Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly – Jan.13th, 2013

What’s happening in the convergence of play and learn (game-based learning, #GBL) ?


EDU at CES 2013, Adaptive Learning, Smartbooks and Virtual Reality

The Consumer Electronic Show, or CES, an annual trade show where tech companies like Samsung and Sony, show off their latest innovations, is nearing its end. Over the past few days news of futuristic TVs, smart phones, smart watches, mechanical spiders and virtual reality, made headlines all over the web. So what does that have to do with education? It has everything to do with education…


Educational gaming brown bag on digital badges to take place Jan. 23 (from PennState Univ.)

Anyone interested in the use of games in education is invited to attend a free educational gaming brown bag entitled “Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges!” on Wednesday, January 23 from noon to 1:00 p.m. in 202K Rider Building, University Park or via a Meeting@PennState desktop video conference. Lead instructional designer Brett Bixler of Information Technology Services will present an overview of what digital badges are and may become. Participants will also be introduced to badging efforts across the country and at Penn State.

Video Games & Learning Symposium – Glasgow, February 2012

The University of Glasgow’s Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Instititute (HATII) has organised a half day symposium exploring the area of game-based learning and the use of off-the-shelf consumer games technology within an educational context. The event is FREE, the symposium takes place on February 28th of February from 09:30 to 13:30.


On January 25-27 hundreds of game makers around the world will create games for social impact in a single weekend, Global Game Jam Inc. (GGJ) announced a new partnership with Games for Change (G4C), to celebrate G4C’s 10th anniversary and allow GGJ13 participants from all over the world to visit sites that focus specifically on positive social impact. Jesse Schell, renowned game designer, author and Carnegie Mellon Professor will deliver a special video keynote to launch this unique effort on January 25th.

Opinion: What CES 2013 says about the state of the game industry

If there’s one takeaway from CES 2013, it’s that the barrier to entry in the hardware game is lower than ever: Processing power only gets cheaper, mobile bandwidth only gets faster and more widespread, specialized components like touchscreens, accelerometers, and GPS receivers only become more readily available, and open source operating systems are more viable. Now consider that, in parallel, the barriers to entry for developing games for any platform are just getting lower (thanks to tools like Unity and Unreal Engine, for example), and it’s pretty clear that 2013 is going to be a pretty crazy year for the industry.

Predictions 2013: The next big thing in gaming will surprise you

What does 2013 have in store? Kids games. Lots and lots of kids games. Educational games, games based on books and movies and TV shows. As it becomes easier for children to access games, especially on mobile platforms, we’re going to see many companies in the traditional toys and children’s media spaces looking to games to reach a screen-hungry audience. Saturday morning cartoons are giving way to Saturday morning games.

2013: What’s in store for the digital industry?

1) Death of the QR code

2) Apps no longer just for smartphones and tablets

3) Augmented reality will go mainstream

4.) HTML 5 will make a comeback, helping to make smartphones cheaper

5) Mobile gets even bigger

Trip Hawkins joins with Moshi Monsters lead for educational games start up If You Can…

“I’ve always had a passion for education,” Hawkins says, explaining that he thinks the rise of mobile devices, notably from Apple, has radically changed the opportunities available in the sector.

More details about what the studio is up to will be released later in 2013, but it will be using Unity for development, with Hawkins saying some funding has already been raised from Silicon Valley VCs.

Kinect tech demo turns your entire living room into a video game

Microsoft may not have an official presence at CES 2013, but the company just showed some new Kinect-powered technology that expands video game graphics beyond the boundaries of the television. Called IllumiRoom, the proof-of-concept from Microsoft Research combines Kinect and a video projector to amazing effect.

video game

Endgame: Syria and Serious Themes in Gaming

In the last few days much talk on has centered around Apple’s recent rejection of of an app called Endgame: Syria. The event has many lamenting Apple’s policies regarding violence in games, which insists that enemies in in software “cannot solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity.” But the game itself deserves some attention for how it uses mechanics to inform the user about a complicated issue: the real-world Syrian civil war.

