Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly May 19th, 2012

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


BenchPrep Teams Up With The Princeton Review To Gamify Test Prep

BenchPrep, a young edtech startup backed by $2.2 million from Lightbank, launched last year to convert content from big educational publishers, like McGraw-Hill, into interactive web and mobile courses. While the startup expanded beyond college admission test prep in January, today it’s announcing that it is teaming up with Princeton Review to contemporize test prep for students, using game mechanics, leaderboards, and social features to make the tedious and teeth-grinding process of test prep more engaging and, hopefully, more effective.

Game-based learning on children’s rights

Prewise and Plan Finland have engaged in active collaboration since spring last year to launch both the PlanGlobalSchool Round the World site for children and young people and the related materials for teachers at the National Training Event for Teachers Educa in January.

LifeLearn wins awards for three multimedia education programs (Press Release)

LifeLearn, Inc. announced that it has received three Communicator Awards of Distinction for multimedia educational programs that used multimedia games, activities, and simulations to teach scientific principles to healthcare staff.

The Met creates mobile game to boost learning, interaction

Madame X has become part of a fictitious narrative about a murder that takes place in the museum’s New American Wing Galleries for Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts. The story forms the foundation of Murder at the Met, a web-based application designed for smartphones and tablets. Visitors to the Met are encouraged to play the game, which begins: “Virginie Gautreau, known as Madame X, was found dead in the American Wing. Who could have done it and how?”

SparkBridge Interactive Officially Launches Snappz, Its First Customizable Mobile App Designed to Enhance the Visitor Experience at Aquariums, Zoos, and Museums

SparkBridge’s Snappz app for iOS enhances family visits to their favorite aquariums, zoos, and museums, by allowing them to use their mobile device to engage and interact with existing physical exhibits. The app encourages users to play an interactive Treasure Hunt game on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. SparkBridge offers Snappz as a free turnkey solution to leading informal learning sites and can be integrated into new locations quickly and with minimal installation effort. In addition, a percentage of all revenue generated by the app at a location is shared with that informal learning site.

Game-based Learning Explored in Jamaica (from Harvard Graduate School of Education)

Over spring break in March, a team of 14 Ed School students traveled to Kingston, Jamaica for eight days to explore the theme Implementing Quality in EducationThe group explored the ways in which game-based learning can be integrated into Jamaica’s classrooms through interdisciplinary methods.

GameDesk, AT&T Join Forces to Create Living Learning Laboratory and Online Portal, Making Digital Learning Available to All

“Imagine teaching students aerodynamics – not through mathematical equations written on a chalkboard, but by allowing students to fly their own bird through a gaming simulation where aerodynamic forces are explained as they play,” said Bill Nye, “The Science Guy,” who is on the Board of Directors for GameDesk. “Through these types of interactive simulations, we can turn invisible concepts into visible, hands-on experiences.” GameDesk, a Los-Angeles-based nonprofit out to revolutionize learning, will team up with AT&T to make its learning tools and technologies widely available to parents, students and educators.

According to a recent evaluation of the GameDesk learning game MathMaker, completed on a population of students from a school with less than a 62% graduation rate, math learning, engagement and interest all increased. In fact, 80% of the students showed increases in math scores, and the scores increased an average of 22% from the start to the end of the program.

Innovative Software Program Gains Ground in the Education of America’s Growing Number of Children With Autism

The game-like exercises in BrainPro Autism strategically target the areas of the brain that are essential for language, reading, and mathematics, but in a way that is still entertaining to the child. All exercises are performed on a computer, which is very compelling to children on the autism spectrum.

The Missing

In the Speak Up, Stay Safe campaign from British Safety Council, they try to reach young people with safety and health message via The Missing – A Dangerous Truth – a free entertainment based app.

Tom Sawyer’ entrepreneurial project planned

Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum Executive Director Cindy Lovell, who also serves as associate professor of education at Quincy University, will receive support from The Coleman Foundation in the 2012-13 academic year to develop an interdisciplinary course on creating and marketing educational materials. The class will be atypical in that “Tom Sawyer” will be the only text, and instead of quizzes and tests students will be researching successful board games, becoming experts on the storyline in order to turn characters and events into a game experience, field testing the game with children, researching the patent process, evaluating manufacturers, and determining a marketing plan.

