Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly Jul.14th, 2012

What’s happening in the convergence of play and learn? This briefing keeps you on top of those events and conversations around it.


The 8th Edition of Serious Games Expo has officially kicked-off!

The 8th Edition of Serious Game Expo will open its doors on October 22-23, 2012 at the Lyon Congress Center – Cité Internationale.. Serious Game Expo is the place to be for Serious Game developers in France and in Europe.

Major Study of the Impact/Future of Serious Games to Be Unveiled at Serious Play Conference

LOS ANGELES, Jul 10, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The Serious Games Association (SGA) today announced its first major study of the impact/future of non-entertainment games will be presented at the Serious Play Conference August 21- 23, 2012, in Redmond, Wash., just outside Seattle.

ARIS Design Jam

The recent ARIS Global Game Jam assem­bled stu­dents, edu­ca­tors and oth­ers to make games with ARIS in just three days. Holden said most par­tic­i­pants were new­com­ers, and many were mid­dle and high school stu­dents in Wis­con­sin. Stu­dents par­tic­i­pated at UNM, with other par­tic­i­pants con­nect­ing from Min­nesota, Col­orado, Spain, the Nether­lands, Maine, Cal­i­for­nia, Colom­bia, Illi­nois, New York and Vir­ginia. Par­tic­i­pants com­mu­ni­cated over video chat. More than 100 par­tic­i­pants cre­ated 127 games, with 19 show­cased in the clos­ing ceremony.

game-based learning, mobile learning

Fourth IEEE Consumer Electronics Society International Games Innovation Conference (“Designing for Play”)  in Rochester, New York, September 7–9, 2012

Be inspired and informed by an eminent roster of keynote presenters—from Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley to award-winning science-fiction authors Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross on the campus of The Strong® in Rochester, New York. Co-hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Interactive Games and Media and the International Center for the History of Electronic Games®  at The Strong, the conference extends a tradition that began in London in 2009, went to Hong Kong in 2010, and then to Orange, California in 2011.

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

This is a free conference sponsored by a college of education and some commercial and nonprofit partners. It is aimed at educators, but is relevant to youth and school library services.

Freeplay Independent Games Festival 2012 – Chaos and Grace – September 19 – 23

Freeplay will be running at the State Library of Victoria from September 19 to 23, 2012. It is likely that Games for Change will be in Melbourne in November this year.

Game On Symposium: Foreplay to Freeplay (423)  is an official satellite event of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival 2012, September 19 – 23. It’s a special indie Game On across two days and two sites.

ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) is holding “Game Masters” exhibition featuring 125+ playable games, Game Masters celebrates the world’s most influential videogame designers from Thursday 28 June to Sunday 28 October 2012.

Game resources include History of Game Development in AustraliaGames Showcase (Links to the sites where you can play some of the best games featured in the Games Lab at ACMI between 2005 – ’08.)…

WeWantToKnow to Partner with The Center for Game Science – Revolutionary Math Game DragonBox to be Tested in Over 100 Schools across the US

DragonBox does away with tedious equations and math quizzes, replacing them instead with a simple game involving cards and a magical box. The game evolves as kids master the skills and concepts presented. After one hour of playing DragonBox, twelve-year olds can tackle equations their parents struggle to solve.

Gamify Your PhD

The Wellcome Trust is inviting two groups of people who usually don’t mingle: researchers to share ideas for games based on their PhD work in biomedical science or the medical humanities; and small teams of games developers to turn these ideas into addictive, challenging and educational games. Those selected will partner at a two day hack in which the games will be created. The best of these will receive funding to develop into a releasable game. To help inspire ideas and give researchers an idea of what’s possible, a web-app has been commissioned, offering an interactive and fully embeddable guide to the nuts and bolts of mechanics and motivation that lie behind successful game design.

Game Player Data (from Entertainment Software Association)

Video games are now a mass medium, widely enjoyed on a variety of platforms by a diverse audience. The ESA’s 2012 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry reveals interesting demographic facts about today’s gamers and the games they play.

According to Economists Incorporated’s Stephen E. Siwek, entertainment software’s annual growth rate from 2005 to 2009 exceeded 10 percent. Over the same period, the U.S. economy grew at a less than two percent rate.

This Changes Everything: iPhone’s Five-Year Gaming Revolution (

iPhone has done more to make gaming a regular, normal ‘thing’ in five years than the traditional games industry has managed in 40.

