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What’s New in Game-Based Learning – June 2021

Summer has arrived – and we’re kicking it off in style with a look at the month’s hottest game-based learning headlines! 

Banjo and Kazooie sitting by the beach.

(Image source: N64th Street)

Whether you’re a longtime fan of educational gaming or are totally new to the space, there’s plenty of excitement to go around! Check out this month’s highlighted stories below, and be sure to let us know on Facebook or Twitter if we missed any noteworthy articles or announcements.

Large-truck occupant fatalities at a record high, but VR training could be a solution (HR Dive)

In 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that fatalities for occupants of large trucks reached their highest number since 1988 – despite total traffic fatalities falling for the third year in a row. To help improve driver outcomes, several VR developers – including Advanced Training Systems and VR Motion – have stepped up to the plate, introducing custom VR training simulations for commercial drivers. With the ability to simulate dangerous conditions and allow trainees to train and retrain at any time, these simulators are significantly reducing training time and costs for drivers across the nation. For more on the intersection of VR and learning, check out these resources! [READ MORE] 

Geology Students Did Video Game Fieldwork During Covid. It Rocked (WIRED)

It’s no secret that game-based learning rocks. But at Imperial College London (ICL), geology students are taking this statement to a whole new level – using custom video game-style field trips to supplement their geology coursework! In direct response to COVID-19 lockdowns and the loss of hands-on learning experiences, geoscientists Matthew Genge and Mark Sutton put their game development skills to the test to create game-based simulations of the field trips their students would normally go on, allowing learners to immerse themselves in hands-on learning in a completely digital environment. To see other examples of game-based learning in higher education, check out this roundup from VP Jennifer Javornik! [READ MORE] 

Nintendo’s next Switch game will let you develop your own games (Polygon)

Research shows that game-based learning is an effective way to engage students in computer science learning – and there are tons of awesome learning games that do just that! But soon, Nintendo will be entering the fray with a visual programming product of their own: Game Builder Garage. Aiming to empower amateur creators with the tools needed to create their own games, the game features guided lessons that teach the basics of visual game programming, along with the ability to share creations with friends and family. Game Builder Garage adds to the existing canon of educational games for the Nintendo Switch – for more EDU game suggestions, check out our team’s roundup! [READ MORE] 

Mind games: How gaming can play a positive role in mental health (Microsoft)

Nearly half of all Americans are projected to have a diagnosable mental illness in their lifetime – and as game creators, it’s on us to do our part to help destigmatize mental illness in our games. But not only is gaming a great platform to offer complex and authentic portrayals of mental illness, it can also be a powerful medium for providing players with an outlet for self-care, and even clinical treatment. Highlighting perspectives from clinical psychologists, game creators, and mental health advocates alike, this new piece from Microsoft presents an in-depth look at the growing intersection of video games and mental health.  [READ MORE] 

“It has been a lifeline”: How games have helped school children stay connected over lockdown (GamesRadar)

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is for certain – community-focused games like Roblox, Minecraft, and Fall Guys are playing a critical role in helping kids and teens stay connected with one another. Last year, we shared how video games are playing a unique role amidst this worldwide crisis, allowing for folks to connect with one another in shared digital spaces – entirely remotely. And though we certainly don’t wish to ever relive the events of last year ever again, we’re comforted by the many stories of folks using games as a platform for socialization, togetherness, and community-building. [READ MORE]

Miss last month’s entry? Check out our highlighted articles from May 2021!

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