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Dan White & Carrie Ray-Hill - Demystifying Game-Based Learning Success


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Dan White, CEO, Filament Games
Carrie Ray-Hill, Director of Content, iCivics

This presentation was given at the 2016 Serious Play Conference, hosted by the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Upon her retirement, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made it her mission to promote civics education for young people. Today, iCivics is the most widely adopted game-based learning solution in America. Boasting a reach of over 7 million students, 100,000 registered teachers, and users in all 50 United States, the platform is having a massive impact on how America teaches civics. Session attendees will hear Carrie Ray-Hill, iCivics Director of Content, and Dan White, Filament Games CEO, discuss how a focus on purpose, process, practicality, and playability contributed to the overall success of iCivics. Additionally, the team will talk about how the development of curriculum, including readings, activities, and discussions provided essential support for individual, small group, and whole-class learning across a variety of settings. With an eye toward the future, the team will talk about how they updated an existing platform to better support classrooms and districts as they increase tablet utilization.

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Dan White & Carrie Ray-Hill - Demystifying Game-Based Learning Success

  1. 1. Demystifying Game-Based Learning Success Dan White, Filament Games Carrie Ray-Hill, iCivics
  2. 2. • Founded in 2005 • 107 games developed for 45 clients • Located in Madison, WI • Founded in 2010 • 18 video games, 130 lesson plans, 2 learning tools, & more • Based in Cambridge, MA
  3. 3. iCivics Curriculum • Product Lines • Games- simulate civic actions and concepts • Lesson Plans- core content needs, knowledge delivery • WebQuests- incorporates light internet research of civic topics • Drafting Board- longer form digital tool to scaffold argumentative writing • DBQuest- digital tool scaffolding primary source analysis. • Scope and Sequence • Navigates teachers through all iCivics content • Teacher may do as much or as little as they want. • Each content element is created to stand alone or act as a unit • Teacher and Student Accounts • Assignable digital content • Avatars and light gamification with achievements and Impact Projects
  4. 4. Get the Word Out Early large media wins Consistent campaigns Having a big supporter helps Find a Need & Meet It Focus on your audience, serve them High-quality, easy to use solutions Reach critical mass of content early Tap into Networks Word of mouth in education is key Underserved audiences help you help them Listen to feedback, all the time Find Money to Sustain Mission Content isn’t cheap Maintenance is a must Know where to go and where to stop Cycle for Success
  5. 5. Impactful leaning games need… Purpose Process Practicality Playability Partnership
  6. 6. Purpose What learning objectives and standards to teachers need help with? • Instructional pain points, challenging concepts • Some things need to have more show than tell • Other things are better for traditional instruction- don’t push a round peg into a square hole. Bottom Line: If it doesn’t help teachers do their job, they won’t give up valuable class time to play your game.
  7. 7. Process How well do learning objectives translate into game play? What data is needed to show learning? • Quiz games are so 2008 • Challenges and rewards must be contextual, seem natural • Instant and applicable feedback is a big reason learning games work • Points don’t always tell the player’s story Bottom Line: The play should allow for contextual learning- not provide kill and drill instruction.
  8. 8. Practicality How well does the game fit into classroom instruction? • Length of play and complexity of instructions • Meta-game materials are critical to teachers • What setting(s) work best: One-to-one? Partner play? Whole class? Bottom Line: The game has to be worth the time teachers take to teach with it, so support the game- support the teacher. *Technology is another part of this consideration. What will the classroom bear? Broadband, hardware, access to IT support.
  9. 9. Playability Is it fun? Will they keep playing? • If students want to play, teachers will have willing learners. • Game play can’t be sacrificed for learning objectives and learning objectives can’t lose out to flashy game features. The magic is in the balance. • Replayability is critical- content and paths need to be diverse Bottom Line: Fun and persistence in play matters to students and to teachers, and in turn to developers.