Join My Students in a Serious Games Smackdown

Serious games can help with serious learning and fun. Using a research based rubric developed by educators at the University of Alaska Southeast, my students and the teachers in Dr.Lee Graham's course evaluated games. There are 34 completely finished and ranked and others who need teacher reviews. (You can join in and review, anything tagged teacher_rev needs a teacher review, and we have quite a few so we could calculate the final score. When you ask to join, just let me know who you are, where you're from, your school, and that you'd like to help. Thank you!)

My students will be presenting today at 1:20 pm EDT and tomorrow (time tentatively changed to 9:15 am EDT tomorrow due to a schedule change). Scroll down for the links.

The nice thing about scheduling through Google Hangout and YouTube live is that after these presentations, the links below will become the official video for you to watch if you come upon this post later. We are experimenting with a new way to share slides and audio and these are being created as OER resources as part of the Gamifi-ED OOC. I hope that some of you will watch the stream and pose questions using the Q&A Tool that you'll see on the screen. (I”m not sure if that tool shows up on YouTube Live but I know it shows up when you watch on Google Plus.) Here are the links you'll need to watch today or to view the videos after they are presented.

It is Time to Curate Our Own Apps

These students have tested hundreds of games and one of the biggest things that has emerged is that we are trusting the app stores to curate for us and we shouldn't. (See my Edutopia post from last week on this.) The best apps from an educational perspective are not rising to the top. I really like the model that the students and educators worked out for both Workflow and evaluating the games and if enough of you want to join in and add to the database or have your students test games, then we can keep adding to the great repository of reviews and information. Just reply to this post or contact me and we'll explore further. I have lots of student mentors who would love to help students of all ages get started adding their game reviews.

When you see the students present, you'll hear them talk about a Gamifi-ed score. The best a game can receive is 30.

Gamifi-ed Student Evaluation Criteria

There are 7 aspects evaluated by students including:  Problem SolvingPlayer FreedomGame PlayMotivationReal-World ConnectionsTeamwork, and Creativity.

Gamifi-ed Educator Evaluation Criteria

There are 8 aspects evaluated by educators including: PurposeNarrative ContextOrganization/ Problem SolvingEngagement LevelCollaborationScaffolding and masteryFeedback, and Utility.

How the score is calculated

For each aspect, a game is rated as a “Rock Star” (2 points), “OK” (1 point) or “Not OK” (0 points). The points are totaled and put at the top.

Top games so far include

  • Sparx (30 points) – A game out of New Zealand to help kids with depression and coping that you have to play to believe (this will be talked about in both sessions.)
  • AIC Conflict Simulation (28 points) – the Simulation run by the University of Michigan that helps students understand current events and the Middle East

You can also view the games by topic: Current EventsHealthSocial StudiesLanguage artsLanguagesMathScience.

Class Period #1: Serious Games Smackdown – March 26, 2014 1:20 pm EDT

YouTube Link:
Google Plus Link:

Class Period #2: Serious Games Smackdown – March 26, 2014 9:15 am EDT

YouTube Link:
Google Plus Link:

Feel free to join us or to watch the videos and leave your thoughts. You can find all of these games on the Gamifi-ed wiki.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Elementary Professor March 27, 2014 - 9:25 am

This is so interesting! I can’t wait to see what the other evaluations turn out to be. And are you going to list the “best apps” sometime in the future?

Dean March 27, 2014 - 4:12 pm

“Do I Have a Right?” mentioned in the first video above scored a 22, but it is the best educational game that can be completed in under 35 minutes. I even make APGoPo play it to learn their Constitutional amendments (totally works). There is a second version that focuses on the Bill of Rights amendments.

coolcatteacher March 27, 2014 - 4:24 pm

Thanks for pointing that one out! Time to play should be a factor at some point.Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher

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