Re-posted from Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media’s ON for Learning Award is given to the very best in kids’ digital media. We are excited to recognize the just over 50 apps, games, and websites that received our highest rating for learning potential. Find more learning ratings and reviews here. A few of the winners are highlighted here:
- Britannica Kids Solar System: Great interactive reference tool with space games and quiz.
- Code Academy: Smart site gives teens hands-on experience with coding.
- Cosmic Chaos: Imaginative sci-fi RPG entertains as it builds vocabulary.
- The Daring Game for Girls: Great girl-power messages, lots of variety and fun.
- iCivics: Engaging games give kids safe, smart civics lessons.
- Lifeboat to Mars: Free online ecosystem game makes learning biology fun.
- Roman Town: Incredibly in-depth archeology sim brings history to life.
- Sid Meir’s Civilization V: Gods and Kings: Fab expansion to historical sim adds religion to the mix.
- Toontastic: Create amazing multi-scene cartoons with musical scores.
Re-posted from The Danse 3D Animation Interactive
Family Night 2.0 – Board Games Meet Augmented Reality
In June, Hasbro announced the release of Monopoly Zapped, a game design that not only utilizes digital technology to clear up the rules, but also includes new features that take game-play from the table top into the cloud. The Hasbro website explains that “The iconic game board and properties you know and love are still there, but this game is also packed with fantastic app-enhanced features!” A video posted on YouTube shows a game rep explaining how Monopoly Zapped combines the game board and the smart phone, utilizing such features as a credit card system that keeps track of players’ bankrolls and side games that allow players to, among other things, break out of jail along instead of paying a fine and throwing dice.
Hasbro isn’t the only company jumping on the AR bandwagon. In January, AppGear revealed a mixed reality game for both the young and the young at heart. Foam Fighters is one of a number of games being released by this company and features collectible products that interact with a smart phone. Miniature WWII era fighter planes are purchased in packets with distinct scannable codes and a special bracket is included that allows the user to mount the tiny plane in front of the device’s camera. When the game is started, the smartphone camera uses the real image of the model and its foreground and then combines that image with the enemy fighters and cloudbanks of the game. Naturally, the player tilts the device to pitch and bank and uses the screen to fire the machine guns. It looks pretty cool. In one demonstration video, a game rep said “and now all my childhood dream can come true.”
Experiments show how technology supports learning, with the potential to increase student engagement and motivation. Games target all kinds of subjects and age groups, with different types of gaming from strategy to simulations to hard-core curriculum topics. Teachers can access an arsenal of tools, from game consoles to laptops to smartphones.
Still, the U.S. government reports a lack of nationwide studies on the use of tech tools and gaming in education. Innovations come out so fast that there’s little time to do research on using gizmos like iPads in school. For parents and teachers who have concerns about gaming in classroom, here are some success stories.
National Education Technology Plan – Executive Summary, Ed.gov
The NEA Foundation, Microsoft-US Partners in Learning Seek Solutions Using Technology to Engage Students, The NEA Foundation, January 2012
Technology in Education, Education Week, September 2011
For a complete list of sources, please click the Infographic below. Click again if you get a small image.
Reposted from: Gamesbeat of 1-18-2013
Walk into any public library and, of course, you see books, reference materials, newspapers, magazines, and all types of the printed word. We might also see comic books, manga, and less traditional “literature.” These days, we encounter film, television, music, internet-connected computers, and other digital media. But video games?
Libraries lend video games, and they have been for some time. Some folks might think video games have no place in public institutions. Some articles on the web assume that readers will cringe when they hear that this is happening. Libraries and librarians, however, seem to overwhelmingly support the practice.
The American Library Association endorses video gaming, placing these in a similar class to board games. The association is clear about whether kids should play video games in libraries: ”Video gaming at the library encourages young patrons to interact with diverse peers, share their expertise with others, including adults, and develop new strategies for gaming and learning.”
To see entire article link to it at Gamesbeat
“Can you teleport me?” “How do I fly?” “I need a sword.” “What are you building?” These eclectic exclamations are the sounds of a room full of teens playing Minecraft (www.minecraft.net). We play every other Wednesday in Chicopee (MA) Public Library’s computer lab, often filling all ten computers, and are occasionally joined by teens playing from home. They play freely, building whatever suits their fancies. As I’ve watched these teens discover skills in the game, I’ve been thinking about Minecraft’s potential for both structured and unstructured activities.
