Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly Jun.23th, 2012

What’s happening in the convergence of play and learn… in this week, there are important conferences and lots of free resources for educators.


9th annual games for change festival held on June 18-20 at the NYU Skirball Center

games for changeThe largest games gathering in New York City and the leading global event focused on leveraging entertainment and engagement for social good. You can catch all the action live on the Livestream page. G4C facilitates the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts.

The full list of 2012 Games for Change Award winners are: (for more information, visit

Games for Learning Institute – G4LI is a joint research endeavor with Microsoft Research with generous support also provided by the Motorola Foundation and Microsoft Game Studios. This year’s day-long track will present: Dr. James Paul Gee, Constance Steinkuehler Squire and Valve Software among others.

Reflections on G4C 2012 Festival

Designing edutainment, the Valve way: make a good game first

This summer, educators can apply to be included in the beta which provides a copy of Portal 2, its level editor and its workshop for hosting those levels. The program offers educators a modified version of Steam that puts control in the hands of teachers – and offers students a chance to snag a free, unmodified version of Portal 2 and its puzzle maker. Teachers are able to add “lessons” as they see fit, created in Portal 2‘s puzzle maker. Valve’s “Teach with Portals” website is now open and will expand in the coming months, lesson ideas are available to teach Physics, Math, Chemistry, spatial reasoning… (another post from Forbes)

portal, game-based learning, portal puzzle maker

Gamification Co hosted its second Gamification Summit in San Francisco on June 19-21 – how the new science of engagement is rewriting the rules of product design

One of the session : Gamified Classroom: Excel in Math By Mastering Monopoly – Tim Vandenberg, school teacher and #2 ranked Monopoly player in the U.S., demonstrates the effectiveness of gamifying his classroom with the board game Monopoly.Gamification Summit has announced the results of the GAwards, with six cutting edge companies taking home honors for the best use of gamification in categories ranging from education to enterprise. Best Use of Gamification in Education TheKhanAcademy, a non-profit educational association using game mechanics to drive “self-learning” behavior in classrooms. Best Use of Gamification for Social Good Recyclebank, helps create a more sustainable future by rewarding people for taking everyday green actions. Best Use of Gamification in Health & Wellness Zamzee, an online rewards program for kids and families powered by physical activity.

Game Design Tool Kit (Free, from Learning Games Network)

Game design is an effective way to engage students in research, creative development, critical thinking, and collaborative skills development. Our Game Design Tool Kit enables teachers to integrate game design activities across the curriculum to support students’ achievement of learning goals in a wide variety of subjects. Emerging from our game design workshops at MIT and developed in partnership with FableVision…

GBL Lesson Contest With Filament Games!

Calling all innovative educators and game-based learning advocates! Filaments Games is looking for the best lesson design that uses our award-winning middle school science game, You Make Me Sick, a game that teaches students how viruses and bacteria transmit disease. Visit the GBL Lesson submission site at

MdBioSphere Serious Game Platform for STEM Learning

MdBio Foundation, Inc. today announced it will provide science teachers and students nationwide with an innovative and immersive educational video game platform free of charge beginning in 2013.

Shakespeare and Jane Austen for Kids? There’s an App for That!

SecretBuilders, a developer of mobile and social web games for children based on literature, has partnered with Oxford University Press to “gamify” the greatest classics as mobile and social apps for kids. The SecretBuilders’ “50 Great Reads Before 15” initiative will gamify such classics as Alice in Wonderland, Macbeth, Arabian Nights, Pride & Prejudice, and Don Quixote as mobile and social games.

KinderTown App Store Gets Facebook Integration Before Apple

Starting today, users of the popular educational app storeKinderTown will have help from their Facebook friends when choosing the best apps for their kids. KinderTown’s latest release features extensive integration with the social network, allowing users to see which apps their friends like and currently own.

Skoolbo – World’s Largest Educational Game Launches

Skoolbo Core Skills is launching at the International Society for Technology in Education meeting next week. Skoolbo Core Skills, a literacy and numeracy program for 4 – 10 year olds, combines fantastic 3D worlds and amazing fun in multi-platforms and best of all – it’s FREE!

LeapFrog unveils next-gen educational portables 

LeapFrog produces some of the most popular educational game consoles, and allows external developers to create and release games on its platforms. The company’s devices have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

The Gamer and the Video Game (Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 6 – 7pm)

Join The Art of Video Games curator Chris Melissinos, as he discusses this groundbreaking exhibition. Melissinos will explore the forty years of video game evolution as a new art form…

2nd Annual Serious Play Conference

More than 50 of the top thinkers in serious games will come together to discuss the future of the use of non-entertainment games and sims, Tuesday – Thursday, August 21 – 23, 2012 at the 2nd Annual Serious Play Conference at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Wash. For more information, visit the conference site:


ENGAGE Learning project

ENGAGE stands for European Network for Growing Activity in Game-based learning in Education. The ENGAGE activities are structured to have a wide-ranging impact: (i) the objective is to prove that GBL is a method applicable for all five sectors of education, (ii) the ENGAGE tools will support adaptation of GBL regarding local and cultural issues…

Learning is fun: Play to learn with game-based learning (UNESCO Office in Bangkok)

The Information Technology Service Center, Chiang Mai University (CMU) has designed and developed online Game-Based Learning to enhance learning through learners’ interaction with games under the principle notion that “Learning is Fun.” Learners who access the CMU online Game-Based Learning will not only gain understanding of the learning content, but will also simultaneously develop other skills, including communication skills.

Player-reported Impediments to Game-based Learning (from University of Tampere, Finland; PDF file)

This article addresses the question of how games function as learning tools, from the perspective of player-stated problems. It is based on interviews and essays, collected from university students who reported problems dealing with unrealistic trust, competitive play leading to game-based logic of business phenomena instead of their learning or applying real skills, and outright cheating. According to the respondents, the main cause of problems appears to be that by many participants, games are framed as an activity that is to be done competitively. Along with reporting the impediments, the article discusses potential solutions.

Exploring Ancient Rome through Minecraft

One especially dedicated group of people has actually recreated a scale version of Ancient Rome in this game. The implications of Minecraft as an educational tool are astounding when one  considers how much detail can go into a world.

Mapping gamification

While developing a storyline it is a great idea to keep track of your outline by creating a knowledge map. This map is useful for organizing related information in a structured manner that facilitates comprehension by showing the connections between the information pieces. Every student will know what challenges they’ve overcome and which are on the horizon.


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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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