Is it time to fire up gaming consoles in classrooms?

Digital learning has become a significant part of education as a result of the pandemic, and schools are continually finding innovative ways to engage and motivate students online. So, with Ofcom revealing six in ten children played games online in 2021, what might the use of video gaming in the classroom look like to engage students with a model they’re already invested in?

Historically, gaming has been associated with recreational activities rather than as a medium used to boost the diversity of learning techniques, despite it being an actual benefit to a child’s literacy, empathy and imagination.

The question is: Does gaming have a viable role to play right now, as digital learning continues to claw its way to the forefront of education, or is it simply an unwelcome distraction?…Read More

Reaching the 4Cs with 3D and virtual reality

I thought I was ahead of the times when I acquired virtual reality headsets and other
mixed reality technology via a grant award in late 2019. The pandemic shutdowns halted my plans to use the acquired virtual reality headsets for virtual field trips and other STEM investigations. Returning to in-person learning just six months later, the prospect of utilizing this tech for meaningful integration seemed more daunting and less appealing.

Feedback from my students revealed that they had already consumed hours of 360° views while gaming on their home computers and were well versed in digital travel because teachers frequently used video tours as engagement tools during the pandemic.

To overcome my discouragement, I recalled that in 2020, Natale et al. published a review of recent research related to learning with virtual reality and concluded that VR is not as impactful on learning when done with non-immersive tools such as the Chromebooks students were issued when they were forced into distance learning. …Read More

The critical link between scholastic esports and career pathways education

When I first approached my administration back in August 2021 about implementing a scholastic esports program at school, I had imagined facing significant opposition to the idea, and, in preparation, had rehearsed my talking points and done my research in order to be persuasive.  I was prepared to talk about the connections to STEM learning, the opportunity to engage otherwise disengaged students, the inclusive nature of gaming, the research behind gamification and game-based learning, and more. 

None of that was necessary, however, as my school principal was extremely supportive in my effort to implement scholastic esports at the school and, more importantly, to use the program to teach students transferable skills while simultaneously encouraging them to explore related career pathways.

I began my esports program with a focus on social-emotional well-being using resources from NASEF to structure initial lessons.  Before jumping into the competitive aspects of esports and gaming, we spent three weeks discussing the importance of positive mental health and the negative effects associated with some online gaming cultures.  This included discussions of toxicity and online “trash talk” of opponents, as well as the impact on one’s emotional well-being and overall confidence as a result of being repeatedly subjected to such toxicity. …Read More

46 edtech innovations at ISTELive 22

It was fantastic to gather in person at ISTELive 22 in New Orleans. Here’s a sample of the newest edtech innovations, products, and solutions eSchool News learned about during the show.

3M and Discovery Education announced 31 State Merit Winners in the 2022 3M Young Scientist Challenge. As the nation’s premier middle school science competition for 15 years, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge features outstanding innovations from young scientists that utilize the power of STEM to improve the world.  The 3M Young Scientist Challenge asks students in grades 5-8 to identify an everyday problem in their classroom, community, or the world and submit a one- to two-minute video communicating the science behind their solution.

Aperture was on hand to demonstrate its scalable SEL solution for K-12 that grows with students and staff, from teacher-based ratings and strategies at the elementary level, to student- and teacher-facing assessment and strategy software for high school students and staff. Research-based DESSA assessments provide partners with an SEL foundation rooted in the promotion of assets, not deficits.…Read More

How esports promotes inclusion and belonging

I grew up a casual gamer, half-decent at a few games like ‘Yoshi’s Island’ and ‘Rush.’ The most intense PC games I ever played were ‘Minesweeper’ and ‘Frogger.’ Esports and gaming weren’t something I thought would be a major part of my career.

Had you told high school me that I would be a computer science and information technology teacher, she would have not believed you. On top of that, to tell high school me that she would be heavily involved in growing esports throughout the state of Utah, and she would have audibly laughed at you. Seriously–gaming was not on my radar AT ALL. 

