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

Friends of Filament, please sit back and relax – it’s time for this month’s edition of What’s New in Game-Based Learning! A bite-sized roundup of the 🔥hottest🔥 news in the world of educational, serious, and AR/VR games for learning, this series aims to help you stay informed of the latest trends in digital play. Are you ready?

It’s Game Over for the Institute of Play. But Its Legacy Lives On. (EdSurge)

In what is undoubtedly a huge loss to all of us in the learning games industry, EdSurge reports that renowned game-based learning nonprofit the Institute of Play will be shutting its doors by the end of summer 2019. Over the past decade, the organization had spearheaded nearly 100 projects across a variety of disciplines including research, game development, live workshops, and more – including a recent initiative with Nintendo of America to introduce Labo into U.S. classrooms. The Institute of Play was a longstanding leader in our space and will be sorely missed by all of us here at Filament – read more about the organization’s history and impact in EdSurge’s full report. [READ MORE]

Microsoft wants to make ‘Minecraft’ easier for kids to read (Engadget)

Announced last month at ISTE, there’s an exciting new feature coming to Minecraft: Education Edition in time for the coming school year – Immersive Reader integration, allowing users to access expanded versions of in-game text, menus, and dialogue to aid in comprehension. Designed with English language learners (ELL) and struggling students in mind, this new feature – as well as other new updates including single sign-on support – aims to help make Minecraft EDU easier to use and more accessible for both teachers and students. [READ MORE]

Virtual reality is helping scientists discover new drugs (CNN)

Our blog has previously highlighted real-world examples of VR applied in medical training settings – but here’s something totally new! Chemists at C4X Discovery – in collaboration with game designer Phil Muwanga – have designed a game-like program that allows chemical researchers to interact with and manipulate VR recreations of complex molecules in an effort to speed up the development of new pharmaceutical drugs. But how exactly does this innovative tech – dubbed 4Sight – work? Check out CNN’s full report from their Business Evolved column. [READ MORE]

No, ‘Cool Math Games’ Isn’t Shutting Down (Newsweek)

Remember Cool Math Games? I can personally attest to have spent dozens of hours on the site playing games both in (and outside!) of math class. And while many of the site’s old-school games appear primitive by today’s math learning game standards, the site remains popular a popular choice among math educators to this very day. Thankfully – despite recent rumors suggesting otherwise – it appears that the site isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, with Cool Math themselves squashing these false reports and reaffirming that the site is here to stay. Game on! [READ MORE]

Playing games reduces learning anxiety for students (Education Dive)

We’ve previously discussed how learning games can help players foster social emotional learning (SEL), engage struggling students, and teach key 21st century skills – but did you know that educational game play can also help reduce anxiety among learners? Using only a Rubik’s Cube and good ol’ ingenuity, former math teacher and academic coach Dan Van der Vieren has constructed a set of custom lesson plans that he claims enhances student learning by making the subject more engaging and relatable to his students. Want to find out the secret to his success? Check out the Education Dive recap of his in-depth Edutopia column! [READ MORE]

Want to catch up on last month’s headlines? Check out our June 2019 roundup here!

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