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Those who can play, teach: Video games in the classroom

Posted by Michael Warshaw September 23, 2013 11:46 AM

By Pernian Faheem, lead organizer, iGame Conference

Consider this: If American students scored just 40 points higher on international math tests, the US would generate $16 trillion of additional GDP income over their lifetime, according to a recent study out of Harvard. It seems like such a small gain for such a huge reward, but the question is: How do we get there?

One potential solution is to disrupt the 18th century factory model of mass-produced education that is the norm in our country, and tap into the power of technology and social media to tailor education to the needs of every child. The idea? Make the learning process more effective and a lot more fun.

We can do that now, simply by using educational games in the classroom. Our kids are growing up playing online games already. Rather than fighting it, let’s make sure they’re learning something useful in the process.

The Institute of Game Accelerated Multidisciplinary Education, or iGAME, is a nonprofit founded in Boston and focused on developing innovative educational games for schools. According to founders Naureen Meraj and Imran Sayeed, the goal is simple: bridge the gap between educational institutions and students by providing an engaging and meaningful learning experience.

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Can video games build better children?

Posted by Michael Warshaw September 10, 2013 09:33 AM

By Scot Osterweil, creative director, MIT’s Education Arcade

How do you teach schoolchildren to navigate ethical minefields?

One way is through games.

Quandary, a game we created at Learning Games Network with our Boston-based development partner Fablevision, was named game of the year at the 2013 Games for Change Festival in New York. Aimed at upper elementary and middle school students, Quandary addresses a fundamental issue in a child’s ethical development: the need to understand the perspectives of others when making ethical choices. The game is web-served and freely available at this link.

quandary-screen1.jpgThe premise is that you, the player, are the captain of a space colony on the planet Braxos (think Plymouth Plantation, but 35 light-years away). While the colony has contact with earth, the small group of settlers are largely responsible for working together to solve their problems, and you step in to referee things only when the going gets tough. Your job is to learn the dimensions of any dispute by talking to interested parties. In the process, you must begin to separate facts from opinions, and figure out which points of argument might move people toward agreement. You eventually propose your solution to a council of elders on Earth; they make the final decision, but it will be very much influenced by the information you provide.

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About this blog

MassDiGI 8-24 287w872.jpgThe State of Play, organized by MassDiGI, features stories by digital and video game developers and business insiders. Follow along @mass_digi.

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