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News by Charles Hendee:

NYU Steinhardt Presents Dr. Drew Davidson, Entertainment Technology Center – Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University

Published April 21st, 2011

Category News

By Charles Hendee

Tags game design, game programs, sponsored talks,

Cross-Media Storytelling and Game Design
Dr. Drew Davidson, Entertainment Technology Center – Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University

Image of Drew Davidson's Book

Friday, April 22, 2011, 2:15PM
Room 319, East Building, 239 Greene Street, NYU

How can game design be used to encourage people to follow a story across a variety of media? In light of all the recent discussions around “gamification” and “gamefulness,” Professor Davidson will explore what he sees as the real promise and problems of cross-media experiences.

We invite students from our DMDL/ECT community as well the larger community at NYU to our Spring Brown Bag event. Please join us!

Photo of Drew DavidsonDrew Davidson is a professor, producer, and player of interactive media. His background spans academic, industry, and professional worlds and he is interested in stories across texts, comics, games, and other media. He is the Director of the Entertainment Technology Center – Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University and the Editor of ETC Press.

Drew helped create the Sandbox Symposium, an ACM SIGGRAPH conference on video games and served on the IGDA Education SIG. He works with SIGGRAPH on games and interactive media and serves on the ACTlab Steering Committee, and many advisory boards, program committees, and jury panels.

He is the lead on several MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Initiative grants and has written and edited books, journals, articles, and essays on narratives across media, serious games, analyzing gameplay, and cross-media communication.

For more information regarding this event, feel free to get in touch with Dixie Ching or sava saheli singh.

We’d like to make sure you have a seat and enough food, so please RSVP here.

For information on how to get involved in our ECT Program, please contact our program director Professor Ricki Goldman at ricki@nyu.edu.

G4LI Partnering with Carnegie Learning, PSLC and Others Awarded Next Generation Learning Challenges Wave 1 Grant

Published April 9th, 2011

Category

By Charles Hendee

Tags carnegie, funding, math, math gam,

NEW YORK, NY, April 8, 2011 The Games for Learning Institute is participating in The Mathematics Fluency Data Collaborative, a project led by  Carnegie Learning, Inc. that has been awarded a $750,000 grant from the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) Wave I, a new initiative focused on identifying and scaling technology-enabled approaches to improve college readiness and completion, especially for low-income young adults, in the United States.  The goal of the project is to improve performance in developmental math courses by building games to help students develop the fluency and number sense required to succeed in mathematical problem solving. The Mathematics Fluency Data Collaborative is one of 29 grantees selected from a field of more than 600 pre-proposals and 50 finalists.

The NGLC initiative plans to advance college readiness and completion by addressing a continuum of interrelated issues spanning secondary and postsecondary education from grades 6 through college. NGLC is led by EDUCAUSE in partnership with The League for Innovation in the Community College, the International Association of K-12 Online Learning, and the Council of Chief State School OfficersThe Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation helped design the Next Generation Learning Challenges and funds the initiative.

A collaborative project led by Carnegie Learning, The Mathematics Fluency Data Collaborative is a partnership among the Games for Learning Institute (G4LI) at New York University; Game2Learn at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte; the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center at Carnegie Mellon University;  Pellissippi State Community College in Tennessee; and the Playpower Project. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Pellissippi State Community College, Boise State University, and Carlow University are implementation partners.

The Mathematics Fluency Data Collaborative will establish a practice that values iterative testing and refinement of learning games based on careful examination of student data,” said Dr. Steve Ritter, chief scientist for Carnegie Learning, Inc. and the project director. “Our team of researchers will mine the data to better understand which gaming parameters lead to success. The game code will be released under an open source license, so that the games can serve as a model for additional development as well as a platform for researchers interested in developing and testing improvements to the games.”

Games produced under this effort will be included in future releases of Carnegie Learning’s Cognitive Tutor® and MATHia™ software programs for middle school, high school, and post-secondary students aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. In addition to funding, NGLC is gathering evidence about effective practices and working to develop a community dedicated to these persistent challenges.

“The Games for Learning Institute is pleased to participate in the The Mathematics Fluency Data Collaborative which allows us to continue building the science of learning with partner universities, games design researchers, and corporate partners,” said Jan Plass, professor of educational communication and technology and co-director of G4LI at New York University. “This is a significant project in that we will be designing games that can improve student success in college while producing rich research data to help us verify the educational quality and impact of these games; and, it allows us to continue growing a highly interdisciplinary research and development community to study games as agents to transform education for a broad range of learners.”

The Mathematics Fluency Data Collaborative

The Mathematics Fluency Data Collaborative (MFDC) brings together leading experts in cognition and game design to build an R&D platform for developing, refining and distributing high-quality mathematics games. Our focus will be on games to build fluency in mathematics as a basis for number sense.

MFDC will establish a community of practice that values iterative testing and refinement based on careful examination of student data. We will provide data to the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center so that researchers can mine the data to better understand the parameters that lead to success.

