brought out game designers’ love for science-themed games, which made this competition particularly rich in educational finds.

Learn something new – your brain will thank you (from Gary Marcus, a cognitive psychologist and the director of the New York University Center for Language And Music)

Learning a more lasting new skill – be it playing guitar or learning to speak a foreign language – can equally harness the brain’s joy of learning new things, but leave you with something of permanent value, in a way that neither drugs nor video games ever could. It leaves you with a sense of fulfillment, which goes back to what pioneering psychologist Abraham Maslow called “self-actualization.”


Mobile Game-Based Learning (mGBL) Engineering Model (PhD thesis, Universiti Utara Malaysia)

The study identified the key steps of development methodology to be considered in developing mGBL applications which consist of phases, components, steps, and deliverables. In accomplishing this aim, a design science research methodology was adopted, comprising of five phases; (i) awareness of problem, (ii) suggestion, (iii) development, (iv) evaluation, and (v) conclusion. Subsequently, eight mGBL evaluation dimensions were put forward: visibility, complexity, compatibility, flexibility, clarity, effectiveness, manageability, and evolutionary. The model was also employed by a game company while developing an mGBL prototype….


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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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