November 13 2015 edition

Thanks to Russell Shilling for contributions to this issue! Please forward us your news and favorites to the contact information shown at the bottom.


GlassLab logoGames for Change is holding its next Industry Circle hangout November 17, conducting a conversation with GlassLab’s Paula Escuadra and Erin Hoffman-John about the lab’s Analytics Engine. RSVP for the Google Hangout here. Learn more about GlassLab and its recent merge with Collective Shift (LRNG) in this detailed post on Serious Games Market.

Have you heard of MinecraftEdu, the education version of the phenomenon that is Minecraft? EdSurge recently dived in to learn more and also played some themselves! Hear more in this EdSurge Podcast.

Discovery Education has teamed with the NFL Players Association and EA Sports to release a special version of “Madden” to teach math and science to 5th through 9th graders. Launching December 1, Football by the Numbers will task students with using algebra and statistics to make important game-time decisions.

Stack-Up is a new non-profit organization dedicated to helping U.S. soldiers through video games. Spun off from Operation Supply Drop, Stack-Up will focus its efforts on getting games to soldiers in combat zones and military hospitals, and bringing soldiers and veterans to gaming conventions.

Jane McGonial encourages us all to develop a “gameful” mindset in this piece in Slate. The author of “Superbetter” asserts, “video game play is literally the neurological opposite of depression”.

Games 4 Ed co-founder Mitch Weisburgh details research around the use of games for learning in an extensive piece on site K-12TechDecisions. Don’t know your Vygotsky from your Dweck? Check the research!

The Game Believes in YouUSA Today K-12 Education expert Greg Toppo visited Seattle last week to deliver lectures at Microsoft and the University of Washington, and did an interview with the Seattle Times while he was in town. His recent book “The Game Believes in You” covers many examples of using games in the classroom. Haven’t read it yet? What are you waiting for?

In “Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens”, Lisa Guernsey and Michael Levine argue in favor of a balanced media diet for children. As mobile computing devices become increasingly utilized by young children, how can we ensure that kids develop strong critical literacy skills? This insightful book will help you become a sensitive guide.

Popular education blog Getting Smart covers game-based learning in this summary post that covers a recent series of interviews. What does game-based learning look like in practice?

The number of different state student privacy laws are making it ever more challenging to create educational software for schools, according to the Data Quality Campaign. In 2015, 46 states introduced 182 new bills to protect student data.

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) released its third annual Infrastructure Survey. According to this CoSN report, access to fiber-optic cables and faster wireless networking is improving, but affordable Internet service is still a major hurdle for schools.

The BBC’s head of user experience and design Jane Murison gave a great long interview to site DigitalArts about designing apps for children. The BBC develops a number of great apps for kids, including CBeebies Playtime for younger kids, and Go CBBC for older kids.

Coding and Making

Star Wars Hour of launched its first Hour of Code lesson for this year’s Computer Science Education Week, a Star Wars-themed Hour of Code that can be played using blocks or Javascript! The play style is similar to last year’s popular Frozen-themed hour.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella visited London’s Eastlea Community School last week to highlight the BBC micro:bit. The micro:bit, a collaboration between the BBC and Microsoft, is a small affordable computing device designed for education that will be given free to all UK Year 7 students early next year.

University of Washington computer science professor Ed Lazowska took issue with an editorial in GeekWire last week and wrote a biting response for the site. The original piece, “Coding bootcamps question the need for computer science degrees”, represented university programs as a place where theory reigns and practice may be left by the wayside. Worth reading.

Ubisoft Montreal pledged $8 million to promote tech education in Quebec as part of its new Codex program. With 17 partners and a dozen different programs, Codex seeks to provide tech learning and mentorship opportunities for students of all ages.

Bitsbox is giving free coding kits to teachers for their use in Computer Science Education Week. The monthly subscription box includes fun coding exercises and toys designed to inspire and engage kids. To apply for a box, hit up this EdSurge page.

The White House recently held a summit on next generation high schools, and Pittsburgh makers were there in force! Of course we all know of Pittsburgh as the home of the amazing Remake Learning initiative. The Grable Foundation announced 10 STEAM mini-grants and an additional $57,000 to be disbursed to teachers and students this spring.

Blair Blackwell, Chevron’s manager of education and corporate programs, gives five tips to get more women involved with STEM on education website Tip number one: More female role models!


Star Wars Hour of Code BlocksStar Wars Hour of Code (Web) – launched its first Hour of Code this past week, kicking off the season with a Star Wars-themed Hour for both ages 6-10 (blocks) and ages 11+ (blocks and Javascript). Fun! Star Wars video.

Beneath the Lighthouse (iOS, Android) – A cute puzzle game from Nitrome. Guide your character through circular rooms by rotating them so that he can fall to the exit. Think of it as VVVVVVVV in a circular world. Sort of. Video.

Code Warriors: Hakitzu Battles (Web) – A high-fidelity Javascript programming robot battle game. Do you remember Hakitzu Elite for iOS? This is that game, on the web, for free, with a learning dashboard for teachers. Video.

Curious World (iOS) – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt recently launched this app, a curated early learning experience for kids ages 3-7. Experience videos, games, and books. It’s free to download, with a subscription fee for the full experience. Video.

Peanuts: Snoopy’s Town Tale (iOS) – Help Snoopy recreate the town and bring the Peanuts gang together in this Farmville-style game. Video.


Battleground 538Battleground 538 Pre-Release Trailer – GlassLab’s Battleground 538 is a turn-based strategy game about the United States electoral college system. The original prototype was developed at the White House Education Game Jam!

Change the World – 2015 Hour of Code – Are you ready for Computer Science Education Week in early December? Check out’s 2015 Hour of Code kickoff video.

Origami Nissan Juke: Folded in Britain – Are you a fan of origami? Ever thought about creating a life-size car?

Raspberry Pi powered Dalek – Fans of Doctor Who may want to brush up on their Raspberry Pi programming skills after watching this video.

Candy Crush: The Movie (with Liam Neeson) – In honor of Activision’s buyout of, Stephen Colbert created his vision of the next amazing videogame movie crossover hit.


Practice – High-quality game design conference for pro designers. New York, NY. November 13-15.
Montreal International Game Summit – Canada’s largest game developer event. Montreal, QC. November 15-17.
Serious Games Showcase & Challenge – The serious games competition at I/ITSEC. Orlando, FL. November 30 – December 4.
Computer Science Education Week – Inspiring people to learn the joys of coding. Everywhere. December 7-13.
Global Game Jam – The world’s largest simultaneous weekend game jam. Everywhere. January 29-31.


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