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May 23, 2015

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Quest to Learn: A collaborative effort to design engaging game-like learning environments | Gaming Life

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If you’ve played enough well-designed games, you know that they provide immediate feedback, are constantly challenging, promote learning by doing, and reframe failure as iteration. As most teachers already know, these are core principles of good teaching. This is a powerful relationship. When we make it explicit, and design from it, we see students engaged in playful, studious, and deep learning.

In 2009, the Institute of Play, a not-for-profit design studio founded by a group of game designers, […]

International Games Day @ your library

International Games Day

The American Library Association (ALA) is coordinating the annual International Games Day @ your library (IGD12) for Saturday, November 3, 2012. It is estimated that more than one thousand libraries around the world will showcase gaming programs and services in support of IGD12. This year marks the 5th annual event. In 2011, over 27,700 people played games at more than 1,400 libraries across the U.S. and in other countries.

Get Kids Designing with Student-Created Games | The Gaming Life

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Over the last five years, as the gaming and library technology specialist for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, an educational services agency that supports the libraries of 22 small, rural districts in western New York state, I’ve helped develop a gaming program that enables teachers, in collaboration with myself and the school librarian, to integrate non-digital game resources into their classroom curriculum.

The Competitive Edge: Online gaming can motivate students and make learning more fun

The word competitiveness often conjures up a negative image. Maybe it’s an athlete willing to do anything to be the best. Or perhaps it’s a corporate shark climbing up the workplace ladder by backstabbing co-workers. But being competitive doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. I’m a very competitive gamer and believe in giving my all to anything—especially a good game. But I always play by the rules. And if I win, that’s certainly a plus.

Playing competitive […]

Wii Learn: Surprise elementary grade students with a fun way to learn math

For the past two years, we have been using a tool to support math instruction in our schools that is as familiar to many students as riding a bike—the Nintendo Wii. Viewing the video game console through the eyes of an educator has opened up a world of mathematical applications through which students can master concepts, teachers can align with the Common Core Standards, and classrooms can reflect students’ experiences and interests.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative […]

Creative Tabletop Gaming: ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ and Libraries (Oh My!)

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) has been available for 37 years in a variety of editions, and it still remains the standard for tabletop role-playing games (RPGs). Like similar games, play largely exists in the imaginations of its participants. Play is aided by limited visual aids such as maps and tokens, and dice are used to determine the outcome of certain events.

The Dungeon Master (DM) plans, organizes, and describes the action, and each player (between 4 and 6 […]

What Is Systems Thinking?: Interactive Components of Video Games Are Perfect Examples

“Why didn’t we do this sooner?” This question was posed by a student at Franklin High School in Portland, Oregon, who was failing Diana Fisher’s math class. Many people dislike math because it is so abstract and just not a natural way to think about problems, Fisher candidly admits. So she’s on a constant quest to make it easier for her students. She found the answer by integrating a systems thinking model into her classroom.

Diana Fisher recently […]

New York Comic Con 2011: Video games take the spotlight at this pop-culture event

More than 100,000 attendees jammed the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in October for the East Coast’s largest pop-culture event—New York City’s 2011 Comic Con—featuring the latest in comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, and movies. Many of the standing-room-only sessions were geared towards teachers and librarians, providing information about video games in libraries, e-books, graphic novels as tools to connect with library users, and more.

Panels were packed with librarians, graphic designers, gamers, and comic […]

‘Tis the Season: A wonderland of new games for classrooms, libraries, or just for fun | The Gaming Life

Meeples in colors and boards that are linen.

Bright flashy game bits and knowing I’m winning.

Unopened game boxes tied up with strings.

These are a few of my favorite things!

The winter season is filled with a special atmosphere and traditions: holiday decorations, hot cocoa with panetone, the Riverbottom Nightmare Band, and holiday shopping. Just like the retail market unveils their best items during the months […]

Energize the Curriculum: Put game-based learning in the palm of your students’ hands | The Gaming Life

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Mobile computing and game-based learning are two of the six major trends that will have a huge impact on K-12 learning in the next five years according to projections found in the New Media Corsortium’s 2011 K-12 Edition of the Horizon Report (http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2011-Horizon-Report-K12.pdf). Mobile devices like Apple’s iPod Touch and iPad are already being used in classrooms around the world. In Pender County Schools in Burgaw, NC, we began placing iPod […]

Some Ideas for Fall Play: Ease into the new school year with games that facilitate social interaction | The Gaming Life

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Every fall, students return to school a little unsure of what to expect from their classes and their peers. For younger children, excitement mingles with fear. Many middle and high school students find that the summer break has weakened the social structure that wields a mighty influence on their lives and are somewhat open to redefining these social boundaries.

This presents an opportunity for educators to re-introduce students to their learning environment […]

Becoming Lore Keepers | The Gaming Life

If you had asked me six years ago when Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft (WoW), the popular MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplay Game), launched if I would be spearheading an effort to bring it into the classroom, it is very likely that I would have laughed. It isn’t that I would have thought it was a bad idea, but there would have been so many barriers that it would have been impractical. […]

Kinect Four and Win!: A fun way to explore innovative learning opportunities A fun way to explore innovative learning opportunities | The Gaming Life

Remember the classic tabletop game Connect Four where you drop colored chips from the top of a seven column six row grid until you or your opponent line up four of your own color chips in a row? What I love about the game is not just the sound of chips falling into slots, but also the many ways you can win depending on how you can connect, whether vertically, horizontally, […]

Wii Have Fun and Learn | The Gaming Life

Video game play can support the curriculum in many exciting ways

What would you do with $10,000? A small group of special education students at Agnes Macphail Public School in Toronto, Ontario, transformed an old sea shanty into a music video to answer that question. With the help of their teacher and teacher-librarian, they entered the Best in Class Fund contest, an annual technology grant awarded by Best Buy Canada for innovative ways of […]

Board Game Design | The Gaming Life

Incan Gold

A pedagogical tool for inquiry and expression

“It’s about Barbie” the first girl began. I chuckled and then began to smile as the two high school seniors began to explain their game. They were just one of six groups in a class participating in a collaborative project facilitated by Kathy Wahl, Avon (NY) Central School Dis-trict’s high school librarian, the school’s statistics teacher, and myself that centered around utilizing board game de-sign as a method for inquiry and expression.

We divided the […]

Stop Disasters! | The Gaming Life

Gaming programs can help disseminate vital information to the community

Every year, natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and earthquakes wreak havoc all over the world. And South Carolina is no exception. Hurricane Hugo, a devastating category 5 hurricane, struck coastal South Carolina in 1989 causing $4.2 billion in damage. Education and preparedness are keys to survival, and libraries can help disseminate that vital information.

I manage the Bunnelle Youth Technology Series (BYTES) […]

The Future Is Kinect-thetic | The Gaming Life

Skeletal mapping technology offers full-body play without a controller

Microsoft’s Kinect™ sensor debuted in November 2010. Originally known as Project Natal, Microsoft unveiled a computer boy named Milo at the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) conference the previous year. Audiences were both impressed and apprehensive as a demonstrator drew a picture of fish on a piece of paper in the real world and made a gesture to hand it to Milo through the screen. The […]

“Board” with the Curriculum: Games can help cultivate important skills in an information-rich setting | The Gaming Life

Deduction and problem-solving, while born of the sciences, have at their heart an approach to life and learning that extends its tendrils to most every facet of our lives. These skills are a vital part of the body of learning.

These skills don’t come from textbooks. They are derived from the realm of experience and application. But when practiced solely in the insular space of experiments and the sciences, they run […]

Help Wanted: How to turn a passion for gaming into an exciting career | The Gaming Life

Computer and video game development and design is a rapidly growing career field. According to the Entertainment Software Association (theesa.com), video game software sales in 2009 reached $10.5 billion. And the good news for students contemplating gaming-related careers is that 300 colleges, universities, and technical schools in the United States now offer programs and courses in video game design and development. There is a wide variety of different career paths available […]

First Amendment Rights | The Gaming Life

As marketing for National Gaming Day, November 13, 2010, began at the Haverhill (MA) Public Library, potential participants were enticed by the list of games that would be available.

Rock Band and Mario Kart were featured, but a surprising number of children, some as young as ten, asked, “What about Call of Duty: Black Ops?, the highly anticipated game debuting a week before the event. When asked if they were allowed […]