Thanks for Attending – Get new and more info!!

Bob and Branden and Justin and I thank all who attended our workshop on Tuesday afternoon.  If you left at 3:30, you missed the best part where we brought out video games, console games, board games, and some combo-games to demo and play with.  Branden demonstrated his talent on guitar hero while simultaneously explaining the costs, the hows of hooking it up, and even how it could be used for teaching!  Justin showed off his expertise in game puzzles, and Jared demonstrated the free computer download to help with classroom use of the trivia / wager game “Wits and Wagers.”  Bob, facilitated all of this masterfully by encouraging and explaining, and needling all in attendance who required such attentions.

We said in the presentation that you would be able to find on this blog all the information we talked about.  YOU CAN!  Check out the blog roll on the right margin and the game sites and the cool sites on the navigation tabs at the top of the blog.  This includes game review sites, articles, and research and assessment that can help you justify the use of games in your school.  There are also many sites that offer suggestions and practical aid in incorporating and using games (digital and analog games) into your library, your classroom, and your school.  For example there is a site (Civ World) linked from one of our pages that is completly dedicated to usng the computer game “Civilization” in educational settings.   We will be adding more information to these pages as well as creating more pages and information in post, video, and pdf format.

I know many of you are still at the UTC, which has some great sessions.  Remember when you get back and start applying that new information you have learned, to remember gaming!  It’s a great tool to include in your inspirational teaching toolkit!  Any questions?  Hey, ask ask ask!



Educator’s Version of “Making History” Excites & Engages Students

Teaching with MAKING HISTORY®

Today’s students are “always on”–they see video games, the Internet, and cell phones as technological standards, not innovations. How can we engage these digital students? How can they become critical thinkers and enthusiastic learners? Here is how MAKING HISTORY answers those questions and answers questions typically asked by teachers.


Combining the entertainment of games with the richness of history, MAKING HISTORY lets students interact with the past. Students want to play. They want to respond to international challenges, make thoughtful decisions, and explore this complex, fun game.

MAKING HISTORY captivates top and average students, but it also pulls the uninvolved and struggling into its historical world. This game gives all students a new entry into learning history. For those frustrated by traditional methods, MAKING HISTORY can change their understanding and appreciation of history.

The more students know about the countries they play, the better their chances of success. Students are motivated to refer to class lectures and readings. MAKING HISTORY also inspires students to go beyond assigned learning and seek out additional readings, maps, data, and more.

MAKING HISTORY can be played during class or as homework. An entire class, a small group, or an individual student can lead a country. Each style of play provides a different learning experience. Adapt the game to best suit your students’ needs.

Instructors are not limited to peering over students’ shoulders. Use the Observer mode to watch students play. Afterwards, review key moments with Walkthrough mode and Reports. These tools support assessment of student experiences and encourage student reflection.

The game ties assessment to historic objectives.   Students are scored on the economic, diplomatic, military, and industrial strength of their nations. Instructors can set victory conditions and the game’s difficulty level.

Digital Games in Classroom Teaching: How do teachers use them?

From Insafe

An inspiring first European overview
A groundbreaking new European study, released today at a major EU conference hosted by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, sheds light on how teachers use digital games in the classroom with their pupils for learning purposes. The conference was opened by the European Commissioner for Education and Culture, Jan Figel, underlining the importance of the study. It covers commercial as well as “serious” games. It was carried out by European Schoolnet, a network of 31 Ministries of Education, commissioned by the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE).

Download the synthesis report ( and full study (

Read this entire artice at Insafe web site

Video Games as Learning Tools

Video Games Help Children Learn a Variety of Skills
By Sara McGrath of Suite

Games,in general, and other forms of play, make learning fun. Attentive parents and teachers recognize this. Games beat repetitive drills and rote memorization any day. Ask any kid.

In particular, the question of video games to benefit learning has incited controversy with concerns regarding addictive qualities of electronic gaming, violence and “adult” content in games, and proposals to give video games cigarette-style health warnings.

