Blog Archives

President Obama on Gaming and Education

 President Barack Obama's Video Game Buyer's Guide

Christina Farr writes that;

“the senior adviser for digital media at the White House, Mark DeLoura, says Barack Obama has taken a personal interest in games and gaming culture.

“I wouldn’t have this job if he wasn’t interested,” said DeLoura on stage at the GamesBeat 2013 conference.

DeLoura is a veteran gamer who has held senior leadership positions at Google, Sony, Nintendo, and others. He’s been working at the White House for seven months, which he describes as a far more formal environment than Silicon Valley.

“Some people do play games in the White House,” DeLoura told our GamesBeat lead reporter Dean Takahashi. “I’m trying to find those people and collect them, Pokémon-style.”

According to DeLoura, it hasn’t been easy task to recruit austere government officials for a gaming session. But DeLoura is dead-set on getting a group together to play Civilization once a week. “I point out that they are playing Candy Crush,” he said.

Educational gaming

Joking aside, the president is deeply concerned with improving education in our country. Games are an essential part of the conversation and strategy.

“I want you guys to be stuck on a video game that’s teaching you something other than just blowing something up,” Obama said at a press conference in in 2011, a few years before the Department of Education launched a grant for the country’s most talented educational gamers. DeLoura helped write the blog post announcing the initiative.

“He [Obama] wants to see Sasha and Malia playing a game that teaches them something,” DeLoura told me. In a 1-on-1 interview after his GamesBeat talk, he told me that the president’s daughters love to dance and play games that help them stay active — like Just Dance.

In recent months, DeLoura and his team have been researching how game dynamics can be applied to education. Can a game help kids learn new languages, make friends, or pickup technical skills?

DeLoura doesn’t believe that the tech industry has done nearly enough to support educational gaming, with a few exceptions. A few Silicon Valley investment firms focus on educational games, and Bill and Melinda Gates have been making large investments through their foundation.

One of DeLoura’s passion projects is to make it easier for parents and teachers to find great games and apps for kids at any age. He hopes that parents won’t dismiss all games, as a result of a few bad apples. “This is a real problem we need to tackle,” he said.

DeLoura’s favorite educational games?

1. DragonBox, a multiplatform math game.

“It’s awesome. After 90 minutes of play, 93 percent of kids could solve algebraic equations in Washington State.”

2. Reach for the Sun from Filament Games, a plant life-cycle sim.

“This game is new but it teaches kids biology. They can start with a seed and grow leave, roots, and petals.”

3. Minecraft, the indie building game sensation.

“Everyone plays this game. Now there’s a Minecraft teacher who teaches computing concepts. Google launched qCraft, which teaches quantum physics.”

Games that teach kids to code

DeLoura and the Obama administration are currently developing new programs to bolster coding education in schools. Games can certainly play a role — particularly those that teach young people to code.

Schools can adopt these games to support their coding curriculum. DeLoura points to a program in the U.K. called “computing,” which teaches digital skills to kids as young as 5.

In the U.S., he’s encouraged by the recent success of a nonprofit called Code.org, which is working with influencers in the entertainment industry, such as Will.i.am, to make programming seem cool to kids. DeLoura is help the organization promote “Hour of Code,” a campaign to introduce 10 million kids to computer science.”

To read the full article by Christina Farr  click here;

http://venturebeat.com/2013/10/29/the-presidents-gaming-guy-tells-us-that-games-fascinate-obama/

Scotsman Games: Education and Games – Minecraft

Edinburgh Castle, as recreated in Minecraft. Picture: Contributed

Edinburgh Castle, as recreated in Minecraft. Picture: Contributed

MARTYN McLAUGHLIN writes that;

“IN the second of a three-part series looking at how Scotland’s gaming sector intersects with education, Martyn McLaughlin speaks to the team behind the Xbox 360 version of Minecraft to discover how the hit sandbox construction title is helping children learn complex skills.

