Category Archives: Uncategorized

Video Games Build Critical Thinking Skills

Jordan Shapiro, gave a great talk on “Critical Thinking And Video Games: Scalable Pedagogy For The Future.”

Jordan Shapiro, author of FREEPLAY: A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Blisssays that; “Video games teach critical thinking, problem solving skills, and perseverance while building metacognitive skills.  Game-based learning can provide systematic, data driven teaching in a way that forces creative problem solving rather than rote memorization.  And video games can do that in a way that is replicable, scalable, and increasingly affordable enough that we can distribute it globally and equitably.”

To read more click here;

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2014/03/19/heres-why-we-need-video-games-in-every-classroom/

“The best gaming experiences stimulate the mind and encourage creative thinking”

Ian Livingstone writes that;

“But there is strong evidence to suggest that games skills equal life skills, and that playing games is actually good for you.  Human beings are playful by nature. We enter this world as babies, interacting with everything around us. We learn through play and trial and error, both fundamental to games. Humans love solving puzzles which is central to games like Tetris, Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds. We love to build and share, the very essence of Minecraft, which can be described as digital LEGO. Whether it’s playing activity games like Wii Sports (burning calories at the same time), simulation games like Sim City, strategy games like Civilisation, or social games like Words with Friends, the experience is likely to be enjoyable and beneficial. Think about the cognitive process of what is happening when games are being played. It’s a case of hands on, minds on. Interactivity puts the player in control of the action, and that is very engaging and powerful.”

To read the full article click here;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/video-games/10695869/Playing-video-games-wont-turn-your-kids-into-zombies-its-good-for-their-brains.html

Deconstructing Donkey Kong

WiiU_DKCountry_scrn01_E3resized

Jordan Shapiro challenges parents, teachers, and academics to train their children and/or students to think critically about video games as you would a text.  This is a good admonition which may help parents and educators to teach higher order thinking skills to a generation in desperate need of these skills. 

Shapeiro writes;

“Most importantly, when I talk to my kids about a video game, I’m teaching them that after they get lost in the experience of game play, they should also stop, back-up, and think about the game as if it were a text. Hopefully, in the long term, my kids will learn to think critically about the underlying messages in commercial games and how we might use video games for their ability to provoke conversation.

This is not just about kids. In my opinion, there is far too little critical examination of video games happening even among adults, especially in academia.

Video games represent a shift in the way we construct narrative. Video games might be the new mythology. I personally believe that with video games, we are writing what will eventually become scripture in the hyper-connected centuries to come.

I’m troubled when I consider how few of the brilliant academic thinkers in the humanities are forcing us to ask difficult questions about the kinds of stories we want to tell through video games specifically. These video games are shaping the next generation. These video games are teaching them how to think about the world, how to make meaning. And we’re letting it happen by accident. That’s crazy.”

To read the full article click here;

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2014/02/28/how-to-think-critically-about-video-games/

 

EdGamer Explores a Virtual Tour of a California Mission in Minecraft

Edgamer-280

From the EdGamer shownotes;

EdGamer 128: Humble Bundle

This week on EdGamer 128 we have some catching up to do! After calling in sick last week, we come right back at you with a plethora of gaming and learning news. From game packs for under 10 bucks to conferences for kids run by kids.  This week’s EdGamer has everything you need to satisfy your  edugaming needs. Tune-in and level-up!

Humble Sid Meier Bundle (pay what you want and help charity)

Someone Made A New Portal 2 Campaign… Without Portals

Moving at the Speed of Creativity | 4th Grade Virtual Tour of a California Mission in Minecraft

Interview with Woz: To innovate, get personal | Consumerization Of It – InfoWorld

Fun, Friends, and Feedback with Student Response Systems

Gaming with the Histocrats: January 2014 Games of the Week

Meriwether

Unfazed, Houston Pushes Ahead on 1-to-1 Computing – Education Week

Lenovo Aims New Rugged ThinkPad 11e Laptops at Students

Chromebooks can now run Windows desktops, via VMware

Be Smart On Air with Niilo

Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor/Producer: Gerry James  


 To browse the EdGamer archives click here;

http://edreach.us/channel/edgamer/#

 

“Stealthy Assessment” of Learning through Games

Sixth grader Jackie Blumhoefer, middle, reacts as she takes over first place during a game of SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge at Valleyview Middle School in Denville, N.J.
—Emile Wamsteker for Education Week

“SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge, an educational version of the popular city-building video game, is a known quantity in a fresh wave of serious learning games that bridge the gap between instruction and assessment.

Released last November, the game—in which students acting as mayors must balance the growth of their cities with environmental impacts—tracks, analyzes, and feeds back to teachers through dashboards more than 3,000 different data points showing how well each student understands systems thinking.

