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Teaching students 21st-century skills with cooperative board games

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I’ve been a game nerd since Christmas Eve 1986, when my Nana taught me to play penny-ante poker. Sitting around the dinette table, I remember the frustration of losing to my family members for years until I learned enough to finally win. It was a “trial by fire” method that certainly worked, but it taught me to be a cutthroat competitor rather than a supportive team member. That’s not exactly the best tactic considering modern workplaces demand collaborative skills, so I give my stude
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5 of Classcraft’s favorite classic learning games

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Here at the Classcraft team, we’re obviously big fans of gaming. And some of our fondest memories come from the learning games we played growing up in school. We thought it’d be fun to reflect back on those classics, so we asked several team members about the educational games they remembered playing in computer labs, during recess, or even at home. Here are five that we recall from our school days. Wor
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Is it “Risky” to use board games as a teaching tool?

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“The object of the game is to occupy every territory on the board and in so doing, eliminate all other players.” If we take out “on the board,” how many technology-based games could taut these objectives: World of Warcraft? League of Legends? Starcraft? Sid Meier's Civilization series? But these are the objectives for Risk, the board game invented by Parker Brothers in 1959. The idea of using Risk as a teaching tool came to me during a lesson on the early exploration of America. I
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Tyto Online teaches STEM concepts through an MMO

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Finally, there's an MMO designed from the ground up to be educational. Tyto Online is the new massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) from Immersed Games, a developer with only about 20 people. Its CEO is Lindsey Tropf, whose background in education and school psychology—as well as data-based decision-making for teachers and schools—makes her the perfect person to build a game world that a
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7 studies that prove game-based learning really works

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The research proves it: Video games help students better understand what they’re studying in school. In a recent paper titled “Video Games in Education,” elementary teacher Matthew C. Heins looked at a number of studies where teachers used games in K-12 classes. “Video games were utilized in every major content area to an extent to help improve student learning,” Heins wrote. “The learning that took place improve
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How Filament makes educational games teachers and students love

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When it comes to making learning games, asking, “How do you make sure it’s fun and also educational?” is the wrong question. Filament Games’ Dan Norton knows all about this. “People enjoy learning," he told Classcraft in an interview. “But the goals of the teacher or administrators versus the goals of the student is where the real tension is.” That's what gamemakers shoul
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Cogent Education launching Interactive Case study on evolution

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Cogent Education is releasing a new simulation in its Interactive Cases playable series, where kids become scientists solving real-world problems. The new Interactive Case looks at evolution and puts students in the role of a CDC scientist investigating an outbreak of multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. Students will record observations, analyze data, formulate and test hypotheses, and more. Teachers
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A leadership expert’s perspective on World of Warcraft in school

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When it comes to finding 21st-century skills in action, look no further than your nearest virtual guild. Marie Bjerede is an education and technology advisor from Portland, Oregon. She worked for Qualcomm for over 23 years, since the telecommunications equipment company was a startup, serving as its vice president of wireless education technology and leading engineers and testers. A self-professed "leadership geek and learning advocate,"
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A principal’s perspective on World of Warcraft in school

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Sometimes, convincing an administrator to let you use video games in school is downright easy. That's what it was like with World of Warcraft at Suffern Middle School in New York. Principal Brian Fox has served as a principal there for nine years, an assistant principal for four years, and before that, he taught social studies. This is his 28th year in education. We spoke to Fox about how they ended up using WoW at his school—and how game-ba

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Games for Change Student Challenge is open for submissions

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This winter, middle and high school students in Pittsburgh, Dallas, and New York City public schools are racing to make their own games as part of the Games for Change Student Challenge. The digital game-design competition tasks students (grades 6-12) with creating a playable browser-based game that fits one of three themes: Future Communities, Climate Change, and Local Stories & Immigrant Voices. Using tools like Scratch or U
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How World of Warcraft teaches perseverance when learning

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Perhaps you’ve wondered before if Classcraft was inspired by the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft (WoW). Although World of Warcraft wasn’t the reason behind Classcraft’s name, the team dynamics between Warriors, Mages, and Healers came from MMOs like WoW. But the similarities don’t stop there: In addition to valuable 21st-century skills, World of Warcraft also teaches players to work as a team and to stay determined when learning. Having played WoW sinc
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Cambridge University hiring ‘Lego professor of play’

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The University of Cambridge is serious about studying the effects of play on learning. With help from the Lego Foundation, the university is searching for its first "professor of play" to lead its new Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development, and Learning—or Pedal for short. “The value of play is relatively under-researched,” Professor Anna Vignoles, the interim di