In April, a PLAYlive Nation lounge in Tracy, Calif., hosted its first Fortnite tournament and sold out. Hundreds of players bought tickets to play against one another and win prizes.
Joost van Dreunen, the CEO of Superdata Research, a video game analytics firm, says most shooter games are serious and simulate violence. Fortnite, he says, is more like a friendly game of tag.
His company estimates the game has made about $223 million across all platforms in March alone. In lifetime sales, it had made about $614 million. The game is free to play, but Epic Games, the company that owns Fortnite, makes money through microtransactions. Players can spend real money to make cosmetic changes to their characters in the game. They can buy things like skins, which are like costumes, for their characters or emotes, which are celebratory dance moves their characters can do after winning or killing another player in the game.
Ninja, the gamer name taken by 26-year-old Tyler Blevins, is now a legend in the Fortnite world. He is a master at the game and rocketed into popularity after playing in an online battle with rap artists Drake and Travis Scott on March 14. That battle has been watched more than 9 million times.
Educators Battle ‘Fortnite’ for Students’ Attention
Many educators want to ban the game from their classrooms, but some are taking the opposite approach, attempting to weave students’ interest in Fortnite into class discussions and assignments.
Nick Fisher, a science teacher at Fort Zumwalt North High School in O’Fallon, Mo., said his students like to take screenshots of gameplay and send them to friends over Snapchat. Teenagers want to broadcast their victories, and because the game is on their phones, it’s easy to post updates to social media, making Fortnite “the perfect concoction of addiction,” said Fisher.
North High blocks all social media and gaming sites on its WiFi, said Fisher, but students tell him how they circumvent the restriction: They use virtual private networks, or VPNs, to establish independent internet connections. (Dozens of YouTube videos provide step-by-step tutorials for students looking to get around school WiFi controls.)
“Kids can’t multitask,” she said. “Even having a digital device within sight can cognitively distract the student enough that they can’t focus on the academics.”
Schools and teachers should be guiding parents when it comes to appropriate limits around screen time, said Kolb. Most parents will appreciate research-based recommendations, such as turning off all screens a set amount of time before bed, she said.
Games like Fortnite can even have social benefits, said John Velez, an assistant professor of journalism and electronic media at Texas Tech University. Velez, who studies the positive effects of video games, has found that playing violent games cooperatively with helpful teammates promotes pro-social behavior.
Chris Aviles, the coordinator of innovation, technology, and 21st century skills for the Fair Haven Public Schools in New Jersey, wrote “A Teacher’s Guide to Surviving Fortnite,” an exploration of ways the game can be used for instructional purposes. The guide, posted to his blog Teched Up Teacher, suggests how to integrate the game into writing prompts, math lessons on probability, and physics.
Aviles doesn’t advocate playing the game at school. There isn’t any educational value in letting students engage in virtual combat during a lesson, he said. Instead, teachers can build a lesson around one aspect of the game, such as having students calculate the best angle of approach as they jump from the “Battle Bus,” the floating bus that drops players onto the map at the beginning of each match.
Instagram, Snapchat, Fortnite: The distractions are endless. Here’s how to help kids cope.
In January, two of Apple’s shareholder groups asked the company to look at the addictive effects of iPhones on children. Google’s recent developer conference highlighted tools to help users better control smartphone usage.
A 2015 survey of more than 1,800 teachers and 400 principals in Alberta, B.C., found that nearly three-fourths of teachers frequently or very frequently observed students multitasking with technology, and 67 percent of teachers believed that the number of students negatively distracted by digital technologies in the classroom was growing.
The best approach is to use empathy, compassion and collaboration to help the young people in your life find ways to manage their digital workflow.
Encourage visualization for inspiration and motivation. The first step is getting students to buy in and to want to make behavioral changes.
Focus on compartmentalization. A 2009 study from Stanford researchers found that people who juggled several streams of electronic information were not able to pay attention, remember key information or switch tasks as effectively as those who completed one task at a time.
