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

The dog days of summer are upon us, and you know what that means – it’s time for another sizzling installment of What’s New in Game-based Learning! If you’re new around here, welcome – we’re thrilled to have you join our community of game-based learning enthusiasts. Each month, we round up the hottest news in educational gaming, serious games, and AR/VR for learning, serving up a delightful list of informative articles that are sure to keep you in the loop and inspired (unfortunately, we can’t prevent you from melting, however, so stay cool).

via Tenor

But before we kick off this month’s sunny selection of articles, we want to make sure you don’t miss a single game-based learning industry update. Follow us on X and Facebook to stay connected with us and be the first to know about our new projects, read thought-provoking industry insights, and more. Now, let’s shine a light on the game-based learning news that’s been heating up our feeds lately.

How game worlds are helping health-care workers practise compassionate clinical responses (The Conversation) 

While providing compassionate care, healthcare workers face many challenges, including burnout, traversing multicultural and multi-faith professional environments, and more. But what if a game could help them develop the skills and mindset needed to navigate different situations they encounter on the job? Introducing “The Carthage Chronicles” and “Hypatia’s Guild,” – two game worlds designed by researchers at Toronto Metropolitan University and the Baycrest Academy for Research and Education.

These games leverage contemplative learning, using mythological narratives to elicit emotional responses that encourage players to create new templates for organizing knowledge and attitudes. “The Carthage Chronicles” immerses players in a world where cooperation across nations and faiths is key, preparing them to provide relational care in diverse settings. Meanwhile, “Hypatia’s Guild” tackles the loss of engagement and burnout prevalent in healthcare work, empowering professionals to find meaning in their roles and shape positive experiences in care settings.

With over 2,600 learners already benefiting from “The Carthage Chronicles” and user evaluations attesting to the impact of “Hypatia’s Guild,” these game worlds are proving to be powerful tools for deepening competencies and fostering the values and attitudes conducive to ongoing learning and celebrating diversity. It’s a prime example of how game-based learning can transform how we train and support our healthcare heroes! 

Eco Detectives Minecraft game helps kids become environmental activists (Blooloop)

via Play & Go Adelaide

In a world where over 44,000 species are under threat of extinction, a new educational Minecraft game is inspiring players to become conservationists in their own (virtual) backyards. “Eco Detectives,” a collaboration between zoos throughout Australia and New Zealand, Microsoft AUS/NZ, and game developer Team Workbench, invites players to explore interactive maps and take on the role of environmental activists.

Through quests and challenges set in drylands, woodlands, wetlands, and urban biomes, players learn why their virtual ecosystems are out of balance and then take steps to regain biodiversity. By making small adjustments that have a significant impact on local wildlife, kids discover the power of their choices in shaping the environment.

But “Eco Detectives” isn’t just about gameplay – it’s a prime example of how game-based learning can inspire meaningful change. Paired with learning resources developed by UNICEF Australia, the game equips educators to incorporate skills and understanding from the virtual world into their own curriculum.

Gamers make bank: The generation learning finance skills through screens (The Canberra Times)

via Canberra Times

You may not want to pull the plug on your kids’ gaming sessions – a new study by ING suggests that video games might be the key to unlocking better financial skills. According to the research, half of Australians believe that playing video games improved their understanding of finances, with many finding traditional learning methods confusing or downright boring.

Leading the charge in financial education is none other than the classic life simulation game, The Sims. While the game offers a cheat code to instantly boost your digital family’s bank account, players who resist the temptation and stick to budgeting find that the skills translate to real life

But The Sims isn’t the only game teaching valuable lessons. The researchers found that games like Minecraft, Financial Football, Animal Crossing, and even Call of Duty helped players develop skills in saving, budgeting, investing, and debt management. Beyond financial know-how, gamers also reported learning problem-solving, strategy, decision-making, and patience – all crucial life skills.

​​​​​​​Racing meets typing in multiplayer typing game “Typeracer Turbo” available now (Games Press)

via Games Press

KidzType, the game-based learning platform, just released a new educational typing game that’s sure to get your fingers flying! Introducing Typeracer Turbo, a multiplayer typing extravaganza that combines the thrill of competition with the practical benefits of improving your typing skills.

In this high-octane game, up to four players can face off in real-time typing races, challenging each other from anywhere in the world. Choose your dream car, wait for the countdown, and let the typing begin! As words appear on the screen, players must type them accurately and quickly to make their cars accelerate. But watch out – mistakes will slam the brakes on your progress.

The developers at KidzType created Typeracer Turbo with a clear goal in mind: to provide an exciting way for players to boost their typing speed and accuracy while having a blast. The game’s intuitive interface and straightforward gameplay make it perfect for players of all ages, whether you’re a typing pro or just starting your journey.

How One District Takes STEM Learning to the Next Level (EdSurge)

Through game-based learning, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is engaging students in STEM and digital literacy like never before. The district’s Instructional Technology Initiative (ITI) team recognized the potential of educational games to meet their goals in computer science and digital citizenship. They knew that platforms like Minecraft Education could support instructional priorities such as social-emotional learning, literacy, and numeracy while nurturing creativity and teamwork among students.

But their new program, Level Up Los Angeles, is more than just fun and games – it’s a principled approach to inclusive, districtwide esports. The team incorporated Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to ensure cultural relevancy and inclusivity, created project prompts around real-world issues like climate change and mental well-being, and designed professional learning and curriculum supports to emphasize the district’s priorities.

The results speak for themselves: over 16,000 hours of gameplay, 287 submissions from more than 1,100 students, and national recognition for LAUSD. By aligning Minecraft Education with instructional priorities, providing opportunities for professional learning and differentiated instruction, and emphasizing real-world problem-solving, the ITI team truly leveled up student outcomes.

Wow, what a scorcher of a month it’s been for game-based learning! From healthcare heroes honing their skills in mythological game worlds to kids becoming environmental activists and financial whizzes through play, the positive impacts of educational gaming never cease to amaze us.
Whether you’re an educator looking to level up your STEM curriculum, a healthcare professional seeking innovative training solutions, or an organization aiming to inspire the next generation of changemakers, one thing’s for certain – the future of learning is playful, and the possibilities are endless!

Speaking of endless possibilities, if you’re feeling inspired to create your own bespoke learning game, we’ve got great news – we’re here to help! Our team is ready to bring your vision to life and create a custom educational game to engage, educate, and empower your learners. Don’t let the summer heat melt away your ambition – reach out to us today for a free consultation! 

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