Games for social good, five years after PeaceMaker

Much heated discussion in recent weeks has followed the issue of whether games impact real-world behavior. But eight years ago, the Games For Change organization was founded in the belief that they can — and has since worked on outreach efforts and an annual event based on the idea that games can be a tool to mobilize people for social good…

Israel’s Peres Center For Peace purchased some 100,000 copies — 80,000 of which were handed out for free with newspapers in both Israel and Palestine. Burak experienced the feeling of people in both nations understanding and appreciating the objective of PeaceMaker and using that opportunity to further dialog.

“That was then,” Burak recalls. “Today, it’s a really, really sad situation… many things have been tried since then but are not taking the situation to a good place… in that sense, it’s almost the opposite trend to what I saw with the game. It’s not really changing.”

Yet there’s no sense of futility…

How Mind-Controlled Games Work – And Why It’s Way, Way Bigger Than That

A future with implications in the real world – big ones. Really big ones. Think using crowd-sourced mind control to change the color of Niagara Falls and the CN Tower big. Crowd-funded and completely hackable – by definition the exact opposite of gadgets that today’s bloated, out-of-touch companies crank out – projects like the Muse headband are about to crash into technology as we know it with meteoric force. Most people laud the Muse, crafted by InteraXon, as a “mind-controlled” game…

Think your kids spend too long playing video games? Don’t hire an assassin

This cycle of small challenges and incremental rewards, set in a context of grander ones, is phenomenally attractive to gamers (and lucrative for their manufacturers: as of last October, WoW has 10 million paying subscribers).

To its credit, Blizzard, the makers of World of Warcraft, recognise that its delights may be too alluring and offer parental controls to limit the number of hours that can be played in a day and when those hours are.

Games not at fault: Makers

The video game industry, blamed by some for fostering a culture of violence, defended its practices at a White House meeting exploring how to prevent horrific shootings such as the recent Connecticut school massacre.


Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked (by Henry Jenkins)

A large gap exists between the public’s perception of video games and what the research actually shows. The following is an attempt to separate fact from fiction. (Henry Jenkins is the director of comparative studies at MIT.)

Can Serious Games Save the World?

Post-game appeals appear at the end of play in Food Force and AFMP.  These appeals suggest ways to support the goals of the game like world peace, an end to global hunger, or peace in the middle east.  In Food Force, players can link to the World Food Programme web site, engage in an urgent action, post their scores (re-playability).  IN this way the U.N. office operates as a salesman at the “closing.” Acting on the players immediate understanding of the difficulty in “playing,” the organizations asks the player to participate in real time.


Playing to Win: Serious Games for Business (from National Academy of Engineering)

Author: Phaedra Boinodiris

Gaming techniques can save money, time, and resources while making departments and organizations more agile.

It’s a downloadable pdf file.

E-games boost physical activity in children; might be a weapon in the battle against obesity (George Washington University)

WASHINGTON—Video games have been blamed for contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States. But a new study by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) suggests that certain blood-pumping video games can actually boost energy expenditures among inner city children, a group that is at high risk for unhealthy weight gain.

The study, “Can E-gaming be Useful for Achieving Recommended Levels of Moderate to Vigorous-Intensity Physical Activity in Inner-City Children,” will appear January 9 in the online edition of the scientific journal Games for Health.

CFP: Immersive Education Summit, Boston, June 2013

There is an open call for Immersive Education 2013 (iED 2013), to be held at Boston College 3rd-6th June 2013, for papers, general sessions (presentations, posters, panels, demos and workshops), and outliers (novel late-breaking research and technology)…

CFP: IEEE International Games Innovation Conference, September 2013, Vancouver

September 23-25, 2013, Vancouver, Canada

Call for Papers

Conference Theme: Designing for Play, Education, Health, Training, Social Change, and Gamification


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1 Response »

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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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