Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly Jul. 7th, 2012


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

News

BenchPrep Grabs $6M From NEA, Revolution For Cross-Platform, Interactive Courses

When it comes to learning, BenchPrep believes that the most effective educational content doesn’t come in the form of books — or even eBooks. Instead, it’s interactive and cross platform. Rather than developing its own educational content in-house, BenchPrep licenses material from these textbook publishers, mixing and matching the best content for each particular discipline.

Mom’s wrong! Video games could help you – High-tech apps that could help treat medical conditions under development in Rochester area

A blockbuster game like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto might not have been produced here, but the School of Interactive Games and Media at Rochester Institute of Technology has turned out alumni working at some of the largest gaming companies, including Electronic Arts, Microsoft Games and Zynga.

Wowzers Tackles Elementary Math with Online Games

A company that creates educational virtual worlds has introduced a new online product designed to help third through fifth graders get better at math. The instruction can follow a number of instructional standards, including Common Core State Standards. Activities include the use of student avatars, virtual “math missions,” games, quizzes, and feedback on right or wrong answers. Teachers can set up and manage a classroom of users; adjust the amount of time students can use the program; set the program to be adaptive in order to adjust questions based on a student’s understanding of the subject…

Games and Storytelling

Right now, in Gamestar Mechanic we are featuring the Scholastic What’s Your Story? Contest. This contests is open through August 1st and serves as part of the Start. Write. Now.Alliance for Young Writers and Artists initiative. This all leads up to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards that open in September.

Valve Release Machinima Tool; Think “Training Capability”

Friend of many at MOVES, Curtis Conkey, formerly of NAWC-TSD, did his PhD dissertation proving that machinima (videos generated in game engines) can be used to train soft skills.  From his dissertation: “Machinima is the converting of these unique scenarios into video vignettes that tell a story. These vignettes can be interconnected with branching points in much the same way that education videos are interconnected as vignettes between decision points. This study addressed the effectiveness of machinima based soft-skills education using avatar actors versus the traditional video teaching application using human actors…

Games Based Learning MOOC (Stephen Downes)

“The Games-based Learning MOOC begins on July 9, 2012 and will run for 5 weeks with a sixth week and optional project in mid-September. The MOOC is under development and for right now we’re asking interested participants to go here to register.”  Topics are as follows:

  • Week 1 Games Based Learning/Game Principles
  • Week 2 Gamification or Behavior Motivation Elements for the Classroom
  • Week 3 Introduction to Alternate Reality Games (ARG)
  • Week 4 Epistemic Games
  • Week 5 Overview of Commercial Off the Shelf Games
  • Week 6 Assessing Student Learning and Data Collection

game-based learning

U. of Utah to Help Students Publish Video Games

Many universities offer programs that teach video-game design, but the University of Utah has taken the unusual step of creating a company to help its students bring their electronic amusements to market. The company, Utah Game Forge, opened in May and just released its first game, Heroes of Hat! (above), written and produced by a group of 14 Utah seniors.

Changing Serious Games

3D HiVe is an advanced virtual world designed to be used for Education. It is a rapid prototyping tool that let teachers create their own games and virtual worlds without the need for sourcing art, music or programming. Playware created large thematic libraries of digital assets that teachers could use in their games and virtual worlds free of any copyright restrictions.

Bookmarks

Games for Change 2012 – Notes & Musings

I’ve pulled out items that I found particularly relevant to the types of learning activities I like to create, with additional notes…

Games for Change Festival 2012 opens doorways, hallways for major progress – notable trends and game examples

Gamification, Super Mario and STEM: Notes from the Games Learning Society Conference – Notes taken from the Games Learning Society Conference

Learning what sucks players into games like that is a big part of what GLS is all about. The conference’s “Well Played” sessions give attendees a chance to perform a close reading of how a game affects its players by having presenters play the game live and break down its mechanics and design, moment by moment.

Using games to get students learning online

Incorporating online games into education has been shown to improve engagement with subjects, and evenimprove exam results, meaning online games will play an ever-increasing role in the educational process. But they are nothing revolutionary or disruptive in the classroom, more a continuation and enhancement of tried and trusted teaching methods. Online games are another way to present learning material in a relevant, contemporary and most importantly effective format.

Do we need to gamify learning or re-learnify gaming?

Instead of trying to badger the brain into submission or to trick it into learning, a more productive strategy would be to design for intrinsic motivation in the first place.  Gaming, after all, basically derives its fun quality from exploiting learning mechanisms without (in most cases) providing substantive learning benefits.  We don’t need to gamify learning so much as we need to re-learnify gaming.

Collaborative Problem Solving in School Turnaround

In some communities in California, Texas and Louisiana, “parent trigger” laws have given parents far-reaching control over the operation of a chronically low-performing school, empowering them to fire teachers and administrators, transfer students and convert public schools to charters.  These laws add a new dimension to the approaches to school turnaround, but despite its stated aim of giving parents and communities more say in their local schools, this may not solve the problem in a sustainable way…

Three things you need to know about gamification

Nike. Oracle. United Airlines. Each of them are huge, successful companies, but the last thing you could possibly associate with them are video games. Yet they are all using gamification to not only increase consumer engagement with their products but for educating and motivating their employees as well.

  • Gamification is here to stay
  • Gamification has to  feel authentic to the audience
  • Gamification has to embrace the power of stories

The road ahead in gaming: Welcome to the Crossover Era

The console market has stalled, disrupted by the rise of digital game platforms and free games. So now it has become a financial imperative for traditional game companies to make the leap to digital — before the all-digital companies gain too much of an upper hand in the emerging markets of social, mobile, and online games.

Publications

Action Videogames Change Brains, Improve Visual Attention (Science Daily)

A team led by psychology professor Ian Spence at the University of Toronto reveals that playing an action videogame, even for a relatively short time, causes differences in brain activity and improvements in visual attention.

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3 Responses »

  1. wow great collection that I have to review later. Do you already know my blog?
    http://gammagamification.wordpress.com
    May the force be with you,
    Chris

    • Thanks, Chris, I see you have a great start on your blogging!
      You are welcome to give us guest posts about “play and learn”…
      may the force be with you!

      • Ok that sounds cool 🙂 have to think about it and if I got one, I will tell you. I will add it to my blog poll about what I should write so if you want to, you can vote for it to get it sooner 😉
        Use the force,
        Chris

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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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