Monthly Archives: July 2013

100 postings!!! Going Meta on Gaming and Education

Yes this is my 100th post.  I don’t know why big round numbers do it for me, but they do.      Here are some other big numbers to go along with my 100th post.

As of 5:45 PM in United States (California), on July 25th;

there have been 3185 views of Gaming and Education, people from 81 Nations have visited, I have made 600 tags, and visitors have posted 22 comments.

Thanks to my 46 followers and all the “link love” you have given.

As part of my 100th post I’ve decided to give away an idea for a learning game that I have not had time to make myself.

Here is the idea – an educational game about educational games.  I am envisioning a questing game, where the goal is to uncover the current landscape of educational gaming.  This has been my goal, as I have written the literature review for my dissertation.  In this game, a player would; discover the key theorist in educational gaming, learn the various affordances of learning games, find how educational games connect with learning theory, understand the historical development of educational games, and learn many other things along the way. I know that this game may only appeal to those who are also researching educational games.  But, such a game might serve as a good model for other such games on narrow topics.  For example, a game might be developed for mastery of “constructivist learning”.

As much as I would like to build an educational game about educational gaming, I must first complete my dissertation!   I hope someone takes this idea and creates a game that I wish I had time to build.

Thanks again to all my readers and followers.  Please leave more comments and suggestions for future posts.  I still believe that games are one of the most powerful tools to facilitate learning!

Keep playing!

Keep learning!

Peace,

Anthony

DigiToolkit: Why we love Candy Crush, Angry Birds & Minecraft Lessons about Gaming & Education

Here is a great video/lesson on the educational power of digital games and how using the principles of good game design teachers can improve their instruction.

The introduction is kind of slow – she starts with a survey – but, be patient (or skip ahead 1 to 2 minutes) and your will learn about the power of games for learning.

Enjoy!

EdGamer Reviews the Illinois Computing Educators Conference

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EdGamer 90: Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) Conference Review

On episode 90 of EdGamer we review two of the best conferences of the year for technology and education. In the last two weeks EdGamer has attended the ICE and SIT conferences and we have a plethora of new things to share with you! Plus, you get to hear all of the wonderful antics as a result of Zack spending a few days at Gerry’s house. This you can’t miss! Tune-in and level-up!

Alternate Title- The Best Seat on the ICE

 

Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor: Gerry James  

To listen to the Podcast click here;

http://edreach.us/2013/03/02/edgamer-90-ice-conference-review/

 

New Study Finds Clues on How to Keep Kids Engaged with Educational Games

“If you want teams of students to stay engaged while playing educational games, you might want them to switch seats pretty often. That’s one finding from a pilot study that evaluated how well middle school students were able to pay attention to game-based learning tasks.

Screenshot of the Engage game. Image credit: Kristy Boyer (Click to enlarge)

Screenshot of the Engage game. Image credit: Kristy Boyer (Click to enlarge)

Students at a Raleigh, N.C., middle school were divided into two-person teams for the pilot study. Researchers from North Carolina State University then had each team test gaming concepts for an educational game called “Engage,” which allows only one student at a time to control gameplay. The researchers were trying to determine how effective educational gaming tasks were at teaching computer science concepts, but were also monitoring how engaged each student was.

The researchers found that, for each team, the student actively performing the game tasks was much more likely to stay engaged – but that the second student would often lose focus.

“This is a very useful finding, because we can use it to improve game design to better keep the attention of the ‘navigator,’ or second student,” says Dr. Kristy Boyer, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. “For example, we could assign tasks to the navigator that are critical to team success and make sure that each student has an opportunity to take the controls during each gameplay session.”

The pilot study is part of a larger effort by the researchers to develop a game-based curriculum that teaches middle school students about computer science principles ranging from programming and big data to encryption and security.

“We are doing this work to help ensure that Engage is a fun, effective learning environment, and to ensure that we can keep kids focused on the game itself,” says Fernando Rodríguez, a Ph.D. student at NC State who is lead author of the paper. “Keeping kids’ attention is essential if we want them to learn.”

The paper, “Informing the Design of a Game-Based Learning Environment for Computer Science: A Pilot Study on Engagement and Collaborative Dialogue,” will be presented July 13 at the International Conference on Artificial  Intelligence in Education in Memphis, Tenn. The paper was co-authored by Natalie Kerby, an undergraduate at NC State. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation. The Engage development team also includes Dr. James Lester, professor of computer science at NC State; Dr. Eric Wiebe, a professor of science, technology, engineering and math education at NC State; and Dr. Bradford Mott, a research scientist at NC State.”

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by North Carolina State University.

Matt Shipman News Services | 919.515.6386

| Dr. Kristy Boyer | 919.513.0876

Fernando Rodríguez | 787.447.4976

The study abstract –

“Informing the Design of a Game-Based Learning Environment for Computer Science: A Pilot Study on Engagement and Collaborative Dialogue”

Authors: Fernando J. Rodríguez, Natalie D. Kerby and Kristy Elizabeth Boyer, North Carolina State University

Presented: July 13, International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, Memphis, Tenn.

Abstract: Game-based learning environments hold great promise for supporting computer science learning. The ENGAGE project is building a game-based learning environment for middle school computational thinking and computer science principles, situated within mathematics and science curricula. This paper reports on a pilot study of the ENGAGE curriculum and gameplay elements, in which pairs of middle school students collaborated to solve game-based computer science problems. Their collaborative behaviors and dialogue were recorded with video cameras. The analysis reported here focuses on nonverbal indicators of disengagement during the collaborative problem solving, and explores the dialogue moves used by a more engaged learner to repair a partner’s disengagement. Finally, we discuss the implications of these findings for designing a game-based learning environment that supports collaboration for computer science.

