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

We’re shot through the heart, and game-based learning is to blame. 💘 It gives video games a good name! 

Welcome to February, Filamentarians – another segment of your beloved monthly series is here! Here’s a roundup of recent game-based learning news that will melt your icy hearts (which are frozen due to the cold weather and not your disposition, of course). 

via Giphy

In case you were unaware, each month we seek out the most noteworthy news about game-based learning, games for impact, and AR/VR for learning. Check out this month’s featured articles below – and let us know if we missed anything over on Facebook or Twitter

Introducing Project Leonardo for PlayStation 5, a highly customizable accessibility controller kit (Playstation) 

At this year’s CES conference, PlayStation announced something called Project Leonardo for the PlayStation 5. What does this project entail? Playstation reports: “Developed with key contributions from accessibility experts, community members, and game developers, Project Leonardo is our codename for a new highly customizable controller kit that works ‘out of the box’ to help many players with disabilities play games more easily, more comfortably, and for longer periods.” These kits offer a variety of hardware and software customization options, such as controller figuration, button mapping, and more. The controller kit was developed with input from organizations such as AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, and Stack Up

Of the new customizable controller, So Morimoto, a designer at Sony, said, “Because players can customize Project Leonardo according to their needs, there is no one ‘right’ form factor. We want to empower them to create their own configurations. The controller can also flexibly accept combinations of accessibility accessories to create a unique aesthetic. I am excited that the design will be completed through collaboration with players rather than presenting them with a single form factor.”

Using mobile game apps to induce young women to make active decision choices (News-Medical) 

via Restless Development

Go Nisha Go is a mobile game that empowers adolescent girls to make informed decisions about their lives. The game was developed by researchers based in India and the US, utilizing survey information from 105 girls aged 15 to 19 to identify psychographic profiles, resulting in four main personas that can be found in the game. The game aims not only to be relatable and to align with the identities of many adolescent girls, but also to give them a risk-free environment to practice making big life decisions involving their safety, health, future career, financial planning, and more. 

According to News-Medical, “The game involves a travel adventure story and presents players with challenges, conflicts, and negotiations analogous to what they might encounter in their own lives. Drawing on principles of game-based learning, a player experiences the outcome of her in-game decisions through her avatar, the game’s protagonist. Players also receive feedback on their decisions with the option to play again and experience a different outcome.” The game also includes information on access to real-life resources that players may need. 

New Smell Tech Could Make VR Therapies More Powerful (WebMD)

Smell-o-vision is here! Well, sort of. The use of virtual reality in healthcare is on the rise, and professionals are exploring all of the possible benefits that immersive therapies can provide for patients. For example, Judith Amores, Ph.D., senior researcher at Microsoft Research and research affiliate at the MIT Media Lab, conducted an experiment in which “she had participants wear a VR headset that depicted calming nature scenes and a smart necklace she developed capable of releasing lavender scent. When bursts of lavender were added to the VR, the participants reported feeling 26% more relaxed than they had without the scent. A device that monitors brain activity confirmed it: The participants’ physiological response had increased by 25% when scent was added.” Besides aromatherapy for conditions like anxiety, digital scent technology also has the potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease, sleep disorders, and PTSD through exposure therapy and other methods. 

Climate-themed board games are leading to more understanding—and action (Fast Company) 

This last headline speaks to us, because our portfolio contains a climate-themed board game called Climate Champions! According to this article from Fast Company, board games with environmentalist themes have serious educational and motivational potential. Research shows that many climate-themed games go beyond fun: “Simulation games can measurably facilitate learning about international climate politics, according to a 2018 study published in Climactic Change. The authors found that playing a single round of the climate game Keep Cool increased participants’ sense of responsibility toward the environment and confidence in climate cooperation.” 

Games like Daybreak, Kyoto, and Rising Waters have the potential to engage players in meaningful conversations about the environment that lead to meaningful action. Whether you’re playing as nature itself, a policy-maker, or a figure from history, board games are helping to illuminate the multi-faceted issue of climate change.

And that’s what’s new in game-based learning this month! Stay tuned this month for more reasons why we adore educational games. Interested in making a learning game for your organization? Reach out to us for a free consultation!

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