Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

NMSU Learning Games Lab Offers Free Apps

by Jane Moorman, New Mexico State University

An easy, last-minute Christmas gift could be as simple as downloading an app. An estimated 2.4 billion apps are expected to be downloaded during the holidays. Thanks to app developers at New Mexico State University, new mobile device owners have access to free apps on a variety of research-based topics.

NMSU’s Learning Games Lab has produced several apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, which are available at its website:

NMSU’s Learning Games Lab works with a variety of different researchers as part of the Cooperative Extension Service

game-based learning

“Our goal is to apply university-based research and knowledge to help people solve everyday problems,” said Barbara Chamberlin, NMSU Extension instructional design and education media specialist. “We’re learning great things about how people can best learn math, how they can make healthier eating choices, and how to have more sustainable landscapes. We’re thrilled to share apps that help people do all of these things better.”

Math learners in grades three through eight will enjoy resources from the Math Snacks research project. Based on research on frequently misunderstood math concepts, two Math Snacks apps help youth improve their number sense, application of rate and ratio, and other content usually learned in mid-school.

The free app games are also available with additional resources at

The free app, Eat-and-Move-O-Matic, helps youth explore the balance between calories they eat in food, and the calories they burn through different physical activity. Users spin different wheels to compare calories in a large and small soda, for example, and the amount of time it would take to burn off each in different exercises.

The Eat-and-Move-O-Matic was recently listed in Best Fitness Apps for Kids 2012 and endorsed by Boost Cooperative as their November Free App of the Month.

For gardeners, NMSU also offers the perfect app to transform a home’s landscape to a low-water user. The Southwest Plant Selector shows the plant and the vital information for raising plants in our semi-arid climate. Users can search for information about planting time, water use, and color of the bloom, and then take the app and marked ‘favorites’ with them when shopping for plants.

This app is free and highly rated. It was included in Nursery Management online in October and was featured this month by, a service of

About the NMSU Learning Games Lab

The NMSU Learning Games Lab is an exploratory environment where gamers play, evaluate and develop games – all kinds of games, including those designed strictly as entertainment, educational titles, and games in development.

More helpful resources from them:

Video Games Buying Guidelines (PDF)

Presentations :

And, : Exergames are videogames that encourage physical activities. Here, you’ll find the best and most effective exergames, as well as strategies and recommendations on using them with different audiences and in different locations.


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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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