A new video game called Focus Pocus hopes to help children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by having them control their game characters with their brain waves through 12 mini-games. The game incorporates a real-time electroencephalography (commonly referred to as EEG, or defined as "recording electrical activity along the scalp") headset to measure and improve impulse control, memory, attention and relaxation in children.
NASA has released an interactive educational video game today called NetworKing that its Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) network operates. The release of the video game coincides with the close of World Space Week, Oct. 4-10. Developed by the Information Technology Office at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, its developers say that NetworKing gives players an insider's perspective into how astronauts, mission controllers and scientists communicate during space missions.
GDC Online parent company UBM TechWeb Game Network debuts a browser-based game commissioned by Web Wise Kids (WWK), a non-profit organization that promotes and fosters the discussion of child safety online. The free title is called Passing The Ball and is created by indie game creator Gregory Weir (The Majesty Of Colors). It's an action game that follows a parent and their child as they learn an important lesson about working together.
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has teamed up with the Verizon Foundation to celebrate Constitution Day by launching a national contest for middle schools students. The goal of the contest is ultimately to teach youngsters about the importance of our country's most important document and about the important role of civics in modern society.
Portal, Valve’s ultra popular and internet meme-generating first-person puzzle platformer, is available for free on Steam for PC and Mac until September 20th.
Those of you who insist on questioning a good thing may be interested to know that Valve hopes this short promotion will show educators how valuable video games can be in the classroom.
A new research project from the University of the Fraser Valley (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada) uses video games to help test the motor skills of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (or FASD). UFV has been running the after-school program, FAST Club, for children with FASD for the past three years. But this year brings a new element to the program - video games. The after-school video game program called BrainGamers Club helps children with FASD work on their motor skills and gaming skills, and measures whether the impact of these activities cross over into other areas.
Entertainment Software Association (ESA) president and CEO Michael Gallagher went before the United States House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology to promote the use of video games and game-like technologies for educational purposes. The talk, entitled "STEM in Action: Inspiring the Science and Engineering Workforce of Tomorrow," was meant to emphasize the fact that games are very effective in encouraging children to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
This week the White House will launch what it calls the "Digital Promise Initiative," a gathering to promote breakthroughs in education and learning technologies. The event revolves around the national center created by Congress to advance breakthrough technologies that will improve America's education system will be launched on Friday, September 16, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at 10 a.m.
A new game engine technology designed to teach children in the United Kingdom the basics of game design was built using the UNITY game engine. The design makes it easy for young people to learn some fundamentals about game design while at the same time removing the technical barriers - such as programming - that might keep beginners away. The technology is endorsed by BAFTA, EA, NESTA and Abertay University.
Intel's marketing manager for South Africa, Ntombezinhle Modiselle, wants to bring games into local classrooms and she's using volumes of research to prove that it's a good idea.
"Today's learners are the gamer generation. They have grown up with technology and social networking. That's why it's only natural that today's more tech-savvy educators are recognising the potential of using games as a teaching device in their classrooms," said Modiselle.
Two iPhone games produced in 12 working days during UK event Gamer Camp: Nano are now available on the Apple App Store. The games were built during a month-long game developer training course at Birmingham City University. The game are free to download. The two games, They Came From the Deep and Aliens vs. Humans, were created by thirteen trainee artists and programmers working together in teams. The one month course is a scaled down version of the full 12-month long Masters version of the course, Gamer Camp: Pro, which starts in September.
Eidos life president Ian Livingstone has praised Google chairman Eric Schmidt for a recent speech about the state of education in the UK, calling it a "ringing endorsement" of the Livingstone-Hope video games skills review. In fact, says Livingstone, "It's as though he lifted his comments straight from Next Gen." - referring to the report he helped create.
UK culture minister Ed Vaizey was also apparently "delighted" that Schmidt's MacTaggart lecture echoed the key conclusions of the government-backed Next Gen report.
Organizers of the Gamification Summit announced this morning that they have finalized the agenda and speaker program for the September 15-16 conference occurring in New York City. That agenda includes keynotes, featured talks, design intensives, panels, and workshops that (they hope) teach and inform attendees on the subject. GSummit promises to bring together experts from advertising, healthcare, education, government, media, e-commerce, startups and academia to share knowledge and improve engagement with consumers and employees by using gamification techniques.
In a new Adweek/Harris poll released yesterday, parents indicate that their children consume significantly more media during the summer than during the school year. In other news, today is a day that ends with a "y"…
Video game industry trade group the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) issued a press release today touting the popularity (and growing trend) of colleges offering programs in video game design, development and programming - and the number of programs continues to rise at American colleges, universities, art and trade schools across the country. According to new research from the ESA, American colleges and universities will offer around 343 programs in game design, development and programming.
When you read about games and education, you think about kids using games as learning tools, but Kognito Interactive's At Risk for High School Educators is an educational game aimed at preventing suicide amongst high school teens - and it is meant for teachers.
The Gamification Summit announces the world’s first program offering a Gamification Design Certificate. This certificate will be offered at the conference September 15-16 in New York City. Attendees will have the opportunity to jump into interactive workshops featuring new curriculum designed by summit chair and industry expert Gabe Zichermann, in consultation with various industry partners.
