games and learning

Four Inventive Games That Show Us the Future of Learning

Earth Primer

Designed by Chaim Gingold, a Ph.D. student at UC Santa Cruz, indie developer and designer of Spore’s creature creator, “Earth Primer” is a reinvention of the textbook. Unlike the all-too-familiar “interactive textbooks” that are little more than pictures and animations tacked on to traditional text, “Earth Primer” starts from the ground up. It’s elegantly presented and paced.


Patrick Smith, the designer behind “Metamorphabet,” is like the games equivalent of a toymaker.


Money and time are the two most common barriers to using games in the classroom. “Extrasolar” solves both while also striking pedagogical gold: authentic, self-motivated learning. It’s a free alternate reality game (ARG) that mimics the day-to-day life of a rover driver exploring an alien planet for a mysterious space agency. Rather than placing players in some fantastical world, they interact with what looks like a typical desktop interface, giving their rover commands, and waiting to receive photographs and data from the alien world as well as messages from their employer. Each bit of play requires only a few minutes of activity. The wait builds tension, and when matched with the relatively mundane interface and tasks, it doesn’t feel like a game — which is kind of the point. Best of all: It’s all based in real science and, like with any good ARG, has a healthy dose of mystery to give players a reason to return.

Twine is an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories.

You don’t need to write any code to create a simple story with Twine, but you can extend your stories with variables, conditional logic, images, CSS, and JavaScript when you’re ready.

Twine publishes directly to HTML, so you can post your work nearly anywhere. Anything you create with it is completely free to use any way you like, including for commercial purposes.

Twine was originally created by Chris Klimas in 2009 and is now maintained by a whole bunch of people at several differentrepositories. – reviews and ratings for educational materials

immersive journalism, games, and empathy

Virtual reality breathes life into immersive storytelling

Virtual Games Try To Generate Real Empathy For Faraway Conflict

James Delahoussaye

Project Syria, a virtual reality experience built by a team of students at USC.

“I sometimes call virtual reality an empathy generator,” she says. “It’s astonishing to me. People all of a sudden connect to the characters in a way that they don’t when they’ve read about it in the newspaper or watched it on TV.”

What Peña’s doing — using virtual reality in combination with reporting — is part of a wider landscape of video games being created to explore the news. And they’re called, appropriately enough, “newsgames.”

“There’s an argument to be made that games are perfect at getting at the systemic problems and challenges in the world,” says Ian Bogost, a professor at Georgia Tech.

He says games are really good at showing the complex underbelly of stories.

Take a game that he helped make called Oil God. In the game, the player controls an oil-rich region, waging wars and inciting coupes. The player learns that oil prices are contingent on all sorts of factors rarely mentioned in a story about the price of a gallon of gas.

The Sociology of Videogames

creating games to bring awareness to social issues for over a decade.  The game to create the biggest waves was arguably MTV’s “Darfur is Dying” released online in 2006, in which players took up the role of a family displaced by conflict in Darfur.

Games in the Classroom

Some Struggles Teachers Face Using Games in the Classroom

the Joan Ganz Cooney Center found that 74 percent of K-8 teachers surveyed use digital games for instruction in some way and 55 percent use them weekly.

Confused About Ed Tech Tools? New Rating Site for Apps and Games

Video Games That Bring Civics Class to Life

MIT Education Arcade:

LGN Learning Games Network:


Online Game-based Learning in Art History and Museum Contexts

The Games Art Historians Play: Online Game-based Learning in Art History and Museum Contexts

game-based learning differs from gamification in several important ways. Sometimes the latter is reduced to bells and whistles such as gold stars and progress bars, but gamification is potentially a much more subtle and powerful teaching strategy.

