Blog Archives

EdGamer Celebrates Three Years of PodCasting about Games and Learning!

Congratulations Zach and Gerry, keep up the good work!

From the EdGamer show notes;

EdGamer 129: Our 3 Year Manniversary

This week on EdGamer 129 we celebrate our 3 year manniversasy! Relive all the good times  from our past as we go through our favorite shows and guests. We have 128 shows and we have learned so much from our work, our guests, and our FOE’s (friends of EdGamer). Tune-in and level-up!

Olympic Snowboarding Cross

 

Niilo Interview with Zack

 

our favorite episodes…

 

An Open Letter to STEAM: If You Build It, ED Will Come

 

Minecraft Episodes – Joel Levin

 

Games & Learning with Jim Gee

 

EdGamer 86: Jeremiah McCall and the Learning Games Network

 

EdGamer 81: John Hunter Brings Us World Peace

 

EdGamer 74: Magicians – A Language Learning RPG

Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor/Producer: Gerry James  


 To browse the EdGamer archives click here;

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

 

 

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

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/#

 

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

Gaming to Learn – from Civilization to Call of Duty

of Ars Technica writes;

“Is there a place for games at higher levels of education? Schwartz would definitely argue yes, but he suggested that the role of the games would be different. Rather than developing basic skills, the games help give people an intuitive grasp of a subject, after which explanations for their intuitions can be supplied in the classroom.

This was done explicitly in one case, with the researchers building a Space Invaders-style game where each successive wave had a different pattern of invaders. The frequency of different patterns, rather than being random, was governed by statistical distributions. On its own, the game didn’t help players do any better on testing, since the tests were couched in terms like “normal distributions” and the like. To have an impact, the game had to be coupled with a written description of the statistical patterns. “A short written description helps everyone,” Schwartz said, “but gamers get much more out of it.”

The big surprise is that this effect spills over to commercial games that aren’t designed for educational purposes at all. Schwartz’s team had junior college students play about 15 hours of two different games: Civilization IV and Call of Duty 2. Afterwards, they were given short descriptions of real events from World War II that either focused on international relations or on tactical situations. The students were asked to formulate a series of questions they’d ask to better understand the circumstances.

When it came to international relations, the Civ-playing students were able to formulate more sophisticated and probing questions. But, when handed a tactical situation to analyze, Schwartz suggested they were completely lost, and often failed to come up with any questions at all. For the Call of Duty players, the converse was true.”

To read the full article click here;

http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/02/how-to-effectively-use-civ-iv-in-higher-education/

James Gee Interviewed on Game-Based Learning

James Paul Gee

of Games and Learning interviewed James Gee on game-based learning.

Banville writes that; “For more than a decade, James Paul Gee has been writing about the potential power of games and game mechanics to change the way we learn, to create new “deep” learners.

But in this newsmaker interview Gee says most of the possibilities of games remain unfulfilled as the American education system continues to focus on tests and fact retention.

He worries that even as learning games become more prevalent, they are in danger of being changed by the schools they seek to sell to rather than changing the school itself.

“The textbook was the worst educational invention ever made because it was a one size fits all type thing and we don’t want to do the same things with games. We don’t want to bring games to school,” he said. “We want to bring a networked system of tools and deep learning and practices that have been tested and are focused on problem solving and not just fact retention — that’s what we want to bring to school. Games can be a very important part of that mix.”

To read more click here; http://www.gamesandlearning.org/2014/02/10/newsmaker-james-gee-on-why-the-power-of-games-to-teach-remains-unrealized/

To Listen to the full interview click here;

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/#

Game play and mental fitness

ListenSpeech Icon

, Ellen M. Martin, and Melinda Speckmann write that;

“Games have been part of human culture for millennia. It is no surprise that elements of play can be powerful digital tools to grab our attention and keep us on a path to taking care of ourselves and others.

