5 gaming dynamics that truly engage students

From Angry Birds to Minecraft, gaming holds extraordinary potential for today’s students

gaming-educationGaming. It’s more than a buzzword in today’s schools, but it still sometimes carries a stigma–is gaming really an effective way for students to learn?

The answer, according to computer science teacher Douglas Kiang: Games are powerful motivators.

“As teachers, we need to learn how games do what they do, and how we make that into productive learning by using those game dynamics to accomplish our purpose,” Kiang said during an in-demand ISTE 2014 session.…Read More

8 examples of how gaming is changing education

Here’s how to use gaming to change teaching and learning

gaming-listOnce accompanied by a stigma, educational gaming has gained even more momentum over the past year.

Across the nation, teachers are recognizing that engaging and immersive educational games can motivate students to learn and excel–without students even realizing it.

Game developers are still challenged to develop entertaining games that deliver research-based, pedagogically-sound experiences for students–but when those games do succeed, administrators and teachers are able to use the real-time data being collected in the background to inform instruction.…Read More

Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2013, No. 7: Gaming

eSchool News counts down the ten most significant developments in educational technology during the past year. No. 7 touches on gaming’s place in the classroom.

gaming-Top10In school systems from coast to coast, tech-savvy educators experimented with augmented reality, educational gaming, and other techniques designed to enhance teaching and learning.

These are only some of the key ed-tech developments affecting K-12 schools in the past year—and we’ve got a full recap for you.

Here, the editors of eSchool News highlight what we think are the 10 most significant ed-tech stories of 2013.…Read More

More educators turning to educational gaming

Engaging forms of educational gaming offer real-time data, individualized learning opportunities

ed-gamingEducational gaming has been present in classrooms and schools for more than a few years, but is gaining more recognition as school leaders search for ways to engage students and gather data that offers meaningful insight on student learning.

Educators often have different definitions for educational gaming, ranging from a gaming-focused educational software to an immersive, multi-player environment. And while gaming isn’t the only way educators can reach students and tailor instruction accordingly, it can be an engaging and unique option for school leaders to explore, some experts say.

“Educational gaming is good for most kids, for some things, some of the time,” said Dan White, CEO at Filament Games. “It’s not going to be a silver bullet, but [can be beneficial] used in conjunction with other things.”…Read More

ISTE keynote: Gaming has huge educational potential

Opening keynoter Jane McGonigal addressed gaming’s educational potential.

Gaming–educational gaming in particular–has supporters and skeptics. During the ISTE 2013 opening keynote, speaker Jane McGonigal, a gaming researcher and author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, laid out a vision for how gaming can help boost student engagement.

Calling game designers “happiness engineers” and experts in making difficult tasks engaging, McGonigal said that educators and policy makers should leverage game designers’ wisdom as they try to address important challenges in today’s world.

The number of gamers worldwide recently topped 1 billion, McGonigal said, and while skeptics might “think about games as being a waste of time, to avoid being a productive member of society, 1 billion gamers is actually the best news you’ll hear all week—it’s good news for parents and teachers, for learning and education, and good news, most of all, for anyone who wants to help pitch in and solve some of the world’s most epic challenges.”…Read More

Educational gaming gaining steam

Educational gaming can prompt shy students to engage with their peers.

Educational gaming is a well-known concept in educational technology by now, though many schools have yet to implement it in their classrooms. But as experts often agree, gaming can have a positive effect on student achievement and engagement.

The focus should not be solely on games, but on good games, said Dan White, CEO and a founding partner of Filament Games. Filament aims to merge best practices from learning with best practices from commercial game development to leverage the power of games and technology for learning fully.

“The question of ‘how’ is important, because this isn’t yet a part of mainstream reality for us,” he said.…Read More

Educational gaming on the rise, but funding remains a challenge

Teachers most often use literacy or math games in the classroom.

In a national survey, teachers say they believe that using digital games in the classroom helps students maintain concentration and enthusiasm for learning, while making it easier for teachers to differentiate instruction and assess students.

The survey of 505 teachers who use digital games in their K-8 classrooms aims to identify what teachers think about game-based learning and how digital games affect students beyond academic achievement. It offers a mix of qualitative interviews with quantitative data to offer a more rounded picture of teacher opinions.

The survey, Teacher Attitudes about Digital Games in the Classroom, released by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop in collaboration with and support from BrainPOP, was released at the NewSchools Venture Fund-Aspen Institute Summit in San Francisco.…Read More

Experts: Collaboration tools hold big promise for education

An expert panel said social networking can help boost student engagement.

Social networking and educational gaming ignite spirited debates regarding their practicality in the classroom: Some educators say those technologies can engage students in new ways, while others question their actual effectiveness.

How Blogs, Social Media, and Video Games Improve Education,” a new paper from Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, seeks to examine how collaboration tools can improve teaching and learning, and it identifies some of the key challenges that such tools must overcome.

At an April 24 Brookings Institution forum, a panel of experts discussed the impact that collaboration tools can have on education and key aspects of integrating collaborative technologies into curriculum.…Read More

Viewpoint: Educational software games could leave poor children even poorer

Socioeconomic status should not prohibit technology access.
Socioeconomic status should not prohibit technology access.

The amazing progress of technology used in modern teaching resources herald huge advances in learning opportunities. But are the costs of the equipment that play the new educational games limiting the scope to wealthy schools and families? Could children from economically disadvantaged families and countries get left behind?

Educational gaming software as we know it may soon become a stronghold of select major players. Developments are well underway with technology companies who view the educational market with keen interest. Understandably, they are primarily focused on the commercial opportunity that links the software to their branded products. But the arrival of these big companies could stem the flow of those great ideas that emerged from teachers and educationalists who previously developed the games for educational use.

In the distant past, a key feature of “slate and chalk” learning was its very low cost.  Education using this fundamental communication technique focused on the ability of the teacher and the commitment of the child. It was a level playing field for all.…Read More

Researchers: Even violent video games can be learning tools

Panelists discussed how people learn and how games can be engineered to be even more educational.
Panelists discussed how people learn and how games can be engineered to be even more educational.

You’re at the front lines shooting Nazis before they shoot you. Or, you’re a futuristic gladiator in a death match with robots. Either way, you’re playing a video game—and you might be improving your vision and other brain functions, according to research presented May 27 at a New York University conference on games as a learning tool.

“People that play these fast-paced games have better vision, better attention, and better cognition,” said Daphne Bavelier, an assistant professor in the department of brain and cognitive science at the University of Rochester.

Bavelier was a presenter at a daylong symposium on the educational uses of video and computer games from NYU’s Games for Learning Institute. The event was another indication that electronic games are gaining legitimacy in the classroom. (The University of Wisconsin-Madison also hosts an annual conference on educational gaming.)…Read More