lizabeth Goins (Rochester Institute of Technology) describes several recent projects including a 3D game based on Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights in her blog, and details as well assignments in which the students create games. Keri Watson (University of Central Florida), teaches with both a RPG (role-playing game) and an ARG (alternative reality game). The RPG is Gretchen Kreahling McKay’s “Modernism versus Traditionalism: Art in Paris, 1888-89,” a Reacting to the Past (see earlier PH coverage) game, targeted for use in first year seminars at small liberal arts colleges. She taught with the game several times while at Ithaca College and reflects on her experience here. Watson’s ARG, “Secret Societies of the Avant-garde,” was createdwith a colleague in digital media as a Unity-based game, and is still in development. (Anastasia Salter wrote about this game in February.) Their prototype was deployed this past spring in an upper level modern art course, the game poses for the students a series of the challenges to research and create online exhibitions. (Those interested in developing an ARG might also want to peruse this interesting recent piece from TechCrunch on historical accuracy in games.)

Educause 2015

Gamify! Play! Learn! Turn Campus Resources into Exciting Learning Experiences

Oct 29th, 2015
4:30 PM – 5:20 PM
Eastern Time
Sagamore Ballroom 3
slide 6
  • Gamification is the use of game mechanics and
    game design techniques in non-game contexts.
  • Gamification uses the natural desire for competition, achievement, status, altruism and/or collaboration (depending on the personality type).
slide 8 Gamification Mechanic Types
  • Objectives: A behavioral mechanic type, requiring the user to take action for the reward.
  • Progression: Move the user through the content.
  • Feedback: Informing the user of their status

Gamification Mechanic Benefits       Each gamification mechanic result in one or more benefits.

Gamification Personality Types

People are motivated to play games differently.

Explorers: Pride themselves in exploring all facets of a game or the context surrounding it.

Killers: Driven by player vs player competition. Always comparing themselves to others.

Socializer: Prefers to chat, play cooperatively, and share game experiences with others.

Achievers: Look to achieve all objectives available in a game. Desires to beat the game itself.


Adaptive Learning in Online Learning: Results from an Ongoing Evaluation

Oct 28th, 2015
11:40 AM – 12:30 PM
Eastern Time
Wabash Ballroom 2
This session will present results from an evaluation of the integration of RealizeIT adaptive learning technology into three fully online courses: General Psychology, Pathophysiology for Nursing Practice, and College Algebra. Presenters will discuss the impact on students, faculty, and the university.

Adaptive learning systems provide each student with a personalized learning experience, adapting the presentation of the content, and possibly the assessment to the individual ability of the student

Badges: A New Mode for Faculty Development

Oct 28th, 2015
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Eastern Time
Poster Sessions, Exhibit Hall H-K
Co-developed by Learning Technologies and the Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Indiana University, a digital badge pilot ( was launched to support faculty professional development and growth. This session will cover the competency levels, topics of study, and the badging platform to document levels of achievement.
Outcomes: Understand the basics of a three-tiered framework for digital badges * Review the online badging platform * Explore topics for faculty development


Open Digital Badges: Microcredentials and the Higher Ed Landscape

Oct 28th, 2015
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Eastern Time
Poster Sessions, Exhibit Hall H-K
Because they contain claims and evidence and circulate in networks, open digital badges are transforming credentialing. We will highlight the findings from a two-year study of 29 badge development projects, introduce a new project supporting badge innovation in major learning management systems, and interactively discuss the future of badges in higher education.
Outcomes: Understand the open badge ecosystem and how it benefits learning in higher education * Review digital developments in badge delivery * Discover contexts for the future of badges. Daniel Hickey Framework for Interactivity in Competency-Based Courses: in a Learner-Centered Context

Mozilla Open Badges 101: Digging into Badges (a webinar)

personalized learning or competency-based does not resolve it. GPA does not respond to employers search
regimenting credentials. digital representation of of skill or achievement. represent achievements on the web. social status (foursquare). granular, evidence-based and transferable. badge ecosystem (across multiple areas), this is why open badges; open system. Open Badge Standard: issuer information; earner information; criteria URL; evidence URL; Standards Alignment; Taxonomy Tags


Data Visualization: The What, the Who, and the How

(overlaps with infographics)
Oct 28th, 2015
2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
Eastern Time
Meeting Room 231-232
Data visualization tools are becoming much stronger and are now targeted at a much wider audience. This panel will explore what we should be trying to do with data visualization, who will be doing it, and how we might support and steer it.
OUTCOMES: Identify multiple opportunities for use of data visualization * Learn about multiple user communities, including those not centrally managed * Explore ways to support users and steer them toward good practices 7: What works well for technically savvy developers may not work for faculty or staff without those same credentials.

