Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Play and Learn Weekly – Mar.24th, 2013 (#GBL)

What’s happening in the convergence of play and learn? (Game-Based Learning)

game-based learning appNews

International Apps/Games Competition Ends with Selection of Five Finalists

The U.N. Alliance of Civilizations recently wrapped up its inaugural international mobile apps and games competition called Create UNAOC Challenge 2012 with the selection of five finalists who were each awarded $5,000 to refine their interactive creations. Here are the five finalists in Create UNAOC Challenge 2012 according to the UNAOC website.

Two New Game-Based Learning MOOCs

You might like to know about two game-based learning MOOCs (massively open online courses) that you can sign up for now. Like all MOOCs they are free and the level of participation is up to you.

GlassLab and Beyond: Who’s the Designer and Who’s the Learner of the Next-Gen Game-Based Ed-Tech

As the ed-tech industry continues to refine personalized learning tools for game-based “blended learning” in America’s classrooms, I urge educators to elevate learning to the next level by empowering youth to not only use gaming technology for play (or assessment), but also to become the architects of it all. Because along with that will come students’ architecting their own learning, while driving deeper learning, computational creativity and invention.

Teachers, Students, Digital Games: What’s the Right Mix?

One game that holds the promise of achieving all the complex goals educators is SimCityEDU, the learning version of the popular city-management game due to be released in the fall of this year. Michael John, Game Director for GlassLab, the nonprofit creating the game, said that, in reality, most practice games are not that fun or interesting for kids. “I would say that most of the drill-type games I have seen and played have fallen very far toward the Tetris end of the spectrum. They’re repetitive, self-similar, and to be honest, pretty dull.”

But as a learning game, SimCityEDU wants to offer much more than drill — student players will be assessing data, interpreting information, taking documentation, and like many complex games, will have the ability to level-up when certain skills are mastered. The game has the ability to make formative assessments along the way that are also aligned with Common Core State Standards; teachers can use an online tool to see whether children have mastered the necessary skills.


Perspectives on Game-Based Learning (from Rice University STEMscopes)

Three of SXSWedu’s most prominent game-based learning figures were Scott Osterweil of MIT’s Education Arcade, Katie Culp of Education Development Center, and Greg Chung of National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing.  As three of the field’s giants, they naturally had different perspectives on what GBL should look like.  Keep in mind that none of them are suggesting that we should bring games like World of Warcraft orHalo 4 into the classroom.  Instead, they agreed that the power of GBL is in tailor-making videogames that are applicable to the classroom.

Katie Culp was a strong supporter of metaphorical games…. it’s virtually impossible to amass data to show that this type of GBL produces measurable gains on standardized tests, but they might holistically improve a student’s thought process.

Greg Chung had a strikingly different view.  Chung upholds that narrow, skill-based “game-ified games” are most likely to be successful both in implementation and in improving student learning outcomes….Though immersive worlds can be good to develop higher order problem solving, that is not measurable in today’s testing climate and thus not useful.

Scott Osterweil represented the last thought camp on GBL.  His focus was not on the content of a game but how it is designed to maintain student investment.  Osterweil cited three necessary design features:  1) measurable progress towards completion (this does not mean the students are awarded coins or stars as they progress; rather, students can intrinsically feel they are getting better at playing the game and performing the in-game tasks), 2) bite-sized accomplishments that redirect instead of punish failure, and 3) a game narrative with which students can engage (the game is not a story-on-rails; you can choose to follow different paths).  Above all, Osterweil told the audience that a game should feature academic problem solving, but it has to be sandwiched with authentic, frivolous fun.

ClarkChart – the registry of simulation and serious games

Now in beta, it’s a database of educational simulation and serious games.

Video Games in Education: Final Blog Post

Educational Video Game Use So Far – a review from the site of Clark Honors College’s first course on videogames. This site contains all materials relating to the course. (Game Studies Syll 1-4-13)

Game-based Learning for Students of All Ages

North Dakota State University is working on projects for Internet-based educational software in computer science, biology, geology and anthropology. The university’s World Wide Web Instructional Committee is now supporting two public-accessible online games.

Maryland Public Television’s Thinkport features games to engage students in the study of the War of 1812 and another learning game that explores mathematical reasoning and problem solving.

ASTD DC Metro 2013 Presentation Resources:Gamification of Learning (by Karl Kapp)

Do Serious Games Work? Results from Three Studies



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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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