SimCity, the classic city-building computer-and-video game that has spawned legions of armchair urban planners since its original launch in 1989, has a new purpose: All-in-one interactive science lesson and formative assessment tool for middle school teachers.
“Our hope was to take a game that already has traction in the market and modify it a bit for the classroom,” said Jessica Lindl, a project manager at Redwood City, Calif.-based Institute of Play, the nonprofit that houses SimCityEDU creator GlassLab, a powerhouse team of game developers, assessment designers, and learning scientists.
“The objective for us is to give this away at a very low cost to students to ensure the widest access possible,” Lindl said.
more Popular SimCity Video Game, Now a Classroom Assessment – Digital Education – Education Week.
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Technology continues to make inroads into high school classrooms via bring-your-own device initiatives, 1:1 proposals that put a tablet or laptop in front of every student, and blended learning models that mix online courses with in-class instruction.
But teachers don’t need a classroom stocked with iPads to start incorporating tech into their lesson plans. In fact, 40 percent of educators say online apps and games are the most effective way to engage students, according to a reader survey by SmartBrief for EdTech, an industry newsletter.
Read more for details of three Web-based resources for high school teachers to try in 2013: 3 Websites for High School Teachers to Try in 2013 – High School Notes (usnews.com).
If it’s true that 97 percent of teens in the U.S. are playing digital games, then the focus on how games can fit into the shifting education system becomes that much more important. Schools, districts, and individual educators are trying to figure out how games and learning can fit into the current complicated landscape.
The newly released report Games for a Digital Age: K-12 Market Map and Investment Analysis, released by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the Games and Learning Publishing Council, describes the many different criteria in play in detail, including obstacles from the policy standpoint, lack of teacher development, as well as how the Bring Your Own Device movement is influencing the push towards games and learning.
“Games are more popular than ever with youth today with many students spending hours a day playing them,” said Michael H. Levine, executive director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. “What we don’t know yet is whether and how they can be a key ally in driving pathways to academic success.”
Though it’s well worth reading the report in its entirety, below are excerpts pulled from the report, conducted and written by Dr. John Richards, Leslie Stebbins and Dr. Kurt Moellering.
Read more: Money, Time, and Tactics: Can Games Be Effective in Schools? | MindShift.
While many teachers would say games belong on the playground, the 23-year-old CEO of ClassRealm is aiming to bring games to the classroom.
A sixth-grade teacher and passionate gamer, Ben Bertoli wants to bring the world of video role-playing games into the realm of education.
As a first-year teacher of math, science and language arts at Danville Middle School, Bertoli was looking for a tool to help motivate students. Having spent his formative years playing Nintendo 64, he recognized that games have the power to stimulate higher performance levels under the guise of having fun — in short, a perfect medium for inspiring student performance.
Full Text: Teacher hopes students will learn through role-playing video games | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com.
Educators have been tapping into the wildly popular online game Minecraft for its potential as a learning tool for a while now — to teach physics, math, and computer science. But until recently, the game was mostly the territory of computer science teachers, and even they were forced to use the commercial version of the online game.
So a few months ago, two teachers, Santeri Koivisto and Joel Levin, decided to make the software more accessible and relevant to teachers. They joined forces to found MinecraftEdu and started offering discounted educator licenses to Minecraft. MinecraftEdu now offers a plug-in, which enables teachers to tailor the software to individual curriculum. And a fresh new wiki is dedicated to sharing ideas with topic suggestions such as “How To Use Redstone, (a fictional mineral) To Teach Electricity.” Teachers can also work with others to co-develop lesson plans within the game software.
Full Text: Teachers Transform Commercial Video Game for Class Use | MindShift.
Games have shown great promise for learning, but it’s not always easy to figure out the logistics of how to use them in class. Every student and teacher’s experience is unique and it takes time to calibrate and tinker to get the best out of the experience.
What’s more, using games might lead to something neither students or teacher anticipated — more work.
When it came to using the game Operation Lapis to learn Latin, the experience proved to be a mixed bag for students and teachers. In the game, students play the role of Romans in a reconstruction of ancient Pompeii (or ancient Rome) and have to learn to think, act, create and write like a Roman in order to win the game. Those are the same goals of any introductory Latin course.
After Kevin Ballestrini launched the game in his own class, ten other interested teachers decided to take a stab at using it in their classes. The prevailing conclusion? Students’ successes represent the environment and instructor as much as the game itself.
Full Text: The Ups and Downs of Game-Based Learning | MindShift.
Head teachers have rejected an industry report which suggests video games have educational benefits.
The NZ Secondary Principals’ Association has warned that video games can cause more harm than good to educational development.
The Digital New Zealand 2012 report, by Queensland’s Bond University, found
79% of Kiwi parents with school age children play video games themselves.
90% of this group played video games with their children
75% of parents actively using games as an educational tool.
Parents believed some video games helped their children better understand technology, maths, science, planning and language.
But Secondary Principals’ Association president Patrick Walsh said the negatives of video games often outweighed positives. Schools had noticed some students who played a lot of video games had limited vocabulary and concentration problems.
Full Text: Teachers reject ‘educational’ video games claim – National – NZ Herald News.
Gamified may not be a word that you use in everyday conversation, but if you are planning on offering e-learning modules or game based training then it should be one that you learn. Gamifying is basically the process of enhancing online learning experiences by turning the presentation of material from a standard text or PowerPoint type of presentation into a more engaging, interactive immersive experience. This can be through the use of 2D or 3D simulations, serious games, alternative reality games and scenario based training.
Full article: Get Gamified! – Gamify your E-learning.
From simulating cities to recreating Civil War era characters, games are becoming classroom fixtures.
All work and no play is said to make Johnny a dull boy. But the proliferation of educational video games–what professors and game industry professionals call ‘serious’ games–in college and graduate school classrooms and on campus suggests work and play can occur simultaneously.
Several hundred college students at Rochester Institute of Technology, for example, recently participated in a pilot program of the game Just Press Play, which encourages them to collect business cards from all of the professors in their departments and explore the campus.
“By creating a whimsical, playful, game-like experience … that frames [acclimating to campus] in a much less threatening and much more inviting way for people that are going through some pretty massive transitions,” says Andy Phelps, the director of RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media.
via College Students Find ‘Serious’ Video Games Educational, Fun – chicagotribune.com.