Blog Archives

6 Game Resources for learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

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Monique Liles recommends the following Games for learning STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math), in an article for E School news;

1. Glass Labs:

2. Cell Craft:

3. Pandemic II

4. ChemGame Tutor:

5. Ayiti The Cost of a Life:

6. Ellen J. McHenry’s website:

Liles writes “In my classroom, we play a lot of games, frequently as the lesson. We then discuss what the students experienced in the game and make content connections via whole-group discussion. I often create a graphic organizer or worksheet for students to use to organize their thoughts about the game. When I have my biology and life science students play Cell Craft, for example, I demonstrate gameplay and features for the whole class using my laptop and projector. Students complete the organizer while we go through the game as a group and discuss the content. Then, students get a chance to play the game and really immerse themselves.”

Monique Liles is a teacher at Babb Middle School in Forest Park, GA. She is a member of Discovery Education’s Discovery Educator Network (DEN), a global community of educators that are passionate about transforming the learning experience with digital media.

To read the full article at E School click here;

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/02/17/gaming-stem-813/?

A majority of K-8 Teachers Use Digital Games for Instruction

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Games and Learning report that;

“A national survey of nearly 700 U.S. K-8 teachers conducted by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the Games and Learning Publishing Council reveals that almost three-quarters of K-8 teachers are using digital games for instruction. Four out of five of those teachers report that their students play games at school at least once a month.

In his introduction to the critical survey of classrooms GLPC Chair Milton Chen observed:

Two fundamental findings should capture the attention of all educators, developers, funders, and policymakers: a majority of teachers are using digital games in their classrooms, and games are increasingly played on mobile devices that travel with their students.

Level Up Learning: A National Survey of Teaching with Digital Games by Lori M. Takeuchi and Sarah Vaala reports that teachers who use games more often found greater improvement in their students’ learning across subject

areas. However, the study also reveals that only 42% of teachers say that games have improved students’ science learning (compared to 71% in math), despite research suggesting that games are well suited for teaching complex scientific concepts.

areas.”However, the study also reveals that only 42% of teachers say that games have improved students’ science learning (compared to 71% in math), despite research suggesting that games are well suited for teaching complex scientific concepts.

Gaming and learning in a Pennsylvania school.

From WQED Learning Innovation;

“Students at Propel Braddock Hills High School may appear to be playing games on their computers, but what they’re actually doing is enhancing their learning. English, civics, math, shop, art, science and engineering teachers all incorporate gaming into their curriculum, making learning fun — and accessible — to their students.”

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

Gates Foundation Gives Millions for Game Based Learning

Press Release from The Gates Foundation;

SEATTLE–The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced a suite of investments, totaling more than $20 million, focused on identifying and expanding promising cutting-edge learning resources that support teachers and students and bring innovative new instructional approaches into America’s classrooms. These investments support the development of game-based learning applications; math, English language arts and science curricula built in to digital formats; learning through social networking platforms; and embedded assessments through a real-time and engaging environment of experiences and journeys. All these promising resources are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, which are college- and career-ready standards being implemented in more than 40 states.

The Pearson Foundation, one of the major partners in this work, today is also announcing the development of its complete digital curriculum to support the standards. The foundation is pleased to work with Pearson Foundation by providing research and $3 million in funding to help make these tools widely available. In addition to the Pearson Foundation, the foundation is also partnering with Educurious Partners, Florida Virtual School, Institute of Play, Reasoning Mind, Quest Atlantis, Digital Youth Network and EDUCAUSE to develop and promote new applications for learning and assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

“Teachers are telling us what they want, and we are listening,” said Vicki L. Phillips, Director of Education, College Ready, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We believe these exciting world-class tools have the potential to fundamentally change the way students and teachers interact in the classroom, and ultimately, how education works in America.”

A significant part of these investments announced today include supporting work to build a complete system of digital courses aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The Pearson Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Pearson, the leading learning company, is developing 24 online math and English language arts courses to help teachers and principals implement the standards. These courses will be delivered through a combination of technologies, including video, interactive software, games, social media, and print. Funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support the development of this robust system of courses, including four— two in math and two in English language arts—to be available at no cost on an open platform for schools.

In addition, a $2 million grant to Educurious Partners will help develop high school courses in biology, freshman literature and Algebra I using a project-based learning design and incorporating a social network Internet application. These include two literacy-based and two math-based courses that are contextualized within disciplines, such as engineering or writing in the natural sciences.

The foundation’s $742,996 investment in Reasoning Mind which offers teacher professional development and online elementary math curricula that build algebraic thinking, will pilot a program that makes a single effective math teacher available across multiple classrooms. If successful, one Reasoning Mind-trained teacher can affect the math scores and proficiency of 250 students using the program in different grades at several schools.  A Reasoning Mind classroom is a hybrid of online and face-to-face instruction, where the teacher gives each child individual help and attention.

“Technology has advanced how we do so many things today,” added Phillips. “Yet, instead of transforming our schools, technology has generally been placed on top of antiquated models. These new cutting-edge applications have the potential to inspire students and engage them in the way they naturally learn, while giving teachers the flexibility to be creative in their craft and customize tools to their students’ needs.”

