Minecraft developer Mojang has teamed up with the United Nations to create a new initiative called Block By Block.
Minecraft developer Mojang has teamed up with the United Nations to create a new initiative called Block By Block.
Update: We have added a brief statement from Professor Douglas Gentile below.
Next week Iowa State University psychology professor Douglas Gentile will be at the White House to discuss how video games can be used to enhance and improve education. He will lead the discussion on a special policy conference to be held at the White House on Wednesday, August 22. The policy conference will examine how games can be used effectively in the broadest sense to improve health, education, civic engagement and the environment.
Games industry veteran Don Daglow thinks American gamers have trouble dealing with failure in games. He claims that this stems from the American education system where children are no longer taught to learn from the mistakes.
"The idea of failure has been dramatically reduced," he said, adding that American students don't "fail" anymore. Instead they are "challenged." Daglow thinks European developers should keep this in mind when trying to design games that they want to succeed in the American market.
Researchers at Yale are developing a video game for the iPad that hopes to prevent HIV infection among ethnic minority adolescents through the use of interactive entertainment. Their research is based on the entire process appears in Games for Health, a new journal focused on using game technology as a tool for improving health and well-being.
Barring any technical glitches, the Mars rover Curiosity is scheduled to land on the planet Mars sometime this weekend, and with the help of Microsoft and your Xbox Live account, you'll be able to be a part of it.
Realizing that the current generation has been raised on video games and technology that is constantly evolving, University of California, Davis Professor Colin Milburn has found a novel way of reaching students: getting them to use creativity and technology to bring poetry and literature to life in 3D. Milburn, who is an associate professor of English, was recently appointed to the inaugural Gary Snyder Endowed Chair in Science and the Humanities at UC Davis. In this new position Davis is developing research and teaching techniques that are geared towards tech savvy youngsters.
A partnership between non-profits and the video game industry will bring gamification and education together through a new Games, Learning and Assessment (GLASS) Lab. This video game design lab will be housed in EA's Redwood, California headquarters, and will conduct research on how to better measure learning and to find new ways to get students more engaged in their education.
Valve has revealed Steam for Schools, a cool initiative that brings the joys of learning with Portal 2 to America's classrooms, at the Games For Change Festival. Steam For Schools, launching in a limited beta, will provide a limited Steam Client and a tailored version of Portal 2, along with the level editor and a workshop for hosting and organizing user-created levels. It will be free to teachers, who will have administrator access so that they can control what levels get shared.
The UK government has decided to take the rigid requirements out of information and communication technology (ICT) curriculum, instead allowing teachers to create their own lesson plans and approaches to providing students the things they need to learn. Teachers will still be required to teach ICT. The Department for Education’s consultation document announcing the change indicated that the mandatory guidelines were not getting the job done and that educators didn't care all that much for it.
The National Institute for Health is offering a grant to small indie game developers who are willing to partner with clinical neuroscientists to create game software that advances neuropsychotherapy and technologies that can be used to improve cognitive processes. While the grant only funds phase I and II research, but the goal is to quickly develop and commercialize successful studies.
Cogswell College passed along word that it is holding an Open House on Saturday, June 16, 2012 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at its Sunnyvale, California campus. The Open House will allow those interested in the college to tour its campus and learn more about its animation, game design, audio production, audio engineering, game audio, digital arts engineering, computer engineering, software engineering and entrepreneurship & innovation bachelor degree programs it offers.
Ed Fleming, founder of the Main Campus Camps, let us know that he has launched a Kickstarter to provide some much needed funding to buy new technology for the summer video game design camp, along with some funding to give "in-need kids" free access to the program. Main Campus Camps hosts video game and science & technology summer day camps for children ages 5 - 16 years-old at Villanova University, just outside of Philadelphia.
The winners of the National STEM Video Game Challenge were announced today at The Atlantic's Technologies in Education Forum in Washington, DC. The competition was designed to motivate youngsters throughout the country to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by making video games.
UK video game industry trade group UKIE will sponsor the Games Britannia Festival, it announced today. Games Britannia is a week-long festival that brings British video game talent into the classroom, giving students a unique insight into the skills, techniques and qualifications required to have a successful career in the gaming industry. Over 1000 children, between the ages of 5 - 18 have already signed up to attend, according to UKIE. The event is scheduled to take place July 2 - 6.