Gaming Can Re-engage Boys in Learning

Ali Carr Chellman demonstrates how schools are failing boys.  She explains how gaming could re engage boys in learning.  When I was a boy, I remember how hostile my school was to “boy culture”.  According to Chellman, things have become much worse.  Schools in the United States are largely run by women, and structured for girls.  Learning may be for everyone – but schools are definitely for girls!

I have taught Jr. High, High School, and College students, and I know how the culture of schooling forces male teachers to conform to the status quo.  This may be the reason why so many men have left the teaching profession.  Today, approximately 93% of elementary teachers are women.  If any other profession had this kind of gender difference there would be an outcry for a better balance.  Boys need male role models in public school, so that they can see that learning is not a “girl thing”.  Boys also need digital learning games in the classroom so they can see that part of their culture is valued as well.  Games have the power to facilitate learning for boys and girls.  We just need to convince the teachers and principles – who happen to be mostly women.

See also

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0684849577/?tag=writersrepsco-20

Game Trains Artificial Intelligence to Map the Brain

I usually write about how computer games help humans to learn.  Today, I write about how humans (while playing games) help computers to learn.  In the process, the humans advance brain science and learn about neurology.  I am one of the 70,000+ who have played eyewire, a game that was created by;

“…scientists at MIT, Eyewire is a browser game that lets players take on the challenge of mapping neural pathways in brains — no scientific background required. By playing, gamers are not only mapping neurons, but also training artificial intelligence algorithms to better understand how to map neurons themselves, what Amy Robinson, Creative Director at Eyewire, calls “augmented intelligence”. The more that gamers play, the better the computers get.”

from Singularity Hub – http://singularityhub.com/2013/07/10/70000-have-played-eyewire-game-that-trains-computers-to-map-the-brain/

By creating a map of all the connected neurons in the brain, we advance understanding and treatment of alzheimer’s, dementia, mood disorders, and other cognitive diseases.  The human connectome has 86 billion connected neurons, so mapping this is impossible for humans to do quickly.  But, by using the Eyewire game, we can quickly teach the Artificial Intelligence software to map our connectome much faster than we could.

So, stop playing Farmville, and start playing a serious game!

Map the brain, save your brain, and learn a little brain science!

The world will be a better place.To play Eyewire click here – http://eyewire.org/

To read the full article by from Singularity Hub click here; http://singularityhub.com/2013/07/10/70000-have-played-eyewire-game-that-trains-computers-to-map-the-brain/

Learning STEM Skills by Designing Video Games

Here is a great video from Edutopia about Rhys, a 10 year old boy from Texas, who likes to;

“play baseball and play Gamestar Mechanic.  I really like making games because you get to be really creative with it.  Okay. So right now I’m logging into Gamestar Mechanic. It’s pretty much the only platform I make games on. You can have it be a story game. You can have it be a blasting game. You can have it be an easy game, a hard game. I mean, really, you can do almost anything.”  In this video, Rhys shows some of the games that he has made and what he has learned.

Kurt Squire says that;

“One real key attribute of Gamestar Mechanic is that you have an authentic audience, right? So in most classrooms you’re building stuff for your teacher who may or may not have time to read your essay that you wrote just because it’s an essay. But Gamestar Mechanic has a vibrant community where people are making games for real people, real audiences that have real demands and expectations. So you have to think about “How is my audience gonna perceive this? How are they gonna perceive my message? What are they gonna take away from it?” And Gamestar Mechanic has that really built in and so that’s really key for learning. It’s something we’re not doing in our schools.”

To learn more follow this link to Edutopia;

http://www.edutopia.org/is-school-enough-game-based-learning-stem-video

Students Learn Coding Through Digital-Game Creation

Michelle R. Davis writes;

“South Hills High School teacher Saleta Thomas bills her class as a digital game-design program for students. But once students opt to take the class, they start learning computer coding through basic programs like Alice, then move on to Flash, JavaScript, ActionScript, and other coding languages.

Since the students in the Fort Worth, Texas, school are focused on digital-game creation, often they don’t even realize they’re learning computer coding, Thomas says. The “marketing” ploy of labeling the course digital-game design has had an impact, she says. Computer science wasn’t a popular course at the low-income school, which has struggled over the past few years to bring test scores up, but the digital-gaming elective has gone from 22 students its first year to 45 this school year, and 81 are projected for the next school year.

“If we get the hook into them through gaming, then when they go to college they can see there’s a whole lot more offered in computer science,” Thomas says. “If you major in computer science, your world is really open.”

To read more about coding, Code.org, Codecademy, MIT Media Lab, Scratch, CoderDojo, and Kodu 

click here;

http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2013/06/12/03game-coding.h06.html

Learn Algebra in Minutes with a Video Game

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Jordan Shapiro writes that;

“On average, it took 41 minutes and 44 seconds for students to master Algebra skills during the Washington State Algebra Challenge using the DragonBox App.

The Challenge, co-sponsored by Washington University’s Center for Game Science and the Technology Alliance included 4,192 K-12 students. Together, they solved 390,935 equations over the course of 5 days in early June. According to the Challenge’s calculations, that’s 6 months, 28 days, and 2 hours worth of algebra work.

What’s even more impressive, “of those students who played at least 1.5 hours, 92.9% achieved mastery. Of those students who played at least 1 hour, 83.8% achieved mastery. Of those students who played at least 45 minutes, 73.4% achieved mastery.”

Jean-Baptiste Huynh, creator of DragonBox

To read more click here;

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2013/07/01/it-only-takes-about-42-minutes-to-learn-algebra-with-video-games/