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What’s New in Game-based Learning – June 2022

What time is it? Sure, it’s summertime – but also time for another installment of What’s New in Game-based Learning! In this fabulous round-up of news all about educational games, we revisit the metaverse, learn how esports and VR are changing education as we know it, and more. This June segment of What’s New in Game-based Learning is sure to energize you, you can – 

via Giphy

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STEM & Esports: Startup is using video games to get teens interested in careers (WRAL TechWire)

We’ve written before about how important it is to foster students’ passion for learning through familiar and exciting media. Combine students, video games, and a great educator, and there’s so many skills to be learned – including soft skills and future-facing skills that can translate into the real world, and eventually, into a career! 24-year-old entrepreneur Caleb Smith also sees video games as a great vessel for meaningful learning. Through his facility Triangle Esports Academy, he is using the games as a way to interest students in STEM careers. Of Triangle Esports Academy’s goals, Smith told WRAL TechWire, “‘We aim to remove all the negative stigmas about gaming and utilize it to teach life skills. There are so many tech and STEM careers out there that people don’t know about. Our mission is to work with elementary and middle schoolers to get them interested and to develop the future workforce.’” Smith, having previously been a competitive soccer player, knows that tapping into competition and combining it with popular video games can lead to major motivation for many students. Triangle Esports Academy hopes to help prepare the next generation of entertainment and tech professionals. Read more details about Smith’s startup in the article above, and hear Smith talk about esports career pathways and more in the video below!

How The Metaverse Can Make Science Learning More Accessible (Forbes)

Just like the rest of the edtech sphere, we’re no stranger to the metaverse – in fact, we’ve written previously on the future of the metaverse for learning, the metaverse for corporate training, and more! It should come as no surprise that we’re also huge fans of STEM learning. The above article combines both topics! Forbes writer and Labster CEO Michael Bodekaer Jensen identifies three main areas where the metaverse may improve STEM education: accessibility, diversity, and economic opportunity. When it comes to accessibility, Bodekaer writes that the metaverse provides more opportunities for success for neurodivergent students who struggle with traditional teaching methods. Next, he asserts that the metaverse can be used to more easily connect female students and students of color in STEM fields, providing additional community and support for underrepresented groups in STEM. Lastly, he notes that the metaverse could allow students with the limited ability to travel or without the ability to attend traditional school to have access to a wider variety of classes. He elaborates more about each of these points – check out the rest of the article for more!

The Might of Playful Learning (Harvard News)

Maureen Bunney, via gse.harvard.edu

Every game-based learning professional in the industry has a unique and interesting path and impact! In this article from Harvard News, learn about the career journey of Maureen Bunney, CEO and co-founder of edtech company Mighty Play. Bunney’s path to edtech was paved by a love of all things creative, which eventually led her to designing apps for Disney’s education division. In the beginning of Mighty Play, Bunney focused on creating games with familiar, beloved characters for elementary school students, focusing in particular on literacy and internet safety. Bunney believes that “‘The power of being a fluent reader propels children into remarkable success in any field they choose — whether it is science, history, philosophy, or business. To be a fluent reader is to be free.’’ Discover the full scope of Bunney’s career as an edtech trailblazer in the article above!

Video games: our study suggests they boost intelligence in children (The Conversation) 

There’s plenty of research that indicates video games and game-based learning have a significant positive impact – on adults and on K-12 students, on STEM learning and humanities learning, and so on. This is yet another study to add to the arsenal of research that shows video games are effective learning tools! This study is unique, because, according to The Conversation, it took genetics and socioeconomic status into account, unlike many other studies investigating screen time and intelligence. What were the findings of this study, you ask? “While children who played more video games at ten years were on average no more intelligent than children who didn’t game, they showed the most gains in intelligence after two years, in both boys and girls. For example, a child who was in the top 17% in terms of hours spent gaming increased their IQ about 2.5 points more than the average child over two years.” 

The article then goes on to explain how these findings are in-line with similar studies, and what this means about intelligence and learning: “This is evidence of a beneficial, causal effect of video games on intelligence. This result fits with previous, smaller studies, where participants are randomly assigned to video-game playing or a control group. Our finding is also in line with parallel lines of studies suggesting that cognitive abilities aren’t fixed, but can be trained – including studies with cognitive training intervention apps.” Check out the full article for all of the details!

Experiential learning and VR will reshape the future of education (World Economic Forum)

via weforum.org

In this era of COVID-19, students and educators alike have faced a multitude of challenges and setbacks. Dr. Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al and Dr. Mohamad Ali Hamade, writing for the World Economic Forum, make the case for VR learning, describing how this technology can improve learning outcomes and facilitate collaboration, engagement, and more. It doesn’t only benefit students, however! In their article, Al and Hamade assert “While research has shown that VR positively influences students’ learning outcomes, it can also improve student-teacher interactions…VR can be integrated into traditional teaching to create a unique experience adapted to each student’s ability, style, pace and drive to learn, ensuring their readiness to advance through robust assessment.” The article continues on to advocate for more unconventional methods of learning, describing how VR and other experiential learning methods can benefit students, educators, and the future workforce! Read the whole article for all of the details.

We hope after reading this round-up of game-based learning news, you feel inspired by the heavy lifting game-based learning is doing to provide students with unique and immersive opportunities to learn and grow. Is game-based learning positively impacting education, one classroom, VR headset, and click at a time? You can bet on it. 

And you can bet on us (and reach out to us) if you’re interested in creating an educational game of your own!

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