Wall Street Institute Launches Innovative Language Learning Game Based on Adapted Articles From The Financial Times

Wall Street Institute, a Pearson owned company and the world’s premier provider of English language instruction for adults, has launched AppGrade, a new and engaging educational game designed to help people learn English. The game is based on adapted articles from The Financial Times, the world’s leading provider of global business news, comment, and analysis.


Do smart devices make smart kids? – A great article about traditional reading and digital reading experience, and the impact on learning.

John Seeley Brown and Constance Steinkuehler Squire at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Why Games Matter for Learning 

Porting Learning Objectives into Gameplay Mechanics (paper, Center for Games and Impact, Arizona State Univ.)

One of the more significant challenges in learning game design is crafting a strategy for moving learning objectives from statements into components of a game’s function. This paper takes a practical attempt to break down three critical strategies used for the assessment of learning objectives and adapting those objectives into the elements of gameplay that make games the effective learning tools that they are.

10 Best Colleges for Game-Based Learning (from

While most people’s experience with gaming involves mindless destruction or sports competition, educators have begun to see the value in the medium for helping students learn. While the research is still developing and some professors are still skeptical, these 10 colleges represent your best bets for learning while playing video and other games.

game-based learning

Game-based learning earns attention for UTB/TSC

The university was cited for offering its first Elementary Physics Through Video Games courses during winter session in the 2010-11 academic year. The class was taught by Dr. Soumya Mohanty, an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He has received research grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

Valve: Teach With Portals Release

Edutainment ala the old Reader RabbitOregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? is so 1990s. Meet Valve. It’s taking game tech-based education to a whole new level with its new Teach with Portals platform…

10 Great Learning Game Design Links – 10 links about learning games design

  1. Learning From Game Design: 11 Gambits For Influencing User Behaviour Dan Lockton about 11 ways to increase engagement using ‘gamey’ ways.
  1. Katie Salen on Game Design and Learning
    Here is Katie Salen speaking about how game design can be applied in the classroom.
  2. Learning The Rules
    An older but still relevant article about learning curves in games.
  3. Thoughts On Learning In Games And Designing Educational Computer Games
    Again an older but comprehensive article that gives great ideas on where to use learning games. Note the references.
  4. An excellent article on Creating Flow, Motivation and Fun in Learning Games. Was printed as a chapter in The Design of Learning Games Springer-Verlag, 2011
  5. Educational Game Design Model (NMSU Learning Games Lab)
    Barbara Chamberlin, with the NMSU Learning Games Lab, shares the Educational Game Design Model developed at NMSU. Addresses various aspects of the process of game development.
  6. Improving The Way We Design Games For Learning By Examining How Popular Video Games Teach
    This paper from UCLA focuses on how to effectively integrate teaching “how to play a game” with teaching an “instructional domain” within a game for learning. Has many interesting details relevant to game design, recommended reading.
  7. ‘Narrative’ in Serious or Learning Game Design Research
    This is a great article on the use of narrative in learning games. Describes narrative approaches, some of which are appropriate to learning.
  8. Feedback Loops in Games and Learning
    This is a nice paper on feedback loops in learning by Bert Snow and Matt Seegmiller. There is a bit of a marketing slant, but interesting points about which technology to support a feedback approach.
  9. Learning Game Design: Lessons From The Trenches
    An interesting presentation from Sharon Boller, great advice from the trenches of gamification.

Is Gamification for Real?

The market is expanding. By 2015, in the world’s largest companies, Gartner believes HALF of all corporate innovation will derive from gamification. In the same year, M2 Research predicts more than $2.5 billion of direct spend in the US for gamification, including software and technology.

Recap: Games For Change Festival 2012

A recap focuses on the ones that left the greatest impression on me…


These are the four main  characteristics of a learning game and if you want to see examples of how we can apply these characteristics to games then  check out this PDF . Check out this Webliography for further reading on this topic…


Special Issue on Serious Games – call for submission (from Elsevier Journal, Elisevier is a company headquartered in Amsterdam, employing more than 7,000 people in 24 countries)

This volume aims to bring together some of the leading contributions in the field of serious games, in its broadest definition, and aims to bridge some of gaps in the existing communities of practitioners and academics: between the US and Europe, Asia and Africa; between different disciplines from psychology to educational science and from science education to arts and design; between different sectors from academia to industry, policy development to health and medicine.


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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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