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EdGamer interviews Dr. Seann Dikkers

 From the EdGamer Show notes –
EdGamer Show‎ > ‎

EdGamer 122: TeacherCraft with Seann Dikkers

This week on EdGamer 122, we meet up with Dr. Seann Dikkers is an assistant professor in the Educational Technology division of the Patton College of Education at Ohio University. Formerly Dr. Dikkers served fourteen years as a middle school teacher, high school principal, and education consultant. Now he researches, writes, and shares the usefulness of digital media for teaching and learning as the founder and director of Gaming Matter. His books, Real-Time Research,Mobile Media Learning, and the forthcoming TeacherCraft: Using Minecraft in the Classroom are helping teachers integrate innovative technology into classroom learning.  This is another can’t miss episode of EdGamer. Tune-in and level-up!

Gaming Matter

5 Myths About Our Schools That Fall Apart When You Look Closer

Small World 2 on Steam for PC

 

Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Guest: Seann Dikkers  

To find the archive of EdGammer click here;

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

 

Game Worlds facilitate Collaborative, Inquiry-Based, and Self-Directed learning

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Jason Haas, of MIT, writes that;

“Commercial massively multiplayer online games, or MMOs, like World of Warcraft offer a number of features common to great learning environments. These games are, to varying degrees, collaborative, inquiry-based, and self-directed, all of which make them a prime place to explore aspects of math and science learning. Having a “world” in which to situate problems also means that players can solve something that feels meaningful to them; and see the consequences of their individual and collective actions. The massively multiplayer nature of these games also creates an opportunity for students to address problems with colleagues. Problems too large for any one of them to solve by themselves can be solved collectively by gathering data together, comparing notes, and acting decisively, confident in their evidence-based decisions.

At their best (and, frankly, even at their worst), these games function as a kind of society.

So, if you can combine these existing practices with engaging math and science content, imagine the learning experience you could provide. Thanks to a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we’re doing just that.

Our game, The Radix Endeavor, is a massively multiplayer online learning game, designed by our lab, The Education Arcade at MIT, and developed by Filament Games in Madison, Wisc. The game places thousands of players in an Earth-like world with a technical and social situation similar to our 1400s.”

To read the full article click here;

http://www.boston.com/business/innovation/state-of-play/2014/02/mind_games_new_adventures_in_l.html

EdGamer Discuss the Playful Learning Summit

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From the EdGamer show notes –

EdGamer 121: Playful Learning, SimCity, Mathbreakers, and Pension Theft!

The title says it all! This week on EdGamer 121 we discuss the Playful Learning Summit in Whitewater, SimCity is trying to get into the classroom,  Mathbreakers looks like a promising math game, and a little side of pension theft just for holiday spirit! Its another can’t miss episode of EdGamer. Tune-in and level-up!

Playful Learning in Whitewater

SimCity in the Classroom

Mathbreakers

Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor/Producer: Gerry James

To browse the EdGamer archives click here;

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

Play Historia with Rick Brennan and Jason Darnell on EdGamer

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From the Show notes from EDGAMER;

“EdGamer 120: Play Historia with Rick Brennan and Jason Darnell

This week on EdGamer 120 we have two fantastic guests from the new gaming initiative ‘Historia.’ New FOEs Jason Darnell and Rick Brennan to tell us how ‘Historia’ harnesses the power of history and games to prepare students for a rapidly changing world. You are going to want this in your classroom! But don’t take our word for it, tune-in and level-up!

Ender’s Game

Game Club and Links on Symbaloo

The Hour of Code

STEAM Machine

Historia

Historia at NCSS

Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor/Producer: Gerry James  

Show Guest: Rick Brennan

Show Guest: Jason Darnell”

To browse the EdGamer archives click here;

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

Video Games Help Girls to Develop Math and Spatial Reasoning Skills

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of Mind/Shift writes that;

“Girls should play more video games. That’s one of the unexpected lessons I take away from a rash of recent studies on the importance of—and the malleability of—spatial skills.

First, why spatial skills matter: The ability to mentally manipulate shapes and otherwise understand how the three-dimensional world works turns out to be an important predictor of creative and scholarly achievements, according to research published this month in the journal Psychological Science. The long-term study found that 13-year-olds’ scores on traditional measures of mathematical and verbal reasoning predicted the number of scholarly papers and patents these individuals produced three decades later.

But high scores on tests of spatial ability taken at age 13 predicted something more surprising: the likelihood that the individual would develop new knowledge and produce innovation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the domains collectively known as STEM.

