Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly – Feb.10th, 2013 (#GBL)

What’s happening in the convergence of play and learn? (#GBL)


Gamification Goes To College

To paraphrase the famous advertisement about E.F. Hutton, “When edX speaks, people listen.” And edX is a big proponent of gamification. Dr. Anant Agarwal is the president of edX, as well as an MIT professor. At the MIT Inaugural Symposium on “The Future of Education” in 2012 (in celebration of the installation of L. Rafael Reif, a strong supporter of edX, as president of MIT), Dr. Agarwal spoke on “Gamifying Learning.”

With gamification, an edX student can perform interactive exercises and get instant feedback, a feature that Dr. Agarwal stressed is a game changer. He believes that students work much harder to see significant success. The learning environment can be a rich one that can use a virtual laboratory with simulation capabilities and Lego-like design exploration.

Teach Kids How To Prepare For Disasters Through Game Based Learning

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) have released Disaster Hero, a learning game designed to teach families how to prepare for all types of hazards or emergencies. The game was developed as part of a grant administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In the game, the player takes the role of a “Disaster Hero” contestant in a high-tech game show, competing against a computer opponent to prove his or her disaster knowledge and preparedness skills for a chance to be named the next “Disaster Hero!”

Game Design: The Key to Education?

Salen, who delivered a keynote address at the FETC 2013 conference in Orlando last week, began her talk by showing an image of a young boy holding a small plastic cube a few shades darker than the long wisp of pink hair hanging over his eyes. He was grinning from ear to ear. “This is a student at one of our schools that has just printed his first 3D object.”

The exercise, said Salen, was part of a lesson where students designed an object using the 3D editor available in the videogame Minecraft, and then printed their design using a MakerBot 3D printer. “There is something deeply magical,” she said, “about the idea that you could model something in the digital space and then output it in the physical word.”

What can WoW and other MMOs teach us about literature and storytelling?

While the world of academia has not infrequently pried back the edges of World of Warcraft to peer through its lens into fields including psychologysociology and anthropology, and economics, we don’t often hear reports from the intersection of WoW and literature. With a lore and canon of their own making, WoW and the Warcraft world don’t fit alongside such developments as Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative, a course from Vanderbilt University available via free online educational provider Coursera that leans heavily on the riches of narrative theory, intermediality, and game theory in Lord of the Rings Online. (“Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative” is an online course available via Coursera)

Toys and Apps Are Yet to Play Nice Together

Last year, trying to show how the toy industry could remain relevant in the tablet age ,Hasbro Inc. unveiled an iPad-enhanced version of its classic Game of Life. Instead of spinning a wheel in the center of the board game to take a turn, players spun a wheel on the iPad. The idea bombed…


Game-Based Learning in Medical Education (from

Medical schools around the country are increasingly utilizing and creating educational games for learners. These games, also known as “serious games,” are educational tools that employ game-thinking and mechanics where the principal intent is not amusement or pleasure, and are designed for the express goal of improving medical education. Serious games offer the ability to extend learning outside of the classroom and can be attractive options for everything from teaching flashcards to modeling
and experiencing the complexity of the real world within a simulated environment. Serious games vary greatly in complexity and technology requirements.

Gaming, Story Learning and Feedback Loop

The process of developing scenario-based lessons and interactive storytelling modalities requires feedback mechanisms both from the participants and co-developers. For this blog, Ford Motors becomes our unlikely teacher on the importance of feedback in our work as eLearning professionals.


Gamify Your Life: A Guide to Incentivizing Everything

It’s a self-designed system that operates along a daily exchange of productivity and reward. The basic idea is that I fill my life with incentives to make me do the crap I usually don’t want to do. So far it’s working out splendidly. A draft beer costs 3 red points. A new shirt varies, but is generally about 20 red points, 25 blue points, and 15 green points….


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1 Response »

  1. Using online games to teach students how to handle emergencies and dangerous situations is a good strategy. I think that this method allows them to fully visualize what actions should be taken and what the outcomes would be in the event they made a mistake.

    Tonya Simmons

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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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