Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly Jun. 30th, 2012

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


New institute gets $10M to gamify education for kids

game-based learningThe game industry and nonprofits are teaming up to create a video game design lab that will do research on engaging students and measuring learning. It’s part of a broader “gamification” trend toward making education as fun and engaging as playing games. The new Games, Learning and Assessment (GLASS) Lab will be managed by the Institute of Play, a nonprofit video game institute with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Electronic Arts, and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

 Electronic ArtsBased at EA’s global headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., the lab will integrate state-based educational standards and measure learning by modifying popular games or creating original games. Once those products are complete, they will be made available to middle and high school students, school districts, and families at little or no cost.

Pearson showcased an array of mobile and digital learning, professional development, and instructional management solutions

–Mobile Apps and Learning Platforms

–Dash Class : classroom management app

–GradPoint : standards-based curriculum supporting virtual and blended learning, credit recovery, dropout prevention, alternative education, English language learning, summer school and more

Zeos : an online standards mastery program that utilizes “gamification,” or the elements of game-based learning design, to engage students in grades 3-10 in assessment practice in reading/language arts and mathematics

–WriteToLearn 8.0 : online literacy tool optimized for iPad and features new adaptive support for vocabulary development, additional tools for helping English Language Learners (ELL)

–Online Learning Exchange™(OLE): Pearson’s media-rich, reliable web-based destination for K-12 teachers to create their own customized lessons

and more…

1st Games for Change Australia-New Zealand Festival, 15-17 Nov 2012

GEElab & RMIT’s School of Media and Communication are hosting the 1st Games for Change Australia-New Zealand Festival, to take place in Melbourne from 15 to 17 November 2012 and curated by GEElab’s Steffen and Marigo.

Gaming gets serious in nursing school

The University of Minnesota School of Nursing is helping to develop several simulation games in which future health care providers will apply detailed knowledge of medical procedures to care for virtual patients.

Keller described this method of education as “the way of the future.”

Clancy foresees games becoming commonplace in other fields. Selected for the Google Education App Pack has been selected to be one of the educational apps in the new grade level app packs for Google Chromebooks, which were announced by Google at the 2012 ISTE Conference.

Grade-level application packs are groups of Chrome Web Store apps that integrate tightly with Google’s suite of Apps for Education, divided by grade levels to meet different classroom needs. These packs are installable from the Chromebook management console. Many of them are free and Google has worked with the app makers to offer discounts for bulk purchases.

Media Arts: Grants for Arts Project – The National Endowment for the Arts is accepting applications for Media Arts grants, an opportunity that ends August 9.

recent grant recipients – The Mozilla Foundation, for example received a grant to support the Open(Art) program, which commissions artists and technologists to collaborate in the creation and exhibition of artwork on the web. Another grant went to Games for Change in support of developing, producing and hosting a Facebook game based on the book, Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

Iranian Organization Develops ‘Educational’ Game on Salman Rushdie’s Fatwa

The Islamic Association of Students are using video games to teach Iran’s younger generation about the fatwa placed on Rushdie and his publishers for the “sin” that he committed against their faith. The project was unveiled at the International Computer Games Expo in Tehran.

Valve reveals free Source Filmmaker tool

Coming alongside today release of the long-awaited ‘Meet the Pyro’ video, Valve has unveiled plans to release the ‘Source Filmmaker’ tool to its gaming fans.

Survey on developers of apps for children

I am trying to get the buzz going for a survey about how life is as a developer of children apps, and how the outlooks are for new developers wanting to enter the field.

Startup Brainworth secures Screen NSW funding for educational games for adults

Using a new and unique presentation format, Brainworth will teach a high-level programming subject in a series of challenges, tasks and games, and will branch out from there into other fields of science and business. Brainworth will serve third-year college students looking to test and improve their skills in a rich online game world, providing new ways for students to collaborate and take charge of their own education.  It has secured an AUD$50’000 grant from the New South Wales government, as part of the Interactive Media Fund project.


