Games & Learning

Recommended Reads: On What Kids Can Learn, Minecraft, Generation Y

Thursday, May 17, 2012 Comment 4 students smiling holding up writing paperwork with edits marked on it

Common Sense Media, known as the go-to resource for solid reviews of movies, books, and television, just released a new ratings initiative to evaluate the learning potential of websites, video games, and mobile apps. You can learn more about it here. The Huffington Post published a useful overview and welcome to the ratings. They found value in how it shifts Common Sense Media towards “a more holistic view and analysis of media.” In addition, it provides both parents and educators a common language to use for talking about media and learning. “Their system, which is more


Reality, the Game: Interview with Interactive Expert Jeff Watson

Friday, April 27, 2012 Comment webpage screenshot investigative reporting letters of my lai

When I read Henry Jenkins’ description of the Pokemon-like card game he played with entering students at USC’s interdisciplinary Cinema School, I realized that the project Tracy Fullerton had described in September, 2011, had come to pass. Don’t think “gamification of education.” Think “turning a social icebreaker into transdisciplinary collaboration among former strangers.” Jenkins described his own encounter with the game: A few weeks ago, I was sent a pack of collector’s cards — with my picture on them! — and asked to show up in the courtyard outside the USC Cinematic Arts facilities so that


Very Worthy Reads

Thursday, April 05, 2012 Comment man filming students working on ipads

In a new report from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, “Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality,” the authors set out to “map and explore what we know about the ways in which young users of age 18 and under search for information online, how they evaluate information, and how their related practices of content creation, levels of new literacies, general digital media usage, and social patterns affect these activities.” Their key findings: 1. Search shapes the quality of information that youth experience online.2. Youth use cues and heuristics


Bryan Alexander: Emerging Learning Technologies

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 Comment mystery and digital story inphographic northern voice 2010 by Bryan Alexander

I knew Bryan Alexander was intense when I first spotted him in the audience at a talk I gave in the late 1990s. Just look at him. Old Testament prophet? Civil War general? Straight out of Middle Earth or Hogwarts? It’s not just the beard and the eyes. When you watch my video interview with Bryan (below), you can’t help but notice he is always in motion. I’ve actually seen him pound the podium. He’s an educator and an educator of educators who can’t disguise his passion and doesn’t care if he stands out in the


Recommended Resources: Mobile Learning, Digital Activism, Multitasking

Thursday, December 29, 2011 Comment teachers holding ipads instructing students outside

Professor of urban planning, Amy Hillier, recently spoke at TEDxPhilly to talk about how data visualization technology can map a city’s emotions and memories. Geographic Information System (G.I.S.) technology has become more commonplace and allows statistics to be easily mapped, but in this article, “Mobile Technology: Mapping a City’s Emotions, Memories,” Hillier argues that we can go one step further. By using data visualization to map the city that isn’t visible to the eye (i.e. sewage system, water pipes, and other underlying infrastructure), it can be used as an experiential tool. She gives an example of


Digital Gaming as a Vehicle for Deep Learning

Friday, December 23, 2011 Comment student sitting at computer playing learning game

Mark Chen is a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Washington in the LIFE Center and Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (UWISME). He is working with the Center for Game Science (CGS), helping to evaluate player learning of science and math in games such as Foldit and Refraction. His research focuses on teamwork, communication, and group expertise in situated gaming cultures and builds on his PhD from the University of Washington that looked at the practice of a group of gamers in the online game World of Warcraft. Chen wa s one of a dozen


Young Black Males, Learning, and Video Games

Friday, December 02, 2011 Comment 3 young boys taking apart and rebuilding a PC computer in classroom

Betsy DiSalvo is a Human Centered Computing PhD candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Interactive Computing looking at the ways in which culture impacts technology, and how we can leverage cultural practices into designing constructive learning interventions. Her focus is on urban African-American males’ use of video games and why they are not turning their passion for video game play into a larger interest in computer science. In response to this, DiSalvo has created a research project, Glitch Game Testers, a jobs program where African-American teens work for an hourly wage as game


Recommended Resources: Digital Citizenship, New Media Literacies, Games and Learning

Monday, November 21, 2011 Comment 4 boys all taking photo with phones of sidewalk memorial

Our Space: Being a Responsible Citizen of the Digital World is nearly 500 pages of workshops and lessons plans dedicated to teaching youth ethics for a digital age.  Produced through a unique collaboration of Harvard’s GoodPlay Project and Project New Media Literacies, it is all free online, as one giant download or as separate files.  We were delighted to see it released, as Global Kids youth leaders played a role advising on various aspects of the project (such as through our Media Masters program, which tested some of the early curriculum).  For those interested in the


‘Connected Learning’ in Edge Communities

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 Comment 3 youth filmmakers working together on video camera

For more than nine weeks now I have been working with a high school in the Central Texas area, getting to know students, teachers, and administrators.  Along with a fantastic team of graduate students, we are spending time with an after school digital media club that offers students a range of opportunities to hang out, mess around and geek out.  I have also been working directly with two video game development classes on a project we think will offer some insights into creating new kinds of learning environments, learner identities, and youth civic engagement. Part of


Role-Playing Racial History through Digital Games

Monday, November 07, 2011 Comment illustration drawing character game story of Jane role playing racial history

Teaching historical empathy through gaming is an important area in digital media and learning, but collaborations between university professors and game designers aren’t always easy.  Nonetheless, UC San Diego Theater and Dance Professor Emily Roxworthy, who leads a National Endowment for the Humanities funded project about Japanese American  internment camps in the American South during World War II that also used resources from the San Diego Supercomputing Center to bring the action to life, argues that the challenges are well worth the rewards. In the prototype level of Drama in the Delta that is currently available,