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What’s New in Game-based Learning – January 2024

Happy New Year and welcome to the latest edition of What’s New in Game-based Learning! In this monthly series, we recap the most exciting new stories on game-based learning, games for impact, AR/VR for learning, and more. We’re excited to see what this fresh year will bring to our favorite industry – and if you’re here, we bet you are too. Let’s get up to speed on the latest updates from the past month that promise to shape the future of education!

via Giphy

But before we dive into the news, ensure you’re always in the loop by following us on Facebook and X. Bookmark this page for a quick revisit to stay informed and share the latest insights with your network!

Virtual reality surgery puts North Shore Community College students in simulated operating rooms (CBS News)

At North Shore Community College, students are stepping into simulated operating rooms using virtual reality. Program Coordinator Jennifer Forte notes that this groundbreaking approach better prepares students for clinical work amid a nationwide shortage of surgical technologists. Equipped with VR headsets, NSCC students engage in all sorts of hands-on educational experiences, such as identifying surgical instruments and learning procedures, all while receiving real-time audio instruction. This VR technology, funded by a grant, enhances instruction efficiency, allowing each student to have personalized guidance. Personally, we love to see it (in 3D). 

To Get Serious About Games, Teachers Experiment With Play in the Classroom (EdSurge) 

This article from Edsurge describes how this past year, teachers from all over are embracing game-based learning in classrooms to enhance student engagement and facilitate effective learning. For instance, Philip Baselice, a history teacher at the Nysmith School in Virginia, utilizes game-based simulations to teach complex historical events like the causes of World War I. Meanwhile, Jonathan Nardolilli, a mathematics teacher, designed a board game to teach middle school students about angles created by parallel lines intersecting a transversal. 

Post author Olina Banerji notes that the resurgence of interest in game-based learning is supported by research indicating that students can benefit from “guided play,” and educators are actively exploring ways to integrate games into the curriculum while aligning with standardized learning goals. Despite challenges such as the need for careful game selection and potential technological barriers, teachers from schools far and wide recognize the positive impact of games on student engagement and long-term learning outcomes!

Let’s Play a Game: College STEM Meets Gamification (Inside Higher Ed) 

via Inside Higher Ed

Meanwhile, in higher ed, the trend of game-based learning and gamification continues! University professors are incorporating gamification elements into courses, taking inspiration from video games to enhance student engagement and motivation. Examples include Yan Shi’s computer science class at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville, where she turned the course into a game called the “dragon slayer game,” featuring quests, spells, and weapons for students. Similarly, Iowa State University’s program, Game2Work, encourages faculty to explore the benefits of gamification, incorporating elements like badges and leaderboards. Research suggests that gamification, when done thoughtfully, can improve student engagement, particularly in STEM courses, where practice and reinforcement are crucial

NMSU’s ‘Math Snacks’ joins Game Learning platform, reaching global student base (KFOXTV)

Math Snacks, a series of educational video games developed by faculty at New Mexico State University’s Learning Games Lab, has recently expanded its reach by joining the Game Learning platform! Developed to teach math in creative, visual, and practical ways, Math Snacks is now available alongside more than 1,000 other games on Game Learning, an online educational platform designed for K-12 students. This partnership allows Math Snacks to reach a broader global audience and is seen as a significant step in disseminating NMSU’s innovative educational tools. Absolutely delicious news.

GoldieBlox and Discovery Education Partner to Bring Chemistry to High School Classrooms Nationwide with New Immersive Learning Experience on Roblox (Discovery Education)

via Discovery Education

This past month, GoldieBlox and Discovery Education launched an educational initiative called Maker High, a captivating learning experience on the Roblox platform designed to teach chemistry in middle and high school classrooms. Maker High includes “Chem Lab Escape,” a virtual escape room set in a chemistry lab where students explore core chemistry concepts. The activities and investigations in Maker High are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, promoting engagement and understanding of particle motion and types of chemical reactions. Leveraging Roblox’s platform to create an accessible and entertaining learning environment, Maker High is part of GoldieBlox’s efforts to disrupt gender stereotypes in STEM fields and promote STEM education for all youth. We’re thrilled to see more educational experiences pop up on Roblox!

Imagine Learning Debuts Imagine Robotify Coding Course for Eighth Graders (THE Journal)

via THE Journal

Imagine Learning has introduced a new coding course as part of its Imagine Robotify program, aimed specifically at eighth-grade students. The course, titled “Flex’s Rescue Training,” focuses on teaching Python coding skills through a browser-based virtual robot, eliminating the need for expensive hardware or software. Aligned with the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) standards, the course comprises over 900 coding challenges and game-based learning activities. It is designed to prepare middle school students for computer science credits required in high school. With a focus on accessibility, the program is suitable for various devices, including computers, laptops, tablets, and Chromebooks, enabling students to learn both in school and at home. “Flex’s Rescue Training” aims to encourage students, particularly girls and those with limited access to tech education, to explore the possibilities in the field of technology and nurture essential 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.

Bringing virtual reality to nuclear and particle physics (UC Riverside News)

Sean Preins, a doctoral student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside, developed a virtual reality (VR) application called VIRTUE (Virtual Interactive Reality Toolkit for Understanding the EIC). This new VR tool allows users to visualize experiments and simulated data from the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC), a forthcoming nuclear physics research facility at Brookhaven National Lab. The EIC aims to explore the mysteries of the strong force that binds the atomic nucleus together. VIRTUE, designed for use with VR headsets like the Meta Quest 2 with Quest Link, provides a new way to explore particle and nuclear physics data in both space and time, enhancing researchers’ intuition and aiding in data analysis. The tool is also intended for educational purposes, offering an innovative outreach platform for a general audience, students, and senior scientists. VIRTUE will also be released for free on Steam later!

Here’s to a year filled with innovation, engagement, and transformative learning experiences! Feeling inspired to bring a serious impact to your industry through educational games? Contact us today!

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