Educational Video Games

Submitted by Youssef Ballo on Mon, 03/24/2014 - 11:49pm.
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Today’s students live in a media saturated environment as they spend an average of 10 hours per day engaging with different media. To accommodate this trend and use it to benefit students, educators are increasingly utilizing the power of games to teach their students. Playing video games enhances student’s critical thinking and problem solving skills. This article highlights five lessons for educators who are interested or are utilizing video games in their classroom.

  1. Give frequent and detailed feedback
  2. Test before going live
  3. Narrative can answer the question "Why are we learning this?"
  4. Don't be afraid of fun
  5. Not every subject works as a game

Is there anything else missing from the list that educators should take into account when introducing video games in the classroom?


Harvard B-School Announces "HBX"

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Mon, 03/24/2014 - 3:52pm.
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Harvard Business School has just announced their new online learning program, HBX. Despite the "X" HBX is quite different from Harvard-led MOOC platform edX. Focused instead, on furthering HBS's existing "case study" model, while reaching a new demographic through their CORe program, HBX promises to make HBS-level training available to more people for a lower cost. The HBX CORe model of three "interlocking" foundational courses is described in the Harvard Gazette piece listed above as,

The initial HBX offering, CORe (Credential of Readiness), comprises three interlinked courses: “Business Analytics,” “Economics for Managers,” and “Financial Accounting.”

The piece goes on to describe CORe further:

HBS Professor Bharat Anand, faculty chair of HBX, says that CORe will be a rigorous program designed for serious and committed learners. “The HBX faculty team has thought carefully about how to create an online offering that mirrors the energy you find in an HBS classroom and that allows students to benefit from the diversity and experiences of other students.”


The Prisoner's Dilemma

Submitted by Ahmed Bagigah on Mon, 03/24/2014 - 12:23am.
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The prisoners dilemma is a hypothetical game that can explain why people sometimes don't work together even when it's beneficial to do so. It's basically a long way of explaining that people don't like to been used. Why should I? What would be the point? A favorite example is in game theory, which shows why co-operation is difficult to achieve even when it is mutually beneficial. For instance, two prisoners have been arrested for the same offense and are held in different cells. Each has two options: confess, or say nothing. There are three possible outcomes. One could confess and agree to testify against the other as a state witness and receive a light sentence while his fellow prisoner receives a heavy sentence. They can both say nothing and if lucky, receive light sentences or even acquitted due to lack of firm evidence. They can both confess and receive lighter individual sentences. The second outcome would be the best for both prisoners. However, the RISK that the other might confess and become a state witness is likely to encourage both to confess, landing both with sentences that they might have avoided had they remained silent.


Opportunities for Disabled Student Athletes

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Sun, 03/23/2014 - 9:07pm.
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In most societies, disabled people are mostly deprived of the opportunity to play sports. However, here in the US, several laws have been enacted to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their disability, can participate in sports. This article talks more about this regulation by the U.S Department of Education geared towards ensuring that disabled people receive the opportunity to participate in sports. All schools that receive federal funding received letters from the department to remind them about the rights of disabled athletes. The letter urged all schools to make mainstream sports available for disabled athletes. Schools were also reminded to make sure to keep the originality of the respective sport in the process of modifying their program to suit disabled students. The guidelines were met with apprehension from coaches who, though applauded the initiative, worried about its implementation in schools.

One’s disability should not be a reason why they cannot participate in sports. In middle school, I played soccer with a friend who had a problem with one of his legs. He sometimes played better than most abled bodied players. This could be an example of why everyone should have the chance to participate in sports.


Growing Impact: African Women in Agricultural Research and Development

Submitted by Ahmed Bagigah on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 11:43pm.
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Giving women the voice and leadership role to help others is proving to be very effective. The video below highlights three inspiring stories from the AWARD Fellows, a showcase for agricultural innovations serving rural women in sub-Sahara Africa. Women in Africa are the engine behind its agriculture production so providing them with the help needed to grow their business will educate them and subsequently improve the economy. Moreover, educated women can use their research to help local women in communities through their businesses and health issues.