“If a student builds one bus stop, then waits before strategically building other bus stops, he has an eye for problem-solving that I would not have gotten with a multiple-choice or written test,” said Matt Farber, a social studies teacher who beta-tested SimCityEDU with 6th graders at the 650-student Valleyview Middle School in Denville, N.J. “We used to try formal assessments every day, and then do a summative assessment at the end of a unit every two weeks and pretty much move on, but you don’t get a lot of reflection with that. Now, there’s iteration, which I hadn’t planned on. Students get competitive for their personal best.”That is the double benefit of games with embedded assessments, say those who develop and use them. They not only provide a deeper insight into understanding, allowing educators to more quickly identify students’ strengths and weaknesses, but they also thwart a growing disengagement from traditional forms of evaluation. Teachers commonly report that games with embedded assessments encourage students to look at failure as opportunity—a way of thinking that will serve them well as they grow up.

Expect to see more assessment-embedded video games in classrooms soon, experts predict.

GlassLab, a digital learning game-development studio based in Redwood City, Calif., and the creator of SimCityEDU, plans to develop five more serious learning games with embedded assessments over the next three years with grant money from the Bill & Melinda Gates and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur foundations. “We’re on track, but frankly, we don’t think that’s enough,” said Jessica Lindl, the general manager of GlassLab, a project of the New York City-based nonprofit Institute of Play. “We want to empower and accelerate the entire market. At the end of our grant, we don’t want just six games. We want thousands of other games to be created.”

To read the full article by  Robin L. Flanigan, click here;

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03/13/25games.h33.html

iPads in the Digital Classrooms

Tom Sullivan writes that;

“Two-year-old Mia traces out a letter on the screen with her forefinger, then claps with joy when the computer chants “wonderful!” and emits a slightly metallic round of applause.

The preschool group at Tanto International School in central Stockholm is just getting used to a new batch of iPads — one for every two children — and it’s a noisy, chatty affair.

“They really enjoy playing this app. It’s really good for learning pronunciation,” said their teacher Helena Bergstrand.

Bergstrand, along with nearly 90 percent of teachers polled by the city council, believes that iPads and tablets help motivate children to learn.

– ‘More interactive’ –

“There’s an instant appeal with an iPad … they love it!” she says, raising her voice over the din as she moves around the table to help the children.

“It’s more interactive (than pen and paper).”

Petra Petersen at Uppsala University has researched the rapidly growing use of tablets in preschools — recording children when they interact with the technology and each other.

“In the schools I’ve looked at, they usually sit together in a group and its very collaborative, there’s a lot of body contact and verbal communication,” she said.

“These tablets are very multi-modal — they have colours, sounds, spoken words, and things that interest the children — that’s part of what makes them so popular. A large part of learning is about having fun, and the children have a lot of fun with them.”

In Sweden, like in many countries, small children often play games on tablets and laptops long before they encounter them at school.

According to the national media council, close to 70 percent of Swedish two- to four-year-olds play video games.

Nearly a half (45 percent) of children aged two have used the Internet — perhaps unsurprising in a country with one of the world’s highest mobile broadband penetrations.

“It’s more or less prioritised in schools now, to bridge the gap between schools and the environment children are living in,” said Peter Karlberg, an IT expert at the National Education Agency, referring to the thousands of tablet computers bought by public and private sector schools in the last few years.

And that has put increasing pressure on teachers to get up to speed — one in every two surveyed have said they need special training.

– ‘Still a taboo’ –

Felix Gyllenstig Serrao, a teacher in the western city of Gothenburg, has taken computer-aided teaching further than most, using the popular Swedish game Minecraft to teach children with behavioural and concentration problems, including Attention Deficit Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome.

“I bring something to the classroom that they like — that they do in their spare time — to make them want to be in school,” he said.

“Minecraft is very good because it’s so open and creative … I usually use it to make a topic more alive.”

Serrao — a games enthusiast himself — teaches 12- to 15-year-olds subjects like mathematics and history, using the game’s building blocks, often called “digital lego”, to make maths problems tangible or to illustrate scenes from history books, building them in the game after the formal part of the lesson has ended.

“It reinforces what they learn — when they return to the game later and see there’s a pyramid there or a town we built they remember the lesson.”

He said Sweden has a long way to go before schools can exploit the full potential of digital classrooms.

“There’s still a taboo around games. When I talk to older teachers about this they usually frown — thinking that video games have nothing to do with learning,” he said.”

