Time to bust out the cornucopia – we have a whole buffet of the latest game-based learning news for you, just in time for November! In case you’re new here, welcome to “What’s New in Game-based Learning.” This is a series where we, your friendly neighborhood educational game developer, keep you up to date on all things serious games, games for impact, and AR/VR. We hope you’ve got an appetite for the best and brightest game-based learning news of the last month!
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RoboCo Launches TOMORROW!
That’s right – our wholesome sandbox game about designing and building robots is launching on Steam Early Access on November 3, 2022! Head over to the official RoboCo devblog to learn more about the launch, and check out the new trailer below!
Researchers from Lewis & Clark College in Oregon wanted to be sure that the Pacific Northwest population is adequately prepared for earthquakes. So what did they do? They created an educational video game! The game is called Cascadia 9.0, referring to “the Big One” – a massive earthquake that will take place in the Cascadia Subduction Zone sometime in the future. According to the game’s official website, “In Cascadia 9.0, you play as several different characters to learn how to survive and thrive in this earth-shaking catastrophe! Cascadia 9.0 was developed as part of an ongoing research effort to understand what motivates young adults to prepare for earthquakes and other natural disasters.” You can play the game for free right now! This isn’t the first time game-based learning has been a helpful resource when it comes to environmental crises or natural disasters, by the way. For example, earlier this year, Minecraft Climate Warriors was created to help students in Australia prepare for bushfires.
How do we reduce the gaps in STEM education for Black K-12 students? Many Black students throughout the United States are underserved when it comes to STEM programming and resources. Author of this article, Erika Gimbel, reports that “A 2021 Pew Research Center report notes that Black students earned only 7 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees in 2018, and a post-pandemic analysis by McKinsey found that in math, ‘students in majority-Black schools are now 12 months behind their peers in majority-white schools.’’ One solution in progress? A Minecraft Lab! Nadine Ebri is a specialist in the technology innovation department for Duval County, Florida, Public Schools, and she runs a Minecraft Lab at Springfield Middle School. District leaders specifically chose the location of this lab to ensure that Black students had better access to STEM resources. Led by Ebri, the Minecraft Lab reaches about 1,000 students throughout the school district (with plans for expansion!) with lessons on programming, Next Generation Science Standards-aligned math and science, and more.
The Hoodoos of Drumheller, via The Planet D
A team from the University of Calgary geoscience department wants to make a field trip to the Hoodoos Public Recreation Area outside of Drumheller accessible to students, even those that can’t physically travel to the location. Thus, an ongoing project called “Virtual Field Experience: A Simulated Field Trip for Accessible Experiential Geoscience Education” was born! This game-based learning experience will allow geography students to better navigate around virtual outcrop models (VOMs). When asked about the project, one collaborator, Dr. Paul Nesbit, PhD., told UCalgary News, “If you ask a geologist, field trips are often said to be essential for geoscience education. However, it is becoming increasingly challenging due to costs, time, safety, and more recently global pandemics, to take large groups of students on field trips.” Game-based learning is redefining what it means to go on a field trip – and we couldn’t be more excited about that!
Scott Shaw spent 13 years as the leader of the Game Design and Development program out of Wilmington University. Now, he’s the game and technology specialist at Nemours Children’s Hospital, increasing patient access to video games. Of his program, Shaw says, “We’re using video games as a way to bring some normalcy and hopefully connect [patients] back to their friends and family. Making uncomfortable positions bearable and maybe even fun, that was the draw. Using my talents in terms of game development, gameplay, game theory, game-based learning — all of the things that I had done previously — in a way that could give back to a population that is not in the best place.” Shaw’s job includes playing games with patients, making sure all of the hospital’s tech (such as iPads and VR headsets) are in working order, and also working on developing adaptive and assistive tech to fit patients’ needs. In addition to entertainment, the VR technology at the hospital is also used for physical and other therapies.
If you want to learn more about some of Scott’s earlier work as a game design educator, check out his TED Talk below!
Todd Marks, CEO of Mindgrub Technologies, has a theory he calls “Big Game Theory,” and future workforce solution where “education partners with industry or career workstreams to develop work processes that leverage automation and robotics with gaming at the core.” Marks asserts that employers should embrace younger generations’ enthusiasm for games, using that passion to train employees and steer them toward success in a wide variety of careers as the world becomes more digital and automized. In line with Big Game Theory, we spent October on the blog discussing how video games foster 21st century learning, and how gaming can equip students with the skills they need for the workplaces of tomorrow!
That’s it for this month’s scrumptious segment of What’s New in Game-based Learning! If you’re looking to create an educational game of your own to keep the brains of the world well-fed, reach out to us!
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