From time to time we’ll post our thoughts about philanthropy, games, learning, games-based learning, digital literacy, and people and projects we like.

Theorycrafting Works at Work

Posted by on 8-08-12 in Blog | Comments Off on Theorycrafting Works at Work

By Chris Jaech Research Review #1: Part of a Continuing Series of Summaries of Current Research in Games and Learning.  Nordic DiGRA is a conference on games, culture, and society presented by scholars in the “northern countries.”  In June 2012, the conference was held in Tampere, Finland.  J. Tuomas Harvianinen, Timo, Lainema, and Eeli Saarinen presented a paper called “Player-reported Impediments to Game-Based Learning.” Here’s a summary of it. The whole idea of games for learning used to cause people to raise their eyebrows and...

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Can Videogames Teach Morals?

Posted by on 7-07-12 in Blog | Comments Off on Can Videogames Teach Morals?

By Chris Jaech I recently mentioned to a friend that I was going to be writing a blog post about using video games to teach good moral lessons. She scoffed, saying something to the effect of “Shouldn’t your thesis be like, the opposite of that? It seems like games are better at teaching bad moral lessons.” Sadly, this seems to be the popular opinion. For years now the media has been all too eager to blame video games for violent crime, particularly any sort of gun violence. When it comes to good morals, video games have a bad...

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Can Videogames Help Kids with Autism?

Posted by on 7-07-12 in Blog | Comments Off on Can Videogames Help Kids with Autism?

By Chris Jaech By now it’s well known that the number of reported cases of autism in the US has been rising rather dramatically for the past 15 years or so. It’s unknown if this is due to an actual increase in the prevalence of the disorder or if public awareness is simply increasing, resulting in more positive diagnoses. Whatever the case, the CDC reports that 1 in 88 children in the US have some form of autism. While there is no cure for autism, it is possible for some children to recover. This should come as no surprise given...

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Most Gamification is Just Pointsification

Posted by on 7-07-12 in Blog | Comments Off on Most Gamification is Just Pointsification

By Chris Jaech What’s “gamification?” I personally like “gamification thought leader” Gabe Zichermann’s definition the most: “Gamification can be thought of as using some elements of game systems in the cause of a business objective.” Proponents of gamification suggest that all it takes is a simple, repeatable process to turn something that isn’t a game into something that has that delicious, game-like flavor. Take your product, mix in some “core gameplay mechanics,” just add water and shake thoroughly, thusly...

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Can Games Replace Standardized Testing?

Posted by on 7-07-12 in Blog | Comments Off on Can Games Replace Standardized Testing?

  By Chris Jaech Teachers know how important standardized test scores are. Not only are they important for the college admissions process, but since the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act of 2002, schools can eventually be closed if their students’ test scores fail to improve yearly. This puts pressure on teachers to narrow the curriculum to ensure that the material covered in class is relevant to the test. Since today’s standardized testing is so limited in what it assesses, the classroom environment becomes limited in the same...

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Minecraft Crafts Minds and Societies

Posted by on 6-06-12 in Blog | Comments Off on Minecraft Crafts Minds and Societies

The third-grader got hold of some dynamite and blew up some cities. I heard this story—which actually has a happy ending—this past week at the “Games, Learning and Society Conference,”  when Chris and I made a pilgrimage to Madison to attend our first GLS. The conference is held annually at the University of Wisconsin and attended by game designers, academics, and educators, including the stars of the field, like James Paul Gee, who wrote What Videogames Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. One of the best sessions I attended...

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