NEARLY four and a half years have passed since Minecraft was unleashed on an unsuspected games industry. In that time, it has come to occupy an influential plinth in our cultural landscape. Devised by Sweden’s Mojang studio, it deposits players at the centre of a randomly generated cuboid domain abundant with raw materials. Creativity is essential to progress; the fundamentals of existence such as shelter are the first priorities, but in time, the game allows those who master its techniques and tools to raise wonderfully intricate structures and entire cities from the ground.

Part 1 of our Education and Games series

Since its official release in November 2011, the title has shifted upwards of 33 million copies, a sales figure in excess of seminal albums such as Sergeant Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band, Hotel California and Born in the USA. In an industry too often obsessed with graphical prowess and the awkward aping of cinematic techniques, its constantly evolving universe has captured the imagination of not only gamers, but an increasing number of educationalists who see the merits of applying its mesmerising form of digital Lego to learning environments.

Around the world, Minecraft is slowly becoming accepted as a legitimate classroom tool waiting to be exploited in the same way as established media like films, books and television. In Stockholm, the home of Mojang, the Victor Rydberg school has declared it compulsory for 13-year-olds, with pupils using it to learn about city planning and environmental issues. In New York, Joel Levin, a computer teacher at a private school, helps run MinecraftEdu, an international resource geared towards promoting the game’s use in classrooms.

‘Exciting and engaging’

One of the earliest advocates for the game’s educational values, he first realised its potential after introducing it in favour of a Google Earth geography project in January 2011. “In my eight years of teaching I have never seen students so excited and engaged,” he recalled. “They run up to me in the halls to tell me what they plan to do [in the] next class. They draw pictures about the game in art. They sit at the lunch tables and strategize their next building projects. And not only the boys, but girls too.”

To read the full article by MARTYN McLAUGHLIN click here;

http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/scotsman-games-education-and-games-minecraft-1-3149663

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/

DigiToolkit: Why we love Candy Crush, Angry Birds & Minecraft Lessons about Gaming & Education

Here is a great video/lesson on the educational power of digital games and how using the principles of good game design teachers can improve their instruction.

The introduction is kind of slow – she starts with a survey – but, be patient (or skip ahead 1 to 2 minutes) and your will learn about the power of games for learning.

Enjoy!

EdGamer Reviews the Illinois Computing Educators Conference

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EdGamer 90: Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) Conference Review

On episode 90 of EdGamer we review two of the best conferences of the year for technology and education. In the last two weeks EdGamer has attended the ICE and SIT conferences and we have a plethora of new things to share with you! Plus, you get to hear all of the wonderful antics as a result of Zack spending a few days at Gerry’s house. This you can’t miss! Tune-in and level-up!

Alternate Title- The Best Seat on the ICE

 

Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor: Gerry James  

To listen to the Podcast click here;

http://edreach.us/2013/03/02/edgamer-90-ice-conference-review/

 

Mindcraft declared “Ultimate Multi-Tool” for teachers and learners.

PBS Idea Channel’s Mike Rugnetta, declares Mine Craft to be an “Ultimate Multi-Tool.”  For the past few months me and my 4 year old son have been building amazing worlds in Minecraft.  We both love this game!  It offers so many opportunities for creativity and learning.  Minecraft is “constructivist” in more ways than one.  To learn more about the power of Minecraft for engagement in learning watch the video below.   Thanks to Dr. Christopher Quinn for sending me the link to this video.  Enjoy!

Edgamer podcast # 84 gives “EdGaming a voice – A BIG VOICE!”

On the EdGamer podcast (Episode 84)  Zack Gilbert and Gerry James  discuss  games in Special Education settings, How Minecraft taught my 9-year-old son with Asperger’s to read and write from Patrick Black, Victoria II from Cameron Foster, and BoardGameGeek for d0x3dfrom Niilo in Sweden. Enjoy!

To here this episode of Edgamer click here;

http://edreach.us/2013/01/12/edgamer-84-u-s-government-will-not-build-a-death-star/

 

Joel Levin demos Minecraftedu at Quakecon

“There are many different mods for Minecraft on the PC available but one, MinecraftEdu, was created as a teaching aide for the classrom. Joel Levin, one of the creators of the mod, was at QuakeCon this week and gave a demonstration.”

Great demo of what is possible with Minecraft!

http://minecraftedu.com/