What is Minecraft?
Minecraft (sample pictured) is an open-ended, creative game where players roam a landscape made of different kinds of blocks that can be used to build just about anything. Clicking blocks breaks them and adds them to your inventory. Then you can craft items and place blocks to build structures. Animals and monsters, or mobs, also made of blocks, roam the landscape and provide resources and adversaries. The simple graphics, reminiscent of video games from 20 years ago, create an immersive environment in their blocky aesthetic. The game has a broad appeal—it’s as interesting and appropriate for eight-year-olds as it is for their parents and anyone in between.
Developed by Swedish programmer Marcus Persson, also known as Notch, and his company Mojang, the full version of the game was released in November 2011 after several beta versions. The object of the game, in as much as there is a specific object, is to explore, create, and survive. An individual license for the game costs $26.95. With one license you can download the launcher as many times as you want and multiple users can play single-player games simultaneously. In order to play multiplayer games, each user must have their own license.
How Educators & Authors Use Minecraf:
Joel Levin, The Minecraft Teacher: minecraftteacher.net.
Andre Chercka, Digital Game Based Learning: www.gamebased.tumblr.com.
Massively Minecraft Network: a community for educators, parents, researchers, and volunteers: http://www.minecraft.jokaydia.com (requires sign up).
Libraries are one of our nation’s oldest institutions, and gaming one of our newest. What happens with these two disparate worlds meet? In the first segment of “Libraries and Gaming”, Double Jump looks at LCC’s game room and University of Michigan’s open videogame archive talking to librarians about the future of libraries and gaming’s place in it.
It’s never easy to get across the magnitude of complex tragedies — so when Brenda Brathwite’s daughter came home from school asking about slavery, she did what she does for a living — she designed a game. At TEDxPhoenix she describes the surprising effectiveness of this game, and others, in helping the player really understand the story. (TEDxPhoenix, Filmed Nov 2011)
“Gamestorming” author Dave Gray on how games cut through creative chaos
We’re hardwired to play games. We play them for fun. We play them in our social interactions. We play them at work.
That last one is tricky. “Games” and “work” don’t seem like a natural pairing. Their coupling in the workplace either implies goofing off (the fun variant) or office politics (the not-so-fun type).
Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo, co-authors of the upcoming book Gamestorming, have a different perspective. They contend that an embrace and understanding of game mechanics can yield benefits in many work environments, particularly those where old hierarchical models are no longer applicable.
In the following Q&A, Gray discusses the collaborative power of games and how they can cut through increasing workplace complexity.
CONTINUED AT: O’Reilly Radar webite
Originally posted at fastcoexost.com
A Game Of Monopoly For Green-Collar Jobs Instead Of Tycoons
Named for “green business owners,” players are impact investors in a game inspired by Monopoly. They must navigate the transition from a fossil fuel economy to one powered by clean energy. The game challenges players with volatile markets, scheming lobbyists, and unreliable politicians lining the path to helping Hawaii reach its real-life goal of producing 70% of its electricity from clean renewable sources by 2050.
“Our primary aim with the game was to create something fun that could inspire people to green careers and to consider sustainability as something personally relevant to them,” according to the website.
The players are clean-tech angel investors who search the islands of Hawaii to finance wind farms, geothermal plants, car-sharing services or community agriculture advancing the state’s energy target. Scores are tallied by the triple bottom line: money, green collar jobs created, and “eco-credits” reflecting how much oil, processed food, or trash is offset by the new businesses. Investing, however, is risky. Public policy decisions and market events may go your way, or unleash disaster. A deck of Policy & Event cards throws up scenarios from a Victory Gardens crusade by Hawaii’s governor that boosts sustainable food sales to plunging oil prices that leave biofuel investors deep in the hole.
The game doesn’t fully represent real life, or the lure of easy cash, since players can’t just decamp and become oil barons. “The only options to invest in in the game are ‘green’ ones,” says Cooney. “The reason is that the game is based on the field of impact investing–those people who want to invest, but aren’t at all interested in dirty businesses.”
Cooney, who is also an “eco-entrepreneur” and sustainability professor at the University of Hawai’i’s Shidler College of Business, has developed the game into lesson plans for high schools and colleges, and is now on a national tour to promote it with tournaments to be held in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Asheville, South Carolina. (original article posted at: fastcoexist.com)