March 4 2016 edition

Thanks to Eric Haines, Ed Metz, Russ Shilling, and Meghan Ventura for keeping the faith and sending contributions to this issue! Please forward us your news and favorites to the contact information shown at the bottom.


Save the Park logoAmerican Express and Games for Change have partnered to create “Save the Park”. The endless runner game encourages players to get out into their national parks and volunteer.

“Could playing video games help kids lose weight?” asks CBS News. The answer is yes. Haven’t we been talking about this for about 10 years? Well, I’m happy to see coverage of this research on CBS This Morning.

Norway is teaming up with USAID and others to develop a mobile learning application for Syrian children who are out of school due to the Syrian conflict. Learn more about the EduApp4Syria competition here.

McDonald’s Sweden is testing out a way to turn your box of fries into a Google Cardboard-like VR headset. The “Happy Goggles” will be available over the March 5 and March 12 weekends at 14 restaurants, for about $4.10.

“Feed the Pig” is a game design challenge from the AICPA, Ad Council, and Games for Change. The challenge invites devs to submit game concepts that target young working adults and emphasize the importance of saving for the future. Submissions due March 10!

The 2016 Washington State Story Problem Challenge is an Algebra challenge event from the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science. Sign up your Washington State class or school to take part in this adaptive learning challenge, from the team who created the adaptive version of Dragon Box!

Activision teamed up with Autism Speaks in recognition of World Autism Awareness day, inviting fans to Light it Up Blue using a new series of Skylanders SuperChargers that utilize Autism Speaks’ official colors.

Did you catch Katie Salen’s interview with the ESA? Katie is Chief Design and Research Officer at Institute of Play. She describes her work over the years focusing on game-like learning.

Coding and Making

Raspberry Pi 3Last week’s big news was the launch of Raspberry Pi 3 – a single-board computer with a 64-bit CPU running at 1.2GHz that includes on-board WiFi and Bluetooth. Wow! Did I mention it retails at $35?

Did you see that NSF’s Jan Cuny won the Outstanding Contribution Award from SIGCSE (ACM’s Computer Science Education SIG)? Talk about the “Understatement of the Year” award. Jan has done a massive amount of work forwarding computer science education over the years, including CS10K, AP CS, and of course the new “CS for All” inititiative. Congratulations, Jan!

Chicago Public Schools will now require all its high school students to complete a computer science curriculum before graduating! This effort will start with next year’s freshman class, and the district is working with and others to flesh out a curriculum. Amazing work, Chicago.

The New Yorker wrote a short piece on the artful electronics creations of Adafruit’s Lady Ada, Limor Fried. It’s kind of a peculiar piece, but I’m always so happy to see the amazing work of Adafruit highlighted, whatever the occasion!

The website “The Seventy Four” (a great education-focused blog) covered codeSpark, makers of computer science game “The Foos”, and how people are using the app to teach coding to kids as young as 5 years old.

We all need to work harder to fix the digital use divide that is growing in our schools. Mary Jo Madda of EdSurge wrote a thoughtful piece about the growth of the opportunity gap. Kids at higher-income schools are being given so many more opportunities for technology education than their friends in lower-income areas. You should read this article.

Lastly, you’ll want to see the largest 3D-printed Minecraft city, made by Australian students from Melbourne. Congratulations to them on their record! Check out the video. Objects printed using the amazing Mineways.


Toca DanceToca Dance – It’s Toca Boca plus dancing – how can you not try it? Video.

Lode Runner: The Web Version – Someone has cleverly remade the classic game Lode Runner for the web. How’d they do it? With HTML5 and the CREATEJS Javascript framework. And a lot of elbow grease. Check it out! Video.

Save the Park – Join national park volunteers on their quest to save the parks in this fast-paced endless running game. Video.

Stack – A simple and fun single-finger mobile stacking game from the makers of 2048. Video.

Churchill Solitaire – There was some hub-bub a few weeks ago about a game “created by Donald Rumsfeld”. I don’t know if that’s true, but it IS an awfully fun solitaire game. Video.


Jesse SchellG4C Industry Circle: Schell Games – Catch Games for Change CEO Susanna Pollack interviewing Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games.

The Unseen History of Portal – Curious to see how the game Portal evolved? Check out this retrospective of various revisions of Narbacular Drop over time. An interesting analysis of the development of an impressive game.

Game Boy, a hardware autopsy – What’s in a Game Boy? Take a look under the hood by starting here with Part 1: The CPU.


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.
XTech 2016 – The Experiential Technology & NeuroGaming Conference and Expo. San Francisco, CA. May 17-18.
Games for Change – The 13th annual conference for using games for change. New York, NY. June 23-24.


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