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What’s New in Game-based Learning – April 2023

Ah, spring is finally here! Do you know what else is back, besides the sunshine and budding flowers? What’s New in Game-based Learning, our monthly series covering the latest developments in game-based learning! Each month, we feature the most exciting news related to educational games, games that make a difference, and augmented and virtual reality for learning.

via Giphy

This past month has been full of exciting news in the field of game-based learning worldwide. Take a look at our curated list of articles below, and feel free to share with us any other noteworthy stories we may have missed on Twitter or Facebook!

Welcome to ‘Earth Island’: How two Santa Cruz artists aim to fight climate change with a video game (Lookout) 

Earth Island is a simulation video game being created by Santa Cruz based entrepreneurs Eric Thiermann and Ethan Summers. Theirmann and Summers aim to create a game in which players can learn about real-world efforts to mitigate climate change and environmental degradation, and then apply this knowledge in a real way. Earth Island is intended to offer up several environmental challenges in the world today and then present players with various methods used to solve those problems. In its fully built-out stage, Earth Island will feature any number of rabbit holes designed for many kinds of learning styles, from TED talks to podcasts to puzzles to graphical illustrations all based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. The project is still in the earliest stages of development. 

Causeway: the Irish video game tackling toxic behaviour with leadership (Breaking News Ireland)

via Breaking News Ireland

Kybolt, a video game studio based in Dublin, has developed a game called Causeway that aims to address the problem of harassment and exclusion in competitive multiplayer games. Founder Sean Carton said the game teaches players how to become effective leaders no matter what type of character they play. Causeway, which is currently in the alpha stage, showcases eight different leadership styles, such as pacesetter, visionary, democratic, and transactional. The game also includes plenty of incentives that encourage players to cooperate as a team, such as a unique in-game economy. As Carton puts it, “Games are all about incentives, our incentive set-up encourages the right kind of dynamics within a team. The game is about emergent and organic leadership.”

Meet a 35-year-old teaching tech skills to low-income youth through video games (CNBC)

Gamers need communities! Damon Packwood, founder and executive director of Gameheads, a nonprofit that teaches tech and video game design skills to low-income youth and young people of color, is making sure that underserved communities have the tools necessary to get jobs in the field. Gameheads has provided free classes, mentorship, equipment, and soft/hardware to hundreds of high school and college-aged students. Packwood encourages entrepreneurs to broaden their view of what partnerships can look like, explaining that people and companies sharing their time, insight, and resources can also count as partnerships. Check out the video below to learn more about Gameheads!

Newest Field Day Lab educational video game is a deep dive (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Here’s some news that hits close to home for us at Filament! Field Day Lab, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has released Wake: Tales from the Aqualab, which is the most complex and ambitious educational video game ever produced by the lab to date. Wake is a life-science-focused game that seeks to teach middle and high school students about scientific research practices through an engaging narrative arc about a budding ocean floor research scientist. In addition to providing students with an immersive learning experience, Wake gameplay will provide data to education researchers about how students are interacting with and learning from the game. The game is now available for public use by teachers, educators, and families on BrainPOP and PBS LearningMedia.

Immersive Video Games Are Coming to a Theater Near You (WIRED)

We weren’t kidding when we told you immersive learning is the future! Immersive Gamebox, a British company, has developed a software platform consisting of a dozen games that can be played in movie theaters and entertainment centers, both in the US and overseas. Players step into a 12-foot illuminated cube, and so far, commercial games such as Angry Birds and others are available to play. This immersive new way to play video games, which has been rolling out since 2019, uses projection, motion tracking, and lidar, with cameras in the corners of the box picking up movement from sensors on the visors worn by each player. In addition to creating sports and rhythm games, Immersive Gamebox is exploring ways to use its platform for educational purposes and job training. Now that’s what we like to hear!

The number of Black video game developers is small, but strong (NPR)

This article explores the experiences of Black video game developers and their unique perspectives on the industry! While Black engineers like Jerry Lawson and Ed Smith played key roles in the development of the first home video gaming systems in the 1970s, today, Black people remain marginalized in the industry, with only 5% of respondents to a 2021 survey by the International Game Developers Association identifying as Black. This article includes profiles on Xalavier Nelson Jr., founder of Strange Scaffold, Catt Small, video game developer, product designer, and co-founder of the Game Devs of Color Expo, Geneva Heyward, game developer and the programmer of ValiDate and other titles, Charles McGregor, video game developer and founder of Tribe Games, and Neil Jones, an indie game developer and creator of Never Yield. Check out the full article to learn more about each developer’s life in the field, their advice for other Black developers, and more! You can also watch the video below to learn more about Black game developers throughout history.

Zoom event encourages learning through video games (Daily Titan)

Recently, Cal State Fullerton hosted a talk on game-based learning featuring Randall Fujimoto, executive director of nonprofit GameTrain Learning. Fujimoto presented knowledge transfer through video games. As a designer for game-based learning programs, he believes games hold the key to the greatest learning potential as it requires 100% active participation, compared to passive videos, lectures, or textbook reading. In his presentation, Fujimoto explained how any subject matter can be taught with games, including soft skills like social-emotional learning. Fujimoto hopes his talk will give faculty members some ideas about engaging students in learning using games. Learn more about Randall Fujimoto’s work in the game-based learning and esports industries in the video below!

As you can tell, the world of game-based learning has been bustling with exciting developments this past month! The future of game-based learning is looking bright, with innovative projects from all over the world that have the potential to revolutionize the way we learn.

Interested in harnessing the power of game-based learning for a positive impact? We’re educational game developers with 18 years of industry experience, and we’re here to help. Contact us today and let’s chat about your project!

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