  • Data Wrapper
  • Raw
  • Infogram
  • Tableau
    • Oracle suite of OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition) has been very successful for CSU
    • Cognos (IBM) is another tool that is very popular for developers and has been used by USG central office
    • D3 (For Data Driven Documents)
    • Fusion Charts
    • Chart js
    • Google Charts

slide 11: Two primary design goals supported through Data Visualization:

  • Discovery and Exploration

–What story is the data telling you

–Identify patterns and exceptions

  • Decision-making

–Compare, contrast, choose

–Explain, make a point, decide

slide 15:

qTo communicate

qPresent more clearly or more forcefully than would be accomplished with text or tables

qReports, dashboards, infographics, etc.

qTo discover

qAllow us to see what would be difficult or impossible to see if not presented in a useful visualization

qRealm of research but moving into the mainstream

qCan same visualization serve both purposes?


iPad, You Pad, We All Pad: Transforming Teaching and Learning

Oct 28th, 2015
2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
Eastern Time
Meeting Room 237-238
California State University Northridge, Lynn University, and Jackson State University have all deployed one-to-one iPad tablet initiatives, with the objectives to increase student engagement and learning, improve the quality of teaching materials, and decrease student costs. This session will discuss the transformational educational opportunities afforded by the iPad and highlight technology and pedagogical lessons learned.
Outcomes: Learn about the transformational impact of one-to-one iPad initiatives in the classroom * Understand the need for extensive faculty development and faculty adoption strategies * Appreciate deployment and support challenges====================

The Avalon Video and Audio Repository for Libraries and Beyond

Oct 28th, 2015
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Eastern Time
Poster Sessions, Exhibit Hall H-K
The Avalon Media System provides an open-source streaming media solution, based on Hydra/Fedora repository technologies, focused on delivery of library media collections, but it is finding other uses, including support for publication, teaching and learning content, and digital scholarship. As a result, new features enhance support for additional research and instructional use cases.
Outcomes: Understand the problems Avalon solves * Understand the extended use cases addressed with Avalon, both present and intended future * Learn how best to engage with the Avalon project.========================

 Karuta: Design Your Own Portfolio Process

Oct 28th, 2015
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Eastern Time
Poster Sessions, Exhibit Hall H-K
The Karuta Open Source Portfolio, currently under incubation by the Apereo Foundation, offers dramatic flexibility for designing portfolio workflows with rubrics to assess learning outcomes. Karuta is LTI enabled for integration with the LMS for easy access and transfer of evidence of learning. Subsequent releases will add functionality for showcasing as well as reporting. Outcome: Learn how Karuta can flexibly support your programs and institution through leveraging its functionality

Supporting the Discovery and Adoption of Open E-Textbooks

Oct 28th, 2015
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Eastern Time
Poster Sessions, Exhibit Hall H-K
The California Open Education Resources Council comprises faculty from the three CA higher education systems working together to identify open textbooks for high impact courses. The selected open textbooks are in the process of being peer reviewed and curated in the CA Open Online Library.
Outcomes: Identify quality open textbooks for general education, high-impact courses * Learn how to interpret textbook peer reviews with a faculty-created rubric * Understand how to reference these resources for the discovery of quality no- or low-cost materials

Seminar 12P – Six Secrets for Evaluating Online Teaching (separate registration is required)