The good news is that spatial abilities can get better with practice. A meta-analysis of 217 research studies, published in the journal Psychological Science last year, concluded that “spatial skills are malleable, durable and transferable”: that is, spatial skills can be improved by training; these improvements persist over time; and they “transfer” to tasks that are different from the tasks used in the training.

This last point is supported by a study published just last month in the Journal of Cognition and Development, which reported that training children in spatial reasoning can improve their performance in math. A single twenty-minute training session in spatial skills enhanced participants’ ability to solve math problems, suggesting that the training “primes” the brain to tackle arithmetic, says study author and Michigan State University education professor Kelly Mix.

Playing an action video game “can virtually eliminate” the gender difference in a basic capacity they call spatial attention.

Findings like these have led some researchers to advocate for the addition of spatial-skills training to the school curriculum. That’s not a bad idea, but here’s another way to think about it: the informal education children receive can be just as important as what they learn in the classroom. We need to think more carefully about how kids’ formal and informal educational experiences fit together, and how one can fill gaps left by the other.

If traditional math and reading skills are emphasized at school, for example, parents can make sure that spatial skills are accentuated at home—starting early on, with activities as simple as talking about the spatial properties of the world around us. A 2011 study from researchers at the University of Chicago reported that the number of spatial terms (like “circle,” “curvy,” and “edge”) parents used while interacting with their toddlers predicted how many of these kinds of words children themselves produced, and how well they performed on spatial problem-solving tasks at a later age.”

To read the full article by click here;

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/07/can-playing-video-games-give-girls-an-edge-in-math/

Senate bill encourages learning via video games

“…create a committee to examine how interactive gaming can boost student involvement and achievement, and create a pilot program for integrating games into K-12 curriculum.

The bill was heard Wednesday in Olympia by the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education.

Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said interactive video games could add to the diverse learning styles of today’s classrooms.

“We have all different types of learners,” Brown said. “We need to address that, and this is one of those ways.”

Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, thinks interactive gaming will give students the opportunity to learn while enjoying a game, something she experienced while visiting students of Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA), an online K-12 curriculum program used by the Monroe and Omak public school districts.

Studies from the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science show interactive games can promote creativity and enhance knowledge of science and technology-based fields among students.

“I think we have to bring that technology into the classroom (and) into our schools,” McAuliffe said, “because kids are way ahead of us in that right now.”

Seattle attorney Matthew Hooper testified about academic-based gaming in schools. A report from the Entertainment Software Association indicates 95 percent of American children — and 97 percent of teenagers — play video games, he said.

By the time an average person reaches age 21, he of she has spent more than 10,000 hours playing video games, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

“Their brains are learning, from a very early age, differently than we did,” Hooper told the committee. “It’s no longer absorbing passive information; it’s now absorbing interactive information.”

Hooper also cited a brain-based research study by Stanford University professor and neuroscientist Brian Knutson that analyzed the effects of educational video games on youths.

The study used MRIs to monitor student brains in two groups: those engaged in playing interactive games, and those passively watching the games.”

To read the full article click here;

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/01/23/2789806/state-senate-bill-encourages-learning.html

SENATE BILL REPORT
SB 6104As of January 22, 2014Title
: An act relating to the interactive gaming in schools public-private partnership.
Brief Description
: Establishing the interactive gaming in schools public-private partnership.

Sponsors
: Senators McAuliffe, Litzow, Hargrove, Hill, Billig, Fraser and Brown.

Brief History:
Committee Activity: Early Learning & K-12Education: 1/22/14.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EARLY LEARNING & K-12 EDUCATION

Staff
: Eric Wolf (786-7405)

Background
: Advances in interactive gaming technology have spurred a recent scholarly focus on how interactive games may be used to engage students and improve academic achievement. For instance, the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington has published several studies on the application of interactive games in education, specifically how interactive games can promote creativity among students; enhance student knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and technology (STEM) fields; and improve critical thinking skills through cognitive skill training games.

Summary of Bill: Interactive Gaming in Schools Public-Private Partnership (PPP). PPP is established, composed of the following members to be appointed by August 1, 2014: four legislators, one member from each caucus of the House and Senate, appointed by the presiding officers of each chamber; four experts in the integration of interactive technology or gaming into education, one expert to be appointed by each caucus of the House and Senate, and appointed by the presiding officers of each chamber; a representative of the Department of Early Learning (DEL), appointed by the director; and a representative of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), appointed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The chair of PPP must be selected from among the legislative members. To the extent funds are appropriated, PPP may hire a staff person who must reside at OSPI for administrative purposes. Additional technical and logistical support is to be provided by OSPI, DEL, and
–––––––––––––––––––––

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Senate Bill Report
SB 6104

the organizations participating in PPP. Legislative members of the partners hip must receive per diem and travel expenses, and nonlegislative members may be reimbursed for travel expenses.

