Blogs on Game-Based Learning

Game-Based Learning

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Get tips, techniques, and tools that apply the principles of game design to the learning process -- engaging kids and helping educators assess learning.

Dan BloomDecember 10, 2013

Minecraft, the popular sandbox game, is beloved by educators for its use as a learning tool. It enables students to explore, create and imagine in a completely different way than they could ever do in a traditional classroom. The beauty of the game is in the way it unleashes the creativity of both students and teachers.

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Rachelle VallonNovember 12, 2013

What if instruction could actually engage students and get them excited about learning? What if school could foster student creativity and support their expanding imaginations? What if educators around the world had the tools to provide students with the 21st century skills to imagine and create their own futures in our ever-changing global society?

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Matthew FarberOctober 14, 2013

In early September, my sixth grade social studies students began playing the SimCityEDU beta. Around the same time, my seventh graders began playing a non-digital debate game -- complete with teams, a point system and a leaderboard. All of my students are rewarded for their growth and accomplishments with a digital badge system. After one month, I find that my students remain highly engaged in their learning. Gamifying my classroom has truly been transformative!

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Matthew FarberSeptember 11, 2013

When today's K-12 students enter college and embark in their careers, they will most likely encounter a wide array of game-like elements, such as badge systems. In June, Blackboard Learn, a learning management system for higher education, announced a partnership with Mozilla to support digital badges. In the corporate world, badge systems are also used to increase employee productivity. Mozilla's Open Badges Backpack serves as a virtual resume to display one's mastered skills.

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Andrew MillerAugust 23, 2013

Play has earned some inaccurate baggage of connotations over the years. When we talk about playing in education or play time, many would push back that it is not appropriate to play in classroom, or that play is not good learning. This could not be farther from the truth. I think Fred Rogers put it best:

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.
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Mary Beth HertzAugust 14, 2013

In her 2011 book, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, game development expert and author Jane McGonigal describes a number of ways that games can improve our lives by using experience and research to link games with feelings of connectedness, self-worth, fulfillment and happiness.

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Matthew FarberJuly 24, 2013

Over the years, many video games with social themes have been developed. In 2005, the United Nations World Food Programme released Food Force. Food Force was a downloadable game, developed by game publisher Konami, in which players delivered food to people in need. Another game for social change was MTV's Darfur Is Dying. Released in 2006, this online game put players in the role of a refugee in civil war-torn Darfur.

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Deepak KulkarniJuly 5, 2013

Many people enjoy working on grid puzzles as small, quick challenges of their mathematical and logical skills. Here is one you may not have seen, the OkiDoku. How does it work? Looking at the grid above, try to find four different numbers and put them in these 16 squares in a way that will satisfy the following two conditions:

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Andrew MillerJune 26, 2013

I had a great time at this year's ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference, as both a presenter and participant. Of course I was excited to hear Jane McGonigal again as she engaged us in thinking about games for learning and other amazing purposes. As ISTE closes, there are many free resources that I saw either introduced or highlighted around game-based learning (GBL), from educational games to gamification in the classroom. I'm always looking for free! (Aren't we all?) Some of these tools and concepts have already been featured in news reports about education, but following are a few ideas as you consider using them.

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Matthew FarberJune 11, 2013

Mashable defines gamification as "applying game thinking or even game mechanics into a non-game context. " Game mechanics in the "real world" include earning badges, completing missions and leveling up. Non-game companies, like Amazon, Deloitte and Salesforce.com, gamify to increase customer engagement. Gamification puts the customer on a journey motivated by intrinsic, or personally meaningful, rewards. An example is earning a "mayorship" badge on the mobile application Foursquare by "checking in" regularly to the same location.

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