The foundation is also investing in several game-based learning tools:

    • $2.6 million for iRemix, which is being developed by Digital Youth Network. It will be a set of 20 literacy-based trajectories that allow students to earn badges and move from novice to expert in areas like creative writing.
    • $2.5 million to Institute of Play will build a set of game-based pedagogical tools and game-design curricula that can be used within both formal and informal learning contexts.
  • $2.6 million to Quest Atlantis is creating video games that build proficiency in math, literacy and science.

All these applications will support the Common Core State Standards.

In addition, a $2 million grant to Educurious Partners will help develop high school courses in biology, freshman literature, and Algebra I through a social network Internet application. The application will allow students and teachers to collaborate with a variety of experts who are working in professional fields that are relevant to what the students are learning in the courses. These courses will also support the Common Core State Standards.

Finally, in June, Next Generation Learning Challenges will award up to $10 million in competitive grants to support promising technology-enabled programs built around embedded assessments that can help students master 7th, 8th, and 9th-grade content and competencies aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Embedded assessments are a way of testing a student’s knowledge in real-time through program such as online math courses that help students self-pace their learning, game-based learning environments, and literacy instruction delivered through mobile phones. While learning in a digital environment that uses embedded assessments, students demonstrate mastery of a subject in order to progress to the next level of a game, course, or application. Next Generation Learning Challenges is a grant competition and community aimed at identifying and expanding promising technologies that can help improve education across the K-12 and postsecondary spectrum. It is led by EDUCAUSE and community partners with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

For more information about the foundation’s investments to advance promising technologies in education, please visit www.gatesfoundation.org\education.

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/

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

Learn Algebra in Minutes with a Video Game

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Jordan Shapiro writes that;

“On average, it took 41 minutes and 44 seconds for students to master Algebra skills during the Washington State Algebra Challenge using the DragonBox App.

The Challenge, co-sponsored by Washington University’s Center for Game Science and the Technology Alliance included 4,192 K-12 students. Together, they solved 390,935 equations over the course of 5 days in early June. According to the Challenge’s calculations, that’s 6 months, 28 days, and 2 hours worth of algebra work.

What’s even more impressive, “of those students who played at least 1.5 hours, 92.9% achieved mastery. Of those students who played at least 1 hour, 83.8% achieved mastery. Of those students who played at least 45 minutes, 73.4% achieved mastery.”

Jean-Baptiste Huynh, creator of DragonBox

To read more click here;

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2013/07/01/it-only-takes-about-42-minutes-to-learn-algebra-with-video-games/

Girls, Games, and STEM Education – Yes they all go together!

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For years researchers have noticed that few women are choosing careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  To address this problem, “A group of industry and aca­d­emic leaders gath­ered at Northeastern’s Seattle campus with what just might be a solu­tion to that problem: video games.”

The group is called; “Girls GAMES, short for Girls Advancing in Math, Engi­neering, and Sci­ence, is a new col­lab­o­ra­tion between uni­ver­sity part­ners and gaming com­pa­nies in Seattle aimed at pro­moting STEM careers for women through the devel­op­ment of edu­ca­tional games. Though the main event is being held in Seattle … We know games can engage kids to learn, so let’s use games for real learning, and let’s use games to advance girls’ learning, interest, and aspi­ra­tions in STEM,” said Tayloe Wash­burn, dean and CEO of Northeastern’s grad­uate campus in Seattle.”

A teacher founded company, “Power Up Education”, creates games for learning

Dan Caldwell Founder

“Power Up Education is a small teacher-founded company committed to creating products that promote learning using interactive content, multimedia, educational games, and more. The Power Up story starts with a science teacher named Dan Caldwell. In 2009 Dan was in his 8th year of teaching middle school science in Northern New York State to seventh and eighth graders. During one seventh grade class in which the students were working on writing short stories about traveling through the digestive system from the point of view of the food Dan was asked by his students if he would also write a story. He responded by saying, “Well, how about I write a song instead, since songwriting is a way that I like to tell stories.” While playing the rather silly, yet scientifically accurate song to the class the power of music became instantly clear. The students were engaged in the lesson, they were enjoying themselves, and they were actually LEARNING!

Over the course of the next year Dan worked on creating the sciTunes Human Body Curriculum. During that time Dan realized that the power of this curriculum could be taken even further by using online learning games to engage students even further. To find out more about the sciTunes Curriculum visit www.sciTunes.com. sciTunes Curriculum

In the fall of 2010 Dan entered a human body iPad game in the National STEM Video Game Challenge. The game, now known as Body Adventure With Captain Brainy-Pants! was selected as a finalist for the Developer’s Prize. After attending the finals in Washington D.C. and presenting the games to a panel of experts in the field, Dan was awarded the Best Teacher Made Game Prize!

Power Up Education is committed to taking the sciTunes Curriculum even further. We are currently developing more learning games for a variety of platforms including free for the web. The sciTunes Human Body Curriculum is also being developed as an interactive online curriculum that can be accessed by iPads, Tablets, as well as traditional web browsers on PCs and Macs.  There will be much more news to come on this development!

Why the name change? We are now called Power Up Education because we fully intend to take our highly effective teaching strategies found in the sciTunes Curriculum and apply them to other subjects including, Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, and other branches of Science.” – From the company web site – To learn more about “Power Up Education” click here; http://poweruped.com/