To read the full article click here;

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gVyfCvjc0cDbrWrVeOdymBqmwK7A?docId=49c2368b-2691-4a06-abf4-380f80c822b3

FastForward Radio Explores Games and Learning

This is one of my favorite podcast related to the future and technology.  I was so happy to hear them talk about games and learning.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldtransformed/2013/09/05/games-conquer-the-universe

From the FastForward Radio show notes;

What’s more fun than playing games?

One possible answer: systems that let you build your own games! Especially if you have to become something of a hacker to get the games going.

How about building your own computer for playing games?

There’s an interesting connection between gaming, education, and learning to build one’s own technology. What does this connection have to say about the future of work (and play)?

Tune in to explore.

EdGamer Discuss MinecraftEdu

 From the EdGamer Show notes;

EdGamer 127: Orange Is the New Zack

EdGamer 127 brings you the latest in gaming and education news featuring discussion about the Oculus Rift, Chromebooks in the classroom, MinecraftEdu, science games, and Apple TV as a gaming device. Plus, an entire hour of our witty banter…for that we apologize. We also have an update on Zack’s student Eric and his battle with leukemia.  A dodgeball tournament will be played to support Eric and his family. Tune-in and level-up!

Eric Update- Dogin for Dolan- Dodgeball Tournament

Lord of the Rings War in the North

Where RPGs Can Improve

The Oculus Rift Put Me In Game of Thrones and It Made My Stomach Drop

Source URL:http://gizmodo.com/the-oculus-rift-put-me-in-game-of-thrones-and-it-made-m-1510809083

Apple TV graduates from hobby/accessory to product line ahead of major changes | 9to5Mac

Source URL:http://9to5mac.com/2014/01/28/apple-tv-graduates-from-hobbyaccessory-to-product-line-ahead-of-major-changes/

Private school’s Chromebook program explains why Google’s laptops have captured nearly 20% of the educational market – TechRepublic

Source URL:http://www.techrepublic.com/article/private-schools-chromebook-program-explains-why-googles-laptops-have-captured-nearly-20-of-the-educational-market/#.

To Inspire Learning, Architects Reimagine Learning Spaces | MindShift

Source URL:http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/01/to-inspire-learning-architects-reimagine-learning-spaces/

MinecraftEdu Winter 2014 Newsletter

Source URL:http://www.teachergaming.com/sendy/w/2AxghuZAD6EMBNOaE8922HpA/TwB0ebR8Lr9MMdcHcyNjIw/q892ueLSbpREUvSbPZvPI6yw

Home – Interact Simulations

Source URL:http://www.interact-simulations.com/

5 Tips For Making Your Class As Addictive As A Game – Edudemic

Source URL:http://www.edudemic.com/game-class-tips/

How online gamers are solving science’s biggest problems | Technology | The Observer

Source URL:http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/25/online-gamers-solving-sciences-biggest-problems

For Supporting Eric-

St. Jude

Donate to St. Jude

Ronald McDonald House

Donate to the Ronald McDonald House

Go Fund Me – Eric’s Fight

Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor/Producer: Gerry James 

To browse the EdGamer archives click here;

http://edreach.us/channel/edgamer/#

Learning with Minecraft

Chris Shores writes;

“Brian Westbrook was trying his best to keep up with the two dozen Greenfield Middle School students competing for his attention. Calls of “Mr. Westbrook, Mr. Westbrook” rang through the air like a broken record, from students hoping to get tips and tricks on the afternoon’s assignment: building a house.

At one end of the horseshoe-shaped computer lab, 12-year-old Virnalis Mejia focused on his screen as he assembled wooden planks on top of each other across his virtual property. Still unsure of what his final house would look like, Mejia was concentrating for now on building a solid foundation. To gather more wood, he wandered next door to his friend’s yard and went inside a communal storage shed they had built.

This is Minecraft: a Swedish computer game of creativity and survival, where players gather natural resources to build items for their lives. It’s a new option this year at the school’s required Expanded Learning Time after-school program and about 50 students in fourth-grade through seventh-grade will take the class each trimester.

Video games in school? Westbrook, a 25-year-old Greenfield High School alumni, has heard the skepticism before. Although he believes it’s important for children to participate in a range of activities, he’s not buying the argument that video games are a waste of time.

“I’ve always felt that there’s a kind of deeper educational aspect to games that a lot of people don’t realize,” he said. In Minecraft, creativity and logical reasoning can seemingly produce anything; some hardcore gamers across the country have used the game’s virtual minerals to create an electrical wiring system that can play Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” with the click of a button or calculate math functions on a giant computer that’s built completely in the digital world.

Since Swedish computer programmer Markus Persson developed Minecraft in 2009, the game has exploded in popularity across the world. After years of unofficial release, it was fully published in November 2011. When a Microsoft XBox 360 edition came out six months later, game developers sold four million copies in five months, according to Minecraft.net.

