Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly – Sep.15th, 2012

What’s happening in the convergence of play and learn? These are our picks on game-based learning news and articles for this week.


NewSchools Invests $200K in LGN to Expand Immersive Learning Games Market

The investment will support LGN in building the market for high-quality learning games through the design and development of games and related tools; and help LGN to launch production of the Playful Learning, a knowledge network and community of practice where teachers will be able to share resources and best practices for using games in instruction.

learning games network

LGN and FableVision Release Innovative Game Design Tool Kit and PD for Teachers

We’re announcing release of the Game Design Tool Kit, a free online resource to help teachers integrate game design across the curriculum.

More of the details : Game Design as An Effective Pedagogy

Digital badges show students’ skills along with degree

Now Purdue University has developed a pair of mobile apps that make creating, awarding and displaying badges much easier. The apps, available online, are called Passport and Passport Profile . “Badges become a way to recognize learning in all of its forms,” Bowen says. “Passport provides a platform for anyone who wants to deliver learning credentials. From creation of the challenge to creating the actual badge image itself, and then a way to display earned badges, it’s all built into the platform.

gamification, badges

Learning community explores how to use video game design in classrooms

Video games might usually be considered a mindless distraction from schoolwork, but one learning community at the University of Ohio’s Bowling Green camps believes the exact opposite. The one-year-old learning community, called “applying principles of video game design to improve student learning,” aims to do just that: use the philosophies of video games to better the classroom experience.

Games In Everyday Life And Why That Matters To You

On September 21, 2012, this annual symposium is to discuss the role of games throughout our lives today and the potential for collaboration and development with games research at the MIT Game Lab.

5 Fun Games With a Higher Purpose

As Mashable prepares for its Social Good Summit Sept. 22-24, we examined the ways that gaming can impact the world. We looked at games that approach socially relevance with fun and engaging concepts.

Game on: using computer games to captivate your class

Head of department Ollie Bray is using computer games to get his students excited about learning. Here, he talks about technophobia, teaching and trusting kids with tech.

Belle Sherman’s digital game-based learning seeks to boost engagement 

Beginning last school year, in March, Ithaca City School District’s Belle Sherman Elementary began implementing a game-based learning program called Imagine Learning in 11 of the school’s classrooms.

University of Minnesota Develops Serious Games for Nursing Education

The University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing, in collaboration with a medical technology company and the Minnesota Hospital Association, is developing and enhancing a suite of “serious games”—interactive, web-based games that will accelerate learning in real-life scenarios.

New Online Safety Educational Games from NCMEC

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) and Sprint announced today that their free Internet-safety site,, has been expanded to help tweens (8-12 year olds) start the school year right. The new content, along with previous Internet-safety games and videos, is available for free.

Contest winner Dysbosis boldly goes where no shooter has gone before: Your intestines

The Wellcome Trust’s Gamify Your PhD competition found its victor, a game that reconsiders old school shooters as educational tools. The Gamify Your PhD project backed by the Wellcome Trust was all about pairing scientists with game developers to birth games that could entertain as much as Pac-man while also demonstrating the theory behind complex biology.


Games? In Learning? I’m Confused…

game-based learningMisconceptions that I have come across recently include:

  • Game Theory is the theory of using games in learning.
  • Gamification is the use of games in learning.
  • Gamification could be seen as dumbing down the curriculum.
  • Game Design & Development is digital only.
  • That the study of games needs to be integrated into a subject.

This is part 1 of a series of posts that will look into the differences and similarities between Game Theory, Gamification, Game-Based Learning and Game Development.

Seeing Games as a Vital Part of 21st Century Literacy and Assessment : A Few Moments with Katie Salen 

In 2009, Salen launched the non-profit’s first project, Quest to Learn (Q2L), an innovative New York City public school whose mission is to translate game-like learning principles into a powerful pedagogical model. This past June, the Institute of Play unveiled its latest project, Games, Learning and Assessment Lab, or GlassLab, which was launched with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Electronic Arts (EA), and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

The Case for Adaptive Serious Games (GALA blog)

While, Serious Games (SGs) have already demonstrated great potential in providing both effective and motivating educational experiences, they do not necessarily guarantee successful learning. Certain aspects of gameplay may even prove  detrimental to the learning process [2].  An adaptive Serious Game therefore must not only strive to maintain player enjoyment but also impart on the player a particular set of educational objectives or behavioural changes [3]. Given the unique challenges faced by Serious Games they stand to greatly benefit from the developing of adaptive solutions, and while full player adaptation remains a long way off, Serious Games stand poised to profit from user adaptation research already conducted in other fields, including Human Computer Interfaces(HCIs) [1], robotics, automation and computer games [4].

Serious games could be integrated into surgical training

Serious gaming can be used to enhance surgical skills, but games developed or used to train medical professionals need to be validated before they are integrated into teaching methods, according to a paper in the October issue of the surgical journal BJS

Learning From Avatars

The importance of a good relationship between teacher and student is no surprise. More surprising is that the “human touch” is so powerful it can improve computer-based learning, writes UVA cognitive psychologist Dan Willingham on his blog: “In a series of ingenious yet simple experiments, Rich Mayer and Scott DaPra showed that students learn better from an onscreen slide show when it is accompanied by an onscreen avatar that uses social cues.


CFP: Game based learning for 21st century transferable skills: challenges and opportunities

Journal of Educational Technology & Society

Special Issue on “Game based learning for 21st century transferable skills: challenges and opportunities”

Submissions due: 30 November 2012

This special issue focuses on how digital serious games can contribute to the present knowledge society requirements that put a higher demand towards acquiring transferable skills. Transversal skills are important in enhancing more global and sustainable learning as they span across multiple scientific disciplines and subjects. Examples of transferable skills include: collaboration, critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, reasoning abilities, learning to learn or decision taking. This special issue intends to explore what new opportunities do digital games in general – and digital serious games in particular – offer to meet these new demands.


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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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