The nonprofit started by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has launched an online game to teach children about their local government. O'Connor is spending her time in retirement pushing the idea that children and Americans in general need to learn more about their state, local, and federal governments. The game is called Counties Work, and was put together by O'Connor's group iCivics and the National Association of Counties.
Educational Testing Service is now accepting submissions for a contest to create a computer game or mobile app that can give accurate math assessments for children in grades K- 12. The grand prize winner of this contest will receive $7,000 and an all-expense-paid trip for one person to showcase their winning project in a learning and games demo space at ETS in Princeton, N.J.
Veteran Naughty Dog lead developer Richard Lemarchand is leaving the makers of the Uncharted series, according to a Gamasutra report. But Lemarchand isn't moving on to another studio or launching his own company; he has left the development studio to teach. After eight years working for Naughty Dog Lemarchand feels that he can do the most good by teaching at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.
Miami-Dade County, Florida public schools are preparing to launch the first-of-its-kind magnate school that focuses on video games this fall, according to the Miami Herald. Dubbed the iTech Academy at Miami Springs Senior High, students will be able to learn how to design and program video games. Educators backing the school believe that this special program will teach students how to better solve problems and also prepare them to work in the technology and gaming industries.
Parents in New Zealand and Australia are embracing the idea that video games can serve as great tools to engage and educate children, according to new research commissioned by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA).
Recently the Brookings Institute hosted a panel on the important role that social networking and gaming can have on education. The panel featured Constance Steinkuehler Squire, senior science and technology policy analyst for President Barack Obama; Janet Kolodner, information and intelligent systems program officer at the National Science Foundation, Maria Ucelli-Kashyap, policy analyst at the American Federation of Teachers; and Holly Sagues, chief policy officer at the Florida Virtual School.
The Florida National Guard has found a novel way of helping its state's unemployed soldiers work in the private sector: a program called Operation KickStart. The program uses gamification techniques to educate and teach participants in a game-like social platform environment. It also provides them with support through mentors and coaches that can teach them the best practices for starting a new career and being successful at it.
With the growing importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in today's digital world, one would think that educational facilities would make programs that teach such skills a priority. Unfortunately for many students and faculty at University of Florida, this is not happening.
Registration is open for the eighth annual Games for Health Conference, set to take place June 12-14 at the Hyatt Harboside Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. Organizers of the event have scheduled over 80 talks covering various topics related to merging video games and video game technologies with health and healthcare.
Students who enroll in a new video game-based narrative writing course at the University of Iowa beginning in the fall will get a chance to explore worlds, characters and plotlines popularized by video games. They'll also get credits. The course is called "Specialized Reporting & Writing, Video Games & Communication," and is a step by the university to add video games into the curriculum, though video-game education experts say that analyzing off-the-shelf commercial games isn't the typical approach taken by universities.
Epic Games has inked a long-term deal with Virtual Heroes, a division of Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA). The Virtual Heroes Division of Applied Research Associates creates collaborative interactive learning solutions for healthcare, federal systems, and corporate training markets. Virtual Heroes will use Unreal Engine technology to create interactive educational and training software to be used by various U.S. government departments and agencies.
Here's a little fact I did not know until I read this Information Week article: Rovio's Angry Birds Space was designed with the help of NASA. Angry Birds Space was developed in collaboration with NASA through a Space Act Agreement. Why would NASA team up with Rovio on an Angry Birds game? Because it saw an opportunity to educate kids about space, science, and the laws of physics.
Sony Online Entertainment sent along a reminder to let anyone interested in applying for the fifth annual Gamers in Real Life (G.I.R.L.) Game Design Competition, that submissions are now being accepted. The G.I.R.L. Game Design Competition is an annual initiative to promote higher education among women and encourage their inclusion and participation in the video game industry.
On May 4 Campus Gamers will launch the 2012 Education and Gaming Symposium at California State University, Bakersfield. Leaders in the game industry will be attending the event to illuminate attendees on how the games they play can be used to improve education. Confirmed speakers include James Portnow (Extra Credits), Leslie Redd (Director of Educational Programming at Valve), and Geoffrey Zatkin (EEDAR).
Wizard101 creators Todd Coleman and Josef Hall of KingsIsle Entertainment will be the keynote speakers at the sixth annual Digital Kids Conference, a two-day event that purports to provide companies with "the critical information they need to reach digital kids and connected youth through online and mobile technologies." Speakers from the NFL, Spin Master, Cartoon Network, Ubisoft, SOE, Cookie Jar, and many others will also deliver talks April 25-26, 2012 in Los Angeles.