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What’s New in Game-based Learning – February 2022

Welcome to a brand new month, FilaFriends! Ah, February – a time to take extra care to celebrate everyone and everything you love. At Filament, we love game-based learning, and we love to keep all of our readers up to date with the most interesting games for impact, serious game, and AR/VR news that each month has to offer. 

via Giphy

Let us know what you love the most about game-based learning, and what you think of the roundup below, on Facebook and Twitter. Without further ado, it’s time to learn something new with this installment of GBL news! 😍

ETC Game Helps Middle Schoolers See Math in New Ways (Carnegie Mellon University)

Imagine if students always had a friend that could help them through math problems and provide feedback as they went along. Pretty sweet, right? Now imagine if that friend also happened to be a blue skateboarding chinchilla named Finley. Even sweeter. A group of students in Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center have recently released an augmented reality math game for fourth and fifth-grade students called “WanderMath.” The game engages students through AR math challenges. These challenges include helping Finley with a variety of tasks, including building a new skateboarding ramp, wrapping gifts, and trying out a carnival game. The WanderMath team partnered with Lou Karas, director for the Center for Arts and Education at West Liberty University, and both parties were inspired by Math Walks, an outdoor teaching method developed by Traci Jackson at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. The resulting AR experience is available on the App Store and Google Play Store now! For more on WanderMath, check out the video below!

‘Software instead of pills’: Video game developed at University of Utah to treat depression receives $7.5M grant (The Salt Lake Tribune)

At Filament, we’re curious and enthusiastic about the intersection between games and medicine. Especially after the release of Akili Interactive’s EndeavorRx, a prescription treatment for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), we’ve been looking forward to more instances of games as prescriptions! Enter Neurogrow, a game in development by the Therapeutic Games and Apps Lab at the University of Utah, based on research by Dr. Sarah Shizuko Morimoto. Dr. Morimoto has spent over ten years researching how games may repair the brain, specifically the frontal lobe, to make it become more responsive to antidepressants. A majority of her research has centered around older individuals with depression who have stopped responding to traditional medication over time. The game itself revolves around tending a garden, and it is still undergoing clinical trials. We’re eager to see what the future holds for Neurogrow, Dr. Morimoto, and her team!

via TheGamer

Amnesty launches game app to make human rights learning accessible (Amnesty International)

On this past International Education Day (January 24th, 2022), Amnesty International released a free mobile game called “Rights Arcade.” With this app, the organization hopes to make learning about human rights history available to more people than ever before. This choice-based narrative game takes inspiration from real-life human rights activists, including cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishor, journalist Zhang Zhan, and student-activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul. Designed to teach young people about the history and complexities of human rights movements, “Rights Arcade” is available for free on the App Store and Google Play Store right now!

via gamingsym.in

Can videogames help children read better? New study says yes (The Week)

A recent study by a group of researchers in Switzerland revealed that child-friendly action games have the potential to improve multiple functions, including attention span, reading speed, and memory. These researchers developed a game called “Skies of Manawak” for their study, which involves a child protagonist and their sidekick, Raku, a flying creature. To save planets, players must complete various missions, from removing asteroids to navigating rocky terrain. Compared to a control group, researchers observed that students who played the game improved “7-fold improvement in attentional control” and also increased their reading speed and accuracy. This study goes to show that sometimes games we don’t realize are educational are sharpening our minds and skillsets as we play! 

via Studio Bliquo

Today’s gamers may be tomorrow’s agricultural experts (ScienceLine)

From best farming practices to climate change, all inhabitants of planet earth have a lot to learn and act upon when it comes to the health of the environment we all share – and games can help us do just that! FarmCraft™, developed using Minecraft by the North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), focuses on modern farming practices and aims to interest and educate students on agriculture. This February, NASEF is hosting NASEF Farmcraft™ 2022, an international scholastic esports competition “to successfully create farms and grow foods in Minecraft… Apply and adapt agricultural production techniques in different unique environmental biomes.” Any student grade 3-12 is able to participate, and there is no cost to enter! To learn more about FarmCraft™, check out this episode of the ScienceLine podcast.  


Hope you enjoyed your monthly dose of game-based learning, games for impact, and AR/VR learning news! Feeling inspired to impact students, the planet, or the brain through a game? We’re the educational game developers for you, and we’d love to talk to you about your ideas! 💘

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