Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly – Sep.22th, 2012

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


In this week, there are a lot of articles covering how games are used in classrooms, so we put them on top of this briefing.

MinecraftEdu Teaches Students Through Virtual World-Building (TIME Techland)

The game has not been publicly released yet and is still being tested out in schools, but so far MinecraftEdu, through its Finland-based parent company TeacherGaming LLC, has sold Minecraft licenses to more than 500 schools around the world — 100 of them use MinecraftEdu. Levin says that about 250,000 students on six continents have access toMinecraft through his company.


The Role of Video Games in the English Classroom (Edutopia)

1) Entry Points – In any classroom, a video game can provide a sure-footed entry point into content.

2) Student Voice – Video games are engaging, gamified, full of light and sound, and often (though not always) widely accessible. The fact that they’re especially inviting to male learners, who may struggle to find much of anything in academia immediately inviting, makes them a compelling tool for any progressive ELA educator.

3) Inspiration – The best examples from this growing medium are not play-and-forget affairs, but rather digital universes for players to enter and dwell.

Kinect in the Classroom (Edutopia)

As articulated in Edutopia’s “Six Tips for Brain Based Learning,” using active, physical modalities can help the learning process. John Medina author of Brain Rules shows how exercise boosts oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain, which helps students concentrate better. In fact, many schools and classrooms are integrating more physical activity into the school, not just your regular P.E. class. Naperville Central High, for example, uses “brain breaks.”

Microsoft has a huge library of classroom lessons, many of which are aligned to the Common Core standards, as well as other learning objectives in physical education and science. The lessons include step by step instructions, grade level and the game that must be used with the game.

Using Games in the ELL Classroom, Part I (Education Week)

Judy Willis, neurologist and teacher, writes that students, especially adolescents, are more likely to store information as part of their long-term memory and make it available for later retrieval by participating in activities they enjoy. Researcher Robert Marzano also endorses learning games as an “engagement activity” that can result in increased student academic achievement.

Games for Learning #MITGames

A panel featuring Scott Nicholson (moderator), Scot Osterweil, Shula Ponet, and Konstantin Mitgutsch…

Read the Storified event and other related stories.

Where Do Educational Games Come From?

Increasingly, digital games are cropping up everywhere in education. And that’s stimulated a flurry of activity leading to the expectation that no longer are learning games only likely to come from traditional education companies, but a wide variety of sources.

Serious games make serious moolah

The “serious games” sector – computer game technology used for education or training – has become a multi-billion dollar industry across public and private sectors.

Sue Bohle, executive director of the international Serious Games Association, told UKauthority the sector was now home to “an ever-expanding array of applications” including for education, healthcare and defence.


Interviews// Rocksmith: ‘Games With Benefits’

Nobody wants to be seen learning while having fun, right? It’s seriously uncool. Well, Ubisoft could well smash that perception with Rocksmith – an interactive gaming experience that allows you to play guitar. Unlike the Guitar Heros and Rock Bands before it, this actually tutors you, by using a real guitar as a gaming peripheral.

Serious Computer Games as a Teaching Tool – A One Stop Toolkit

learning game toolkitSerious Computer Games as a Teaching Tool – A One Stop Toolkit for Vocational Education Teachers and Trainers who want to use Serious Computer Games in their sessions but need a helping hand. Funded by the Leonardo Transfer of Innovation (TOI) stream of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission.

The project SCOGATT aims to identify Serious Computer Games (SCG), use SCG in the curriculum, and develop a workshop in which teachers will learn and be trained in using SCG in class. Another main objective is to transfer the award winning EnerCities, as an example of a successful SCG, to new settings and languages.

Gamification is a Dirty Word

The problem is that the proponents of gamification don’t actually understand the substance of games. In their enthusiastic fervor they have mistaken some of the least important parts of games – things like leaderboards, points, and badges – as the essence of games…

The Psychology of Video Games – Creativity, Puzzle Games, and Brain Damage

They found that a reliable indicator of when someone was about to figure out a puzzle was a steady rhythm of alpha waves from parts of the brain associated with relaxation and free association, and much less activity from areas of the brain associated with attention and focussed thought. When people lacked sufficient alpha waves, they were less likely to solve the riddles, even when given overt clues.


Engaging the Avatar: New Frontiers in Immersive Education

Engaging the Avatar: New Frontiers in Immersive Education is the 11th book in the Research in Management Education and Development series edited by Charles Wankel. Avatar based learning in an online virtual world is still in its infancy, but it holds tremendous promise for the future.  As it is still in its early stages, there has been little research on the benefits and drawbacks on the use of these new technologies in education; therefore, this book edited by Randy Hinrichs and Charles Wankel is a welcome contribution.

photo credit: post-apocalyptic research institute via photo pin cc


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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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