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

Happy May, Filamentarians! We’re here to ring in the new month with a sunny new installment of What’s New in Game-based Learning. In the world of educational games for impact, there are always new developments to celebrate. Whether it be advances in assistive technology, AR/VR for learning and training, or another digital breakthrough, each month offers us something new to pore over. What can we say – educational games inspire us. We hope this month of game-based learning news lifts your spirits and gives you something to be excited about, too!

via Giphy

This specific round-up of news includes a game for DEI training, developments on the metaverse for learning, an English Language Arts game, and more. So pull up a chair (or find a nice patch of shade under a tree) and read on for exciting game-based learning news! Once you’re done, let us know on Facebook or Twitter which article was your favorite, or if we missed any exceptional educational gaming announcements.

Gaming app will help faculty navigate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) (Nevada Today)

via @vtenge on Twitter

University of Nevada Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Kelly Cross is taking the same strategies engineers use to solve problems and applying them to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts – through gaming. A recent National Science Foundation CAREER award winner, Cross is planning to develop a gaming platform called Gaming Intervention of Values Engineers Need (GIVEN). [Spoiler alert: we’ll be contributing our game development services to this project!] GIVEN involves surveys and interviews as well as game development, and aims to help faculty address DEI matters on and off-campus. As she develops this project, Cross is being advised by Rowan University’s Dr. Cheryl Bodnar, another friend of Filament with whom we created Contents Under Pressure. Cross hopes to engage players in virtual and real-life conversation by presenting them with a variety of scenarios and choices in-game, equipping engineering faculty with more knowledge on how to handle all sorts of DEI-related situations. Cross told Nevada Today about her motivation behind the project: “‘…I want to begin a conversation. We can’t get rid of biases, ‘-isms’ and xenophobia if we can’t talk to people, if we can’t have a civil conversation.’”

Forget the metaverse — Labster raises $47m to build the ‘eduverse’ (Sifted)

VR lab simulator company Labster was tapped into the metaverse before it was cool! As Maija Palmer writes for Sifted, “Founder Michael Bodekaer Jensen might not have used the term [metaverse] at the time, but this is essentially what the platform is — an educational ‘eduverse’ where students can wander around a science campus to do virtual experiments or take VR-based medical training courses, and where teachers could build and share their own digital teaching materials.”  Like many other virtual learning platforms, Labster grew in popularity with the pandemic, and the company is hoping to use the current enthusiasm for the metaverse as an opportunity to reach more students and make it easier for all to access science education. Bodekaer Jensen notes that what differentiates his approach from many others in the growing metaverse for education is that Labster doesn’t require expensive VR equipment and other technology – Labster aims to supplement teachers with learning tools that run anything from Chromebooks to mobile devices. 

New Minecraft mode ‘RiverCraft’ teaches students about the real-world effects of climate change (PC Gamer)

via PC Gamer

As we mentioned in a What’s New in Game-based Learning installment from a couple of months ago, learning about climate change can be daunting, especially for young learners. A great way to educate students about something serious is to meet them where they are, and on terms they can understand. That’s where Minecraft’s new “Rivercraft” mode comes in! While the Minecraft mod “Climate Warriors” teaches young students climate science via bushfires, “Rivercraft” teaches students about the effects of flooding on the world around them. In the experience, students learn what is causing increased amounts of flooding, and what can be done to alleviate it, modeled after a flood defense scheme currently being built in Preston, a city in Lancashire, Northern England. This way, students are not only learning about climate change defense in a hypothetical or fictional way – they are seeing real-life efforts rendered in a game that many young learners are familiar with. 

Prodigy Education Launches New Reading & Writing Game (Kidscreen)

Canadian edtech company, Prodigy, is most well known for their math education game, Prodigy Math. Recently, however, the company introduced a new game on a completely different subject – English Language Arts! According to Cole Watson for Kidscreen, in Prodigy English players “scavenge and farm for resources they can use to build their own villages online. Each major action they perform in the game, from breaking rocks to chopping trees, consumes the player’s energy meter, which they can only replenish by answering curriculum-based questions.” Prodigy co-CEO Alex Peters has said that this game is in response to the struggle many young students had maintaining and growing their reading and writing skills during the pandemic. The game is designed for students from first to fifth grade, and includes education on skills like spelling, rhyming, and phonetics. Like Prodigy Math, Prodigy English contains an algorithm for personalized learning – the game will meet its players at their current skill level and increase from there! 

How a University of Utah student became a ‘game changer’ for elementary school coding class (KSL)

via ksl.com

With her brother, Josh Poll, a video game design student at the University of Utah, Nicole Andersen put together a coding class for her students who excel in their math classes. Andersen, a schoolwide enrichment model elementary school teacher at South Weber Elementary School in Odgen, UT, was looking to show students how the skills they learn in math work outside of the classroom. What came to her mind? Video games! The problem was, she didn’t know much about video game creation or design, so her brother stepped in to help show students the ropes. Through the class, constructed around passion-based learning, Andersen’s students are currently working on creating video games that include district math objectives. Students learning more future-facing skills and STEM skills while following their passion for video games? That’s what we call a win-win!

That concludes your monthly dose of game-based learning news! 🐝Buzzing🐝 with excitement and looking to create your own educational game? Reach out today for a free consultation on how we can work together on your next serious game or AR/VR project.

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