January 8 2016 edition

Thanks to Andrew Peterson, Stephanie Santoso, and Russ Shilling for contributions to this issue! Please forward us your news and favorites to the contact information shown at the bottom.

The SIGCHI 2016 Pervasive Play workshop takes place early May in San Jose, California. The call for participation is closing January 13.

January 16, the Smithsonian American Art Museum is holding its annual Indie Arcade. If you’re near Washington DC be sure to check out this page for more details!

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is holding a climate change game night January 21 to highlight games produced during the Climate Game Jam last October.


Oculus LogoLots of Oculus Rift news this past week. Good news for their Kickstarter backers, Oculus is sending every backer a Kickstarter Edition of the final VR headset at launch. At CES, the company announced that the devices will launch in March, for $600. There was some blowback at the price. Check out this tool from Oculus to see if your computer is powerful enough to utilize the Rift!

Intel presented an update to its Diversity in Technology Initiative at CES, discussing the company’s diversity statistics for this past year as well as unveiling a Hack Harassment initiative in partnership with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and others. The company is supporting the Diversity in Games Alliance, which announced the Amplifying New Voices bootcamp for this year’s Game Developers Conference, a one-day course that will help coach 36 game industry professionals on public speaking, presentations, media training, and more.

Lumosity paid a $2 million penalty to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission regarding unfounded claims that the company’s games can help users perform better and reduce cognitive impairment.

A study at the University of Bristol showed that student concentration levels increased when game-based learning was used in place of traditional multiple-choice questions. The project is the first of six launched by the Wellcome Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation focusing on education interventions grounded in neuroscience research.

Wired magazine covered the story of That Dragon, Cancer, an emotional game which has been in development by a father who lost his young son to brain cancer.

Could your next eye exam utilize a game to help diagnose your vision? RightEye LLC showed off eye-tracking technology at CES 2016 that they’re hoping to see replace standard vision screenings in the future.

Sande Chen’s third excellent piece on game-based learning has hit GamesAndLearning.org, analyzing the development of entertainment games which also find their way into the classroom.

Pac-Man Powered by Moff combines the Moff Band and a collaboration with Bandai Namco to encourage kids to move, guiding Pac-Mac through a maze and away from ghosts with arm movements.

Do you know about Reddit’s game-based learning subreddit? Check out this great feed of game-based learning articles.

Coding and Making

Lego WeDo 2.0Lego announced the WeDo 2.0 at CES, a new version of the company’s robotics learning system targeted at elementary schools. WeDo includes a wireless platform and more than 40 hours of lessons aligned with science standards. The Wall Street Journal covered the company’s multiple attempts at reaching girls, which have culminated in the popular Lego Friends line.

A collaboration of ACM, Code.org, CSTA, and a team of advisors has announced an effort to draft a new framework for K-12 computer science education. Check out K12CS.org for more details.

Pinterest has hired a new head of diversity and announced two engineering-focused programs to improve the tech company’s diversity. The apprenticeship and internship programs give candidates the opportunity to experience what engineering is like at Pinterest.

Barnes & Noble is celebrating its annual Educator Appreciation Days by giving a lucky educator the opportunity to win a fully stocked makerspace for their school. In October, the company hosted the first retail Mini Maker Faire.

Congratulations to STEM toy company Roominate, which was purchased by Wisconsin-based toy company Patch, itself owned by Topspin Partners.

Are you an educator who wants to become a coding teacher? Grant Smith details some steps you can take on Edutopia, including a collection of excellent links and suggestions for where you can find support.

David Molina, a former U.S. Army Captain, is helping veterans who want to learn to code through Operation Code, a nonprofit that connects veterans with scholarships and potential employees.

Doctors at a Minnesota hospital were planning to do a 3D print of a newborn’s heart in order to plan a surgical procedure. When the 3D printer broke, they converted the data and visualized it using a Google Cardboard and iPhone!

Fisher-Price announced the Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar at CES. The cute toy for preschoolers is designed to encourage foundational skills of coding, skills such as problem solving and sequencing.


Future of Education Technology Conference – Bringing educators and technologists together to share teaching techniques. Orlando, FL. January 12-15.
CUNY Games Festival – A conf on game-based learning in higher ed. New York, NY. January 22-23.
Global Game Jam – The world’s largest simultaneous weekend game jam. Everywhere. January 29-31.
EduCon 2.8 – Education innovation un-conference. Philadelphia, PA. January 29-31.
Kidscreen Summit – The kids entertainment industry’s most important annual event. Miami, FL. February 8-11.
DICE Summit – The game industry’s annual executive leadership summit. Las Vegas, NV. February 16-18.
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.


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