October 30 2015 edition

Thanks to David Doak, Aaron Pulkka, Sheri Rubin, Russell 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

LOFT FellowsThe Hispanic Heritage Foundation and the Entertainment Software Association brought 20 promising young programming fellows to Washington DC last week as part of their LOFT program. Each of the LOFT fellows submitted an original game or app that addresses social issues in their community.

The New Media Consortium’s 2015 Horizon Report left out game-based learning after including it for several years. There’s still enthusiasm for education games in the classroom, according to this piece in EdTech Magazine, but growth has slowed.

Bandura Games is a company seeking to bring the world together through games. The company itself is a microcosm of that view, with co-founders from Israel, Palestine, and the U.S.

ShareAmerica published an article and video on nonprofit Games for Change, highlighting the goals of the organization as well as interesting individual games such as Half the Sky.

Scientists in Germany are using a virtual reality maze to help detect early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the BBC. Players in the high risk group navigated the maze differently and had reduced functioning of brain cells involved in spatial navigation.

Motion MathEdSurge’s Brady Fukumoto did a glorious deep dive into Motion Math’s nine math games, reviewing each of them and describing how effective they were at getting him to his Flow Zone. Which game is his favorite?

Virtual reality startup Blippar has published CardioVR, a VR experience that helps children learn about the human body through virtual reality. The app utilizes the inexpensive Google Cardboard.

In a study run by San Francisco’s Akili Interactive Labs, kids who suffered from ADHD showed improvement in working memory and levels of attention after 30 minutes of videogame playing per day.

The game developers responsible for the fun Land of Venn series of learning games say that they are going to add advertisements in order to have a better chance at reaching profitability.

A report from Ambient Insight states that learning games aren’t making their way to classrooms due to costs and regulations. The report suggests that companies focus their marketing efforts on parents; of course this has a side effect of benefitting only those families who can afford the games.

Coding and Making

YouTubeSusan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, uses her daughter’s disinterest in computers as a jumping off point to discuss gender issues in tech and the state of computer science education in America, in this piece on CNN.

You may have heard about the increasing popularity of coding bootcamps, fast-track private schools that rapidly teach coding skills. Many coding camps assert that students will significantly increase their income. ReadWrite takes a look at some of the numbers.

Barnes & Noble is having a Mini Maker Faire! That’s right, November 6-8 at a bookstore near you. Visit your local B&N to meet other makers and check out 3D printers, robots, and drones!

GameSalad is an accessible programming tool for building apps and games. GameSalad for Education includes software, curriculum, textbooks, certifications, and asset packs to help teachers use GameSalad to teach programming fundamentals in the classroom.

Thymio is a robot designed to be used in the classroom to teach programming skils. The little robot includes a variety of sensors, and both visual and text-based programming environments.

Playables

Neko AtsumeNeko Atsume (iOS, Android) – This cat collection game was a cult favorite when it launched earlier this year. The downside at the time was that it was all in Japanese. Now it’s ported to English so you can see what all the fuss is about! Video.

Fold the World (iOS) – A very cute puzzle game that requires you to fold and rotate parts of the playfield to solve each puzzle. It looks just like a childrens book! Video.

Videos

Project SparkTop 25 Project Spark Creations Since Launch – It’s been over a year since the launch of Project Spark, Microsoft’s fun game-creation tool. Check out these impressive creations!

Accelerating America’s Creative Tech Industry – The Entertainment Software Association and Higher Education Video Game Alliance held an event on Capitol Hill in Washington DC last week to talk about the game industry and its influence on the U.S. economy.

Lunch Break: Professor Ed Lazowska – Microsoft’s Brad Anderson meets up with smart people over lunch and interviews them while driving. In this episode Brad meets Professor Ed Lazowska from the University of Washington’s Computer Science & Engineering department.

Imagine The Possibilities | Barbie – What happens when girls are free to imagine they can be anything? This wonderful Barbie ad really nails the appeal of the 56-year-old doll.

Games 4 Health Student Promo – Join the world’s largest health gaming competition! Last year’s Games 4 Health had 190 students competing for $50K in prize money. Join the 2016 cohort!

Game Jams: Students as Designers – Matt Farber talks about game jams, and how to utilize them in the classroom. Matt uses jams in his middle school social studies classes as well as in an after school club.

Conferences

GameSoundCon – The art, technology, and business of game audio. Los Angeles, CA. November 3-4.
Mozilla Festival – Forging the future of the web. London, UK. November 6-8.
Practice – High-quality game design conference for pro designers. New York, NY. November 13-15.
Serious Games Showcase & Challenge – The serious games competition at I/ITSEC. Orlando, FL. November 30 – December 4.
Global Game Jam – The world’s largest simultaneous weekend game jam. Everywhere. January 29-31.

Resources

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