Purpose of PPP.
PPP is tasked with examining how interactive games may be integrated into primary and secondary education to increase student involvement and achievement. PPP must consider how interactive games and advances in technology may be integrated into curricula from early learning through grade 12, and develop a proposal for a pilot program to integrate interactive gaming in schools to be submitted to the Legislature by December 1,2015. The statute authorizing PPP expires on January 1, 2016.

Appropriation
: None.

Fiscal Note
: Available.

Committee/Commission/Task Force Created
: Yes.

Effective Date
: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony

: PRO: Games are al ready being integrated into curricula in order to engage students. Students love the games and are excited to even use the games at home each night. Ninety-five percent of children play video games, and the average time of play is over two hours each day. A scientific study from Stanford showed that educational, interactive video games engaged regions of the brain associated with motivation, learning, and memory. In 2012 the Clark County, Nevada school district tested a program in which interactive video games were integrated into low-performing schools. The schools using the games more than doubled their improvement on assessments compared to schools that did not use the assessment. In San Jose, there is a school that integrated interactive media and video games and has particularly notable success with English language learners. Most of the interactive game systems are set up in computer labs in schools, so students do not always require a computer or iPad of their own to participate.

Persons Testifying
: PRO: Senator McAuliffe, prime sponsor; Matthew Hooper, attorney.
Senate Bill Report
SB 6104
– 2 –

Making Meaningfull Learning Games

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writes that:

“Proving the effectiveness of a game is no simple proposition. Games are all different. When students play a game that focuses on a particular skill, often called “drill-and-kill” games, they often see improved test scores. But those games don’t necessarily get at the higher order thinking skills that games have the potential to help develop. But more complex games often don’t offer clearly correlated outcomes that a teacher can use to prove effectiveness.

The debate has led some game developers and their funders to focus on how the game itself can be used to assess learning — how the game can become a test. But White says that also changes the nature of the game. When a child sits down to play a game, he assumes it’s “failure agnostic” and that allows him to experiment and meander his way through the game freely. When assessment is involved, it changes his relationship to the game. White isn’t against using games for assessment, but he doesn’t think anyone has really figured out how to accurately use the data that games provide to assess in a meaningful way.

Glasslab’s SimCityEDU, funded by the Gates and MacArthur Foundations, is the highest profile example of gaming for assessment. White says if they can crack the code he’ll license it from them, but it’s a lot easier to pull analytics and metrics for a single game than it is to generalize those principles into something that could be applied to all educational games. And, when assessment is involved, the price of developing a game skyrockets.” To read the full article on Mindshift, click here;

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/01/how-can-developers-make-meaningful-learning-games-for-classrooms/

It is good to read a discussion of Higher Order Thinking Skills in games and gaming for assessment.  These are two important issues that need more attention and development.   Unfortunately these games have too often targeted the lower order thinking skills of Blooms’ taxonomy.  In 2007, John Rice conducted a study which assessed higher order thinking skills in video games with the aim of developing a tool for parents and educators to rate the level of higher order thinking skills in video games.  He found that the educational efficacy of these games varies greatly with respect to higher order thinking skill. (Rice, 2007, p. 88).
Rice began his study by examining;  “lower level learning in so-called edutainment products and concludes with an example of an advanced social studies simulation that fosters higher order thinking. [Rice] identifies characteristics of highly cognitive virtual interactive environments and offers a detailed index and scoring rubric as a tool for teachers and preservice teachers to use when evaluating the tendencies a video game demonstrates toward encouraging higher order thinking in its participants  (Rice, 2007, p. 87).”
When educators are looking for a game that does more than drill facts in to the brains of students, Rice’s rubric can serve as a helpful tool in selecting a game that lifts students to the top of Blooms’ taxonomy (1956).

References:

Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives, handbook 1: Cognitive domain. New York: Longmans Green.

Rice, J. W. (2007). Assessing Higher Order Thinking in Video Games. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 15(1), 87-100.

What Makes Serious Games Effective?

