CastAR is an augmented/virtual reality system created by Technical Illusions. Recently the company gained $15 million in funding from Global Playground, the Venture Capital (VC) firm of former Android CEO Andy Rubin. I spoke with castAR Co-Founder and Chief Hardware Engineer Jeri Ellsworth to find out what castAR plans to do with this fresh round of funding.
A few months ago I gushed about a Kickstarter campaign that promised to bring one of my favorite computer games ever, Zoombinis, to the 21st century. Due to the success of that campaign, the Zoombinis app is now available on iTunes and Google Play. Windows, Mac, and Kindle Fire versions will be available later this year.
I was excited to download the app a few weeks ago when it finally became available to Kickstarter supporters. Back when we were allowed to download our own software, I had the game in my classroom for my students to play. I highly respected the logic skills the game promoted, so when my daughter was younger, I bought a version for her to try at home.
PlayForward: Elm City Stories is an interactive role-playing video game designed to provide at-risk young minority adolescents the opportunity to acquire and practice skills to reduce sexual risk behaviors, with the ultimate goal of preventing HIV. In the game, players create their Aspirational Avatar and “travel” through life, facing challenges and making decisions that bring different risks and benefits. PlayForward is currently being evaluated in a large randomized controlled trial with 333 teens aged 11-14, and we are examining a range of outcomes including knowledge, intentions, self-efficacy and actual behaviors with data being collected at baseline, 6 weeks, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months. In this series, I will talk about the twelve lessons I learned as Project Director during the development of the videogame intervention, PlayForward.
As the 2015 CLMOOC continues through a third Make Cycle, it’s a perfect time to look back at the first few weeks of this collaborative experience and at what’s still to come during the next month. As a reminder, participants can join in at any time—so sign up today to share in the fun!
CLMOOC is a knowledge-building and sharing experience open to anyone interested in making, playing, and learning together about the educational framework known as Connected Learning. CLMOOC provides educators of all types with an opportunity to play with new tools, make projects and friends, and share projects and reflections with colleagues across the country and around the world.
Glasslab Games, the host of Make Cycle #3, will lead a Twitter chat Thursday, July 9, via the hashtag #clmooc at 4 p.m. PDT/7 p.m. EDT/11 p.m. UTC. Make Cycles to come will be led by educators from the San Diego Area Writing Project, KQED Do Now, and the National Park Service. Stay tuned by signing up for the newsletter today.
at Common Sense Graphite, when we evaluate games for learning, what we find is that many of the highest scoring ‘learning’ games aren’t aimed at the educational market. They’re more at-home, consumer-oriented games. Because these games are free from the constraints of school standards and traditional curriculum, they flourish, featuring rich cross-disciplinary and truly 21st century learning experiences.
Here are just a few favorites that reviewed well on Graphite this year:
"Minecraft has proven to be an invaluable tool for educators and students. Not only is the game popular with children and adults, but its open, customisable nature means it can be used for all sorts of different purposes. Like learning to code, understanding Britain's geography and reimagining modern art. Microsoft clearly knows this, so it's launching anew portal where teachers can discuss the game and share classroom resources. The full site isn't live just yet, but the trailer below gives you an idea of what Microsoft and Mojang are aiming for. After this and its Hololens demonstration, it's clear the company sees its $2.5 billion acquisition as more than just a game with a guaranteed smash-hit sequel."
This strange procession continues through 100 levels, with no explanation or elaboration. Addition, multiplication, division, fractions—all of them appear, without fanfare or explanation. By game’s end, at level 100, you’ve moved seamlessly, baby step by baby step, from a cute baby dragon eating a spiky two-headed lizard, to this: “2 over x plus d over e equals b over x,” which you solve, fearlessly and perhaps even a bit impatiently, in exactly 14 steps. You are 4 years old.
"Watson has now been trained in molecular biology and finance, written a cookbook, been put to work in oil exploration. It is learning to help solve crimes. This fall, Wired aired predictions that Watson would soon be the world’s most perfect medical diagnostician. It has folded so seamlessly into the world that, according to IBM, the Watson program has been applied in 75 industries in 17 countries, and tens of thousands of people are using its applications in their own work. In these experiences, Watson has functioned as an early probe into the relationship between humans and intelligent machines — what we need from them, what gaps they fill, what fears they generate.
