Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly Jun.9th, 2012

What’s happening in the convergence of play and learn …


Save the Date! Games in Education Symposium 2012 August 1st & 2nd!

The Games in Education conference is a multi-day symposium which focuses on the topic of using video games to supplement and inspire in-classroom education!  Participants span early childhood through post secondary educators in New York’s Capital District and surrounding regions who are interested in finding ways to use video games and related technology to enrich and inspire interest by students in core curriculum topics. The symposium has run annually since 2007 and is free for educators to attend.

Twelve new ed-tech companies to watch (eSchool News)

Game-based learning and mobile apps are beginning to catch on in schools—and these also were key characteristics that defined several of the dozen emerging ed-tech companies recognized for their potential by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) last month.

game-based learning, serious game

YogiPlay Appoints Learning Veteran Dr. Jim Gray As Chief Learning Officer

A noted industry expert on early childhood development, Dr. Gray joins YogiPlay after spending more than 7 years in key positions at Leapfrog Enterprises. As Director of Learning he was responsible for overseeing curriculum and learning design of all products. Dr. Gray also directed user experience and product development research for the Leapfog Lab.

YogiPlay turns mobile phones and tablets into smart learning devices by providing parents with meaningful insight related to their child’s learning progress. Then YogiPlay automatically delivers to parents personalized app recommendations based on their child’s specific learning needs or interests.

Midwest-CBK parent co. to launch educational charity initiative for kids

The interactive experience teaches children the importance of helping others with kid-friendly tools such as Genuine Monkeez and Friends plush characters, online games, real‐life Do Good challenges, and a special donation on a child’s behalf to one of three nationally renowned charities of his or her choice.

Kilgour School launches educational ‘app’

The ‘app,’ called Kilgour Lemon Smash, is a game featuring a virtual lemonade stand, designed to teach students about financial literacy. Kilgour Elementary worked with Sprint, Northern Kentucky University Center for Applied Informatics and the University of Cincinnati’s Center for Economics to develop the game.

Identified Raises $21M Series B To Gamify Its Professional Social Network (Forbes, also from MarketWatch)

Startup Identified has raised $21 million in Series B financing co-led by VantagePoint Capital Partners and Capricorn Investment Group to build out its professional social network with a focus on gamification. Identified’s main competition is LinkedIn, which went public last year, and BranchOut, a professional social network on Facebook.

Game-based Learning: Head Hunt (Ohio State University)

Through an interactive campus map, eight casual games, and six short videos, new students and their families can become familiar with (and hopefully more willing to use) library locations, collections, services, tools, and people in the Ohio State library system. Launched in 2007, Head Hunt has been played by more than 5,000 incoming freshmen without assistance or software problems.

JobScout Gamifies Internet Education Skills for Job Seekers

JobScout, the online social media platform designed to get Californians back to work through teaching Internet skills and job-hunting techniques, is expanding to meet the growing needs of the unemployed in the areas in California hardest hit by the recession. Internet Skills Education Program for Job Seekers Increasing Access in Nearly 200 Libraries Across California.

How gaming can teach you decision-making skills

Rather than solely providing amusement, “serious” games from WILL Interactive are meant to help players make better life choices. The company creates Virtual Experience Immersive Learning Simulations (VEILS), which are interactive movies in which users make serious decisions for the learning experience. The company just launched the WILL Interactive Challenge, which calls on players to solve a real-world problem using the game’s interactive technology.

Action-based video games get players on their feet (

New videogames mixing music with real-world action promise to get players off the couch, turning basketball dribblers into “true ballers” and helping new moms tighten their tummies.

Full Sail University’s Institute for Research in Entertainment (F.I.R.E) Develops Game-based Learning Aboard the National Flight Academy’s Ambition (PR Web)

Full Sail University is proud to announce that the university’s research arm – F.I.R.E. – Full Sail University’s Institute for Research in Entertainment – has completed the development of the immersive game-based learning experiences that students receive aboard Ambition, the new land-locked, scenically and theatrically outfitted aircraft carrier that was recently commissioned at the National Flight Academy in Pensacola, Florida.

