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What’s New in Game-Based Learning – April 2021

Calling all educational gaming enthusiasts – it’s time for our monthly roundup of game-based learning headlines!

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(Image source: Giphy)

Whether you’re a longtime EdTech aficionado, or brand new to the world of games for learning and impact, one thing’s for certain – the educational gaming landscape is ever-changing. To help you stay on top of it all, we’ve put together this roundup of noteworthy news and announcements from the past month. Enjoy – and please be sure to reach out on our Twitter and Facebook with any stories we missed! 

Using game-based learning to teach economics during times of disruption (Phys.org)

In an effort to measure the effectiveness of game-based learning in distance learning settings, finance professors teaching an undergraduate program in hospitality management created an interactive game designed to both assess and introduce new economics learning outcomes. Following gameplay, students were asked to respond to a feedback survey with questions related to the efficacy of the game, as well as how the game impacted their engagement and motivation for the course. Survey results found that nearly all students reported that the game helped them better understand the game’s corresponding learning outcomes, with 81% of students indicating that, “the game motivates them to engage more in the course” – promising results which bode well for future research on the effectiveness of game-based learning for remote instruction. [READ MORE]

Playing Virtual Reality Video Game May Boost Seniors’ Memory (University of California, San Francisco)

Research shows that cognitively stimulating activities like playing video games can help delay or slow the onset of degenerative neurological diseases like dementia. And according to new research from the UC San Francisco’s Neuroscape brain research center, virtual reality game play could also help older adults improve their long-term memory. Following a study in which 48 cognitively average older adults were split into two test groups – one tasked with playing a custom VR game called Labyrinth-VR, the other a placebo group given commercial video games – researchers found that those who played Labyrinth significantly improved their high-fidelity memory relative to the placebo group. This study adds to the growing body of research suggesting the efficacy of games as digital medicine – with further studies in the works at research hubs like UC San Francisco and beyond. [READ MORE]

Coming wave of video games could build empathy on racism, environment and aftermath of war (USA Today)

We’ve previously discussed how game-based learning can help learners foster key social and emotional learning skills – and it appears the rest of the gaming world is finally catching on. Highlighting the five winners of the recent Unity for Humanity competition, USA Today details the growing movement of video games that seek to build empathy for others through gameplay. From Our America, a VR game which places players in the role of a Black man who is pulled over by a police officer while driving alongside his son, to Samudra, a puzzle game that forces players to confront the grim reality that is sea pollution and plastic waste, Unity’s decision to support these socially impactful games is a huge win for creators like us who believe in the power of digital games to teach and improve empathy. [READ MORE]

How to Use Gameplay to Enhance Classroom Learning (Edutopia)

For years, Edutopia has provided our community with a wealth of quality game-based learning content – including their recent guide to integrating gaming in classroom learning settings. Citing research articles and real-world case studies, their new guide explores some of the unique affordances of game-based learning for K-12 classroom learning – offering readers numerous examples of resources and activities along the way. For more on integrating educational games in your classroom, be sure to check out our free How to Teach with Games eBook – as well as other helpful guides from outlets like Edutopia, EdSurge, and more. [READ MORE]

Dell closes the STEM gap with Girls Who Game (TechRepublic)

According to research, less than half of high school girls know a woman in a STEM career – and Dell Technologies’ Girls Who Game program is on a mission to change that. An after-school program designed to help young girls and underserved K-12 learners learn more about STEM through gaming, the club harnesses Minecraft: Education Edition as a learning tool to help participants develop key future-facing skills such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. As part of the program, students are introduced to successful women in STEM as coaches and mentors, and are empowered to build their confidence in a game-based, STEM-focused environment. Studies show that educational games can be a powerful tool for STEM learning – and Girls Who Game hopes to leverage these affordances to help inspire young girls to explore and pursue STEM careers. [READ MORE]

Miss out on our March 2021 roundup? Revisit last month’s headlines here!

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