Happy back-to-school season, Filamentarians! That’s right, August is upon us, and the dog days of summer are here. This month on the blog, you can expect plenty of K-12 game-based learning content from us as schools gear up for a new semester. But first, of course, we have to let our dear readers know what’s up with another entry in our What’s New in Game-based Learning series! It’s time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the end of summer vacation with all the latest and greatest educational game news.
Designed to keep you up-to-date on the latest trends in our ever-changing industry, this series highlights significant news stories and announcements from the realm of digital play and learning. Check out this month’s featured stories below, and be sure to reach out on Facebook or Twitter if we missed any big stories!
You may recognize the name Felisa Ford from our article on video games and civil rights learning. Ford is an Atlanta-based digital learning specialist, and her Minecraft experience, “Lessons in Good Trouble” allows players to travel alongside Congressman John Lewis as he introduces them to civil rights leaders such as Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The game gives players an inside look at many historical and ongoing social justice movements. As of recently, the game is also the most downloaded experience in Minecraft history. Kristal Kuykendall for The Journal notes that this is not just in the realm of Minecraft: Education Edition – it is the most downloaded world in all of Minecraft. In this article, discover more about Ford’s career path, her interest in using Minecraft to teach vital leadership skills, how “Lessons in Good Trouble” was built, and much more. Learn even more about this record-breaking Minecraft world and Felisa Ford’s impact in the interview below!
If you’re a longtime reader of the Filament Games blog, you’ll know that we believe that esports (especially scholastic esports!) have the potential to build a variety of future-facing skills. While this headline doesn’t surprise us, we are thrilled to see how the growing popularity of esports in schools is resulting in significant positive outcomes for students. In this article from EdTech Magazine, Wylie Wong writes about the various advantages of esports leagues. He writes that esports provided students with much needed socialization throughout the pandemic, and how esports appeal to a wide variety of students. Esports present students with opportunities to learn collaboration and leadership skills, and for many students, involvement in an esports league increases their academic performance too. For example, Jacob Dees and Jessica Rodriguez Furlong, two Richardson, Texas-based teachers interviewed in this article, note that “some students blossom because of esports. One student has stopped cutting class since the esports room opened, and another said the esports opportunities in higher education have reinforced his plans to attend college.” Check out the full article for an inside look into esports leagues around the U.S.!
What do the people want? Games! Where do they want them? Schools!
Speaking of the skill-building power of esports, a recent study conducted by Wargaming and OnePoll found that “most adults think video games do indeed belong in school curricula.” Researchers surveyed 2,000 American adults, and found that “most of those polled say that video games have taught them to be more alert and focused, among other things. Many respondents credit video games with teaching them critical thinking and communication skills as well as increasing their creativity and hand-eye coordination.” Ultimately, 54% of adults agreed that video games should be taught in schools and 53% agreed that video games should be considered an extracurricular activity, while 52% reported that gaming improved their performance at their jobs. More than half of Americans recognize the positive potential of video games, and see how they fit into our evolving workforce that almost always requires technological literacy! Check out even more results from this survey in the video below.
Buzz Digital gameplay, via wisconsin.edu
We’re finishing off this August installment of What’s New in Game-based Learning with a local story! Our fellow Wisconsinites at UW-Stout have been hard at work creating a game-based learning experience for manufacturing professionals. Born out of a need to teach Lean manufacturing principles remotely during 2020, UW-Stout engineer Ted Theyerl was struck by inspiration while watching his son play video games. Enlisting the help of his colleague, Associate Professor Andrew Williams, director of the nationally ranked game design and development-art program, and six UW-Stout students, Theyerl created “Buzz Digital: A Lean Manufacturing Simulation.” The simulation is designed specifically for users who may not be familiar with gaming. To learn all about the game’s creation, its playtesting phase, and more, head over to the complete article!
That’s it for this month’s dose of game-based learning goodness! We hope you’re staying cool and as excited as we are for a brand new school year full of more technological possibilities than ever before. If you’re interested in creating an educational game of your own, let us know! We have 17 years of experience and the portfolio to prove that we’re serious about your future serious game.
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