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

April showers bring May flowers – and a fresh bouquet of game-based learning news! Welcome to another installment of What’s New in Game-based Learning, your monthly roundup of the latest and greatest in educational gaming, serious games, and AR/VR for learning. Whether you’re a seasoned Filamentarian or new to game-based learning, we’ve got something for everyone. Put on your gardening gloves – we’re about to dig into this month’s news!

via Giphy

Before we peruse this month’s fresh finds, be sure you’re following us on X and Facebook so you’re always in the know!

Xbox Launches Free Educational ‘Field Trips’ Based On Seven Game Pass Titles (PureXbox)

While our specialty is learning games, commercial games can also pack an educational punch. Xbox is showcasing the educational power of commercial video games with its new “Field Trips” initiative in the UK. This project blends immersive gameplay from seven popular Game Pass titles with audio prompts to reinforce cognitive skills, creativity, and collaboration in young minds. 

To embark on these learning adventures, players can search for “Beyond Xbox: Field Trips” on Spotify through their Xbox console. Each 45-minute episode focuses on a specific game and skill set, such as problem-solving in Grounded or teamwork and delegation in Sea of Thieves. The audio journeys guide players through the game while providing fascinating insights into real-world topics, like the history and science behind the compass in the Sea of Thieves episode.

In addition to the audio experiences, each episode is also available as a downloadable E-Book on the Xbox website for those who prefer a visual guide. With Xbox’s “Field Trips,” players can enjoy engaging gameplay while learning valuable skills and knowledge, making it an excellent resource for parents and curious minds alike.

Research introduces digital games along with multimedia debriefing to address cyberbullying (Phys.org)

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant changes in education, with the shift to online learning leading to new challenges, like an increase in cyberbullying among middle school students. To address this issue, researchers from Mahidol University, Khon Kaen University, Mahasarakham University, and Bansanpasak School in Thailand introduced a digital board game and multimedia debriefing sessions as educational tools for distance learning.

This case study, published in the International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation, involved 56 middle school students. The results showed that students who participated in gaming sessions with multimedia debriefing had a much better understanding and perception of cyberbullying compared to those who participated in gaming sessions without debriefing. Self-reported questionnaires and interviews also indicated positive experiences with the game-based learning approach in improving students’ understanding of cyberbullying.

The research has implications beyond addressing cyberbullying, as a similar approach could be used to tackle mental health and digital well-being issues that arise when students are isolated from classmates and learning from home. This innovative game-based learning method allows teachers to improve the learning experience for students, which will be relevant in the post-pandemic world and during future crises.

In a new ‘Minecraft’ game, kids battle extreme heat—by slaying a fire-breathing dragon (Fast Company)

via onebillionresilient.org

In a creative approach to educating children about the dangers of extreme heat, the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center has developed a new game called Heat Wave Survival for Minecraft. The game personifies extreme heat as a formidable fire-breathing dragon that players must defeat.

The game takes players on a global adventure, visiting Brazil, Greece, India, and Nigeria, where they learn about the real-life heat-resilience techniques specific to each community. Along the way, they discover tools for lowering body temperatures, such as cold compresses, solar-powered fans, hydration, and water sprayers. Heat Wave Survival also teaches players about urban cooling techniques, including green spaces, tree shade, reflective surfaces, and permeable surfaces.

In addition to the “survival” version of the game, where players battle the heat dragon, there is also a “build challenge” version that allows players to construct their own city using the resilience techniques they’ve learned. This game was developed primarily for schools, and is available now through Minecraft Education!

Ph.D. Candidate’s AR Project May Transform Physical Science Learning (New Jersey Institute of Technology)

Kantida Nanon, a Ph.D. candidate at NJIT, is reshaping chemistry education with her augmented reality project, “Enhancing Chemistry Education Through AR.” This game-based learning experience aims to make learning periodic tables and other logical or fact-based information more engaging and enjoyable for students.

The project features an immersive AR game where participants match atomic numbers with element names, allowing them to create complex matter such as water, smoke, fire, earth, and air. Nanon evaluated the learning outcomes of 41 participants aged 18-35 across three platforms: head-mounted displays, tablets, and desktop computers. The results showed that AR, particularly when used with head-mounted displays like Microsoft HoloLens, led to greater retention, sense of accomplishment, immersion, and enjoyment compared to tablets and desktops.

Nanon emphasizes the importance of user-friendliness and immersive experiences in designing AR games, stating, “By adding AR to the game, users are allowed to interact with virtual and real environments simultaneously… They can create their own learning/memorization environment while engaged in the game. It can help to maximize the user’s sense of presence and optimize the learning performance.”

Game on: ASU, Endless announce partnership to scale personalized learning solutions (ASU News) 

Arizona State University and Endless Network have teamed up to create the Endless Games and Learning Lab, an initiative that aims to improve the quality of education through game-based learning. The lab, funded by a $5 million gift from Endless Network, will focus on developing “Realm 5 learning” – personalized, accessible, and high-intensity learning solutions for learners worldwide.

By connecting ASU’s research and learning assets with partners and platforms where youth engage with games, the Endless Lab seeks to foster a global ecosystem that supports professional development and academic growth. The lab will collaborate with various departments within ASU and be guided by a Global Advisory Council of industry leaders. With ASU’s strong track record in innovation and educational technology, the Endless Lab is set to become a key component of the university’s Realm 5 learning strategy, addressing the growing demand for game design education and the needs of a new generation of learners.

That’s it for this May installment of What’s New in Game-based Learning! Whether it’s battling extreme heat in Minecraft, addressing cyberbullying through digital board games, or redefining personalized learning with the Endless Games and Learning Lab at ASU, the potential for game-based learning to transform education is truly inspiring. If you’re feeling motivated to cultivate your own educational gaming project, reach out to us for a free consultation today! With 18 years of experience creating high-quality game-based learning projects, we have the expertise to help you bring your ideas to life.  

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