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Tuesday, July 7 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm
PM3: Using At-Home Games for In-School Benefits

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How can you leverage the excitement, joy, and learning fostered in the commercial games kids play in their free time? How can at-home games be used in school? Join this workshop to explore how we can connect kids’ love of commercial games traditionally not considered “educational.”

Participants explore three games for kids covering topics ranging from grades 6-12: Journey, FTL: Faster than Light, and Little Big Planet 2. Through deep dive case studies and hands-on exploration, participants identify ways they can utilize commercial games with students, blurring the line of home/school, commercial/educational, and leisure/learning.

A 2014 national study on teaching with digital games (Takeuchi & Vaala) reveals that, of 694 K-8 teachers surveyed, 26% don’t use digital games with students, and just 8% of “game-using teachers” say their students play commercial games adapted for educational use. When they do, only 25% of the time are they used to teach students, and 20% to practice material already learned. The authors ask the question, “Why aren’t K-8 teachers using games created for general audiences?”

This workshop will address these issues related to commercial games and learning, exploring with teachers how they can integrate popular games into their curriculum. Starting with a straightforward goal to reach the distant mountain peak, Journey explores complex concepts like life, death, and partnership, weaving them into a metaphor which can translate to ELA, character education, and social studies units. FTL: Faster Than Light is a strategic role-playing game where players control a ship and crew. A challenging game, with fiery wrecks more likely than successes, it builds problem solving skills around failure, re-evaluation, decision-making, and interdependence of systems, many skills valuable in STEM learning. Little Big Planet 2 combines creativity, physics and Rube Goldberg-esque components, and a creative community, making it great for maker environments and STEAM.

Participants will: Explain the benefits and challenges of using commercial games in educational settings. Identify ways to integrate popular games, including Journey, FTL: Faster Than Light, and Little Big Planet 2, or other commercial games, into specific lessons or curriculum units, helping to achieve learning objectives around STEAM, ELA, and social studies. Create a Lesson Flow, a tech-rich lesson plan that integrates games to support learning objectives.


Tuesday July 7, 2015 2:00pm - 4:00pm CDT

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