Big data is already behind brain games. The use of big data is becoming increasingly mainstream in health play applications. Once we are drawn in, game play (with big data under the hood) can help us to:

  1. Stay sharp,
  2. Stay well, and
  3. Overcome illness.

Staying sharp

Digital tools aim to make brain fitness fun by playing with the mental states our brains experience and project. Brain fitness games exercise different functions: short and long-term memory as well as accuracy and efficiency for processing information and solving problems.

Lumosity entered the consumer market with engaging user interfaces and now offers more than 40 games that challenge and train memory, flexibility, processing, speed, and problem solving. Two examples include Speed Match, which tests speed of visual processing, and Memory Matrix, which challenges the brain’s ability to remember spatial locations. Preliminary studies suggest that these games have beneficial long-term effects.

Using machine-learning algorithms, the games keep you interested by using feedback to deliver personalized questions for your engagement and by finding your learning sweet spot; not too easy but not too hard.

With over 50 million users and 1 billion game plays, Lumosity’s Human Cognition Project has launched 43 ongoing studies, exploring topics such as age-related cognitive decline, interventions for PTSD, and the relationship between physical exercise and Lumosity brain training.

Brain Resource aims to improve brain health, particularly to better diagnose and treat diseases of the mind such as depression and ADHD. The company began by building integrated, standardized data sets from screening questionnaires, cognitive assessments, genetic profiles, and MRI or fMRI scans. By standardizing measurement and procedures, the company can compare neural activity within various regions of the brain to better understand brain circuitry and interconnectedness.

The BRAINnet Database, (a.k.a. the Brain Resource International Database or BRID), available to global academic and research partners, has grown to 50,000 datasets. It includes 5,000 healthy controls from ages 6 to 100, plus more than 1,000 subjects with diagnoses such as depression, schizophrenia, and mild cognitive Impairment. Its standardization feature, unique among such databases, allows the comparison of brain function across disease states.

The insights derived from the BRAINnet Database have been commercialized into a brain assessment and training platform known as MyBrainSolutions. The brain training program is used by corporate wellness programs to promote brain health and resilience among employees. The site features 24 brain training exercises or games to improve cognitive and emotional functioning. In addition, MyCalmBeat facilitates control of stress, anxiety, and panic by providing feedback on heart rate.

Outcomes associated MyBrainSolutions include improved thinking and memory processes as well as emotional balance.

They are also among the first to perform clinical trials in the arena of ADHD and depression. Two global studies under the rubric International Studies to Predict Optimized Treatment Response (iSPOT) aim to identify biomarkers and develop companion diagnostics for these two areas.

CogniFit provides scientific assessments and brain training programs directly to consumers as well as to professionals in the area of cognition.

Both markets are still in their infancy. CogniFit is available in more than 13 languages and offers more than 50 different assessments and training tasks to measure and train this large number of cognitive abilities.

CogniFit dynamically personalizes the training programs it offers to its users on more than 25 key cognitive skills, such as working memory, eye-hand coordination, concentration, and response time.

With more than 150 cognitive variables tracking each training session and millions of data points for variables such as demographics, countries, skills and training programs, CogniFit is building a reliable and exhaustive cognitive database that is being used to develop new training regimens to further study the impact of mental health diseases on cognition and improve the development of preventive solutions for brain health.

Akili Interactive is tackling both game play and big data to build the first therapeutic mobile video games, using technology licensed from neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley at UCSF. A Nature publication shows how gaming can improve cognitive skills.

In the latest version of NeuroRacer, a 3D video game, players choose avatars that travel down a waterway. The game’s back end uses an adaptive algorithm based upon real-time performance metrics to create a real-time learning experience optimized for each player. Engaging individual learning styles and using big data to customize the learning experience, could increase engagement and exercise personal multi-tasking skills.”

To read the full article click here;

http://strata.oreilly.com/2014/01/using-big-data-and-game-play-to-improve-mental-fitness.html