Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly, Sep.29th, 2012


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

News

Conference Programme for the 6th European Conference on Games Based Learning ECGBL 2012

Hosted by University College Cork and the Waterford Institute of Technology

Conference venue: The River Lee Hotel, Cork, Ireland 4-5 October 2012

game-based learning

It’s in the game – Serious Games (World ORT EDUblog)

While there are very few examples of mainstream educational game development especially for secondary and higher education, there is a growing and improving provision of education oriented casual games based on web based flash or mobile platforms for primary education. Many of these have been categorised by the Games and Learning Alliance (GALA), a network of excellence In Serious Games co-funded for four years by the European Union in FP7 – IST ICT, Technology Enhanced Learning which stems from the acknowledgement of the potential of Serious Games (SGs) for supporting education and training.

World ORT is planning a seminar on this topic to be held towards the end of January 2013 (timed to coincide with the BETT Show).

Game Bases Learning Badge (Games MOOC)

We will be issuing a Games Based Learning badge through the Mozilla Open Badge Initiative starting with the second iteration of the Games Based Learning MOOC.

This badge will be a culmination of minor badges and achievements from the Games Based Learning course.

Texas A&M And University of Arkansas Collaborate, Along With Texas Tech, In Teaching Students With “Second Life”

Faculty from Texas A&M University, the University of Arkansas and Texas Tech University are using “Second Life” (SL) to prepare agricultural communications students for real-life crisis situations.

Tracy Rutherford and avatar

Texas A&M Associate Professor Tracy Rutherford alongside her “Second Life” avatar

The project, “Educational Effectiveness of Utilizing Second Life in Teaching Graduate-Level Agricultural Crisis Communications,” was initiated in 2009 and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Education Nation: Why educators aren’t sold on video games (HechingerEd blog)

Day two of NBC’s Education Nation summit highlighted the potential for video games to tailor material to a student’s individual level and allow teachers to track student progress.

Todd Beard, a K-12 technology teacher in Flint, Mich., said his students have trouble transferring skills they learn playing educational games in class to paper-based tests.

Children ages 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media, so some teachers say parents don’t want their kids spending more time playing video games at school. And funding can be an issue for some schools.

While Sahadevan says she has seen her first-graders transfer their skills from games to tests, she has struggled to find games that assess students as they play.

Some educators worry that teachers haven’t been sufficiently trained to integrate video games into schools.

Bookmarks

Ideas About Games and Learner Assessment (Kapp Notes)

Just read an article in our local newspaper that indicated the state of Pennsylvania spent $30 million dollars last year on testing. It kinda made me sick…especially since fill-in-the-blank testing only really has value when measuring a person’s ability to be successful at fill-in-the-blank tests, no real-world application.

Games would be so much better at assessing ability to apply knowledge. So here are some articles and ideas about using games for assessment of the application of skills and measuring a level of learning.

The ten best back to school video games

Game-based learning

Image from Nat. Geo. game

 

Gaming used to challenge students through real-world, problem-solving situations (Phys.org)

 

“To me, games are an invitation with a contract,” says Sasha Barab, a professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College. “There’s an invitation to engage in your own becoming, but there’s a contract because you have to do something.” One of Barab’s projects, titled “Using a game-based curriculum to achieve academic success,” places users in a virtual environment that challenges them to find solutions to in-game problems that reflect those in the real world. For example, one game positions players as an environmental scientist in a national park, tasked with finding out why fish are dying. The game makes the student an active participant in a reactive, fully formed world.

What Can 135 Million Video Gamers Add to Our Collective IQ? (MindShift, KQED)

An estimated 135 million people play video games, spending three billion hours a week glued to a screen. But that’s not necessarily bad news. In fact, playing video games may be part of an evolutionary leap forward, according to Howard Rheingold, educator and author of the book Net Smart: How to Thrive Online.

Multi-player games in particular, and virtual communities in general, are technologies that require cooperation. And when you consider the cumulative amount of technical knowledge, these gamers could be the first wave of people who possess what scientists have started calling “collective IQ.”

Exciting Learning eBook (SlideShare, from Microsoft UK school blog)

  • Enhance the understanding of the benefits of ICT and technology across the curriculum including literacy, numeracy, technology, personal, social and health education
  • Provide practical information on how technology can be used to increase student motivation and enhance learning
  • Give teachers the confidence to use technology in class as a learning and teaching methodology that reaches across all subject areas and age groups
  • Reinforce the importance and place of ICT skills for productivity and the 21st century skills agenda
  • Encourage teachers to consider using games design and other technologies with students to help children become creators rather than consumers of content
  • Improve advice on how teachers and school leaders might tackle some of the common challenges encountered when trying to develop the use of technology in schools

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Publications

Call for articles: Engagement, Games/Simulations and Learning

Together with Nicola Whitton, Manchester Metropolitan University, we are guest editing a special issue of Simulation & Gaming on the important theme of Engagement, Simulation/Gaming and Learning.

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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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