Feb 23, 2010

Games and Learning: Lure of the Labyrinth, a Middle School Online Pre-algebra/literacy game - Watch the Video, Play the Game, and Follow Links to Related Resources

"Maryland Public Television (MPT) and MIT Education Arcade teamed up with FableVision to create Lure of the Labyrinth, an innovative gaming-meets-storytelling approach to improve math and literacy among middle-school students. Plunge into a shadowy, moster-filled factory on a mission to rescue your missing pet. Can you maneuver through math problems and find your beloved pet in time!?"

The Lure of the Labyrinth middle-school pre-algebra game is linked to state and national math standards and comes with good resources for teachers. On the For Educators page, teachers (and parents) can find information about how students can play the game, how it can be incorporated into the classroom setting, how to prepare the students for playing the game, how to use the game to support working in pairs and group, and more. Below is the introductory video:

Scot Osterweil and his team at MIT's Education Arcade, designed Lure of the Labyrinth. Scot is the research director of the Education Arcade, and has worked on software such as InspireData (Inspiration Software). He is the former Senior Designer at TERC, an R & D for math and science education.


Klopfer, D., Osterweil,S., Groff, J., & Hass, J. (2009) The Instructional Power of Digital Games, Social Networking, Simulations, and How Teachers Can Leverage Them. Education Arcade, MIT (pdf)
Regarding barriers to adopting digital games, social networking, and simulation technologies in the school, the article reviews the work of Groff and Mouza:
"Groff and Mouza (2008) discuss six central factors, each with its own critical variables, that interact with one another to produce barriers to implementing technological innovations in the classroom: (a) Research & Policy factors, (b) District/School factors, (c) factors associated with the Teacher, (d) factors associated with the Technology- Enhanced Project, (e) factors associated with the Students, and (f) factors inherent to Technology itself.

Klopfer, E., Osterweil, S., Salen, K. (2009) Moving Learning Games Forward: Obstacles, Opportunities & Openess.  The Education Arcade, MIT (pdf)

Gee. J.P, & Levine, M.H. Welcome to Our Virtual Worlds (pdf) Educational Leadership, Literacy 2.0, March 2009, Vol. 66, (6).  ASCD
"The United States is witnessing a growing student engagement crisis. With dropout rates approaching 50 percent in many urban school districts (Swanson, 2008) and recent education surveys showing that students are overwhelmingly bored in school (Bridgeland, DiIulio, & Morison, 2006; Yazzie-Mintz, 2007), we clearly need to find new ways to motivate learners."

"A crucial first step in promoting student engagement is to rethink literacy for the 21st century. One path to this new learning equation comes, perhaps paradoxically, from popular culture. Many young people today play long and difficult video games that involve complex thinking and problem solving married to complex language. Although the most frequent criticism of video games is that many involve shooting and killing, a good many focus on other things. Civilization and Rise of Nations force players to think on a large scale about history, development across time, and civilizations. SimCity, The Sims, and, for very young children, Animal Crossing ask players to build and sustain cities and communities. Age of Mythology players regularly read and write about mythologies across the world, specifically from Greek, Egyptian, and Norse civilizations. Some gamers write strategy guides for the games they play—technical writing at its best—and share them over the Internet."

James Paul Gee is the author of a number of publications regarding games and learning. He is the author of Good Video Games and Good Learning: Collected Essays on Video Games, Learning, and Literacy.  He is the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies at Arizona State University.

Klopfer, E. (2008) Augmented Learning Research and Design of Mobile Educational Games. MIT Press.

MIT STEP's Handheld Augmented Reality Simulations Site

Eric Klopfer is involved with MIT's StarLogo project. The newest version of StarLogo is StarLogo TNG.  StarLogo Tim is part of MIT's Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP)
Here are some links found on the STEP website:
MyWorld: Next Generation Wireless Ubiquitous Simulation Games
PDA Participatory Simulations

Scot Osterweil (MIT) The Four Freedoms of Play

"Scot Osterweil, a pioneer in learning and game play, shares his thoughts on the concept of "The Four Freedoms of Play." Scot Osterweil works at MIT as the Education Arcade Research Director. Here Scot presents to the Harvard Business School in Cambridge, MA in a weekly education technology forum called BrainGain."

Kurt Squire did his doctoral research on the use of Sid Meier's Civilization to teach social studies. Resources for how the game can be used in education can be found at the CivWorld website.  Kurt is the co-founder and current director of the Games + Learning + Society (GLS) website, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also is an assistant professor.

Civ 3 Cover

There are an increasing number of universities offering coursework related to the design and development of games for learning and education.

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