Education After the World Cup

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 9:00pm.
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Most global sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup receive great recognition by the media and it is highly anticipated by fans. However, there is always some level of controversy, especially concerning citizens of that country.
Citizens in host countries argue the huge amounts of money spent on these big sporting events could be better invested elsewhere such as healthcare and education. The upcoming World Cup in Brazil is no exception to this controversy.

Citizens, politicians and celebrities in the South American country have all expressed their anger and frustration at organizers for the excessive amount of money spent on the tournament thus far. However, as this article highlights, the organizers of the World Cup are planning on building 22 new schools in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital city. The schools will serve as a lasting legacy of the tournament. The schools will be built using 2,000 tons of leftover metal from the construction of a stadium in Brasilia. The new schools are expected to provide a positive learning environment for up to 13,000 children.


The Creative Side of Tagging

Submitted by Carmen James on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 4:48pm.
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Nina Simon of Museum 2.0 came out today with an excellent blog post on tagging art in museums. Read more here.

She does a great job of capturing the wonderful predictable of how visitors see and relate to art and how they take ownership over their experiences. What are the implications for libraries? For the future of libraries?

Stay tuned for my EdLab review on Tagboard.


Alliance to Boost STEM Education

Submitted by Reindorf Kyei on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 12:20am.
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At times, to overcome a common enemy, you need an alliance. This is true for the New Mexico/Texas Alliance for STEM Education, which just partnered with local high school students in Albuquerque. The primary purpose of the alliance is to help the high school students help their parents complete their high school education. One of the main reasons behind the alliance is that a lot of parents go through difficult times in their lives (e.g. incarceration, early pregnancy) that prevented them from completing their high school education. Education experts will design the program and the curriculum is expected to enable the parents to finally complete their high school education. The program also aims to help increase interest and participation in STEM by minority groups in New Mexico and Texas.

I think this is a great way to help the community. Not only are they developing a good educational system for the children, but also parents who were unable to complete their education. It's rare for people to receive a second chance in life, even if the situation was not their fault, so the alliance is a really great idea.


Educational Video Games

Submitted by Youssef Ballo on Tue, 03/18/2014 - 11:23pm.
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There’s been a recent movement by policymakers and educators to use video games for teaching and learning. Video games can increase student's motivation to learn. Video games are one of the many ways technology (and access to it) have changed how today’s generation socialize and consume information. Avid video game players pay monthly subscriptions to online games and anxiously wait in line to purchase new video games. However, not all games developed are developed for entertainment purposes. Some games can be used for educational purposes.

Immune Attack is a game developed by Brown University and University of Southern California (USC). This educational game was created to teach complex biology and immunology topics to students. Each level of Immune Attack features a different infection and new type of immune cell for players to learn. Food Force is another educational game created by the United States World Food Program in 2005. This game engages users to distribute food to famine-affected countries. One of the players becomes a scientist who joins a United Nations team to help other countries.


Opportunity to Equal Success in MENA

Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Tue, 03/18/2014 - 10:03pm.
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I believe the strength of a nation’s economy plays a role in the performances of students on assessment exams used to determine global rankings. As a result, if citizens of a country are educated, they can create jobs to further boost the economy. In undeveloped countries, the lack of investment in schools is the reason why most students don’t receive a quality education. This is true in places like the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. The World Bank has been able to highlight the reasons why there continues to be extreme poverty in this region. Additionally, the World Bank offered suggested ideas to improve the lives of those in the MENA region.

The first problem is the high unemployment rate in the region. People are not finding jobs because they don’t have wasta (connections to high level government officials). Some of the people who are fortunate to find employment are teachers, most of whom are not highly qualified. For instance, in Tunisia, Syria, and Morocco, students are underperforming relative to their peers in other developing countries on standardized eighth grade math exams. The other main issues concern expensive energy subsidies that benefit only the rich and slow economic growth in per capita terms.

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