An interesting article in IT News, a site dedicated to IT professionals, explains why being a team leader in an MMORPG or online game such as World of Warcraft or Battlefield is a good training tool for anyone that wants a leadership role in the field. The article highlights the kind of player that is either familiar with a given mission or map, and what skills they might exhibit.
Train2Game, a UK-based game industry training course company, has launched its latest competition in association with BAFTA-nominated writer and director Trix Worrell. The competition will see the winning game concept entry accompany the feature film Avenging Angel.
Chicago-based technology firm ImmersiveTouch has been working in consultation with the Memphis-based Medical Education & Research Institute (MERI) on surgery simulator technology that looks and feels like a next-generation video game. The inventors say that while it might be video game-like, it has far more serious implications for medical training and surgery.
MERI does not have a financial stake in the company or in the simulator, but many of the doctors and surgeons who pass through the training center have offered their input in developing the product.
"We are engineers. We are not physicians," said Cristian Luciano, Sensimmer's co-inventor and ImmersiveTouch vice president. "The needs that are coming from the physicians and surgeons drive the (product development) efforts as we produce solutions for them."
Microsoft announced today that it plans to invest $15 million USD in bringing video game and other technologies to classrooms throughout the United States. The announcement was made by Anthony Salcito, vice president of education for Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector, via the company's official blog. The goal of this money is to research and develop new learning technologies, such as game-based instruction and a "lifelong learning digital archive." Microsoft also plans to improve the gaming technology skills of more than 150,000 teachers in the United States through a new initiative called Partners in Learning Network. From the blog:
Launching sometime this fall, a new "peer-reviewed" academic journal on the positive effects of video games on health will be launched. The sole purpose of this journal is to publish research from various sources such as the New Jersey-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which has been studying and supporting games for health for the past six years.
"Games are fun," said Paul Tarini, a senior program officer at the foundation. "If what you're interested in doing is helping someone manage a chronic disease that needs daily maintenance, or helping yourself develop a habit to help yourself feel healthier, you can do it the old-fashioned way. Or if games really work, you can do it and have fun at the same time."
Tarini added that he sees the launch of this new journal as proof that interest is growing in this particular field of research, even though it is still in its infancy.
Konami, along with health professionals, policy makers, students, parents, and teachers, across West Virginia are heading to Charleston later this month to address childhood obesity. Konami is spearheading an event - the Childhood Obesity Summit - to discuss the best ways to deal with the issue. The company will also host the second annual DanceDanceRevolution West Virginia State Championship Tournament at the same time.
The West Virginia University Extension Service, West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA), and Konami organized the summit to promote collaboration and develop a referral base for coordinated prevention and treatment of childhood obesity statewide.
Atari founder and serial entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell says that he plans to disrupt education with a new startup aimed at teaching youngsters using technology and game-like educational programs. Speaking at this week’s GamesBeat 2011 conference, Bushnell was coy in revealing details on his new educational initiatives, but he did say that he would get his foot in the door when the state of California finally goes bankrupt in two years.
"What am I working on?” he said, speaking vaguely of his educational system. "I want to fix education in the world. As soon as I work on that, I am going to work on world hunger and then world peace."
Bushnell said the in the future all schools will end up using game metrics to teach children. Then he offered his dire prediction on California's future:
Epic Games announced its conference schedule for Epic Developer Day, to be held on July 13, and Unreal University, to be held on July 14, at De Vere West One in London. Epic Developer Day and Unreal University provide Unreal Engine 3 (UE3) developers with free hands-on learning led by senior members of Epic's engine team, UE3 technology partners and UE3 instructors. If you are a UE3 developer and don't have ticket's you're out of luck because it's sold out. On the plus side, Epic said today that it "plans to bring similar learning opportunities to other regions this year."
A team of Swedish researchers have conducted a study about drugs, alcohol and the effects of video games on teens. The research (unearthed by C&VG) concluded that boys who play games tend not to get involved in drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
The team of researchers from the Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN) surveyed 46,000 teens in the country, asking them about their drug and alcohol usage. Researchers discovered that the percentage of Swedish 15-year-olds who drink alcohol has dropped to the lowest level in decades.
The level of 15 and 16-year-old boys who have at least tried alcohol in the past year also declined to 55 percent - the lowest since CAN began investigating teen habits in 1971. A decade ago, that figure stood at 77 percent. Figures for smoking and drug-usage also showed a decline.
Researcher Anita Lynn Furtner says that the best way to train for a crisis is to use films and video games. She said crisis management training needs a change and that it is time to do away with lectures and boring PowerPoint presentations and consider films and video games.
"You have a lecture, you have a PowerPoint and a knowledge check and, there, you are considered trained and certified. And, most likely, you only do this once a year," said Furtner. She wrote her dissertation at the University of Arizona about the potential use of films and video games for crisis management training. She earned her doctoral degree in rhetoric, composition and the teaching of English in May
"That's not what I call motivating or engaging, and it doesn't lead to any long-term recall," added Furtner.