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New Digital Media Learning Lab Opens at Clemson University

Video gamer control in use.
The Digital Media and Learning Labs will host a grand opening from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11, at 213 Tillman Hall.

From Press Release from Clemson University

The Digital Media and Learning Labs will host a grand opening from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11, at 213 Tillman Hall.
image by: Matthew Boyer
Clemson University

CLEMSON — At Clemson University’s new Digital Media and Learning Labs, playing with game systems and smartphone apps is serious business.

Operated by the Eugene T. Moore School of Education, the labs are dedicated to promoting social, participatory and interest-driven learning through the use of digital media, said Dani Herro, co-director of the labs and assistant professor of digital media and learning.

The labs feature digital video, photography, music, podcasting, computer programming and video game and app creation. The labs also include a social and experiential gaming area dedicated to “serious” play and outfitted with two 65-inch displays and gaming systems like the Xbox 360, Wii U and PlayStation 3, Herro said.

“Serious play suggests play can be creative, academic and valuable,” Herro said. “Play (games and media) can inform, engage, teach and ask others for help solving big problems.”

Located in Tillman Hall, the labs will support academic efforts across campus.

“From these spaces, faculty and students can take part in research initiatives, coursework, learning and collaborative works that involve digital media,” Herro said. For example, students can create a video or podcast to support a research paper, or faculty members can create an app for students to use as part of their classes.

The labs will also support School of Education teaching, research and outreach related to the use of digital media in pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade classrooms, Herro said. Initial plans include hosting workshops for educators and inviting educational leaders to the labs to talk about technology leadership and digital-learning initiatives.

The gaming area is open to Clemson students for unfettered game play, with gamers participating in tournaments, online multiplayer games and “exergaming” — using games to get fit.

“This space welcomes feedback regarding game play experiences, and we hope the game play inspires community members to design or prototype their own games in the lab,” Herro said.

In addition to providing access to digital media technologies, the Digital Media and Learning Labs provide participants work places that mimic the layout of professional creative spaces and foster a “culture of participation,” which are beneficial to college students who will enter the workforce and the educators who are preparing them.

Whether the participants are college students, professors or pre-K-12 teachers, labs promote digital media and play as a tool to enhance “learning that sticks,” Herro said.

“Humans have this innate ability to work really hard to learn when they are really interested,” Herro said. “Digital media offers an avenue to connected learning that is interest-based and supported by peers, and it can have great academic value.” A growing body of research on digital learning environments backs up this claim, she added.

Along with Herro, teacher education assistant professor Matthew Boyer is co-director of the Digital Media and Learning Labs. Together with Ryan Visser, director of the Center of Excellence for Digital Media and Learning and a teacher education clinical faculty member, they developed the vision for the labs.

The School of Education will hold a grand opening for the Digital Media and Learning Labs from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11, at 213 Tillman Hall. The event will include tours, demonstrations, refreshments and remarks by James Paul Gee, co-founder of the Center for Games & Impact and a professor at Arizona State University.

To Learn more about the Digital Media Learning Labs click here; http://www.clemson.edu/centers-institutes/dmll/

Ron Barnett writes;

“In the upper floors of Clemson University’s historic Tillman Hall, next to a sign that says, “Warning: Please Do Not Feed the Zombies,” a group of students are jamming down with the video game Rock Band.

They’re having plenty of fun trying to keep up with the digital dots zooming toward them on a 65-inch video screen while one of their favorite songs plays.

And when it gets too easy at one level, they step it up a notch to stretch their skills on the game controller guitar, keyboard and drums connected to an Xbox.

They may not realize it, but they’ve just illustrated one of the key concepts here at the university’s new Digital Media and Learning Labs: Games can push students to challenge themselves.

But it’s not just hand-eye coordination that digital games can help develop, according to Dani Herro, co-director of the program and an assistant professor of digital media and learning.

More sophisticated games can spur people to reach heights of learning they may never have been motivated to strive for in a traditional classroom setting, she said.

There are games, for example, in which the players go on a quest that requires them to seek out information, solve problems, collaborate — all the skills that are most important for 21st century college graduates to develop, she said.

“Almost every human being likes to learn through play, but the idea isn’t just we’ll let them play and hopefully something will stick. This is really meaningful play. It’s directive play,” she said.”To read the rest of the article click here; http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20131110/NEWS/311100021/Learning-s-game-new-Clemson-labs

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/

Good Games Are Hard: in a Fun Way

  • In her article “Teachers, Students, Digital Games: What’s the Right Mix?” Holly Korbey interviewed a few educators who had some bad ideas about computer games;

    “And learning is hard work. The tools children use to manipulate and
    change the world and their own neural pathways should reflect the
    profundity of that phenomenon; we should have some blisters, form
    calluses, break a sweat. Computer games don’t demand that from
    children.”
    No.
    The better games are demanding. That is why they are the best games. There are educational games that are very challenging but they are challenging in the way that good play is challenging. It is counter productive to remind children that they learning not playing. The best learning happens when we are playing.
    Practicing a skill leads to success, but if the practice is boring then students will be less motivated to engage in the requisite practice (James Gee, 2007). The best digital games provide practice that is very compelling, engaging, and challenging, but never boring. Gamers play not because games are easy but because they are hard. But, they are hard in the right way, to the right degree, and most importantly – they are hard in a fun way. The best games provide the balance of challenge and support. To describe learning as “hard work and not play” is one of the worst possible ways to describe it.
    Gee, J.P. (2007). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy (Rev. ed.). New York: Palgrave McMillian.

    To read the full article by Holly Korbey click here;

    http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/03/teachers-students-digital-games-whats-the-right-mix/#disqus_thread

EdGamer discusses the top 10 video games of 2012 – (and which ones teachers can use)

EDGamer Banner4

EdGamer is one of my favorite podcasts.  The host, Zack Gilbert, and show contributor, Gerry James, are teachers who play games and use games in the classroom.  They have interviewed some of the leading researchers, practitioners, and experts on educational gaming (Dr. James Paul Gee, Dr. Jeremiah McCall, Dr. Lucas Gillispie, Dr. Crystle Martin, Sylvia Martinez, Joel Levin, and Jeff Holmes).  This is a great podcast for teachers, parents, and researchers.  In the future, I plan to post and discuss their conversations here on Gaming and education.  On EdGamer #83, The guys discuss Mashable’s Top 10 Video Games of 2012 and they discus which games teachers may use – and which games they should definitely not use in the classroom.  They also give a shout out to yours truly!  Thanks guys! I love what you are doing – keep up the good work!

To listen to EdGamer #83 click here

http://edreach.us/2013/01/05/edgamer-83-can-teachers-use-the-top-10-video-games-of-2012/

Classroom Aid

game-based learningSome of the best and brightest minds in engineering, education, sociology, and computer science have been analyzing how to build, improve, and understand games for several decades. Their research has helped to yield games that are more effective (not to mention fun) than ever and that reflect our changing relationship with technology. Our friends at  Online Universities have compiled a list of greatest gaming scholars, maybe you can provide your suggestion to make it more complete. (this list isn’t in any specific sequence)

*****

Kurt Squire:

Kurt Squire is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Educational Curriculum and Instruction and is the co-founder of the Games, Learning & Society Initiative, an on-campus group of faculty and students studying game-based learning. He has written over 75 scholarly publications on gaming in education, often addressing the sociocultural aspects of gaming and the impact of gaming practices…

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