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What’s New in Game-Based Learning – February 2019

Welcome to What’s New in Game-Based Learning – an all-new monthly series highlighting what’s 🔥HOT🔥 in the world of educational, serious, and AR/VR games for learning!

Check out our curated roundup of news features, interviews, and articles below, then stay tuned on the Filament Games blog for next month’s featured stories! ⤵

For Today’s Kids, Playing Nintendo in the Classroom Isn’t Just a Dream

Have you heard about Nintendo Labo? Envisioned as a playful way to introduce young gamers to fundamental engineering, physics, and programming concepts, Labo is a construction toy platform that accompanies the Nintendo Switch game console, allowing users to assemble cardboard cutouts to create real-life, interactive “Toy-Con” creations. Last fall, Nintendo of America teamed up with the Institute of Play to deploy Labo in 100 schools across the U.S. Armed with supplementary lesson plans, instructions and ideas, educators introduced Labo to their K-5 students alongside supplementary STEM-focused activities and reflections – check out what teachers had to say about the experience in this article from EdSurge. READ MORE.

Esports Programs Start to Pop Up in K–12 Schools

Esports – that is, competitive video gaming – is rapidly growing in popularity among U.S. gamers. Similarly, high school-level Esports programs are also on the rise, with the number of schools represented by the High School Esports League totaling more than 1,200 at the time of this writing. Esports represents more than just fun and games, though – as EdTech K-12 Magazine details in their Esports feature, schools across the nation are using competitive gaming as a means to help players practice their communication skills, promote teamwork and collaboration among peers, and incentivize participation in their greater school ecosystem. READ MORE.

Game-Based Learning Is Changing How We Teach. Here’s Why.

Filament Games CEO Dan White firmly believes that game-based learning, like project- and inquiry-based learning, is a “best practice” in the field of education. Accordingly, he believes that learning should be highly interactive, associated with meaning and inspiration rather than accountability and drudgery. Recently, Dan had a chance to sit down with EdSurge to share his perspective on topics like the state of learning games in U.S. classrooms, and how game-based learning can help players develop key future-ready skills like collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking, and more. Dan’s interview is featured as part of EdSurge’s all-new How Game-Based Learning Empowers Students for the Future guide, sponsored by Minecraft Education. READ MORE.

Research Brief: The Effects of Video Game-Based Exercise in Preschool-Aged Children

Game-based physical education? Yes, you read that correctly – and perhaps that idea isn’t as out there as it sounds (remember the massive popularity of Wii Fit back in 2008?) Following a study of 65 preschool students from two underserved schools, a team of University of Minnesota researchers found that “excergaming” – that is, active video game play using movement-focused platforms like Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect – led to “a positive effect in promoting preschool children’s moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at school.” In an age where physical education classes are at risk of being reduced or eliminated entirely, much promise lies in the potential of “excergaming” as a potential substitute – particularly for urban schools and districts that lack the necessary space required to fully engage students in physical activities. READ MORE.

The Benefits of Constructionist Gaming

We’re huge fans of game-based learning professor, author, and aficionado Matthew Farber, Ed.D.’s Edutopia contributions – some of our favorite articles highlighting cutting-edge ideas like teaching empathy with video games, the educational value of Pokémon GO, and using serious games as texts in high school ELA classrooms. Dr. Farber’s most recent article – The Benefits of Constructionist Gaming – is another must-read, providing an in-depth look at how educators can leverage playing and creating video games as a way to help students reinforce their understanding of systems thinking. READ MORE.

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