Games & Learning

Worthy Reads: Youth Media Production, Games & Learning, Pottermore, Web Freedom

Thursday, October 27, 2011 Comment students sitting at desks playing computer learning games

A new report on YOUmedia, a youth-centered digital learning initiative at the Chicago Public Library, explores what it means to reimagine learning, literacies and libraries. The report takes a hard look at the first year of the YOUmedia project. It details “what aspects of the program were successful in the first year and explores implementation challenges encountered when balancing a youth-driven approach with an adult agenda for learning.” This report comes at an important time within the development of digital media and learning theory and practice, offering a frank assessment of the transition required to bring


Re-imagining Media for Learning

Thursday, September 29, 2011 Comment group of teen boys sitting together having classroom collaboration

Tracy Fullerton is an experimental game designer and associate professor in the Interactive Media Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she directs the Game Innovation Lab. Her design research center has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, and The Night Journey, a collaboration with artist Bill Viola. She is on the conference committee for the 2012 Digital Media & Learning Conference in San Francisco, Calif: “Beyond Educational Technology: Learning Innovations in a Connected World.” Fullerton is heading up one of four important sub-themes


Worthy Reads: On Minecraft, Borges, Khan, Next Generation Museums

Thursday, September 01, 2011 Comment group of students giving presentation goofing off in front of class

If you haven’t yet heard about Minecraft, then get ready. We can’t go to an education conference without hearing talk about it. The widely popular sandbox game has sold more than 3 million units, though it’s still in beta. Each player gets their own world to “mine” for resources and then “craft” those resources to build whatever they imagine. A great introduction to Minecraft and its potential for education, especially for the younger set, is this Teacher Teaching Teachers podcast, which features educators from around the world sharing how they are using it in and out


Great Resources (July): Assessment, Youth Culture, Games & Learning

Friday, July 08, 2011 Comment students posing excited after giving class presentation

Do we need badges, specifically badges for learning? In recent years, the answer has been increasingly, if not exactly “yes” then something more like “we better find out before it’s too late.” The new interest around badges appears to have begun in response to a talk by Eva L. Baker, “The End(s) of Testing,” her 2007 Presidential Address for the American Educational Research Association. Critiquing assessment within schools, she never actually used the term “badges” but rather, “qualifications.” The response by some academics and foundations soon converged with, as described to me by James Paul Gee,


Gamechanger: Digital Media plus Student-centered, Immersive, Peer-led Learning

Tuesday, July 05, 2011 Comment Recycle art collage made out of recycled paper

In the middle of one of the hottest and driest summers on record, twenty Austin, TX, area high school students showed up for school everyday for four weeks. While the four-week project took place inside a school, how the students worked, the roles they assumed, and what they produced was a total redesign of school and what it means to be a learner. Their mission: create a casual video game for AMD that highlights the green architecture that earned the company’s Lone Star Campus (based in Austin) a gold certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design


Hype, Reality, Insights on Cyberbullying, Videogaming, and Learning Institutions

Thursday, May 05, 2011 Comment older student helping young student with computer work

At the top of the not-to-be-missed list is “Good and Bad Cyberbullying PSAs: How to Tell the Difference,” an exceptional blog post by childhood expert Rosalind Wiseman, who insightfully frames the cyberbullying issue. As more and more organizations are creating public resources about cyberbullying, criticism has grown, and not just against the over-reaction. Recently, we’ve seen a number of examples of resources explicitly designed to fight cyberbullying that have been criticized as being more harmful than helpful, and in some cases extremely harmful. Some underlying messages in some ads, for examples, would seem to promote suicide.


Young Black Males, Learning, and Video Games

Thursday, February 17, 2011 Comment 4 black males playing video game together

A recent report on educational achievement among young black males describes a “national catastrophe” in primary, secondary, and higher education that is reinforced by policy failures and funding shortfalls. “A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools” uses data largely from the U.S. Department of Education to paint a grim picture of an achievement gap between black and white students, reinforcing the message of recent books like Pedro Noguera’s The Trouble with Black Boys: Race, Equity, and the Future of Public Education. While the Obama


Digital Divides, Blog Bans, Games That Cause Change

Thursday, February 03, 2011 Comment students sitting in large classroom working on computers

Global Kids points us to important new resources in the digital media and learning field each month. “It’s how you play the game” (article): Followers of games and education are familiar with the opening last year in New York City of Quest to Learn (Q2L), the new 6-12 school. What is lesser known is the Ein Hayam Experimental School in Haifa, Israel, whose games-based pedagogy within this working class community of both Jews and Arabs is now five years old. While this past fall’s New York Times profile of Q2L highlights the high energy of the


Social Learning, Literacies and Recommended Resources

Thursday, January 13, 2011 Comment teaching helping students with art project in classroom

Paleontologist from American Museum of Natural History shows I Dig Brazil kids images of ancient animals. Editor’s note: Global Kids does a great job each month pointing us to excellent new resources. Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan for Action (report)This report by media literacy scholar Renee Hobbs for The Aspen Institute and the Knight Foundation is a call to arms. It begins with the declaration that “the time to bring digital and media literacy into the mainstream of American communities is now.” These literacies include the ability to make responsible choices, analyze messages, create content,


Learning, Playing, Designing: Video Games in School

Thursday, October 21, 2010 Comment female girls shadows looking into glass aquarium

Most education has been fashioned around the reasonable-sounding objective of equipping students with tools to solve problems. This is one facet of what some educators call the “eat your broccoli” approach to education — “Sit still and learn this; it will come in handy later,” parents and teachers repeat to their children and students. Unfortunately, it turns out that too many students resist sitting still and learning things that have no immediate use to them, but which adults insist are necessary. What would happen if you inverted that strategy? What would happen if you presented students