Some Video Games Influence Good Behavior in Children

From the Examiner.Com

Media members and legislators often portray video games as bad influences on children’s behavior, but new research concludes that some video games influence good behavior, specifically the desire to help other people.   This is good news for educators, parents, and children who use video games for learning and entertainment.

In the June 2009 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a consortium of researchers from the U.S., Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia reported a positive correlation between playing “prosocial” video games and the likelihood of helping other people over harming them.  According to the researchers, prosocial games “involve characters who help and support each other in nonviolent ways.”  Report co-author Brad Bushman said, “The type of content in the game has a bigger impact than the overall amount of time spent playing.”

Read the rest of the article in The Examiner.Com

GameEd 411: Wiki Sharing Free Educational Digital Games

This information originally posted on School Library Journal blog by Joyce Valenza Ph.D on April 6, 2009 .caduceus

GameEd 411 is a wiki for sharing information about free educational digital games. It was created as a resource for a presentation given to librarians of member libraries of the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES School Library System in Rochester, New York.  If you have not been following the recent research and development of educational games, please take a moment to read our Why Games, Why Now page and our Wait, there’s more! page. You will be amazed.

The initial list of games came from searching the Internet for recommendations by reviewers and educators.  It is our goal to maintain this wiki as a resource for anyone who wishes to use games in the classroom. We know there are many wonderful games that are not yet on the list and that the information about each game can be revised and expanded.  We are, therefore, asking for your input.

Each game has its own wiki page to facilitate sharing information about that particular game.  Please feel free to add comments. You must log in to post a comment and it only takes a minute to create an account. Especially useful would be comments about how you used the game in your classroom and in support of what subject. Please share with what age group you played the game and whether you felt it was a good fit.  Also helpful would be how long it took to play the game.

If you would like other game titles added to the wiki, just contact us or write a comment on the front page.  Include as much supporting information as possible.

The games titles are listed alphabetically on the sidebar and GameEd 411 is searchable by keyword.  Age recommendations are broadly classified as Preschool, Elementary, Middle or High.  If searching by age, we recommend you use the one word description, e.g. “Middle” and not “Middle School.”  Boolean searches such as “Middle AND Social Studies” also work.

A printable copy of the list is available by clicking this link:  Educational Digital Games.pdf.

Karen Mitchell
Library Research Technician
Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES

Meet the New School Board: Board Games Are Back—and They’re Exactly What Your Curriculum Needs

By Christopher Harris — School Library Journal, 5/1/2009pandemic_players1

Josh and his colleagues are huddled around a table studying their map. Based on the fear in their eyes, the situation looks dire. The last epidemic had come out of nowhere, spreading three diseases around the globe into areas that Josh and his team had struggled to help only minutes before. “What are our options?” Josh asks. “São Paulo is critical, any more breakouts around there and we could lose all of South America.”

Heather shakes her head. “Forget São Paulo,” she says. “We can stamp out the outbreak in the Middle East if we move quickly. Can we send somebody to Karachi right away?”

Josh and Heather aren’t frantic public health officials or epidemiologists. They’re sixth graders playing Pandemic, a new board game in which two to four players work as members of the Centers for Disease Control on a mission to save the world from an outbreak of deadly diseases. For video game–obsessed students, a typical board game just won’t cut it. But Panpandemicdemic, a 2008 release from Z-Man Games, is part of a new breed—a designer board game, complete with the name of its creator on the box, like the author of a book.

Unlike traditional board games like Candy Land, Sorry!, or Trivial Pursuit that are based on rolling the dice, moving a pawn, and doing what the space dictates, modern board games are much more complex. In Pandemic, for instance, students work cooperatively to carefully manage and deploy resources. Though there’s still some element of chance, it’s strategy and communication that ultimately win the game. And a healthy dose of critical thinking and other library information skills doesn’t hurt either.

Link to rest of article by Christopher Harris from School Library Journal