Peter Stidwill - Playful Learning: How to Grow Your Game-Based Knowledge
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Peter Stidwill - Playful Learning: How to Grow Your Game-Based Knowledge



What successes and failures have teachers found in the classroom when using games? What are the biggest barriers they face? How are they using games? And what do they want to see more of? In this ...

What successes and failures have teachers found in the classroom when using games? What are the biggest barriers they face? How are they using games? And what do they want to see more of? In this session, we’ll explore what we’ve learnt from a network of over 1,500 educators and highlight the elements of successful partnerships with developers, researchers and designers.

Playful Learning, powered by the Learning Games Network, is a nationwide initiative that invites us, together, to innovate through the use of games in education. We’ll talk about how you can tap into this growing resource.



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  • Intro
  • LGN is a not-for-profit organization which arose out of the MIT Education Arcade and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Games+Learning+Society Center. It’s founders include Scot Osterweil, Eric Klopfer and Kurt Squire, and our President is Constance Steinkhueler - all veterans in the field of GBL. <br /> <br /> Our mission it to develop partnerships and technologies that boost the impact of organizations creating, commercializing, disseminating and researching high-quality educational games – in order to benefit learners at every age and around the world. So we make games ourselves, we help others make games, and we make stuff that helps games have more impact. <br /> <br /> We are located in Madison, WI, Cambridge, MA and Washington DC.
  • Some examples of games and projects we’ve worked on. <br /> <br /> -- <br /> <br /> Environmental science: <br /> Econauts immerses players in a rich environment, making difficult-to-observe ecological phenomena visible in a living landscape that players explore and examine to explain the relationships between choices that humans make and their ecological consequences.
  • Oztoc is an rich environment for research on how children learn programming and design. <br /> <br /> NYSCI
  • Quandary: Designed to develop ethical thinking skills. <br /> <br />
  • Xenos: Language learning game <br /> <br />
  • Playful Learning is a national initiative to provide hands-on professional development to educators in game based learning, and to provide continued support to these attendees and their colleagues through face-to-face events and an online knowledge base.
  • In our first year we’ve run hands-on workshops and sessions with over 1,600 educators, through 21 events.
  • The first cohort comprised Seann Dikkers (University of Ohio), Beth King (UW-Whitewater), and Dani Herro (University of Clemson). All have very strong connections to their local school districts and communities, and were able to achieve an impact beyond just the one or two day events themselves. <br />
  • In order to grow educators’ understanding of game-based learning, we’ve devised a menu of modules that we can use to customize a workshop or event. And we’ve been tweaking these constantly over the last year.
  • Share some of the early data from our survey of PL workshop attendees, that I hope gives you as developers a few more insights into the needs and behaviors of educators looking to use games. This is early data, and isn’t the complete set at this stage. We’ll be formally analyzing the data later this year.
  • Among our sample of game-using educators, there was variety in the subject area that these games addressed. Math is obviously popular, but so was literacy and social development games.
  • A majority of our educators are using games weekly already, and three-quarters are using games at least a few times a month. Although there is a wide definition of what is included as a game. A lot of quiz-type games, for instance. <br />
  • We also asked about what types of activities teachers are using to get help with using games. YouTube, Pinterest and other teachers in their school or district were the most popular methods. BrainPOP’s support materials on GameUp were also pretty popular, as was Edmodo.
  • Now for some more qualitative questions. <br /> <br /> Found that teachers are using games more for reinforcing, reviewing and practicing, rather than introducing. <br /> <br /> Engagement was the popular word! But also some other interesting things emerged here: for instance: for the students to find out things on their own; to enhance critical thinking skills and analysis; that students may get frustrated but usually stick with it; that kids are excited for homework; and that games provide a hook for students who struggle.
  • There are a lot of challenges that teachers identify, and of course all of our workshops cover the basics of implementation barriers and ways to get around them. Here’s a selection of what teachers told us.
  • Pinterest appeared here a lot! Which was definitely food for thought for us, but should also be if you’re a developer looking to get your games to teachers.
  • These responses are from our first survey, and we are also tracking a sub-set of attendees who will be completing follow-up surveys over the coming months. As developers of learning games, if people here today have particular questions about teacher’s use of games that they would like answers to, we’d definitely be happy to consider adding these in – as the whole idea is that this is a resource for the whole field. Just let me know afterwards or send me a message. <br /> <br /> Also, I encourage you to check out .
  • Internally, we are building out the knowledge base.

Peter Stidwill - Playful Learning: How to Grow Your Game-Based Knowledge Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Peter Stidwill @stid42 PLAYFUL LEARNING: How to Grow Your Game-Based Learning Knowledge
  • 2. PETER STIDWILL @stid42 @LGamesNetwork
  • 3. PETER STIDWILL @stid42 @LGamesNetwork
  • 4. PETER STIDWILL @stid42 @LGamesNetwork
  • 5. PETER STIDWILL @stid42 @LGamesNetwork
  • 6. PETER STIDWILL @stid42 @LGamesNetwork
  • 10. GROWING EDUCATORS’ GBL KNOWLEDGE Game-Based Learning 101 • Let's play! • What games offer • Game taxonomy • Do they work? Going Mobile With Games • Location-based games • Augmented reality (AR) games Commercial Games in the Classroom • Case studies (Minecraft, Portal, SimCity, Civ) • Hands-on exploration • Implementation tips and tools Student Game Design • The case for game design in schools • Integration to your classroom • Hands-on intro to LGN's Game Design Toolkit • Popular game design tools and software Subject Focus • STEM, ELA, Social Studies, SEL Implementing GBL in Your Classroom • Barriers and how to overcome them • Tools (BrainPOP’s GameUp, Educade, Graphite, Playful Learning, etc.) • GBL teaching strategies and techniques
  • 17. PLAYFUL LEARNINGS What are some of the challenges you faced? 1) Technology: not enough, not up-to-date, not working 2) Time in curriculum 3) Skepticism from other teachers/admin/parents, but also some students don’t see the value 4) Loading times 5) Games where kids don’t get to have enough turns 6) “Students get so excited that it is hard to discuss the games” 7) Finding effective games 8) “It can be difficult to engage learners who feel like they are not good at learning” 9) Cost for apps 10)School districts blocking games 11)Dealing with the range of skills amongst students 12)“Me not knowing how best to use games!”
  • 20. PLAYFUL LEARNINGS • Your thoughts on this information? Anything unexpected? • What should we as developers be doing to better support these educators?
  • 21. PLAYFUL LEARNINGS PETER STIDWILL @stid42 @LGamesNetwork • Questions you’d like included in the survey? Let us know! • For more teacher GBL trends, visit the Games and Learning Publishing Council’s
  • 22. PETER STIDWILL @stid42 @LGamesNetwork
  • 23. PETER STIDWILL @stid42 @LGamesNetwork JOINING THE NETWORK Running a GBL workshop or event and interested in aligning with Playful Learning? Or want to run a session at one of our workshops? Let us know!
  • 24. PETER STIDWILL @stid42 @LGamesNetwork @playfullearn | | #playfullearning