App of the Week: Drawing games for learning

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

Adventure Time Game Wizard is an iOS and Android app set in the universe of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time show. The high production value is quickly apparent with fluid animations and great-sounding audio, including the show’s voice actors. There are three main modes: Play, Create, and Arcade. Play brings you through the game’s story, switching between five characters from the show. This is classic platformer action akin to Super Mario Brothers; the on-screen character runs and jumps to collect coins and power-ups while avoiding or attacking enemies. Coins collected in Play mode are used to unlock extra enemies, backgrounds, and other items for Create mode.…Read More

App of the Week: Gorgeous game brings students into Thoreau’s world

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

Walden, a game is a simulation of Thoreau’s grand experiment to live in solitude for a couple of years on Walden Pond. Students assume the role of Thoreau (in first person) and experience the seasons at Walden over about six hours of play, collecting bits and pieces (represented as arrowheads) of Thoreau’s writing as they go. It works for both those familiar with games and those not. For students more into games, there’s a working simulation in place that can be explored and understood akin to the popular “survival” genre of games. For students who might not play many games, these systems are relatively forgiving, and it’s possible to just focus on the writings and philosophies of Thoreau — often offered with voice-over narration.…Read More

Video of the Week: Discover the learning in ANY game

Ed. note: Video of the Week picks are supplied by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to watch the video at Common Sense Education.

Video Description: Every game has potential for learning. Consider the educational value in some of the more popular, entertainment-focused games that your students (and you!) already enjoy at home. Of course, not all games are school-appropriate, but you can approach any game from an educational perspective. Think of games as experiences rather than instruction–as field trips, not textbooks. It’s a perspective that’s as valuable for students as it is for teachers. To learn more about using games in the classroom, visit our collection, Find the Learning in Any Game.

Video:…Read More

5 ways educational games improve learning, according to teachers

When teachers used digital educational games in the classroom, students raised test scores by more than half a letter grade in only three weeks, according to a study from researchers at Vanderbilt University and partners at Legends of Learning, a research-driven educational game platform.

The new research, published by the Journal of the Learning Sciences, demonstrates the benefits of game-based learning for students when compared to students who had no access to such games.

Substantial Integration of Typical Educational Games into Extended Curricula” involved more than 1,000 students of 13 teachers in 10 diverse urban, suburban and rural schools in seven states.…Read More

App of the Week: A game of meaning

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

Everything is an exploratory game about interconnectedness inspired by the Zen philosophy of Alan Watts. You start off as a single speck of light, moving in open space. You form thoughts and become conscious. Then, you’re on an open plain or desert populated with little critters and rocks and trees. You’re a zebra, albeit a poorly rendered, flipping-head-over-feet-over-head-to-move-around-like-a-square-wheel zebra, as if you’re playing an unfinished game. In fact, all the other animals you can see are also somersaulting around the plain. At first this is puzzling, but you learn later that this animation choice is completely understandable, since there’s a lot to this world: a plenitude of animals, plants, rocks, human-made devices, and many other objects, populating lots of different biomes.…Read More

These 3 game-based components can increase student achievement-here’s how

Remember the days of Oregon Trail? How about Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? While learning games have been around for decades, technological advancements are creating an entirely more modern gaming experience—one where quality mirrors the digital literacy expectations of today’s student, one that entices the student to play and play again, and one that aligns a game’s outcomes with the goals of the course.

Every game teaches the player something, from the very basics of how to play the game to achieving the game’s objectives, whether it be killing zombies or winning races. As Eli Neiburger points out in the paper “The Deeper Game of Pokémon, or, How the World’s Biggest RPG Inadvertently Teaches 21st Century Kids Everything They Need to Know,” entertainment games are proven to teach very complex skills and knowledge.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, knowing how to kill a zombie or effectively battle Pokémon doesn’t necessarily translate to a useful skill. Below are three key components to successful game-based learning:…Read More

App of the Week: Minecraft for the classroom

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

Minecraft: Education Edition takes everything teachers love about Minecraft and adds new collaboration tools, classroom controls, and more. The Classroom mode gives teachers a map view of the world and the ability to interact with the students in one central location; if a student wanders away from the group, the teacher can easily bring the avatar (student) back to the working area. Teachers can create “chalkboards” of different sizes to display their learning objectives within the game, as well as non-playable characters (NPCs) to act as guides with links to more information. A camera tool has opened up new opportunities, as well. Students can now take pictures (and selfies) of their creations and generate a portfolio of their work to show the learning process. A newer feature, the Code Builder, lets students use programming to perform tasks in the game.…Read More

App of the Week: Emojis to fun-ify coding

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

With Codemoji, the inner workings of websites are demystified as students get hands-on experience building webpages and animations. The “emoji” part of Codemoji is exactly that: a library of relatable emoticons that represent specific, text-based commands in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (for example, an HTML Head Tag is represented by a panda head emoticon). Emoji are strung together to create lines of code that follow standard coding logic and syntax. Run the Codemoji in the Live Display box to instantly see the webpage or animation in action. The Show Tags tab displays the text version of the code.…Read More

App of the Week: Coding through fun game design

Ed. noteApp of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

In Ready Maker, you add backgrounds, icons, and behaviors to make your own digital creations through an app (or downloaded on a PC or Mac). The coding is extremely simple, relying on visual drag-and-drop blocks and clear, concise directions rather than any actual coding language. The core concepts are there, however, and students exposed to Ready Maker likely will find actual coding familiar in the future. Students can make mazes, video games, animations, or just about anything else they can imagine.…Read More

Believe the hype! How video games are changing education

To draw a parallel between video gaming and education may cause the more traditional educators to balk at the thought, but recent developments in the field of video game research reveal dramatic correlations between playing video games and the ability to learn.

1.2 billion people play video games worldwide. This is a rather significant portion of the population and if we ignore the negative consequences for the moment, which include addictive qualities and deprioritizing of school work, we can delve into the beneficial correlations between gaming and education.

Studies have revealed that students find gaming and gamification of work positively stimulating and motivating. Online games in particular encourage multitasking and instantaneous decision making, which helps students learn to better manage unanticipated events and above all inspires creativity.…Read More