Game-based Learning in Higher Education 2012 – a scan of the penetration of game-based learning within higher education in the U.S. Highlights include:

  • 13 institutions using game-based learning in their curricula
  • 10 university research center exploring game-based learning
  • 343 degree or certificate programs for game design/programming
  • Examples of COTS entertainment games used as learning tools

Games for Change Festival Recap

Here are some of the topics that I recall coming up again and again in different talks throughout the festival.

Democritization- Ian Bogost live demoed his project Game-o-matic, currently in beta, which is intended to make it easier for non-coders and journalists to make simple newsgames.

Mixed business models- For example, Zamzee is a Fitbit or Nike+ like device to get middle schoolers to be more physically active.  It was developed by a nonprofit but launched as a for-profit social enterprise in an attempt to reach a larger audience.

Agency for players- Scott Rigby, a research psychologist from Immersyve, which studies and consults on engagement and gamification, said in his talk that deep engagement comes from fulfillment of basic psychological needs. He said that some of these core needs were competence, relatedness, and autonomy; shockingly, he also said that fulfillment of these needs was a better predictor of long-term engagement than fun!

Learn With Portal: Introducing the Puzzle Maker, Do It For Science!

Beside the level editor you can get from Portal 2, now you can also get the Puzzle Maker for your educational needs. It was Announced last week at the Games For Change Festival, and during the festival Valve discussed all the pros and cases using Portal as an education tool.

App Creation Inspires Student Entrepreneurs

After-school programs geared toward mobile-app development offer appealing ways to academically engage students in technical and entrepreneurial exercises.

Donta Jackson, 17, sketches out a design during a mobile-app class at the Youth Radio offices.
—Sarah Rice for Digital Directions

Why Games Are Better (100% more Why)

In WoW, millions of players even make extra effort to play the “metagame”, the game outside the game, by researching how to play best on sites like WoWWiki (the second largest wiki in the world to Wikipedia) or Wow Insider.  Players do this because they have a strong sense of personalized engagement with their characters, they put in extra work the game doesn’t explicitly say is necessary.  In education terms, that’s like getting kids to do extra homework and research without telling them to.

RPS: Valve On Why Games Could Very Well Fix Education

So then, for Valve, Teach With Portals is just the beginning of something far, far larger. After all, what’s the point of Steam For Schools if it only has one game? But what’s the next step? Where do we go from here? Well, according to Redd and Malaika, that’s where we enter the picture.

Refining Game-Based Learning (by Lucas Gillispie) – clarify the differences between simulations and games, “using games to teach” and “gamification of education”, and When you say PBL, do you mean problem-based learning or project-based learning?

Multiple Choice Test Questions May Be Replaced with Game-Based Assessments?

There is some tension in actually incorporating game-based assessments in schools. Clarke-Midura explained that Race to the Top, a program put forth by the Obama administration to foster learning in K-12 public schools, has provided funding to schools, which in turn means there is more interest in game-based assessments.

The traditional multiple-choice assessment has some flaws, and people are turning to computer game models to try to not only fill some of the gaps, Aldrich said, but also to test individuals in different professional and academic spheres on many different and complex topics that traditional tests cannot.


international journal of game-based learning (ijgbl) : submissions are welcome for volume 3 issue 2

Researchers are welcome to submit manuscripts to be considered for inclusion in the second issue of the third volume of the International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL) to be published in April 2013. All submissions should follow the publication guidelines and be submitted online on or before 21st September 2012, using the following link:

The relative effectiveness of digital game-based learning types in English as a foreign language setting: A meta-analysis (British Journal of Educational Technology)

This paper is to synthesize relevant studies on digital game-based learning(DGBL) to investigate the overall effects, and to examine the differential effects of DGBL types in English as a foreign language setting.


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1 Response »

  1. Lessons in form of an interactive game will help student understand more their lessons more. It is just the method of teaching that changed but the academic advantage is still present.

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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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