Bookmarks of Articles

Gaming the classroom (William Cohen, a Sydney-based teacher with a fascination for technology)

In early 2011 I wrote an article that talked about the types of games being used in education, along with a few suggestions for categories and games within those categories. Today I’m going to take a look at gamification and education, specifically assessment.

Why Game Based Learning = Good Classroom Practice

 I believe that the rules that govern well designed games in learning apply equally well to good classroom practice and vice versa. In my experience the most powerful learning games all incorporate four key principles: Assessment for Learning, Interaction, Focus, Differentiation.

Teachers Transform Commercial Video Game for Class Use (KQED, MindShift)

Educators have been tapping into the wildly popular online game Minecraft for its potential as a learning tool for a while now — to teach physics, math, and computer science. A few months ago, two teachers, Santeri Koivisto and Joel Levin, decided to make the software more accessible and relevant to teachers. They joined forces to found MinecraftEdu, it now offers a plug-in, which enables teachers to tailor the software to individual curriculum. And a fresh new wiki is dedicated to sharing ideas with topic suggestions such as “How To Use Redstone, (a fictional mineral) To Teach Electricity.” Teachers can also work with others toco-develop lesson plans within the game software.

‘For sport and play I think that we are born…..’ (reflection on game-based learning experiences in Japan)

However  this was not about ‘learning new things in new ways’ since the contents were all top-down contents, but rather ‘learning old things in new ways’ … I personally think that this is something each learner has to find in his/her way to get himself/herself absorbed in enjoying to learn.

6 unexpectedly entertaining educational video games for kids (from Tecca)

Games are much more than just mindless button mashing, so long as you know how to choose the right games for your kids. Games exercise children’s minds and imaginations during a period in their lives when they’re most receptive to creative ideas. These six games will capture kids’ attention with their sheer fun factor, all the while encouraging creativity, socializing, and learning.

Research in Gamification of Learning and Instruction

Last week, I posted a rebuttal to Ruth Clark’s claim that “Games Don’t Teach.”In that post, I shared several links to research about the effectiveness of games for learning. If you are interested in a more in-depth review of research, Karl Kapp’s new book “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction” has an entire chapter titled “Research Says…Games are Effective for Learning.” This chapter focuses on two areas of the research: meta-analysis studies and research on specific elements of games.

game based learning

Multiple Choice (Inside High Ed)

In Mika LaVaque-Manty’s Introduction to Political Theory class at the University of Michigan, the players have a set of choices as they go about achieving their objectives. They could choose to go down different paths, and build confidence along the way. About three years ago, Cathy Davidson, a Duke University professor of English, attracted nationwide attention from educators after she proposed a grading plan based on a points system….

Games Teach! (Kapp Notes)

There are peer-reviewed articles in reputable journals (Sitzmann) that clearly support the conclusion that games can have higher knowledge and motivational levels than traditional instruction. When non-gamers read those results they say “the traditional instruction was poorly designed”.

5 Ways Teachers Can Evaluate Educational Games

It’s clear that in the age of the iPad, digital games are opening up a world of new possibilities for teaching and learning, and for increasing engagement in the classroom. But teachers must be reassured that the games they are using are connected to instructional goals.


Enhancement of Adaptation and Monitoring in Game-Based Learning Environments (In Student Usability in Educational Software and Games: Improving Experiences. Carina Gonzalez (University of La Laguna, Spain))

Our research work deals with the development of new learning environments, and we are particularly interested in studying the different aspects linked to users collaboration in these environments. We believe that Games-based Learning can significantly enhance learning. We focus on two aspects: the monitoring of the collaborative activity, where the teacher applies his/her own strategies in order to monitor the collaborative activity; the adaptation of the game according to the learners’ profiles.

– CALL FOR PAPER – Special Issue on Games in Computer Science Education (A journal published by Taylor & Francis)

Computer science students play a lot of games. Indeed, many students are first drawn to the field by their love of games. Some propose that the learning process itself can usefully be cast as a game. We solicit articles that describe original work on any aspect of games in computer science education


Tagged as: , ,

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

“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).
%d bloggers like this: