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#1 Belfast Festival of Learning – Save the Date » and via Twitter during ISTE 12 » 2020-09-06 07:07:01

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Where gaming and education converge.
In case you hadn’t noticed, education is full of jargon and rife with an alphabet soup of programs, policies, and practice.
It’s often challenging for me as a professional in education technology to keep my terminology defined.
What’s the difference between  and.
When you say PBL, do you mean  or.
Of course, my own area of passion in education, the use of games and game principles for learning is faced with a similar, murky sea of words and ideas.
Recent discussions, between , , and  via Twitter during ISTE 12, forced me to consider the issues.
For me, it’s time to refine the definition of “game-based learning.”   One of the best things that game-based learning is bringing back to the education reform discussion is the value of play and a playful approach to learning.
This is nothing new (), of course, but it’s an idea that has seen hard times in an era of standardization and high-stakes testing.
The value, here, is in encouraging learners to “play” with ideas.
In doing so, the idea of failure is either not possible or is an accepted part of the process.
Using this sort of approach also provides learners with opportunities to test ideas and hypotheses to solve ill-defined problems.
Some key thinkers in this area that you should review include:  , ,  and.
Though an integral part of game-based learning, it’s a only a component of the bigger picture.
First off, notice I’m saying “using games to teach” not “using video games to teach.”  I think this in an important first distinction.
While most of my work has been in the application of video games to instructional goals, I think that focusing solely  on video games is too limiting.
There are some incredible games out there that are not electronic at all.
Secondly, I think it’s important for educators to distinguish between simulations and games.
Simulations provide experiences through which participants experience concepts and are certainly , however, they lack many of the elements that games bring to the learning process.
So, how do we define “game,” then.
According to , “a game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules.

That results in a quantifiable outcome.”  Others include variations on the definition

but the fundamentals of rules, challenge, and interaction are foundational.
I see the idea of “using games to teach” as the use of a pre-designed game to help learners reach an instructional goal.
In the world of video games, this breaks down into two areas that I feel are distinct:  the use of “educational” games (think ) and the use of commercial, .

Off-the-shelf games for education (think using  to teach World History)

The quotes around educational are intentional.
All  are educational even if they weren’t designed with the classroom in mind.
My personal passion is exploring the use of games not designed for the classroom to help learners understand concepts.
Serious games is another term that you’ll often hear in discussions on game-based learning.

According to Wikipedia a serious game is

“a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment.”  That definition can encompass a broad range of games including “educational games,” games designed for training, games designed to solve real-world problems, etc.
I believe that the  movement would also fit as a subset of serious games.
Consider the game , designed to help cancer patients not only learn about the disease but also fight it.
Gamification is applying the principles of games and game design to a non-game-related system.
This concept is quickly gaining momentum in the corporate world, spurred on by increased access to social media and mobile technology among consumers.
Take a look at , for example.
When gamifying a business, consumers unlock badges and awards for being frequent patrons and earn points for participating in events and activities much as they would by completing activities in a game like Call of Duty or World of Warcaft.
When applied to the classroom, the discussion focuses on ideas such as replacing traditional grades with experience points and levels, player groups, and redesigning lessons to be more akin to the  (see ) that players might experience in a game.
It’s important for educators to distinguish, here, that this idea can be applied to any subject area and doesn’t necessarily involve the use of a pre-designed game.

A video by the folks at Extra Credits does a decent job of summarizing the idea –

This is also another opportunity for me to plug , an online system that makes this process manageable for classroom teachers.
For my own sanity, I’ll be lumping the ideas of using games to teach and gamification under the bigger umbrella of “game-based learning.”  Of course, I’ll still have to ask others using the term what them mean when they say it.
If you’re interested in learning more, follow the #GBL tag on Twitter.
If you’re looking to engage with other educators in the trenches who are wrestling exploring these issues, take a look at ‘s  (#levelupbc on Twitter)                                                                              June 28.

2012 |                                                                 Posted in:

,  |                                         Tags: , , , ,  |                                                                                                                                                                            Over the past two years I’ve been approached by several people from around the world inquiring about our World of Warcraft in School Project.
Yet, despite the numerous contacts, I’m only aware of two other schools/school systems who’ve started similar projects.
Of course, there are many potential barriers from costs to people-barriers.

Craig Lawson () and I have worked over the past year to create a full-year

standards-aligned language arts course that is based on.

We have several goals in doing so:      Last Friday

we decided to kick it out of the nest.
It’s a work in progress and we sincerely welcome your feedback.
If you want to start something similar in your school, it contains most of what you need to get started.
For what’s missing, well, that’s where the power of networking comes into play.
Contact me, especially via Twitter (), and I’ll do my best to fill in the gaps.
If you’d like to download the.
PDF of the curriculum, you can find it on or preview it below:                                                                              June 20.

2011 |                                                                 Posted in:

|                                         Tags: , , , , , ,  |                                                                                                                                                                               3.
Recruit your IT folks.
You’re likely to need some special attention from them.
Bring them on board as partners with your project.
Praise them and market how awesome they are as they support your project.
(They too often are overlooked or get a bad rap for doing their jobs.)  They’ll need to know  any games will have on things like bandwidth,  your filter, etc.
You may have to gather that research for them because they’re probably very busy with other issues.
My IT people have been amazing and have really gone above and beyond (such as providing bandwidth impact graphs, .

And helping to set up a MineCraft server on our local network)

Find your “at-risk” learners and “fringe” kids.
Really, most of our students are at a minimum, at-risk for extreme boredom, and many of our labeled “at-risk” learners are simply bored with school and don’t see relevance.
These students are ideal and usually need something engaging and relevant to anchor them in school.
We’ve also seen some incredible things with students who are identified ADD/ADHD and even the mildly autistic.
Let the kids “own” (or ““) their learning.
Read and share your reading.
Have some supporting research.
We’re building a list at.
Also consider having a few copies of Gee’s What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy and Prensky’s Don’t Bother Me Mom — I’m Learning on hand to loan.
March 31, 2011 |                                                                 Posted in: , ,  |                                         Tags: , , , , , ,  |.
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