Touch-screen games teach evolutionary principles, collaboration

Two computer games, developed with the goal of teaching important evolutionary concepts, could make the process of learning difficult material engaging and collaborative. The games, developed by computer scientists, biologists, and cognitive psychologists at Harvard, Northwestern, Wellesley, and Tufts, take advantage of the multi-touch-screen tabletop, which is essentially a desk-sized tablet computer.

Bookmarks of Articles

Creative Writing, Problem-Based Learning, and the Technology-Enhanced English Classroom (Anastasia Trekles from Purdue Univ.) – This presentation is for the ISTE 2012 Poster Session. Objectives include:

  • Identify games and simulations, including virtual worlds from historical foundations such as Heritage Key, which can be used to spark creativity in middle school and high school English students.
  • Discuss the ways in which games, simulations, and other technologies can encourage curiosity, collaboration, and creative thought in “digital native” students.
  • Develop problem-based lessons that promote creative writing and creative response to aid in understanding of key concepts in English and literature study.
  • Design and promote alternative, technology-enhanced methods of helping students learn from one another through peer review of writing.

Video Games and Autism

Parents need to allow video games with caution and with limits. While video games do teach beneficial lessons on winning and losing as well as provide educational benefits related to motor and visual needs, they can really stand in the way of developing appropriate social skills.

Games, Gamification, and the Quest for Learner Engagement (ASTD, by Karl M. Kapp)

Research indicates that what makes a game effective for learning is the level of activity of the learners. If learners such as Juan and Mary are involved in many activities, they are engaged, learn more, and retain the knowledge longer. If the game has a large number of passive elements and the learner is forced to observe for much of the game, the learning is limited….

Gamification isn’t enough: we’re missing something big here

Affinity space is the place where all that tacit knowledge can be made explicit, where the in-game experiences can be described, where relevant insight, capabilities and skills can be shared, debated and imparted within a ‘community of interest’.

The common language of games (News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team)

Games bring people together and they always have. That is why the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup are so important. Used in the right way, computer games can achieve a similar objective and I believe that global online games to the current generation of young people will be as important as large sporting events are to mine.

It’s Not a Game (Thoughts on Gamification) 

Let students engage in project-based learning. Encourage them to serve their communities. Find ways that they can express their creativity. Then, when a game is relevant (playing Risk in order to understand World War I or modified Monopoly to learn economic systems) use it within the larger framework of meaningful learning.

Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education (from Microsoft Education UK)

Contextual hubs are sometimes described as types of thematic learning tasks. While this is true in part, contextual hub learning activities normally involve recurring game play throughout the unit of work and the learners often adopt roles as the characters of the game to create a more immersive and contextual experience.

Joan Ganz Cooney Center: National Survey and Video Case Studies: Teacher Attitudes about Digital Games in the Classroom

A lot of teachers are using it. You may want to compare it to a study I did not too long ago in Europe. The results are presented here in PowerPoint and full paper can be found in this book. It seems like penetration is a lot higher in US but still only on the ‘classics’ – Math and spelling.

Five-Minute Film Festival: Game-Based Learning (Edutopia)

You can’t throw an angry bird these days without hitting someone talking about video games in education. The interwebs are buzzing about the possibilities and potential downsides. With the ninth annual Games for Change conference in New York and the eighth annual Games+Learning+Society (GLS) conference back-to-back in just a few weeks, now is a perfect time to check out some videos about games for learning.


Science News: Teaching Tree-Thinking Through Touch (from Science Daily)

A pair of new studies by computer scientists, biologists, and cognitive psychologists at Harvard, Northwestern, Wellesley, and Tufts suggest that collaborative touch-screen games have value beyond just play. The findings were presented at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI) conference in May.

Aesthetics and Game-Based Learning: Applying John C. Belland’s Connoisseurship Model as a Mode of Inquiry

While both qualitative and quantitative methodologies have been used, game-based learning environments are dynamic spaces constructed of multiple influences from the arts and sciences, yet too often science as the prevailing mode of inquiry misses the impact and influence of the aesthetics. The purpose of this chapter is to examine and apply the connoisseurship model proposed by John C. Belland in Paradigms Regained as a means for critiquing and “getting inside” of game-based learning environments.


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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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