Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly Sep.8th, 2012

What’s happening in the convergence of play and learn? This is the briefing on game-based learning news and articles for this week.


From ‘Angry Birds’ to multi-player video games, NASA ramps up investment in educational technology

NASA’s recent collaboration with gamemaker Rovio to create “Angry Birds Space,” in which players use slingshots to launch birds at pigs, is part of a series of computer game projects spearheaded by government agencies to encourage science, technology and math education. Today, NASA has loftier goals: An upcoming $10 million massively multi-player video game would simulate life on Mars and eventually provide 100 hours of playing time on the iPad, Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox. When a beta version of “Starlite” is released later this year, it will be NASA’s biggest foray into gaming…

Join the free #mLearning course #MobiMOOC , The free, open, online course MobiMOOC starts on 8 September 2012

The free, open, online course MobiMOOC starts on 8 September 2012. Not registered yet? Simply become a member of MobiMOOC google group to become a participant in MobiMOOC. In the third week of the course (23 – 29 September 2012) David Parsons from the Massey University in New Zealand will take us on a one week journey into serious games. He will ask all of us participants to exchange experiences, challenges and ideas on games for education and showcase a game he has been developing.

GameDesk Opens New Game-Based School

GameDesk, an organization that’s developing a variety of game-based learning initiatives, is venturing into new terrain with the opening of a new school and the development of new digital tools, with millions of dollars in funding from both the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and AT&T. The PlayMaker School, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will open in Los Angeles on September 7, with 60 students in 6th grade…

For their method, also read : Math Learning Embeded into Game Design Process

BAFTA and Blitz back games education module

A new games education module for school has received the backing of BAFTA and Blitz Games Studios. The course, by e-skills UK, uses specially produced modules and real world situations to teach pupils skills including programming, app development, web design, game creation and software architecture. The new games design module will be coming to schools… students are challenged to design their own video game, using examples from Blitz Games, which teach them about genres, platforms, gameplay and storyboarding.

Minecraft Developer and UN Collaborate to Get Youth Involved with Urban Planning

Minecraft developer Mojang has announced Block by Block, a three-year project jointly organized with the UNthat seeks to get youth involved in local urban planning. The initiative will support UN-Habitat’s Sustainable Urban Development Network in an effort to “upgrade” 300 public spaces by 2016.

Also read : Mojang and UN presents: Block by Block

LGN Launches Quandary to Develop Ethical Thinking through Play

The Learning Games Network, a non-profit spin-off of the MIT Education Arcade and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Games+Learning+Society Program, today launched Quandary, a unique game that encourages players to think ethically as they lead a human colony struggling for survival on fictional planet Braxos. The game’s goal is to provide an engaging experience for players aged 8-14 to strengthen foundational skills that help them recognize ethical issues and deal with ethical situations in their own lives.

game-based learning

Image from LGN

Gaming Brownbag: Turning an Astronomy Course into a Mission to Mars

Professor of Astronomy Jane Charlton will discuss how the general education course ASTRO 001 Astronomical Universe was designed as a story-based series of missions and has been taken by more than 7,000 students over a five-year period.

Participants ready to study abroad on Mars, learn how to assemble a telescope, explore the landscape of Mars, and compare phases of the moon on Earth and Mars should sign up for this interplanetary voyage.

Rand McNally Launches “Play the Election” Digital Learning Game for Students

Rand McNally launches “Play the Election” – a free collaborative, online tool that teaches students about the 2012 Presidential Election and election process through games, resources and competition.  And while students are learning about electing the President, they can write to him with their concerns in a new essay contest open to 7-12th grade students ages 13 to 20 years old, entitled “Dear Mr. President“.


On November 6, Americans will be casting their ballots to choose their next President of The United States. To get as many people to the voting booths this year, some of our favorite game developers and organizations are creating new games or improving past campaigns. Here are four fun and free games to get you ready for this year’s American Presidential Election.

The Year of the Game (in KickStarter)

The catalyst for the category’s growth happened in February, when a video game project called Double Fine Adventure raised $1 million in its first 24 hours. The gaming world hasn’t looked at Kickstarter the same way since. Double Fine signaled to game developers that they could use Kickstarter to do something that previously seemed impossible: make the game they wanted without outside interference.


Learning Analytic for Digital Game-Based Learning

All search engines know every search or click means an inquiry, big data has already been highly appreciated in the business world. We see a great potential that digital games can reveal a thorough learning profile and process, then the feedback could construct an efficient learning path and a personalized learning environment for learners.

Fun Is Learning through Interesting Challenges – about Gameful Design

Sebastian Deterding is a designer and researcher working on persuasive and gameful design (or »gamification«), user experience and video games. He is broadly interested in how code shapes conduct – and how to put that knowledge into practice. This presentation gives a coverage from fundamentals to good and bad examples, even to the deep philosophic thoughts.

How classroom games can help build reasoning skills

During a webinar hosted by edWeb, Sarah DeLeeuw and Patrick Vennebush from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics demonstrated how basic games can help students become more engaged in math lessons.

Ten ways to gamify your grid

“Gamification” is the process of adding game-like elements to something without actually turning the whole thing into a game. Social grids can be gamified, for example, but even grids dedicated to education, non-profits, or business meetings can add gamification elements. Here are ten suggestions for ways you can gamify your grid.


GALA Special issue on Game-Based Learning – IFETS – call for submission

The first perspective refers to the fact that learning processes cannot be understood by merely looking at the specific characteristics of the technology enhanced educational application (e.g., a digital serious game), but that it is also necessary to consider the complete learning environment in which this game is integrated (including goals, tools, tasks, methodologies and context of use).

The second perspective concerns methodologies and techniques that are applied in the design and development of serious games. A key aspect, for effective serious game design, is the development of modules and tools able to support an effective user assessment in the game. Breakthroughs in this aspect of serious games design are mostly expected on issues such as: (a) user feedback mechanisms, (b) effective user data gathering and management, (c) sensor data fusion and integration, (d) data analysis methods, and (e) an efficient and easy-to-use user interface.

We think that the interplay of these two perspectives (i.e., design and use of games for education) will be crucial for the future of game based learning. The intention of the special issue is to stimulate a fruitful dialogue between researchers working along these two perspectives.

Systematic review of serious games for medical education and surgical skills training (from Wiley Online Library)

A total of 25 articles were identified, describing a total of 30 serious games. The games were divided into two categories: those developed for specific educational purposes (17) and commercial games also useful for developing skills relevant to medical personnel (13). Blended and interactive learning by means of serious games may be applied to train both technical and non-technical skills relevant to the surgical field.


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  1. Play and Learn Weekly Sep.8th, 2012 | Classroom Aid | |

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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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