Using the Pomodoro technique of spending 25 minutes focused on one task followed by a five-minute break can be an easy way to have students begin to shift from a multitasking to a monotasking mind-set.
Make focus fun. There are now numerous ways to use technology to help us be more productive with technology, and it doesn’t have to be arduous. Students in my office use apps such as Forest or Flipd to motivate them to stay off their phones during class or when doing homework. Forest has a simple interface that will build a digital tree for users who stay off their phones. Flipd allows users to hide certain apps, allot time off their phone based on their schedule and, for a premium, track their progress over time.
Provide structured support as needed. A middle school student with whom I worked recently was relieved when his mother used the Mac OS app SelfControl to block YouTube and ESPN while he was doing his homework (Cold Turkey is a similar PC-based app).
Allow opportunities for regrouping. Even the best plans can go awry (for adults and kids alike). It’s important to focus on progress rather than perfection. Create time daily or weekly for students to think about what went well in terms of managing distractions and improving productivity, and what they would like to do better. Ask open-ended questions without judgment or expectation
The UN’s children’s agency, Unicef, has launched a futuristic pilot project to utilise the cryptocurrency Ethereum to raise money for Syrian children.
the “blockchain” technology associated with the cryptocurrency – the world’s second largest after the controversial Bitcoin – to revolutionise not only how aid organisations raise money but also to increase transparency in their financial transactions.
Blockchain – which emerged as one of the underpinnings of Bitcoin – is a shared record of transactions maintained by a network of computers. It has become a key technology because of its ability to record and keep track of assets or transactions with no need for middlemen.
Seeking to bring the qualities of well-designed games to pedagogical assessment, the University of Michigan created a learning management system that uses gaming elements such as competition, badges and unlocks to provide students with a personalized pathway through their courses.
a new type of learning management system called GradeCraft. GradeCraft borrows game elements such as badges and unlocks to govern students’ progress through a course. With unlocks, for example, you have to complete a task before moving to the next level.
Written in Ruby on Rails and hosted on Amazon Web Services, GradeCraft was created by a small team of students and faculty with additional software support from Ann Arbor-based developer Alfa Jango. Their work received support from UM’s Office of Digital Education and Innovation and the Office of the Provost. GradeCraft can work as a stand-alone platform or in conjunction with a traditional LMS via the LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) protocol.
Here is how it works: Instructors create a course shell within GradeCraft (similar to the process with any LMS). Students use a tool called the “Grade Predictor” to plan a personalized pathway through the course, making predictions about both what they will do and how they will perform. When assignments are graded, predictions turn into progress; students are then nudged to revisit their semester plan, reassessing what work is available and how well they need to do to succeed overall. Students are able to independently choose an assessment pathway that matches their interests within the framework of learning objectives for the course.
Based on the literature regarding games, gaming, gamification, game-based learning, and serious games, several clear trends emerge:
Gaming and gamification in the sense of game-based learning is about using games and game-like tactics in the education process, for greater engagement and better learning outcomes. However, this is only the first level of such initiative. The second and higher level is about involving students in the game-building and gamification of the learning process (as per Vygotsky’s Zone of…) thus achieving student-centered and experiential learning.
When hosting games and gaming in any library, “in-person” or electronic/online games are welcome but not sufficient to fulfill their promise, especially in an academic library. Per (1), an academic library has the responsibility to involve students and guide them in learning how to engage in the building process required in true game-based learning.
Game-based learning, gaming and gamification in particular, in educational (academic library) settings must consider mobile devices and the BYOD movement in particular as intrinsic parts of the entire process. Approaching the initiative primarily by acquiring online “in-person” games, or game consoles has the same limited educational potential as only hosting games, rather than elevating the students to full guided engagement with game-based learning. If public relations and raised profile are the main goals for the academic library, such an approach is justified. If the academic library seeks to maximize the value of game-based learning, then the library must consider: a. gaming consoles, b. mobile devices as part of a BYOD initiative and c. cloud-based / social games, such as MineCraft, SimCity etc.
