Games and Learning

Recommended Reads (August): Youth Culture, Games & Learning, Teaching 2.0

Thursday, August 18, 2011 Comment 3 male students working on laptops in classroom

The latest fascinating report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, “Families Matter: Designing Media for a Digital Age,” offers one of the first large-scale studies to explore ideas parents have about their young children’s use and access of media. A review on the web site for the New America Foundation, “Parental Worries, Or the Lack Thereof, About Digital Media,” does an excellent job covering the key findings and putting them in context. “It’s encouraging to see these robust conversations among early childhood experts about the roles that families and educators are playing as they guide their

Turning Fifth Graders into Game Designers and Mobile Learners

Friday, August 12, 2011 Comment
young students sitting outside playing games on cell phones

Take 40 precocious fifth graders, a box full of iPhones, and a group of game designers and educators, stir, and release onto the busy streets of New York City. What may sound like chaos is actually Mobile Quest, a mobile game design camp in its third year. The camp is hosted by Institute of Play at the New York City public school it co-designed and developed, Quest to Learn, and supported by the New Learning Institute, a program operated by the Pearson Foundation.    A highlight of the week is the trip out to High Line Park,

Youth Learn ‘Design Thinking’ at Digital-Age Summer Camp

Monday, August 08, 2011 Comment
male students laughing together and looking at cellphones at digital summer camp

Peals of laughter ring across the room as teens watch other teens maneuver to avoid being hit on the head. There are no bullies here – actually, game designer Kaho Abe is presenting a video clip of a game she created where the goal is to avoid being hit on the head while staying within a designated circle. The game is intended to inspire thought about design constraints, and it appears to be working as students raise their hands to inquire about how difficult it is to stay within a ten-foot diameter, and wonder aloud about

Should We Design Social Justice into Learning?

Monday, May 02, 2011 Comment group of adults sitting in home around couches working on computers

The notion of design is central to the way we think about learning, and to how we think about digital media. Some would argue that learning is “designed in” to digital media such as good video games. But what can this concept tell us about “designing in” social justice to learning experiences? Thinking about digital media from a design perspective compels us to recognize how much of what we take for granted as “just the way things are” are the consequences of design decisions, and reveals how things could be otherwise. It shows how individuals can

What Should Civic Learning Look Like in an Age of Social and Technological Change?

Monday, April 25, 2011 Comment 2 kids working on computer together in classroom

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and her iCivics team recently convened a thought provoking conference, Educating for Democracy in the Digital Age. In partnership with the Aspen Institute, Georgetown Law, and the MacArthur Foundation the conference raised a number of questions regarding the state of civic education. Concerned about the declining state of civic education in American schools, Justice O’Connor assembled a team to create a digital platform, iCivics, for use in formal and informal learning environments. iCivics is a games-based platform and civic curriculum designed to meet students where they are—in the gaming

“We are Meant to Pulse”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 Comment group of diverse students celebrating after presentation

Topping the new recommended resources list from Global Kids is “Gaming to Re-engage Boys in Learning,” a provocative video looking at the discrepancies in performance and achievement between boys and girls aged 3 to 13 and discussion of why school culture itself may be alienating to male students. Central to instructional designer Ali Carr-Chellman’s arguments are the lack of male representation in teaching, zero tolerance policies that disproportionately affect boys and the anti-gaming rhetoric of some schools that is hostile to youth invested in game culture. Though Carr-Chellman sidesteps the broader issue of what social factors