EcoChains Arctic Life: Free Print-and-Play Edition

EcoChains Arctic Life: Free Print-and-Play Edition

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In honor of Earth Day, we've decided to make a Print-and-Play edition of EcoChains: Arctic Life totally free. EcoChains is a two player game of strategy and survival in a rapidly warming Arctic. Build food chains of Arctic species -- such as walrus, narwhal, polar bear and seals -- upon Arctic sea ice and experience migration and other effects of a changing climate. Click here to download and print out the full game (Arctic Species cards, Sea Ice cards, Rulesheet, Lesson Plan). EcoChains: Arctic Life, a climate change education game. Building food webs. You can also get the full version of the game on Amazon.
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Featured Game: Learn physics in Vector Racer

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj9VG_OBCwg&feature=youtu.be Vector Racer Paulo Ribeiro, Dora Jiang, Jingyi Lin and Ru Xu (MA students at Teachers College, Columbia University in the Design and Development of Digital Games program) created Vector Racer -- an exciting, hands-on way to learn physics in a fun and endogenous way. Students create their own custom vehicles and learn physics concepts like velocity, acceleration, gravity while building and racing vehicles.
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Elliot Hu-Au: VR Chemistry Lab

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Elliot Hu-Au, doctoral candidate of technology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, shares his virtual reality chemistry lab project. Elliot runs Virtual Reality for Education, a weblog with research articles, news and other resources for educators interested in using VR for learning. https://twitter.com/tc_gameslab/status/1118219756748673029
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Lesson Plans for Using Games in the Classroom

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Games don't need to be labeled or packaged as "educational" in order to be valuable for classroom use. Learning scientists like Kurt Squire and James Paul Gee have talked about the power of using games to deliver an experience that can serve as a springboard for class discussions or to promote preparation for future learning. Here are some online resources for using commercial off the shelf (COTS) games -- which might not be explicitly labeled "educational" -- for learning in the classroom: Teach with Portals - Lesson plans for how to use the extremely popular 3D puzzle game Portal (by Valve) to teach physics concepts.Minecraft Edu - Educator resources for using Microsoft's Minecraft game.Hey Listen Games- NYC history teacher Zachary Hartzman's webpage filled with lesson plans on how to use…
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Game Conferences and Events

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There are several events around the world on games. These vary widely in terms of size and focus. Some are more for academics to share their research; others are better suited for educators. Still other conferences are trade shows where designers and merchants can check out the latest games. A huge list of game-related events and conferences can be found at GameConfs.com. Academic DiGRA - DiGRA is the "association for academics and professionals who research digital games and associated phenomena." Founded in 2003, it is one of the larger game research communities. It features an annual conference where researchers and designers can present their work. Games for Change Festival - Held annually in New York City, Games for Change Festival brings together game developers, businesses, nonprofits and educators. "Discover how…
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Dark Patterns in Game Design

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In recent years, many in the interaction design and user experience (UX) design fields have questioned the ethics of dark patterns, defined as a user interface or design feature that has been carefully crafted to deceive users into doing things they may not want to do, such as buy an extra item or give personal details to software company. I argue that many games are also not designed to be ethical or beneficial to the player. For instance, the use of dark patterns in the design of certain games (or gamification-based apps) may lead to various negative effects, such as wasting time; or using slot-machine like elements (e.g., variable ratio rewards) to carefully addict players and then require them to pay money to continue playing. Some researchers have explored dark…
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Stealth Game Interventions: An Embedded Design Model

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Increasingly, persuasive games have been created that depict an argument or point of view on serious issues such as poverty, politics, equality or business ethics. How can these games be created to be effective in delivering a persuasive message, taking the psychology of polarization in mind? A Embedded Design Model Geoff Kaufman (faculty at Carnegie Mellon University), Mary Flanagan (faculty at Dartmouth University), and Max Seidman (game designer) have published research on how to most effectively embed persuasive messages in games. In their research, they have determined that "serious issues in a literal, explicit fashion are far less likely to succeed in changing attitudes or behaviors than are games that take the more 'stealthy' approach of embedding persuasive messages within a game’s content or context." (Kaufman et al, 2015). Their…
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Persuasive Games: Procedural rhetoric and using processes for persuasion

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Persuasive Games can be defined as an interactive experience that intends to make arguments and expressive statements about one or more topics. Persuasive games are unique compared to books or movies in that they use interactive experiences and processes to convey their key arguments. Ian Bogost, Professor of Literature, Media, and Communication and Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, popularized the idea of Persuasive Games along with the term procedural rhetoric. Procedural rhetoric can be defined as using processes persuasively (compared to using oratory or images persuasively). Digital games are useful in allowing players to experience processes in a firsthand manner. These kinds of games can often explore social or political issues, for educational purposes, or be used as an advertisement (or dis-advertisement) for a business…
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Using MERGE Cubes for Education: Interactive Augmented Reality Holograms

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Merge Cubes are a simple yet powerful way to make augmented reality accessible -- and handheld -- for the classroom. They are foam cubes that you can get from Amazon for about $15. Each side of the cube has a unique QR-code like pattern, allowing it to interact with various educational activities, games and other sorts of holograms. In this way, it's a STEM toy that allows kids to have hands-on experiences on on math, science, anatomy, engineering and other subjects. A foam cube becomes an interactive hologram-based learning tool. Experiences to Try Merge has its own collection of activity plans for the classroom. Some of our favorites include: Galactic Explorer (FREE). Hold the Solar System in your hands and explore various planets.3D Museum Viewer (FREE). Hold ancient artifacts and…
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Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics (MDA) Framework by Hunicke, LeBlanc and Zubek

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Hunicke, LeBlanc and Zubek published a useful framework for analyzing games. Mechanics are the components and rules of the game. It includes the verbs or "actions" that players are allowed to do in the game. It also includes algorithms and data structures set up within the game.Dynamics are what happens once the mechanics are put in place and players are playing the game. In other words, it is the run-time behavior of the game mechanics and rules that are set up.Aesthetics are the emotional responses targeted in the player(s). Hunicke, Robin & Leblanc, Marc & Zubek, Robert. (2004). MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research. AAAI Workshop - Technical Report.
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