What if learning came through the same game systems our kids spend so much time playing? What if students leaned into their learning with the intensity that they lean into their video and online games? That’s the potential for Game-Based Learning and Assessment! The science of learning through gaming is a growing field of work, thanks to educators and innovators who refuse to be limited by traditional education boundaries.
Organizations such as the Institute of Play are re-imagining and transforming learning and assessment practices through digital games. Check out the games and the learning built into the games at Institute of Play and these other organizations.
Institute of Play
The Institute of Play is a technology company on a mission to promote educational games as a model tool to enhance learning in students. GlassLab is one of the Institute’s projects exploring the potential for digital games to serve as learning environments and real-time assessments of student learning. “By integrating learning and assessment in a single engaging, data-rich experience, the Lab aims to deliver students and teachers powerful, pioneering tools to improve the process of learning and accelerate progress on the path toward college and career.”
Kidaptive is an innovative education and technology company dedicated to smart storytelling on iPads and curriculum developed in collaboration with top university researchers to create entertaining and adaptive content that helps children learn.
Leo’s Pad is the application the child will be working with. It breaks down learning in three ways:
- Curriculum-based content: Kids practice skills from a comprehensive curriculum that features over 70 cognitive, academic, and social “learning dimensions” that are crucial to your child’s development.
- Adaptive gameplay: Games adapt as children play, providing just the right level of difficulty to motivate learning.
- Engaging stories to help learning: Games are embedded in engaging stories, which improve learning and maximize knowledge retention
Parent’s Pad is the built-in assessment tool that helps parents support their children. It tracks their learning dimensions in seven curriculum clusters:
- Control yourself
- Figure stuff out
- Gather necessary knowledge
- Love Leraning
- Acquire physical routines
- Interact with others
- Be creative
BrainPOP creates animated, curricular content that engages students, supports educators, and bolsters achievement. They support individual, team, and whole-class learning. Teachers and students keep record of learning accomplishments through quizzes, game play, and activities. Teachers are able to tailor assessments to meet students’ needs. Online resources include BrainPOP Jr, BrainPOP Espanol, and BrainPOP ESL.
Their learning is in movies, quizzes, games, mobile apps, experiments, activity pages, and more. BrainPOP covers hundreds of topics within Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Technology, Arts & Music, and Health.
SimInsights is a software and service company that leverages skills in software, math, simulation, visualization and design. It’s purpose is to boost productivity, improve decision making and build insights. The products they offer are:
- SimPhysics – guided inquiry based mini-games. The sims help students learn the physics behind how things work by playing with rollercoasters, cannons, cars, cameras, swings and more.
- SimMotion2d – planar mechanics. This is designed for us in dynamics courses at the college level. It allows students to create and share models consisting of planar rigid bodies with contact, springs, dampers and forces.
- SimOhm – electrical circuits. This allows students to quickly and easily build their own electrical circuits, analyze them like professional electrical engineers and share with friends and teachers.
Classroom Inc. creates digital learning games that make authentic connections between school, college, and career using a blended learning model. Students take on decision-making roles as professionals in a simulated workplace while improving literacy, 21st century skills, confidence, and engagement. The simulations they offer are:
- The Chelsea Bank – As a teller, and later a customer service representative at a bank, students are exposed to the world of banking and topics such as check negotiability, fraud, bribery, and credit. They engage in such activities as counting and tallying cash, critically reading workplace documents, evaluating credit card applications, and explaining in writing their business decisions.
- The Community Clinic – As a physician’s assistant trainee at a clinic, students collect data, analyze information about patients’ ailments and recommend treatment. They engage in such activities as using a microscope, reviewing x-rays, graphing and evaluating test data, conducting patient interviews, and writing patient discharge plans.
- What’s Up Magazine – As editor-in-chief of a magazine, students are introduced to the world of publishing. They engage in activities such as researching story topics, editing stories, choosing photographs and graphics, reviewing budgets and advertising goals, hiring personnel, and manage web tie-ins for the print version.
