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Gamify Your Classroom

A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning


Matthew Farber

This book is a field guide on how to implement game-based learning and «gamification» techniques to the everyday teaching. It is a survey of best practices aggregated from interviews with experts in the field, including: James Paul Gee (Author, What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy); Henry Jenkins (Provost Professor at University of Southern California); Katie Salen (Founder, Institute of Play); Bernie DeKoven (Author, A Playful Path); Richard Bartle (Bartle’s Player Type Theory); Kurt Squire (Games + Learning + Society Center); Jessica Millstone (Joan Ganz Cooney Center), Dan White (Filament Games); Erin Hoffman (GlassLab Games); Jesse Schell (Schell Games/Professor at Carnegie Mellon); Tracy Fullerton (University of Southern California Game Innovation Lab); Alan Gershenfeld (E-Line Media); Noah Falstein (Chief Game Designer, Google); Valerie Shute (Professor at Florida State University); Lee Sheldon (Author, The Multiplayer Classroom); Robert J. Torres (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Asi Burak (President, Games for Change); Toby Rowland (MangaHigh); Jocelyn Leavitt (Hopscotch); Krishna Vedati (Tynker); and researchers at BrainPOP and designers from Electric Funstuff (Mission U.S. games). Each chapter concludes with practical lesson plan ideas, games to play (both digital and tabletop), and links to research further. Much of the book draws on the author’s experiences implementing games with his middle school students. Regardless of your teaching discipline or grade level, whether you are a pre-service teacher or veteran educator, this book will engage and reinvigorate the way you teach and how your students learn!
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Chapter 9. University Game Labs


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Research for this book brought me to a treasure trove of games readily adaptable to my classroom. The CUNY Games Network in New York City has a portal entirely dedicated to teaching with games. Jesse Schell leads Carnegie Mellon’s innovative Entertainment Technology Center. Tiltfactor, the Mary Flanagan–led game lab at Dartmouth University, develops several digital and paper-based social impact titles. Tracy Fullerton heads the University of Southern California’s influential Games Innovation Lab. The program graduated luminaries who have had games exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art.

Much of today’s games and learning research is conducted at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. James Gee spent a decade as a professor at Madison. Kurt Squire and Constance Steinkuehler, who are husband and wife, extended the program by co-founding the Games + Learning + Society (GLS) Center. Each year it hosts the annual GLS Conference. Squire and Steinkuehler both led research on situated learning in games, describing how people learn informally in order to advance in a game. At the 11th Annual Games for Change Festival, Steinkuehler discussed many positive findings from well-designed games, especially those that build “academic” language, a literacy skill useful for college entrance exams. For example, research indicated that inner-city youth read above their reading level in order to advance in the game Civilization.

← 159 | 160 → Squire co-founded the Education Arcade at MIT, with Henry Jenkins. It conducts research and development in games as part of MIT’s Scheller...

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