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

Happy December! As another year winds down, we’ve got a special present just for you: the latest installment of What’s New in Game-based Learning. This series gathers all the most exciting news about serious games, impactful gaming, and cutting-edge AR/VR developments in one place. Let’s unwrap the most thrilling game-based learning updates from the past month. 🎮🎁

via Giphy

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NWEA Launches New Experience on Roblox to Engage Students in Immersive Physics (NWEA)

via Roblox

Our client, the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), recently released a new science-focused experience on Roblox called Distance Dash, which aims to engage students in immersive physics and provide educators with a robust assessment tool. Developed in collaboration with yours truly and funded by a Roblox grant, Distance Dash allows students to explore science through a 3D immersive experience featuring brave owls, dancing moles, and plenty of cacti. 

In the experience, students are tasked with launching two vehicles with different loads. They must ensure they reach the finish line in sync by fine-tuning forces, predicting outcomes, and applying principles of acceleration. This experience emphasizes collaboration, social learning, and problem-solving, aligning with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and other science state standards. Just like with Mission: Mars and RoboCo Sports League, the Roblox Community Fund supported this innovative project!

Farming Simulator Kids Seeks to Bring Fun and Educational Farming Experience to Young Gamers (The Otaku’s Study.com)

This past month, GIANTS Software announced the imminent launch of Farming Simulator Kids, a kid-friendly addition to its popular Farming Simulator franchise. Scheduled for release exclusively on Nintendo Switch in Autumn 2024, this edition is tailored for a younger audience, featuring charming aesthetics and a cozy farm life experience. The game emphasizes a blend of education and fun, encouraging children to explore various farm locations, engage in activities like growing crops and caring for animals, and operate farm machines from the agricultural brand John Deere. Farming Simulator Kids also includes a farmers’ market, mini-games, and interactions with lovable characters. With the goal of  introducing children to farming in a playful and sheltered manner, Farming Simulator Kids is set to foster an interest in agriculture among younger generations.

Can Electronic Brain Training Games Relieve “Brain Fog” from Long Covid? (University of Utah Health)

If you’ve been reading our blog for awhile, you’ll know we covered this same topic in 2021, and now, a new study on games and “brain fog” is in progress. In a bid to address the cognitive symptoms (known as brain fog) that affects up to 10-30% of COVID-19 survivors, researchers at the University of Utah Health are conducting a clinical trial named RECOVER-NEURO. This initiative is part of the National Institutes of Health Researching COVID-19 to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative. 

The trial explores the efficacy of BrainHQ, an online intervention resembling a video game, as a potential treatment for cognitive decline after COVID-19. BrainHQ offers cognitive exercises targeting memory, attention, and processing speed, adapting to individual abilities, and maximizing learning potential. This study, led by Dr. Sarah Shizuko Morimoto, aims to provide insights into brain fog causes and potentially reveal safe, data-supported treatments for long COVID.

16-year-old student creates LIFTnow in Minecraft as a game for treating insomnia (VentureBeat)

via VentureBeat

Sixteen-year-old Varun Thvar is challenging the issue of insomnia with a unique approach – a video game within the popular Minecraft platform. Named LIFTnow, the game aims to educate players on how to cope with insomnia using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) techniques. Inspired by his mother’s illness and the therapeutic power of video games, Thvar spent a year developing LIFTnow. This 3D game offers players a mental health assessment with a focus on the Insomnia Severity Index questionnaire, enabling them to monitor their well-being as they progress through the game’s levels.

LIFTnow combines gameplay with sleep education, debunking misconceptions and offering practical sleep tips. The game’s multiplayer feature allows players to engage in collaborative gameplay and interact with therapists, making it an interactive and supportive approach to insomnia treatment. By utilizing the power of gaming, Varun Thvar has innovatively merged gaming and mental health treatment, offering an engaging solution to the challenge of insomnia, particularly as mental health issues gain prominence in a post-pandemic world. Thvar’s nonprofit organization, also called LIFTnow, is poised to develop more games that address various mental health conditions, emphasizing the potential of gaming to reach and help people everywhere.

Video games inspire new education platform (Gadget)

A recent study conducted by Brunel University revealed that video games are a powerful and engaging educational tool in classrooms. Over 90% of students exposed to lessons incorporating video game content reported that it enhanced their enjoyment of subjects and improved their learning effectiveness. 

This study was made possible by Checkpoint, a “video game magazine focusing on the impact of gaming on society and culture.” Checkpoint collaborated with Sega to design teaching materials that tap into gaming culture. These materials were well-received by schools that implemented them, providing insights into the benefits of combining gaming with traditional education. Brunel University’s research suggests that gaming culture elements in the classroom can significantly enhance the learning experience for students, promoting lasting interest in science and other subjects.

The study’s positive results underscore the potential of incorporating video games into educational practices. This pedagogical approach not only fosters a deeper connection between students and the subject matter, but also benefits marginalized groups of students. By bringing the excitement and challenges of video games into the learning process, teachers can create a more enriching learning experience that inspires a lifelong interest in education. 

We hope this round-up of the latest game-based learning news has kept you informed and inspired, and as we move into the new year, we look forward to uncovering even more exciting developments in the ever-expanding industry of educational video games. Here’s to the boundless potential of game-based learning in 2024 and beyond!

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