But let me tell you how esports found me–and why I’m so happy it did.…Read More

MiEN Company Releases White Paper on Creating a Scholastic Esports Program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – June 15, 2022 – An increasing number of schools are finding that scholastic esports – competitive online video gaming between schools – provide the same social and emotional learning (SEL) benefits as traditional athletics and can also be used to teach a variety of subjects. To help schools implement this new pedagogical support, MiEN Company has published a white paper titled “ Using Esports to Teach K–12 Academic and Social Emotional Skills: Design of Esports Environment Supports Skill Development Outcomes.”

The white paper informs readers about resources like the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), which offers a free state-approved esports curriculum for class time instruction or after-school activities. Readers will also find information about the Middle School Esports League, the High School Esports League and the National Association of Collegiate Esports. The white paper outlines the benefits that each organization can provide for schools and students.

“Using Esports to Teach” also discusses how esports programs can help educators prepare students for STEM careers. In addition to describing the various career pathways, the white paper provides as a link to a NASEF infographic that shows how esports can prepare students for not only STEM careers but also for occupations such as event planner, business consultant, writer, financial advisor and more.…Read More

Royelles Launches Industry’s First Inclusive Mobile Gaming Metaverse Dedicated To Educating And Empowering Young Girls

WASHINGON D.C., June 14, 2022Royelles, a global educational gaming (Ed Gaming) platform empowering girls and non-binary individuals through inclusive play, today announced it’s official launch. Royelles is on a mission to disrupt the $180B+ mobile gaming industry through transformational storytelling and inclusive role modeling, in an effort to dismantle the global identity crisis disproportionately impacting girls. 

A female-founded platform for girls, Royelles aims to bridge the gap between girls’ potential and their dreams, and ignite their curiosity and confidence towards solving the world’s biggest problems in STEAM. Royelles’ gamified mobile play platform meets the demands of 21st century 6-12 years olds, and their adult influencers. Powered by AR, AI, and voice technologies, the newly launched, learning-based mobile app is anchored in fierce female avatar personas and real-life super(s)heros with inspiring professions across science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.

“We believe that everyone deserves to be bold, fearless, and undaunted architects of their destinies,” said Múkami Kinoti Kimotho CEO & Founder of Royelles. “Our mission is rooted in opening the window of possibilities to every girl, so that they know that they are fully equipped to realize their greatest potential. And, that their difference is their superpower.” …Read More

Spectrum Industries Boosts Esports Solutions Lineup with the Game-Changing Alliance24 Laptop Gaming Cart

Chippewa Falls, WisconsinFebruary 24, 2022– Spectrum Industries, a leading esports furniture and charging cart manufacturer, has announced the release of their game-changing Alliance24 Laptop Gaming Cart.

Created as a mobile esports home base for 24 athletes, the charging cart can store, charge and transport up to 24 headsets, mice and the largest gaming laptops on the market.…Read More

Teaching coding and design can lead to tech literacy

Technology is ubiquitous in the lives of today’s students. As technology users, students access technology for entertainment, communication, and learning. Tech literacy, which has become as essential as reading, writing, and arithmetic in preparing students for the future, encourages students to move beyond the role of technology consumers to becoming technology creators.

Encouraging technology creators means engaging students in project-based technology courses that introduce them to coding, design, gaming, and animation. And as students complete projects such as developing an app, creating a 3D video game, or designing a collection, they gain relevant, hands-on experience using industry-standard tools professionals use. Students apply creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills–competencies that are important in preparing students for the future and are applicable to any career, whether it’s in technology or not.

While states are adding computer science as a requirement for high school graduation, fewer than half of K–12 public schools are able to offer technology courses. For Wautoma High School in rural Wautoma, Wisconsin, adding technology courses to the high school offering afforded equity of access to an online solution that would otherwise be prohibitive to a smaller district.…Read More