Thursday, March 10, 2016

Designing games of science - a meandering and complex path

A short yet insightful look into the complex task of designing good science learning games is provided by Elizabeth Pennisi in this recent working life piece for Science . She describes her own meandering path of to become a scientist and game designer, driven by an urge to help students learn biology. I can relate to the difficulties she describes of having to navigate a very interdisciplinary environment where you need at least four radically different lines of expertise in subject matter, game design, technology, and learning science.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 Feature – Epic Win: Using GIS and Gaming to Save the World

I feel a certain sense of accomplishment today. I read through this piece about GIS and gaming by Troy Lambert that caught my eye as interesting, only to find the work of our GeoGames group featured in the middle! Very cool. I am happy to see the potential of GIS as a gaming platform featured, especially as I reflect on how we might be able to mitigate the "...mass exodus to virtual worlds" by infusing GeoGames and GeoPlay with a deeper sense of mission, community and reinforcing feedback.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Thanks for this pointer by National Geographic Education Blogger Sarah Zeglin. Another production from Filament Games that looks really nice. What I find particularly helpful about their games catalog is that they provide educators with more specific learning goals/standards that are supposedly targeted by each game, and a detailed curriculum that can be used together with the game.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Alliance megagame - a huge board in-person GeoGame

Here's a great example of a map-based, almost realistic, geopolitics/economy multiplayer game. It is interesting to think of how this game could be implemented online. Clearly the video illustrates the animated interactions that can happen when you gather 60+ players in the same room around one big game for a 4-hr play session. Can those interactions be as rich and nuanced when you can only hear a voice or see persons through video? Probably not, looking at the body language in some of those scenes. How much does that contribute to player engagement? Not clear, and certainly an interesting thing to look into.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Importance of Spatial and Visual Thinking

Kirk Goldsberry, professor of Geography at Michigan State University, makes a nice argument in this Harvard Business Review online post about the importance of spatial and visual literacy. I think each day about how well (or not) we manage to prepare all students (not just geography and associated areas) for critical consumption and use of spatial information. Unfortunately, most of the time, I come to say 'not very well'. Taking my own University's general education curriculum as an example, there are requirements in place to foster literacy in the written word, in science, in foreign language, in the arts and humanities, but very little if anything around spatial and visual literacy. Yet, pretty much any subject matter is spatially situated and modern culture is saturated by visual media. One of the comments on Kirk's posting came from Jack Dangermond, president of Esri, who added an observation that spatial thinking has found its way into the public mind through other avenues than academics. Clearly, every-day technology brings the power of maps and spatial data to more people than ever, and I hope all geographers celebrate that. I also side with Kirk that P-16 education need to recognize spatial and visual literacy as a main foundation for a well rounded individual. Reading, math, science, and art skills are great. Understanding their visual expression in space and time makes them even greater.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A RECIPE for Meaningful Gamification

In this video Scott Nicholson at Syracuse University shares his ideas around Meaningful Gamification that goes beyond the simple points, badges, and levels to dig more deeply into factors that will generate intrinsic motivation and engagement.
Here's a link to his blog -

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The story behind "The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life."

This great piece in the Huffington Post describes "...the biggest disaster in TED history!" It gave me an opportunity to revisit Jane McGonigal's talk from last year to hear how games (among other things) can make us live richer and healthier lives.

Be sure to follow up on and look at some of the research behind those remarks. In addition, just watching and engaging with the talk would also add 7.68245837 minutes to your life-span. So, while the talk is 19 minutes, your are really only spending less than 12 minutes watching it...?