It wasn’t until this year, though, that Westbrook pitched the idea of an after-school class to Middle School Principal Gary Tashjian. It didn’t take much to convince the principal, who called the game “a big hit” for many of his students.

“More than just a mindless computer video game, it challenges students to be creative and build extensive communities,” said Tashjian, adding that the school tries to find a mix of extended learning time offerings for students. Students attend the enrichment classes twice a week for 80 minutes each day. On other days, the extra block is dedicated toward things like standardized test preparation and academic tutoring.

In the class, Westbrook uses “Minecraft EDU,” a modified version of the game built by the United States and Finland, which allows him as a teacher to change or block off parts of the digital world his students all share. It also gives the class access to another world full of historical monuments and artifacts ­— a chance to embed video games with history and geography lessons.

Westbrook said some of his fourth- and fifth-grade students don’t have extensive computer experience. While they slowly master the game, they’re also learning how to use and manipulate computer applications — skills they’ll need to learn for real-world applications that extend beyond games.

Many of the older students though, the ones tasked with building a house, have been playing for years.

There were some traditional houses, but one built his completely underground and another incorporated an underwater room.

Dylan Carlo, 12, decided to have one entire wall of his house built of glass. In this class, since students are still getting the hang of the game, he was able to acquire free materials from a virtual store that Westbrook built.

Carlo explained the elaborate process he would normally have to go through to build this type of house: collect cobblestones, build a furnace, gather sand, melt it in the furnace and then take those glass pieces back to the construction site.

Mejia, the student accessing his supplies from an adjacent storage shed, said he learns new things about the game all the time.

“(In) Minecraft, you can do whatever you want to do. There’s no rules,” he said. “It’s fun because you can be creative.”

Its freedom can be puzzling for gamers who prefer structure, levels and final bosses. Even Westbrook, a lifelong gamer, took awhile to warm up to its loose style.

Still, developers have added goals and challenges for people.

Playing in survival mode, as opposed to creative mode, means that the individual needs to be smarter about what items they build and when. They need to use tools to find and eat food so that their hunger and health bar levels don’t drop too low. A shelter is crucial at night to protect against zombies who swarm in the darkness, ready to attack.

Fighting zombies is generally an extracurricular activity. In Westbrook’s class, students are instead focused on the game’s creative mode and collaborating with their peers to build and explore a digital world.

Still, some things are likely to occur in a room of two dozen middle school students, no matter what they are doing.

Halfway through one afternoon class, Westbrook had to intervene briefly when one student stole another’s digital sword. As the teacher, he can freeze student play or turn off their ability to chat with others.

By the end of class, everyone was getting along. The only chaos was due to an onslaught of requests directed at Westbrook — typically to make a new item available in the store.”

To read the full article by Chris Shores click here;

http://www.recorder.com/news/townbytown/greenfield/10208991-95/minecraft-popular-video-game-builds-students-interest-in-learning

EdGamer Discusses the New Learning Initiative Gamifi-ED.

From the show notes of EdGamer;

EdGamer 126: How Gamifi-ED Empowers Students

This week on EdGamer 126 we bring back one of our favorite features of the show: new guests! Vicki DavisLee Graham and Colin Osterhout of the thriving new gaming and learning initiative Gamifi-ED. (We will be bringing Verena Roberts of Gamifi-ED on EdGamer in the near future) Listen in as we pick their brains about their wiki, personal views on education and some of their favorite games. Tune-in and level-up!

Hangouts On Air with Niilo – Focus – as always – on educational use of information technology

Schedule for SXSWedu

Redo

Intel Galileo

Intel Galileo Spec Sheet

Users should have their hands on Intel’s Galileo computer within two weeks

https://www.facebook.com/IntelGalileo

Oculus CEO, Humble Bundle and Towerfall creators make Forbes 30 Under 30 for games

http://gamifi-ed.wikispaces.com/  by Verena Roberts and shared to me by Wes Fryer

http://gamifi-ed.wikispaces.com/Quest+1


Quest 1 Questions:


  1. What is a serious game? Is there such a thing as a non-serious game?

  2. What are examples of serious games?

  3. How can serious games be evaluated? (Done with higher ed research and input)

Our Quest


  1. Evaluate the serious games that have been discovered and create recommendations and opinions on the usefulness and value of the games for improving the world and the lives of those who play them.

  2. Prepare a presentation to share the findings and create a public wiki sharing the findings.

Quest 2 and 3 Link

 Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor/Producer: Gerry James  

Show GuestLee Graham

Show GuestColin Osterhout

Show GuestVicki Davis


 To browse the EdGamer archives click here;

http://edreach.us/channel/edgamer/#