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

Welcome to September, Filafriends! Pumpkin spice everything is back in stores, and we have a brand new installment of your favorite blog series in store for you. If you’re new here, What’s New in Game-Based Learning is a monthly recap of the hottest news stories, interviews, and announcements from the world of educational games. We’re all about keeping you informed of the latest trends and happenings in our industry! 

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Check out this month’s featured articles below, and be sure to connect with us on Facebook or Twitter if you have any comments, questions, or additional serious game news!

The latest video game controller isn’t plastic. It’s your face. (The Washington Post)

If you’ve been keeping up with what’s new in gaming accessibility and assistive technology, you may already be familiar with Enabled Play, a platform and device recently created by developer Alex Dunn. With Enabled Play, gamers can use voice commands, facial expressions, virtual buttons, tilt controls, and more to customize a game’s controls. In this feature article from The Washington Post, learn more about Dunn’s career path, the origin story of Enabled Play, and what makes this particular accessibility tool unique and versatile in comparison to other adaptive gaming devices. For example, Julia Franklin, a speech-language pathologist at the Community School of Davidson in Davidson, N.C. Franklin, who introduced her students to Enabled Play this summer, noted “‘For many people who have physical and cognitive differences, they often exhaust themselves to learn a complex AAC [Augmentative and Alternative Communication] system that has limits. The Enabled Play device allows individuals to leverage their strengths and movements that are already present.’” Discover more about how Enabled Play works in the video below!

If you’re interested in keeping up with the conversation on accessibility and gaming, be sure to check out Can I Play That? a news platform and community for disabled gamers, by disabled gamers. 

Video Games Could Improve Your Decision-Making Skills (Nasdaq)

This article from Nasdaq details a recent study conducted by Georgia State University. Researchers scanned the brains of gamers versus non-gamers using MRI technology. While doing so, subjects were asked to “observe a cue followed by a display of moving dots, then asked to press a button in either their right or left hand, depending on which direction the dot moved.” The study found that gamers had faster and more accurate responses. This article goes on to detail the major takeaways from the study. The article also summarizes several other significant studies from the past that show even commercial games build soft skills, like problem-solving, teamwork, empathy, and more. If you’re still curious about the science and data behind game-based learning, we have plenty of evidence and research all over the blog for you to dive into! 

Is Minecraft the future of education? (RTÉ) 

Last month on the blog, we frequently made the case that game-based learning and other edtech prepare students for a digital future. In this article from RTÉ, authors Deirdre Butler and Éadaoin Slattery make a similar case. They write, “Undoubtedly, equipping young people with the necessary digital skills will be paramount for future and educators will need to adapt to this reality or risk being left behind. One means of achieving this is through digital games.” They highlight that Minecraft: Education Edition is a particularly useful tool, since 76% of young learners already play video games, and many are already familiar with Minecraft. From civil rights learning to esports, Minecraft is a versatile educational tool. Check out the full article for more on how digital games prepare students for the digital workforce and world of the near future! If you’re unfamiliar with Minecraft: Education Edition, take a peek at the trailer below.  

How Health Systems are Using Video Games for Continuing Medical Education (HealthLeaders)

If you’re a longtime reader of the blog, you know that game-based learning tools, such as simulations, augmented reality, and virtual reality, are excellent vehicles for medical education and training. In this article, HealthLeaders writer Eric Wicklund interviews Eric Gantwerker, MD, MMSc (MedEd), FACS, a practicing pediatric otolaryngologist, on how the healthcare industry can leverage game-based learning for clinicians. Gantwerker touches on the benefits, challenges, and unique aspects of using games for medical education. To those who may be hesitant to integrate this nascent training tool into their organizations, Gantwerker says, “My advice to leadership is to always give games a chance — the risk is low and the reward can be quite high. Put a well-designed game head-to-head with any other learning modality and you’ll see the advantages of time, enjoyment, and depth of understanding.” Want to know more? Learn about games as medicine and medical applications for game-based learning. See an example of medical game-based learning in action and discover more about Level Ex, where Gantwerker serves as medical director, in the video below. 

From ‘Oregon Trail’ to ‘Uncharted,’ video games make history fun (The Washington Post)

We’re finishing off this September 2022 edition of What’s New in Game-based Learning with an article on the history of history in video games! Associate professor of history and public humanities at Florida International University and author Julio Capó Jr. takes readers through “The Oregon Trail” to the first “Civilization” title to “Call of Duty” and more to examine how history shows up in video games. While there are certainly challenges to teaching history through video games, and some games are more effective learning tools than others, Capó notes “A 2020 survey revealed that 93 percent of historical video game players had felt inspired to learn more about a particular event or person in history while 90 percent thought that video games had the power to change people’s perspectives on a historical event.” Video games can encourage players to engage with history and understand how historical events are connected to others. 

Psst! If you’re feeling nostalgic, check out our “Retro Review” of “The Oregon Trail” below.

As we roll steadily on into the beginning of autumn, we will leaf you with that! Again, if you’d like to join in on the conversation around game-based learning news, don’t hesitate to tag us on Facebook or Twitter. If you’re compelled by these industry updates and want to create a game-based learning experience of your own, reach out to us. We have 17 years of experience and would love to contribute our expertise to your game on medical training, social studies, or any other subject!

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