BrainPop is a highly popular educational platform with an array of different brainpop games, brainpop videos, lesson plans, research and apps all in one website. The site contains resources for Science, English, Social Science, Math, Engineering, Technology, Health, Arts and Music, all linked to educational standards with a handy standards tool.
Thousands of schools are participating in Hour of Code, a global initiative to get more kids engaged in computer science. Tynker, a creative platform to help children develop programming skills, has launched 10 new coding activities to support the hour of code. Tynker’s unique approach motivates students to learn because they can create their own characters, animate them, and rapidly build their own games and interactive stories, using visual block-based programming.
Kodu is a visual programming language made specifically for creating games. By using an Xbox controller or keyboard, games are made using an icon-based user interface. The technology uses program concepts such as vision, hearing, and time to control character behavior, and different editors for terrain, paths and bridges allow almost unlimited creativity for game development.
Technology can help educators complete these tasks, but sometimes finding the right materials is tricky.Playful Learning is a free online portal specifically designed for educators looking for games to use with their classes. The site lists over 100 educational games that give detailed summaries with information explicitly for educators, such as implementation ideas and educational standards. The platform is a great resource for educators looking to use games in the classroom, not only because of the high-quality games listed, but also because of its time-saving educator-focused content.
Some educational games follow a structured pathway and are linked to common core standards, lesson plans and measurable performance outputs. However some students can revolt against this style of games, prefer to work out problems by themselves, or are simply more advanced in that subject than their peers to benefit from the game.
Scientific concepts can be difficult to relate to real life affairs, with many students simply learning off answers without truly understanding their application. However game-based learning can be a helpful tool for bridging the gap between knowledge and understanding. Learning about communicable diseases, such as measles, whooping cough and tuberculosis are part of most Middle and High School core science texts, andPox: Save the People is an award winning iPad app that can bridge this gap by supplementing biology/life science lessons in grades 6 – 12.
At first glance, a game about oil exploration wouldn’t be at the top of every student’s list for an exciting and fun educational game. But ‘The Quest for Oil’ manages to incorporate learning about geology, geography and the global oil industry with engaging graphics and well-crafted gameplay.
Turn a banana into a piano, or a piece of artwork into a video game controller. Sounds too crazy to believe? It’s possible with the electrifying MaKey MaKey. This invention kit uses the internet, a few cables and general technology principles to help users create their own unique touchpads to use with computer programs. The creators behind MaKey MaKey believe everyone has creative ideas and wanted to give them a product to help them use their imaginations and express some of that creativity.
D GameLab is a quest-based learning platform. Just as students complete quests and earn rewards while playing video games or popular MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games), they complete quests and earn badges for completing educational activities through 3D GameLab. Rather than textbooks and lectures, teachers use the 3D GameLab system to bring text and activities into the game in the form of quests. Students then complete the quests of their choosing and earn badges and awards, level up and try to top the gamer leaderboard.
Word games have long been heralded as a way of stimulating the brain, improve language skills, and help increase concentration and logic, and Futuba is no exception to this. This classic word game for the iPad uses both images and text to teach students new words and practice math problems.
Past/Present is a 3D role-playing social history game that uses four exciting episodes to learn about important historical events in US history including industrialization, immigration and labor conflicts. But the game is not only history based, but also focuses on important aspects of social studies such as culture, institutions, societal change and scientific transformation.
Conceived by the London based Kuato Studios, Hakitzu Elite is the first of many planned titles from the studio that focuses on teaching kids STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills through gameplay. The learning-while-playing concept is fundamental to Kuato Studios’ philosophy to help kids (and interested adults) develop these important life skills.
So what were kids up to during the Hour of Code? MakeWonder have shared with us how kids as young as 5 participated in the Hour of Code last week. Jake Lee, from Honolulu, Hawaii created this video to show how his first graders participated in the Hour of Code with the robots. They used Dash & Dot robots for programming activities to teach spatial reasoning and then moved on to Blockly (a visual programming tool developed by Google) to program robots through mazes.
Linden Lab®, the makers of Second Life have developed a brand new kid’s application for iPad. Blocksworld, similar to Minecraft, lets users build creations using 3D style Lego blocks. Using simple drag-and-drop controls, you can add interactivity and animations to anything you build such as crazy characters, cars, space rockets, animals, robots, planes and monsters.
Marie Curie, Martin Luther King Jr, Albert Einstein, Sir Alexander Fleming, Mother Teresa; all of these amazing individuals have one thing in common – winning the Nobel Prize. The Nobel Prize is one of the most highly regarded awards given to people working in the fields of literature, medicine, physics, chemistry, peace, and economics. But the Nobel Foundation is more than just an award giving Foundation, and has branched out into creating educational content related to the hard work done by Nobel Prize winners. Not only does their website contain video clips, documentaries, literature and history related to the winners, but it has over 29 interactive educational games for students to learn about key scientific, economic, literature and peace concepts.
Reflex is an online math game-based platform for Grades 2 and up, which aims to develop fluency in basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division math facts. The goal of Reflex is helping students develop automaticity with basic math facts. Attaining this skill is of major importance to students, as research has shown that those who can automatically recall math facts are better at problem solving and can learn new math skills quicker and easier.
Portal 2 is a giant in the puzzle gaming world, whose educational benefits have been uncovered by math, physics & general science teachers. We spoke to two teachers Lisa Castaneda (a Middle School math specialist) and Cameron Pittman (a 10 and 11th grade chemistry and physics teacher), who use Portal 2 in their classrooms. They provided a unique insight into how the technology is being used in their classroom, and how students are benefiting from it.
Most of the game-based learning applications we cover in this magazine are geared towards K-12 students, however, PlatinuMath focuses on teaching students of different kind; pre-service and in-service elementary teachers.
Boasting over 5 million registered students, Sumdog is an online platform for free math and English games that integrate fast-paced gaming with organised student accounts and reporting functionality. It has 10 lively and interesting free maths games, with quick, easy to understand instructions and clear colorful graphics. The games are well designed and quick to pick up. Using a combination of maths problems and simple gaming techniques, students are quickly engaged and looking to hit top scores. Motivation to use the game is high, and a multiplayer function adds a competitive edge which some students genuinely enjoyed.
STEM subjects have been a magnet for game based learning, and there have been some incredible games produced for K-12 students to understand the sometimes difficult STEM content. Edheads is a non-profit online educational resource which is at the forefront of these cutting edge educational online games.
CodeSpells is an immersive 3D video game designed to teach Java programming to students from 8 years and above. Players assume the role of an apprentice wizard and create spells (Java programs) that affect the world around them. Teaching Computer Science and programming to high school students is a topical issue. Curriculums need a radical overhaul, but the problem is being tackled through government funded grants aimed at changing the situation and innovative educational technology companies.
iCivics offers a comprehensive, standards-aligned civics curriculum that is available for free on the Web. It prepares young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens through easily accessible and innovative materials.
When it comes to divisive political and cultural issues, the old adage “walk a mile in their shoes” seems impossible at best. The makers of the online learning experience PeaceMaker believe that doing just that can foster understanding and empathy about one of the most problematic diplomatic issues of recent memory, the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.
Game-based learning opportunities often help students to develop skills and apply knowledge that would otherwise remain too abstract, but few have evidence of their success. Mecanika, focused on developing student understanding of the principles of kinematics and dynamics, offers a unique, creative, and engaging way to see physics principles in practice.
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