Design for game-based learning, gaming and gamification in educational (academic library) settings must include multiple forms of assessment and reward, e.g. badges, leaderboards and/or certificates as an intrinsic part of the entire process. Merely hosting games in the academic library cannot guarantee true game-based learning. The academic library, as the forefront of a game-based learning initiative on campus, must work with faculty on understanding and fine tuning badges and similar new forms of assessment and reward, as they effectively implement large scale game-based learning, focused on the students’ learning gains.
Recommendations for LRS
In regard to LRS, the gaming and gamification process must be organized and led by faculty, including housing and distributing the hardware, software and applications, when needed.
The attached paper and the respective conclusions summarized in four points demand educational and experiential background, which is above the limits of the LRS staff. In addition, the LRS staff has clearly admitted that the pedagogical value of gaming and gamification is beyond their interest. This recommendation is not contradicting to the fact and opportunity for LRS staff to participate in the process and contribute to the process; it just negates the possibility of staff mandating and leading the process, since it will keep the gaming and gamification process on a very rudimentary level.
The process must be further led by faculty with a terminal degree in education (Ph.D.) and experience in the educational field, since, as proved by the attached paper and 4 point conclusion, the goal is not a public-library type of hosting activities, but rather involving students in a pedagogically-sound creative process, with the respective opportunity for assessment and future collaboration with instructors across campus. This recommendation is not contradicting the fact and opportunity for LRS library faculty to participate actively in the process and contribute to the process. It just safeguards from restricting the process to the realm of “public-library” type of hosting activities, but failing to elevate them to the needs of an academic campus and connecting with instructors across campus.
This conclusions adhere to and are derived from the document recommended by the LRS dean, discussed and accepted by LRS faculty in 2013 about new trends and directions in academic libraries, namely diversification of LRS faculty; breaking from the traditional library mold of including faculty from different disciplines with different opinions and ideas.
“From Microsoft’s killer new Outlook email app to fun little games for passing the time like Psych, you’re bound to find something you like.” There’s even an app that lets you volunteer for the blind. Most of the apps are free or less than $5 for iOS. The mobile interface of the Outlook email app (free) looks especially easy to read and use, which is hard to find with most email apps.
The article features Hopper, Letterspace, Funny or Die Weather, Minesweeper Widget Edition, Detour, Khan Academy, and more.
The most popular approaches today focus on Big Data, ormimicking humansthat already know how to do some task. But sheer mimicry breaks down when one gives a machine new tasks, and,as I explained a few weeks ago, Big Data approaches tend to excel at finding correlations without necessarily being able to induce the rules of the game. If Big Data alone is not a powerful enough tool to induce a strategy in a complex but well-defined game like chess, then that’s a problem, since the real world is vastly more open-ended, and considerably more complicated.
Playing in the Past: A History of Games, Toys, and Puzzles in North American Libraries
Author(s): Scott Nicholson
Source: The Library Quarterly, Vol. 83, No. 4 (October 2013), pp. 341-361
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/671913
demonstrate the different ways in which libraries have used games, toys, and puzzles over the last 150 years through bothcollections and services
p, 342 Defining games –
p. 348 Games as the Subject of Collections\
p. 350A significant shift in academic libraries is a focus on providing services to students. Since agrowing number of academic publications both current issues and back volumes
are ac-cessible online through library subscriptions, the physical space of academic libraries is notneeded for collections of periodicals. The concept of the “learning commons”has become
popular on US campuses in the past decade; it combines traditional library resources and
the availability of library staff members with group work spaces, computer access and assis-
tance, and writing assistance to provide one place where students can get assistance with
course work. In addition, many of these learning commons also include cafes, social spaces,
and other support of the social lives of students, and it is in this role that academic libraries
provide access to collections of games.
p. 357 Another upcoming area of gaming in libraries is gamification. Gamification is the application of game design elements to a nongame setting ðDeterding et al. 2011Þ.