Monthly Archives: February 2016

February 12 2016 edition

Thanks to Lee Cummings, Ed Metz, Lucien Parsons, Susanna Pollack, Sheri Rubin, Russ Shilling, and Meghan Ventura for contributions to this issue! Please forward us your news and favorites to the contact information shown at the bottom.


Games for ChangeGames for Change is growing its emphasis on learning games this year by incorporating a games for learning track into the event, and adding an award for Best Learning Game to the Games for Change Awards. You can nominate your game! Visit the Games for Change Festival site and click on “Submit your Game”. The winners of the Games for Change Awards will be announced at the G4C Festival on June 23 in NYC.

The NMC Horizon Report, 2016 Higher Education Edition, was released last week. The Horizon Reports are always an interesting read, highlighting emerging technologies that may have an impact on education. You’ll find future-looking information and great links on AR, VR, Makerspaces, and more.

The Cooney Center released an excellent report on digital inequity, “Opportunity for All? Technology and Learning in Lower-income Families.” Start with GamesAndLearning’s summary and dive in from there. Although a growing number of homes have Internet access, students with just smartphone data plans report significantly decreased use, impacting potential learning.

Speaking of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center (at Sesame Workshop), did you catch the ESA’s interview with Michael Levine, founding director? Read about Michael’s impressive work with games and learning.

Asi Burak, board director of Games for Change, writes about arts funders and indie game developers, with tips for both sides on how to work together more effectively.

Kiro'o GamesKiro’o Games is a game studio in Cameroon dedicated to sharing African culture through the myths, tales, and values of the region. In their latest project, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan, the player plays as the rightful ruler of the Zama kingdom, using ancestral power to regain control of the kingdom.

The New York Times posted a thoughtful review of That Dragon, Cancer, a game about Joel Green, a terminally ill 5-year-old, and his parents, Ryan and Amy. We’ve talked of this game quite a lot and you should definitely go play it if you haven’t yet. But right now, go read this article!

I appreciated this long NPR piece on the importance of play and playful learning, especially for preschoolers. It’s an interview with Erika Christakis about her book, “The Importance of Being Little”.

Blake Montgomery wonders whether the educational games industry is repeating the past in a thoughtful piece on EdSurge. Are we heading for a repeat of the edutainment collapse? Read Blake’s piece, then go check out this excellent Cooney Center report about what happened in the 1990’s.

Coding and Making

The governors of Washington State and Arkansas published a letter in US News & World Report about the growth of computer science education in their states, encouraging other state leaders to work with them to give every student a chance to learn computer science.

Makey Makey is planning to host a series of interviews with educators. Check out their first livestream on February 18th, an interview with Nicole Catrett and Ryan Jenkins of the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio.

DremelDremel, a creator of popular manufacturing and DIY tools, has developed a STEM education program to integrate 3D printing into the classroom. Through partnerships with and Florida State University, lesson plans and model kits were created for a variety of math and science classroom settings.

If you learned computer programming in the 1980’s, you might remember those big books full of code that promised you could (for example) “Write Your Own Adventure Programs!” I definitely spent a lot of time typing those listings in. Now you can relive your childhood, as 15 of the programming books are now available as PDFs on Usborne Publishing’s website. TRS-80 not included.

Innovative libraries are adding makerspaces in an effort to help level the playing field and provide equal access to 21st century technologies. KQED Mind/Shift talked with a few higher-ed librarians about their impressive programs. It’s not just libraries at universities and community colleges though — Make it @ Your Library has created Maker Kits for libraries through grants from IMLS and the Knight Foundation, and is circulating those kits to libraries in the Illinois State Library system.

One of the challenges we hear frequently about using maker activities in the classroom is how to properly conduct assessment. Kevin Jarrett shares with Edutopia about his experience at the school’s Design Shop, utilizing reflection and capstone projects matched up with a rubric from Authentic Education.

How do you add computer science into your curriculum as a teacher or school administrator with no previous programming experience? Tom Ostapchuk of suggests 24 websites that offer teacher training, lessons, games, apps, and unplugged activities.


Slippery SlopeThe Slippery Slope – Follow the distorted logic of blame that can lead a person into violent extremism, by dodging blocks with your goat in this new game on the FBI “Don’t Be A Puppet” site. Video.


Makey MakeyMakey Makey – The upcoming show America’s Greatest Makers highlights the awesome Makey Makey in this short “What the Tech” video on their site.

Duck Hunt Life VR – Did you ever play Duck Hunt on the NES? Check out this great VR version created during the Global Game Jam.

Kaizo Trap – A well-crafted animated short of what life might be like if you were pulled into a videogame world.


Digital Kids Conference – The 10th annual conference on smart play and digital families. New York, NY. February 15-16.
DICE Summit – The game industry’s annual executive leadership summit. Las Vegas, NV. February 16-18.
SIGCSE 2016 – The annual technical symposium on computer science education. Memphis, TN. March 2-5.
SXSW Edu – Education sub-festival before SXSW Music / Film / Interactive. Austin, TX. March 7-10.
Game Developers Conference ‐ The largest game developer conference. San Francisco, CA. March 14-18.
NSTA National Conference – Annual conference for the National Science Teachers Association. Nashville, TN. March 31-April 3.
Games and Media Summit – A day-long event at the Tribeca Film Festival, from Games for Change! New York, NY. April 18.


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