Blog Archives

New Research: Interactive video games help students learn energy conservation better than with traditional pencil and paper methods.

“Knowledge associated with energy conservation is important but it may appear difficult and monotonous to students due to the presence of jargon and complex scientific concepts. This research created two digital question-and-answer games and compared them with a traditional paper-and-pencil learning method to explore how different learning approaches would affect college students’ learning for knowledge of energy conservation. This research conducted a between-subject experiment with random assignment to examine short-term effects of the three different learning methods on motivation, attention, and learning outcomes. The results revealed that participants who played the digital game equipped with more cartoon-style, animated, and interactive features scored significantly higher than the lower-complexity digital game group as well as the traditional paper-and-pencil group on the learning outcome tests. Moreover, in contrast to many previous studies, use of these digital games was not found to affect learning motivation and attention.”

Chen, S. W., Yang, C. H., Huang, K. S., & Fu, S. L. (2017). Digital games for learning energy conservation: A study of impacts on motivation, attention, and learning outcomes. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 1-11.

Read the full research article here;

http://srhe.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14703297.2017.1348960?scroll=top&needAccess=true

 

Minecraft Education Edition hits v1.0

 

 

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of Digital Trends writes that “Microsoft and Mojang have been working hard at further developing Minecraft Education Edition, and at the start of 2017, the two firms have announced that this version of the game has now hit 1.0.  Minecraft Education Edition is the same Minecraft world you know and love, but with specific features aimed at students and teachers. It has NPCs for tutorials, simple multiplayer server setup, camera and portfolio recording, in-game chalkboards and downloadable lesson plans for educators. While all of those features have been present since the early days of Minecraft Education Edition in late 2016, now that it’s hit version 1.0, there are a number of new features to enjoy, too.”

To read more about Minecraft Education Edition V1.0 click here –

http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/minecraft-education-1/#ixzz4XZSUUtc3

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.

Play to Cure – Croud Crunching Data to Advance Cancer Research

From a press release from Cancer Research UK;

February 4, 2014

It’s been an ambitious and challenging project but the day to unveil it to the world has arrived.

We’re delighted today to launch Genes in Space – a unique and enjoyable game that you can download and play for free on your smart phone:

It’s a game, so first and foremost it’s fun to play – boring train journeys, queues for that gig or waiting for that friend who’s always late could be transformed into exhilarating space adventures.

But that’s not the exciting bit.

Well it is. But there’s more. Much more.

By downloading and playing this pioneering game, you will be taking part in research to help beat cancer. It might sound far-fetched, but it’s true.

We’ve been working with our scientists and gaming experts for months to build the game, which on the surface is a simple and entertaining caper through space. But underneath it’s a data crunching powerhouse that’s helping our scientists identify the DNA faults that could lead to cancer.

Here’s a little teaser of the game:

Element Alpha: real data

In the game, you take the helm of a spaceship to collect valuable and powerful ‘Element Alpha’. The stroke of genius is that in doing so you are actually helping our scientists to analyse piles of real life data.

That’s because the game is actually a fun interface to allow the public to assist our scientists in the serious business of spotting patterns in gigabytes of genetic information from thousands of tumours.

There’s lots more information about the fascinating science behind the game in this post. But in a nutshell, by finding the best route to pick up the most Element Alpha, you’re actually plotting a course through genuine ‘DNA microarray’ data.

Behind the scenes, the code of the game translates real microarray data like this…:

Microarray data

Microarray data

…into this:

Mapping a journey through space

Mapping a journey through space

No expertise required

The game’s ingenuity lies in its simplicity. Racking up the combined data crunching power of what we hope will be thousands of casual gamers will help our scientists spot the subtle patterns and peaks and troughs in the data, which correspond to DNA faults.

The power of Element Alpha is of course completely fictional, but the power of the data it represents could be exceptional. Our scientists will be trawling through the results as they come in and looking for crucial clues in the quest for new cancer treatments.

So what are you waiting for? Start collecting mysterious Element Alpha to help us solve the mystery of cancer sooner.

Download the game 

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/

Games Based Learning through Text Adventures

Remixing College English

This week in the Games Based Learning MOOC, we’ve been focusing on two tools for GBL: AR/ARGs and Interactive Fiction/Text Adventures. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m planning to integrate IF into my Fall FYC class. Students will both experience the course as a piece of IF and, at the end of the term, create their own IF.

The Class as a Text Adventure

In lieu of a syllabus, I’ll provide students with a piece of IF that they will have to “play” in order to navigate the course: all of the course resources will be located within the “game” and students will need to solve “puzzles” and complete levels in order to locate them. As with any text adventure, the students will be able to make choices in terms of whether or not they solve specific puzzles or utilize specific resources. In this way, the game…

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YES! Games Give Flow, Fun, and Fiero!

Yes! Flow, fun, and fiero – I love them all! The flow experience in games has been described by Hansen and Sanders (2010), as the optimal state for intrinsic motivation, it is experienced when a person is “fully immersed in what he or she is doing. These peak experiences balance the appropriate amount of challenge in the task and skill in the player. Video games can be perfectly designed to achieve this kind of balance to facilitate the flow experiences, which then catalyzes the intrinsic motivation for active learning (de Freitas, 2006, p.11; Delwiche, 2006, p. 162; Dickey, 2006, p. 246).

References

Delwiche, A. (2006). Massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) in the new media classroom. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 9(3), 160-172.

de Freitas, S. (2006). Learning in immersive worlds: A review of game-based learning. JISC. 148

Dickey, M. (2006). Game Design Narrative for Learning: Appropriating Adventure Game Design Narrative Devices and Techniques for the Design of Interactive Learning Environments. Educational Technology Research & Development, 54(3), 245-263.

Hansen, L., & Sanders, S. (2010). Fifth Grade Students’ Experiences Participating in Active Gaming in Physical Education: The Persistence to Game. The ICHPER-SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance, 5(2), 7.

Remixing College English

As mentioned in my last post, I am planning to gamify next Fall’s first-semester FYC course, using Interactive Fiction (IF) and the multiplayer classroom model. The decision to do so came completely independently of a new MOOC that started this past week that focuses on Games Based Learning (GBL). I had not intended to take this MOOC, since I had already signed up for another MOOC that would overlap with it. However, when I saw that the GBL MOOC would be covering IF, I decided to give it a try. The great thing about MOOCs is that they are voluntary and, therefore, you can dip in and out of them as you wish. While many have classified this aspect of MOOCs as one of their weaknesses, I see it as one of their strengths. Not only does it encourage learners like me to give something a try that…

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