From Press Release:

New Research-Based White Paper Published on Serious Learning Games Game On! Learning, the thought leader in serious learning games for the corporate learning market, has just published a new white paper on serious learning games for the corporate training market called “What Makes Serious Games Effective? — 5 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Serious Games in the Workplace”. Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail a friend Serious Learning Games White Paper Research on serious games suggests improved job skills can be a result of integrating a serious game into your training program. But the same research shows that effective serious games are difficult to design, and they are rare. Gainesville, Florida (PRWEB) December 17, 2013 Game On! Learning, the thought leader in serious learning games for the corporate learning market, has just published a new white paper on serious learning games for the corporate training market called “What Makes Serious Games Effective? — 5 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Serious Games in the Workplace”. The white paper is authored by Dr. Rob Foshay, a principal of The Foshay Group, a consulting firm specializing in high-value strategies for e-learning product architectures, training, and certification. He is a practice leader for The Institute for Performance Improvement, and a Certified Performance Technologist. He is also a Fellow of the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction. “Many organizations are currently investigating and implementing learning games”, said Bryan Austin, Game On! Learning’s chief game changer. “ Most are doing so to address the increasing lack of learner engagement of traditional elearning. What those implementing learning games are finding, though, is that they are not just engaging, but that well-designed learning games more effectively anchor knowledge and increase skill proficiency than their “traditional” classroom and elearning counterparts.” Many of corporate learners like games, and play them enthusiastically when at home. For corporate learning professionals, though, the interest is in serious games: those games that are designed to have learning outcomes relevant to the job. “What you really want to know is whether the game is effective in improving job skills, not game skills”, adds Austin. “Research on serious games suggests improved job skills can be a result of integrating a serious game into your training program. But the same research shows that effective serious games are difficult to design, and they are rare.” This research-based white paper provides key elements to look for in an effective serious game. This complementary white paper can be downloaded by clicking here. About Game On! Learning Game On! Learning provides inspired online game based learning solutions that create unmatched learner engagement and produce learners who will immediately and confidently apply their newly acquired skills on-the-job. Our revolutionary “serious games” feature a highly interactive, animated video game design, fun competition versus colleagues, learner-individualized feedback, and real world learning scenarios. An extraordinarily high degree of in-course skill practice helps ramp up employee performance, increase productivity, and move your organization more rapidly forward. We deliver lasting results in an unforgettable learning experience. It’s the most exciting thing happening in organizational learning today! We help you Get Your Game On!

Research shows that collaborative gaming increases learning.

NDTV notes that;

Playing educational video games either competitively or collaboratively with another player can enhance students‘ motivation to learn, a new study has found.

While playing a math video game collaboratively – as compared to playing alone – students adopted a mastery mindset that is highly conducive to learning, researchers said.

Moreover, students’ interest and enjoyment in playing the math video game increased when they played with another student.

The findings point to new ways in which computer, console, or mobile educational games may yield learning benefits.

“We found support for claims that well-designed games can motivate students to learn less popular subjects, such as math, and that game-based learning can actually get students interested in the subject matter?and can broaden their focus beyond just collecting stars or points,” said Jan Plass, a professor in New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and one of the study’s lead authors.

“Educational games may be able to help circumvent major problems plaguing classrooms by placing students in a frame of mind that is conducive to learning rather than worrying about how smart they look,” added co-lead author Paul O’Keefe, an NYU postdoctoral fellow at the time of the study.

The researchers focused on how students’ motivation to learn, as well as their interest and performance in math, was affected by playing a math video game either individually, competitively, or collaboratively.

Researchers had middle-school students play the video game FactorReactor, which is designed to build math skills through problem solving and therefore serves as diagnostic for learning.”

To read the full article click here,

http://gadgets.ndtv.com/games/news/playing-video-games-collaboratively-competitively-can-boost-learning-study-443517

Game-Based Learning: a research driven trend in education

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writes about “Five Research-Driven Education Trends At Work in Classrooms” one of the five is game-based learning;

Games have long been used to engage students. But as game-based learning becomes more prevalent in schools, researchers are interested in how game structure mirrors the learning process. In many games, students explore ideas and try out solutions. When they learn the skills required at one level, they move up. Failure to complete tasks is reframed as part of the path towards learning how to conquer a level.

Universities like Harvard, MIT and the University of Wisconsin’s Game and Learning Society are studying how game-playing helps student engagement and achievement, and well-known researchers in the field like James Paul Gee and University of Wisconsin professor Kurt Squire show are using their own studies to show that games help students learn.

Once the terrain of experimental classrooms, digital games are now becoming more common in classrooms. In a recent survey by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, half of 505 K-8 teachers said they use digital games with their students two or more days a week, and 18 percent use them daily. Educators are using commercial games like Minecraft, World of Warcraft and SimCity for education. The Institute of Play continues to study game-based learning and helps support two Quest to Learn schools, which are based around the idea of games and learning.”

To read the full article click here;

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/10/five-research-driven-education-trends-at-work-in-classrooms/