Oct 27th, 2015
12:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Eastern Time
Meeting Room 241-242
What makes online teaching different from face-to-face teaching? How can we tell when it’s done well? Faculty members, administrators, and IT leaders will learn six evaluation “secrets” from the authors of the new book Evaluating Online Teaching. You will leave this seminar with use-them-now strategies, tools, and templates to take back to your campus.
OUTCOMES: Distinguish online content and practices that “count” as teaching behaviors * Design self-, peer-, and administrative-evaluation analytic tools * Develop a 6-stage, campus-wide program for evaluating online teaching

10 Handout – Forms and Resources
08 Handout – Ten Principles Operationalized
355 KB, PDF
07 Handout – Checklist for Campus Readiness
140 KB, PDF
06 Handout – Institutional Audit
305 KB, PDF
05 Handout – The Three I’s
188 KB, PDF
04 Handout – Penn State Faculty Online …
87 KB, PDF
00 Workshop Presentation File
12 MB, Powerpoint Slides


Reimagining Learning Space Design across the Disciplines

Oct 29th, 2015
8:00 AM – 8:50 AM
Eastern Time
Meeting Room 235-236
Learn how the University of Pittsburgh is creating a scalable classroom model for active learning on a traditional campus. Administrators, faculty, and instructional technologists and designers recently collaborated to reimagine legacy large-enrollment lecture halls. The focus of this session is on the learning space design process across the disciplines.
Outcomes: Identify and apply the principles of active learning associated with learning space deign * Understand the design process * Assemble an effective learning space design team


Thinking Digitally: Advancing Digital Literacy with Personalized Learning Tools

Oct 29th, 2015
8:00 AM – 8:50 AM
Eastern Time
Wabash Ballroom 2
The session will outline a scalable framework for integrating digital literacy in higher education curriculum, supported by tools that allow for active and personalized learning. Research and examples from Georgia State University’s experience implementing a pilot program will be used as a catalyst for interactive discussion and idea generation.
Outcomes: Understand the value of incorporating digital literacy into curriculum * Select from emerging personalized learning technologies to support digital literacy across diverse academic scenarios * Adapt a methodology for developing partnerships to advance digital literacy across the organization

What’s That Droning Overhead?

Oct 29th, 2015
8:00 AM – 8:50 AM
Eastern Time
Meeting Room 201-202
Session Type: Concurrent Session
A discussion of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and drone activities that either take place on campus or impact a campus from the outside. The state of federal aviation regulations and guidelines for drones will be covered. Attendees can share their experiences with official and rogue drone activities at their institutions.
Outcomes: Learn about the drone devices in use, from miniature to massive * Understand the impact of drones on academic institutions, for better or worse * Learn what drone activities are legally allowable, banned, or discouraged

5. Using small unmanned aerial vehicles  today is similar to the “fair use” of media

Resources – Higher Ed Drone Policies
The Ohio State University
Iowa State University
Indiana University
University of Kansas
Penn State University
University of New Mexico

The Association of College and University Policy
Administrators (ACUPA,


Mobile Computing

Oct 29th, 2015
8:00 AM – 8:50 AM
Eastern Time
Meeting Room 239
Session Type: Discussion Session
Join this lively discussion and discovery of innovative and functional uses and support for mobile computing. We will explore creative ideas for projects using mobile devices in teaching, learning, and administration. Topics may include hardware, applications, tools, special uses, wireless and mobile connectivity, web services, support issues, and security.

Slideshare presentations on gaming and gamfication

More on games, gamification, serious games and game-based learning in this IMS blog:

Zaption case

Brown v Board of Education

Technology Instruction available free

Student’s relationship with technology is complex. They recognize its value but still need guidance when it comes to better using it for academics.

Educause’s ECAR Study, 2013

InforMedia Services

IMS faculty would be happy to meet with you or your group at your convenience.
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Services we provide:

  • Instruct and collaborate with faculty, staff and students on specific computer, Cloud and mobile applications
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  • Consult with faculty on instructional design issues, particularly those that use the World Wide Web, multimedia techniques and interactivity
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