"The honest way into philosophy is by accident, through the disorienting flash of a new experience. Watson’s creators, many of whom have worked on the project since its inception, talk about their machine differently than Tegmark does. They see a chronology of experiences, of developing skills and propulsive failures, as if the machine had its own biography. Some of them describe their experience with Watson in more personal terms, as if they were the parent and the machine the child. Last October, IBM moved the project into a new home, a foreboding office tower that inscribes shadows over Astor Place, which has given Watson a neat, humanlike path through time: Its early years spent in a family atmosphere in the suburbs; then an educational course to prepare it to support itself in a more complicated world; then, to make money, a move to the East Village and a search for employment. It has also meant that it is possible to leave your office, as I did one recent afternoon, walk across lower Manhattan, take an elevator upstairs, situate yourself before a stadium of screens, notice what looks like a small stack of hard drives in the corner, contemplate the human place in the scheme of things, and hear a placid computerized voice say, “Hello, Watson here. What are we working on today?”
In front of a smartphone, two players meet. They each grab half the device, preparing to play. But instead of a competitive matchup, they begin to rock and spin the phone, each holding their end of the phone tightly. In a few moments, through awkward giggles, they are twisting and spinning; the game forces them into a clumsy dance.
But mobile game Bounden isn't just about making players feel a little strange while pulling them outside their comfort zones. The unique game is also being honored by the Games for Change Awards (which highlights games that have a particular social impact) as an innovator when it comes to getting players to connect."
I contend that play is also the work of many writers. Much has been written about the traits or craft of writing, best instructional practices, and specific methodologies that serve so many important purposes. Paying serious attention to serious play taught me something more, though: these traditional approaches, while powerful in their own right, often alienate those who need to move, make, and game in order to write well. We’re losing these writers in schools and in our communities. They have important things to say and critical contributions to make.
DropTask is a free visual task management app that is web based and available on iOS and Android. It is easy to use and lets you create a visual to do list that is color coded and with lots of features. You can take notes, chat with others, attach files, set reminders, work with others, and more. It is a very beautiful interface with drag and drop functionality.
I'm happy to announce that I have just been appointed Director of the brand new Possibility Zone Makerspace at Kean University. This is part of a long-term grant and will have a focus on STEM students and professors and the preparation of pre-service K-12 STEM teachers.
As part of the project, I plan to start a new Scoop.it topic on Makerspaces very soon. I'm looking for blogs, websites, wikis, videos, ezines, ebooks, paper.li feeds, etc. that deal with Makerspaces and things related to them. Basically, I want to set up an information flow to curate.
If you have an idea or resource for me to check out, could you please send it? I think a helpful way would be to use the "Reactions" link that appears on the bottom left of this Scoop.it window when you mouse over it. (If you're reading this, it's likely that you can see it now.) Please be sure to include URLs in your suggestions.
Thank you so much for your help. I'm really looking forward to this new opportunity and hope to be of assistance to others through the new topic here on Scoop.it.
PS - The photo is not of our Makerspace at Kean, but one at the Cincinnati Public Library. We have just started to create /design our space. What fun!
While it’s not uncommon to hear students say “I hate school,” some are really suffering and desperately want out.
I can relate.
I became an educator not because I loved school, but because I was bored and miserable in school. I wanted to figure out how to change that for others. I started this blog to share ideas about how to do that.
Like my own experience, many students today are bored and disengaged for many hours each day, despite the best efforts of their teachers and parents to try to help them make the most of school. Many are depressed. They feel a complete lack of control over their lives, and have a bleak view of the future.
Jim Lerman's insight:
This seems like a good idea to me. Please read on and contribute if the concept resonates with you. Also, please pass along to your network, if you can.
Earlier this month, community members and counselors from Summer of Minecraft gathered at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts to reflect on their experiences in the online summer camp organized by Connected Camps. Summer of Minecraft enabled kids ages 9-13 to hone their skills in the creative, construction-based game with the help of experienced counselors. Campers also had a chance to learn coding in the programming language, Lua, and were able to explore and build in a safe environment on Connected Camps’ moderated servers—all from the comforts of home.
At the summit, which was held on August 4, 2015, Summer of Minecraft counselors showcased the work students developed in response to building, game-design, and problem-solving challenges in front of a distinguished panel of tech, scholarly, and creative leaders. Participants also toured the USC School of Cinematic Arts digital and game design labs. The day started with a roundtable discussion on Minecraft in Education, which was facilitated by Mya Stark, Director of LA Makerspace, and Brendon Trombley, game designer for Institute of Play and Connected Camps.
