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Top Game-Based Learning Conferences to Attend in 2021

Filament Games | Educational Game Developer

Mark your calendars – it’s time for our annual roundup of game-based learning and EdTech events!

Sloth examining its calendar

(Image source: Giphy)

Before jumping in, a quick note- the past twelve months have had a devastating impact on live events across the globe. However, despite these extreme obstacles, our team was inspired by the number of game-based learning events which successfully managed the transition from in-person to virtual settings! And while it appears that the majority of conferences will remain online through 2021, we’re looking forward to one day reconnecting with all of our fans and followers at live events as soon as it becomes safe to do so. Fingers crossed! 

With that out of the way, let’s get started – here’s a closer look at some of our most anticipated educational gaming events coming 2021! 

Games-Based Learning Virtual Conference

When: April 16-18, 2021

Where: Online

What it’s about: Kicking off in less than a month, the Games-Based Learning Virtual Conference is a brand new event created with designers, educators, and entrepreneurs in mind! Featuring world-class speakers like University of California–Irvine’s Dr. Constance Steinkuehler, PhD, Actionable Gamification author Yu-kai Chou, and game-based learning luminary Tracy Fullerton, MFA, the online event promises three full days of live keynotes, pre-recorded sessions, and networking opportunities.

Serious Play Conference

When: June 23-25, 2021

Where: Online

What it’s about: We’re longtime supporters of Serious Play Conference – and we’re thrilled to see the event return for summer 2021! As its name suggests, the conference is all about games for learning and impact – in training, government/military, healthcare, K-12 classrooms, and more. The conference offers attendees a number of themed speaking tracks to choose from, and fellow developers will be pleased to hear that the event offers its own awards program: the Serious Play Awards! 

ISTELive 21

When: June 26-30, 2021

Where: Online

What it’s about: Dubbed “the epicenter of EdTech,” the annual ISTE conference is dedicated to transforming learning and teaching through exciting new technologies – and this year, the event is taking place virtually in late June. Featuring four days of world-class speakers, hands-on workshops, and endless networking opportunities, ISTELive is positioned to be a must-attend event for educators, administrators, and EdTech enthusiasts alike!

Connected Learning Summit

When: July 1-31, 2021

Where: Online

What it’s about: An event centered around all-things innovation, education, technology, and play, Connected Learning Summit returns for an all-new virtual event this summer. Designed to foster and grow a community of innovators who are harnessing emergent technologies to expand access to participatory, playful, and creative learning, previous CLS events have featured sessions from top academics in their respective fields – and we expect the same for this year’s event!

Games for Change Festival

When: July 12-14, 2021

Where: Online

What it’s about: Next up, one of the year’s most celebrated game-based learning events: the Games for Change Festival! Offering attendees a slew of sessions to select from such as workshops, panels, networking opportunities, and more, Games for Change attracts educators, developers, and researchers from around the globe for meaningful discussions of how games intersect with education, healthcare, social issues, and more. Oh, and don’t forget to check out their annual G4C Awards program, celebrating the year’s best games for social impact and learning!

European Conference on Games Based Learning

When: September 23-24, 2021

Where: Brighton, United Kingdom

What it’s about: Educational gaming enthusiasts who happen to reside in Europe – the European Conference on Games Based Learning is totally worth checking out. Offering academics, practitioners, and game designers alike a global perspective on all things games and education, ECGBL is also home to the International Educational Games Competition – an esteemed program which highlights high-quality learning games from creators across the world!

Play Make Learn

When: TBD 2021

Where: TBD

What it’s about: Our final highlighted event is one that’s near and dear to our hearts – quite literally! Based right here in our hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, Play Make Learn offers hands-on workshops, speaking sessions, and demo opportunities for game-based learning enthusiasts of all backgrounds – educators, researchers, developers, policymakers, and more. And starting last year, they’ve even introduced their own awards program: the James Paul Gee Game Design Award! Keep an eye out for more details on this event in the coming months.


More game-based learning resources from your friends at Filament Games:
10 Amazing EdTech and Game-Based Learning Podcasts
Resource Roundup: Educational Games and Accessibility
Video Games and Mental Health

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