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

This collection of game-based learning news will make you want to celebrate – like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow! In case you’re new around here, What’s New in Game-based Learning is a recurring segment on our blog that highlights the latest developments, trends, and innovations surrounding game-based learning. This series helps educators, game developers, researchers, and gaming enthusiasts stay informed about the newest advancements and initiatives in educational gaming!

via Giphy

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Business Video Game Making Students Better Entrepreneurs (PR Newswire)

Despite its classroom ubiquity, traditional financial education often fizzles inside spreadsheets! Only a paradigm-shifting tool (such as a game!) could turn fundamentals into fun. This first article celebrates the success of Venture Valley, an award-winning business simulator that uses gamification to equip students with essential entrepreneurial skills.

Created by the Singleton Foundation, Venture Valley’s competitive multiplayer enables players to launch startups and then strategize through the turbulence of hiring, finicky customers, viral rivals, and more. As described by THE Journal editor David Nagel, strong survey evidence confirms Venture Valley’s effectiveness: over 80 percent of students reported improved financial confidence and skills after virtually play-testing business scenarios impossible to recreate through standardized curriculum. Backed by academics and adaptive to various learning formats, Venture Valley signals games’ immersive potential to drive engagement, comprehension, and confidence in traditionally challenging domains.

Minecraft Education launches new title for Safer Internet Day (ReadWrite)

On February 6th, also known as Safer Internet Day, Minecraft Education released its newest title CyberSafe: Good Game. This adventure game aims to equip young players with strategies for handling online bullying, inappropriate content, and other issues

Scenarios within Good Game let kids practice tools like muting, reporting, and correcting problematic chat messages or screen names. After each simulated incident, players add takeaways to a guidebook for future reference on promoting respect.

Minecraft’s Player Safety Director Carlos Figueiredo told press that the hands-on lessons in accountability tie directly to Safer Internet Day’s 2024 theme of “Inspiring change and making a difference online.” By fostering dialogue on healthy online communities early, Good Game provides a pathway for kids to become stewards of a kinder gaming culture.

New Cow Handling Video Game Available to Download for Free (WTAQ)

If you’re a frequent reader of our blog, you might already be familiar with this piece of game-based learning news! Mooving Cows is a mobile game that teaches safe cow handling skills for dairy farm workers that we created with University of Wisconsin-Madison experts. As of this past month, it’s available as a free download for Android and iOS devices.

The goal of the game is to reduce fear and stress in cows through proper human body language and stockmanship techniques based on extensive research. Keeping cows calm results in higher milk yields, predictable behavior, and injury prevention. Mooving Cows offers informative tutorials and active “learning by doing” in both English and Spanish. Also, players can earn certificates documenting their continuing education, with all user data kept anonymous.

Ultimately, this project aims to provide an engaging training alternative to live animals and pricey in-person instruction. With 99% of US dairy farms now participating in animal care quality programs, this accessible and entertaining mobile experience fills a key training gap for an essential yet often overlooked profession!

Speaking of Psychology: How video games can help kids learn and grow, with Susan Rivers, PhD (American Psychological Association)

In this episode of the Speaking of Psychology Podcast, released on February 6th, Dr. Susan Rivers discusses how properly-designed games can be highly effective for reaching and teaching kids critical skills. Incorporating scientific knowledge around teen brain development and learning needs, Dr. Rivers’ nonprofit organization (and friend of Filament) iThrive Games creates games advancing mental health and wellness. By eliciting player emotions and activating thinking, their games build competencies like self-regulation.

In the episode, Dr. Rivers explains the importance of partnering with youth and educators for input during the game design process. This ensures games appropriately meet developmental needs and classroom integration requirements. She also addresses parent concerns around screen time, advocating adults to get curious about why games resonate with their children versus criticizing time spent playing. She notes that games provide social connection, skill-building challenges, and windows into a child’s interests and strengths.

Overall, this podcast episode is a great listen for anyone interested in games’ potential as research-backed tools that support young people emotionally and academically. We really admire how iThrive Games designs their games with science and compassion in mind!

Leveraging the Potential of Esports in Higher Education to Engage Male Students (Higher Education Digest)

In recent years, a widening gender gap in academic performance and college graduation rates has spotlighted the struggles many male students face. As educators explore innovative solutions, one area showing immense promise is esports.

In this thoughtful article for Higher Education Digest, Dr. Kristy Custer highlights concerning data on flagging test scores, rising discipline rates, and declining enrollment for young men from grade school through college. She argues that by integrating esports programs and scholarships into higher education, we can tap into an arena that deeply engages male students.

Additionally, she notes esports’ explosive popularity, with up to 96% of boys actively gaming. Many colleges and universities now offer specialized esports degrees equipping students with industry knowledge and skills like critical thinking that transfer to careers. Scholarships also expand access and promote achievement.

Dr. Custer ultimately paints esports as a timely opportunity to empower young men, foster community, and promote self-esteem and academic growth. By meeting male students where their passions lie, she argues we can curb troubling trends and set them up for success. Overall, this article highlights gaming not as a distraction, but as a bridge towards possibility.

We’re feeling lucky to be a part of the game-based learning industry! As we bid farewell to this edition of What’s New in Game-based Learning, we’re reminded of the magic and possibilities that permeate the world of educational gaming. If you’re inspired by what game-based learning can do, make it work for you! We’re educational game developers with 18 years of experience, and we can help you make your ideas a reality. Reach out to us and let’s chat!

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