- The Green Mountain Paper Company – As plant manager of a paper company, students learn about four broad environmental topics: land use and conservation, water use and pollution, air quality, and recycling. They engage in such activities as measuring plots of land, conducting soil experiments, writing reports and memos, interpreting graphs and charts, and balancing budgets.
- The Finance Center – As a financial counselor trainee at a local community center, students advise local clients on topics such as budgeting, money management, saving, investing, spending and credit. They engage in such activities as reviewing clients’ income and expenses, reviewing loan applications, analyzing credit card options, and making written recommendations.
- The Sports Network – As managing director of a sports network, students explore the world of sports entertainment and the cable industry. They engage in activities such as creating algebraic formulas to determine program lineups; reading memos, contracts, and other business documents for main ideas and details; plotting points on graphs to analyze trends in viewing; and writing supported recommendations.
- The Alicia Leary Progress Foundation – As executive director of a small community foundation, students are introduced to issues in citizenship, community responsibility, neighborhood safety, town politics and the criminal justice system. They engage in such activities as evaluating proposals, meeting with community leaders, attending town meetings, plotting and interpreting survey data, creating budgets, and designing a town park using scale drawings.
- West End Law – As a lawyer in a small, general practice law firm, students learn about civil and criminal situations and explore American democracy and legal principles. They engage in such activities as examining written evidence, reviewing contracts, evaluating case files, selecting juries, calculating firm expenses and fees, and making written recommendations using supporting facts and details.
- The Kalliope Performing Arts Center – As the general manager of a performing arts center, students learn aspects of management and event production, as well as about sets, costumes, stage direction, lighting design, script development, marketing, and advertising. They engage in such activities as comparing various performance genres, developing a fundraising plan, scheduling shows, writing memos about their decisions, and selecting art for exhibits.
- The Court Square Community Bank – As vice president of a commercial bank, students explore issues of lending (mortgages, credit), savings and savings instruments (CDs, mutual funds, IRAs), and the role of a bank in a community. They engage in such activities as analyzing interest rates, projecting potential profits, writing an op ed newspaper piece, and calculating loan payments.
Blue Marble Game Company
Blue Marble Game Company’s offers comprehensive and cost-affordable interactive digital-health game ecosystems. This ecosystem is grounded in evidence based medicine and best practices that positively impact healthcare outcomes, resiliency, wellness and quality of life! Their system expands and enhances communication between providers and clients, to manage their care, and to track their progress in an effort to ensure therapeutic interventions are available anytime and anywhere. Their games entertain, engage, educate, and challenge physical and cognitive skills for people of all ages and abilities. With comprehensive game performance, data tracking, and analytics their games do more than offer players rewarding entertainment, they also directly updated medical professionals with their client’s valuable, accurate and detailed human performance metrics.
They offer the following products:
- Treasure of Bell Island – Treasure of Bell Island is a Treasure Hunting Island Survival Adventure Game. In this role playing game, the player must manage four characters energy, location and rest while searching for the missing Prof. Swan. Each character has a unique skill-set that is used at various times during game play. Deciding when to play the characters is the key to surviving long enough to discover the treasure on Bell Island. Doing so efficiently, lowers the player’s score while challenging their attention, memory and executive function skills.
- RESET – RESET provides a new approach to evaluating attention, memory, and executive function; addressing the mismatch between the needs and tools of teachers/coaches/ clinicians. Metrics are needed to quantitatively demonstrate that “players” are progressing in their treatments, but many of their tools were designed decades ago and are not as effective in today’s data-driven society. RESET evaluations provide objective outcomes using software designed to help overcome these challenges, by transforming evaluations into games that engage a player’s emotions and interest. Evaluations will be easier and faster to administer, score, and interpret, creating a more efficient system for assessment and treatment.
- Zoezi Park – Zoezi Park is designed for players over the age of 65 who wish to avoid falling or for those at risk of falling. Straddling rehabilitation and wellness, the application is fun and easy to use, and provides players with increasingly difficult challenges in a supportive and educational park-like setting.
- Deep Ocean – Deep Ocean, aggregates human performance data from all of our games, analyzes the information and presents the findings to clinicians via a user-friendly webpage.