At Personalized Learning Games, our solution is game-based learning that teaches social and emotional skills. Each of our four games was developed with grants from the Department of Education, and collectively they are applicable to 25 million students in grades K through 5.
For students, our games are:
Intuitive – When kids start playing, they start learning. Personalized – Gameplay adapts to the student’s skill level and pace of learning. For educators, our games are:
Measurable and objective – You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Research proven – Each game has undergone randomized controlled trials that show we get results. Our first game, Zoo U, is available now and is most appropriate for students in grades two, three, and four. And we are hard at work to adjust Zoo U so it can also be used effectively with students in kindergarten and first grade.
And later this year, we will begin releasing three more games:
Hall of Heroes, a game focused on the transition to middle school (in limited beta), Stories in Motion for students with Autism, And Adventures Aboard the SS GRIN, a social and emotional skills intervention for students in elementary school. Our team is passionate about our mission to help millions of students, and we look forward to building deep relationships with teachers, counselors, and administrators across the country. By improving social and emotional skills, not only will students be more successful in the classroom, they will be more successful in life.
The next month and a half we are lucky to have Dr. Kimberly Hieftje, Deputy Director of the play2PREVENT Lab at Yale University College of Medicine, as a guest blogger. She will be sharing 12 Lessons Learned from her grant project working on the video game PlayForward: Elm City Stories. These lessons are invaluable for anyone seeking a federal grant for video game development, implementation, and research. Dr. Hieftje’s bio is below and you can send correspondence for Dr. Hieftje through Excelsior College at: firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s no shortage of nit-picking gamers who feel they could easily make better video games than what’s being released every week. And thanks to a new iPad app called Toy Engine, they can put their money where their mouths are and design their own side-scrolling video game, even if they’ve never written a single line of code.
In 2012, the Educational Testing Service, the folks who bring you the SAT, formed a partnership with, among others, the video game giant Electronic Arts, the folks who bring you Madden NFL, Mass Effect, and Battlefield 3. The result is an experimental nonprofit dubbed the Games, Learning and Assessment Lab, or GlassLab.
Based at Electronic Arts’ Silicon Valley headquarters, GlassLab is bristling with PhD-level learning scientists and assessment experts who are experimenting with ways to combine game mechanics with academic content. The effort’s ultimate aim is essentially to do away with standardized testing as we know it.
Here are examples I’ve found of rebels working on Game Based Learning, Gamification, Game Overlays, or whatever they call this where you are. :-) Building their own ships to sail into the relatively uncharted waters of creating classrooms as games. If you know of a course game that isn’t included, or a correction, please let me know! (contact form at bottom of page)
We make it easy for you to implement social-emotional learning in your classroom by knocking down implementation barriers – like time constraints and curriculum integration – so you can meet your classroom’s needs. You decide what works best to assess, target, and improve your students’ social-emotional skills.
We’ve put together a list of the diverse ways you can use our games. Feel free to use one of our ideas, or channel your creativity and come up with your own. Share your ideas with us, and if we add one of your suggestions to this page, we’ll give you credit!
A just-released alternate reality game called DUST is trying to encourage teens, especially girls and minorities, to get excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The premise of DUST is one that might appeal to middle and high school-aged students. In the game, adults worldwide fall unconscious because of mysterious dust from a meteor shower. It is up to the players, whose target ages are 13-17, to save the world (and their parents' lives) by the end of seven weeks of play.
Over the course of the game, players receive new parts of the story and science clues two to three times a week through social media, email and game apps. They work as a community to add their own input, guide the action, do research and provide solutions to help rescue the adult characters.
"In DUST there are no fixed outcomes," said Bill Cirillo, the NASA Langley Research Center aerospace engineer who started working with the game's developers almost two years ago. "It's up to the students to move the story along and do problem solving using the scientific method and critical thinking skills."
Alternate reality games are interactive networked stories that use the real world as a backdrop. Players sign onto a website to interact directly with characters in the game and use a variety of media platforms, such as the Web; social media apps including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram; email; cell phones; museums and even printed materials to collaborate with each other and solve mysteries or puzzles.
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