Blog Archives

Women significantly outnumber teenage boys in gamer demographics

Adult female gamers have unseated boys under the age of 18 as the largest video game-playing demographic in the U.S. according to a recently published study from the Entertainment Software Association, a trade group focused the U.S. gaming industry.

Charles Pulliam-Moore, of PBS writes that;

“Adult female gamers have unseated boys under the age of 18 as the largest video game-playing demographic in the U.S., according to a recently published study from the Entertainment Software Association, a trade group focused the U.S. gaming industry.”

To read the full article at PBS click here;

 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/female-adults-oust-teenage-boys-largest-gaming-demographic/

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.”

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/#

 

 

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

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

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/#

High school students learn programing and gaming

2-15 InnovationLab1.jpg    From left, Seth Baker and Alex Still play the “Parking” game using toy car parts on their controller Wednesday in the Innovation Lab at Madison Central High School.

Students from the Madison Central High School Innovation Lab write that;

“While gaming may not always be permitted at school, The Innovation Lab at Madison Central High School gives students the opportunity to learn computer programming, with gaming as the current focus.

During the first semester of the school year, students researched the different job opportunities the gaming industry has to offer and then took on various roles: game designer, game tester, programming and production.

Using a program called Scratch, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, class members designed and created their own two-dimensional computer games.

The class is tackling the game-controller aspect of gaming using the MaKey MaKey “easy-to-use invention kit.” The kit includes seven alligator clips, six connector wires and one USB cable.

Teacher Alison Fox was awarded a $500 Bechtel-Parsons Grant, given to teachers at any grade level who plan on using new or interesting strategies with science, math, or technology in their classrooms.

The MaKey MaKey system allows the students to make most anything into a game controller. Students researched items that are conductive (aluminum foil, Play-Doh, people) and would complete the circuit and run the game.

Split into groups of two or three, students where given the task of making a new controller for the game assigned.

The “Piggy Push” online game was chosen for students Sarah Dalton, Dylan Ingram and Timothy Sharp. With the title “Piggy Push,” students used a controller made of a crate lined with aluminum foil and used a pig fashioned from Play-Doh as a handheld controller to move the pig in the game.

To make the controller function, students used a MaKey MaKey system inside of the crate and used alligator clips to connect the system to foil on the outside, with the foil serving as arrow keys. Both aluminum foil and Play-Doh are conductive materials.

A group consisting of Stuart Thorburn, Nick Warren and Ricky Campbell made a controller for the game “Flappy Bird,” where players try to keep the bird from touching the ground or the pipes.”

– See more at: http://www.richmondregister.com/education/x2039927148/Centrals-Innovation-Lab-teaches-programming-gaming#sthash.XlKeCHTo.dpuf

The Neuroscience of Game-Based Learning

Paul Howard-Jones, of Bristol University, addresses the topic of Learning Games and “…using uncertain reward within computer games to make learning engaging.  There is a clear theoretical basis and laboratory-based evidence for a classroom-based approach and so me exploratory research in classrooms that may be helpful in informing pedagogy, but evidence of impact on improved engagement and enhanced academic achievement is limited to young adults” (p.5).

He goes on to write that;

“Mental rotation skills are strong predictors of achievement in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and results from a single study show that improving mental rotation does lead to improvement in attainment. However, this has only been tested with undergraduate students. Another way of improving these skills might be through video games” (p.6).

Howard-Jones adds that;

“Popular games provide rapid schedules of uncertain reward that stimulate the brain’s reward system. The brain’s reward response can positively influence the rate at which we learn. Beyond just the magnitude of the reward, a range of contextual factors influence this reward response” (p.11).

To read the full report by Paul Howard-Jones,

Neuroscience and Education: A Review of Educational Interventions and Approaches Informed by Neuroscience Full Report and Executive Summary,

“The Gender Gap in Gaming is Closed”

Speak Up

Chris Riedel of THE Journal writes;

“According to the latest data, video for homework is on the rise; mobile computing is “beyond the tipping point”; and most kids don’t use traditional computers to connect to the Internet at home. Those are just three of the major trends revealed in the 2013 Speak Up Survey from Project Tomorrow, which CEO Julie Evans revealed at the FETC 2014 conference last week.

The 2013 results represent more than 400,000 surveys from 9,000 schools and 2,700 districts across the country. Respondents included 325,279 students, 32,151 teachers and librarians, 39,986 parents, 4,530 district administrators and, new to this year’s survey, 1,346 community members.”

Riedel continues;

“8. Gaming is Growing, and the Gender Gap is Closed

Another interesting area for Evans was student gaming. This year’s results showed 60 percent of students using laptops as a gaming device. Cell phones and game consoles tied with 54 percent use, while tablets clocked in at 44 percent.

Of particular note is students’ interest in taking gaming technology and applying it to learning difficult concepts, as well as their interest in using games as a way to explore career opportunities. Evans also noted no gender difference in students’ interest in games, with younger girls actually showing more gaming activity than their male counterparts.”

Read more at http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/02/03/10-major-technology-trends-in-education.aspx#QO1SgEJ0lFwEpiMJ.99