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

Hello lovely people – and welcome to our roundup of the month’s hottest educational gaming, serious games, and AR/VR for learning news!

Mario dancing

(Image source: Giphy)

Be sure to let us know on Facebook or Twitter if we missed any noteworthy articles or announcements! And without further ado, let’s jump right in to this month’s highlighted stories:

All teachers are Twitch streamers now, thanks to the pandemic (Polygon)

Step aside, Twitch streamers – a new breed of content creators has entered the picture: educators! As of 2020, an estimated 73% of U.S. school districts reported holding classes over video – inspiring some teachers like Eddie Cheung to lead their Zoom classes using techniques employed by popular content creators on Twitch. From “class starting” countdown screens to virtual class pets, course-inspired screen overlays to customized emotes, many educators are drawing on tried and true Twitch streaming tactics to better engage with their remote students. [READ MORE]

Video Game-Themed Writing Workshops Draw Homeless Teens Together in a Time of Isolation (The City)

Video games play an important role in the lives of many young people – which is why community-based organization BronxWorks and the the New York Videogame Critics Circle have teamed up to launch a new series of after-school mentorship programs to help cultivate the next generation of video game writers and creators. Each week, dozens of young people at two Bronx homeless shelters convene to play, discuss, and write about video games, while receiving mentorship from professional video game writers and industry executives. At a time in which many after-school programs and clubs are cancelled due to COVID-19, many participants have found the program to be an enjoyable social outlet, along with a great way to foster their writing skills. [READ MORE]

Could VR Be the Missing Piece in Meaningful Language Instruction? (EdSurge)

Language learning in virtual reality is hardly a new phenomenon – but with remote learning on the rise, it’s worth taking a closer look at the benefits of immersive language learning. Which is exactly why English language teaching platform Immerse teamed up with Kanda University of International Studies’ Euan Bonner for an EdSurge interview all about the affordances of VR in English language education – namely, its ability to motivate older adults, and engage young learners. Drawing on his previous research, Bonner details the importance of detailed environments and unobtrusive scaffolding as key elements of successful VR language learning – for more insights, check out the full interview! [READ MORE]

Changing the Game with Game-Based Learning (Smithsonian Magazine)

From the National Museum of Natural History to Cooper Hewitt – the Smithsonian is no stranger to embracing game-based learning in their museums! In this new feature from Smithsonian Magazine, the organization details some of their latest efforts to connect with the next generation of learners – including self-guided game design activities, tabletop games, and interactive puzzles for families to solve together. In the past, our team has collaborated with the Smithsonian Science Education Center to develop a variety of STEM learning games for young learners – and we’re proud to see the Smithsonian team continuing to embrace the power of game-based learning! [READ MORE]

California schools press ‘play’ on esports leagues during pandemic (EdSource)

Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of traditional sports in schools across the country, some districts – such as California’s West Contra Costa Unified, Los Angeles Unified and Sacramento City Unified – have turned to a safer, more socially distanced team sport: Esports. We’ve previously discussed some of the benefits of K12 participation in Esports – including cultivating social emotional skills, fostering healthy habits, and creating college pathways – and we’re delighted to see more real-world examples of successful implementation of EDU esports leagues. [READ MORE]

Want to find out what stories made last month’s roundup? Our February 2021 entry is right here!

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