Winners of National STEM Video Game Competition Announced…Including G4LI and CreateLab’s Very Own Dixie Ching

Published April 1st, 2011

Category News, Press

By Charles Hendee

Tags math games, mini-games, STEM,

The first ever CTO of the US, Aneesh Chopra, announced the winners of the National STEM Video Game Competition today. Included in the announcement are the winners of both the Collegiate and Impact Prizes:

NumberPower: Numbaland!, produced by graduate students Derek Lomas of Carnegie Mellon University, Dixie Ching of New York University [and G4LI and the CREATE LAB] and Jeanine Sun of the University of California at San Diego, are the winners of the Collegiate and Impact Prizes and will receive $50,000 in total. The collection of four games allows children in kindergarten to grade 4 to construct a set of skills that helps develop their sense of number concepts. The games will be available on different platforms, including the iPad later this spring. The prototype can be viewed at http://numbaland.com.

Congratulations, Dixie!!

READ MORE HERE: http://www.theesa.com/newsroom/release_detail.asp?releaseID=139

PLAY THE GAMES HERE: http://numbaland.com

Inside the New CITE Game Innovation Lab Construction at NYU-POLY

Published February 16th, 2011

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By Charles Hendee

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This conceptual rendering shows how gaming projects will be exhibited on CITE’s exterior wall via a media display that passersby will be able to interact with. [Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners

G4LI partners, Prof.’s Joel Wein and Katherine Isbister, are nearing completion and ribbon cutting of the New Game Innovation Lab at NYU-POLY.
Within days of completing the first renovation project of a 10-year plan to transform its Brooklyn campus, Polytechnic Institute of NYU started its next.
Construction began on the new project, the Center of Innovation for Technology and Entertainment (CITE), in early October on the first floor of the Dibner Building and is expected to be completed by late winter/early spring.
Like Project 2010, the first renovation initiative of the 10-year i2e Campus Transformation, CITE, designed by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, will be a showcase of NYU-Poly’s invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship philosophy — what it calls “i2e.” Its centerpiece will be the Game Innovation Lab, a place, according to its research director, Dr. Katherine Isbister, “that will bring together some of NYU-Poly’s strongest researchers and their students across multiple departments (Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Humanities and Social Sciences), taking games as an innovation challenge.”
Dr. Isbister explains that “games are profound drivers of both technological and user experience innovation, and we have deep expertise at NYU-Poly that can extend and transform what’s already happening in this exciting field.”

Within days of completing the first renovation project of a 10-year plan to transform its Brooklyn campus, Polytechnic Institute of NYU started its next.
Construction began on the new project, the Center of Innovation for Technology and Entertainment (CITE), in early October on the first floor of the Dibner Building and is expected to be completed by late winter/early spring.
Like Project 2010, the first renovation initiative of the 10-year i2e Campus Transformation, CITE, designed by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, will be a showcase of NYU-Poly’s invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship philosophy — what it calls “i2e.” Its centerpiece will be the Game Innovation Lab, a place, according to its research director, Dr. Katherine Isbister, “that will bring together some of NYU-Poly’s strongest researchers and their students across multiple departments (Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Humanities and Social Sciences), taking games as an innovation challenge.”
Dr. Isbister explains that “games are profound drivers of both technological and user experience innovation, and we have deep expertise at NYU-Poly that can extend and transform what’s already happening in this exciting field.”

Read more here: http://www.poly.edu/news/2010/11/05/what%E2%80%99s-going-there-inside-cite-game-innovation-lab-construction

G4LI—Game Design Workshop with Nicholas Fortugno, Frank Lantz, and Mike Edward

Published December 17th, 2010

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By Charles Hendee

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Today we are hosting our third in a series of Game design work shops to discuss integrating Game mechanics and learning mechanics in an effective manner.

This month we have three game designers to get input from the game mechanic perspective: Nicholas Fortugno, Frank Lantz, and Mike Edward.

Frank Lantz team game sketches

Workshop Agenda 12-17

Game Designer Bios:
Nicholas Fortugno is an American game designer and educator. Fortugno
is perhaps best known for designing Diner Dash, a top-selling casual
game developed by Gamelab, and the award-winning Ayiti: The Cost of
Life.[1][2] In addition to his large body of digital work, Fortugno
has been involved in the design of numerous non-digital projects,
including board games, collectable trading card games, large-scale
social games, and live-action role-playing (LARP). Since 2002,
Fortugno has taught the Game Design and Interactive Narrative program
at Parsons The New School for Design, and has contributed to the
development of the school’s game design curriculum.[3] Fortugno is CCO
of Playmatics LLC, a New York City-based game development studio
focusing on casual games and cofounded with Margaret Wallace.[4]
Fortugno also hosts and writes for the game journal and review site
Critical Smack! [5]
______________

Frank Lantz, Creative Director and co-Founder of area/code is a game
designer based in New York City. He has worked in the field of game
development for the past 20 years. Before starting area/code, Frank
was the Director of Game Design at gameLab, a developer of online and
downloadable games.Frank has also worked as a game designer for the
developer POP, where he created games for Cartoon Network, Lifetime
TV, and VH1. Between 1988 and 1998, he was Creative Director at R/GA
Interactive, a New York digital design company.For over 10 years,
Frank has taught game design at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications
Program, the School of Visual Arts, and the New School. His writings
on games, technology and culture have appeared in a variety of
publications.
______________

Mike Edwards is a designer and a geek. He has worked with everything
from high-traffic e-commerce servers down to surface-mount
microcontroller chips. A 2008 graduate of the Parsons Design and
Technology MFA program, his thesis had him working with a team in
Malawi to create devices that help diagnose malnutrition in children
and pregnant women. He has built games on themes as diverse as
epidemics, ecology, math, and New York City history. He is currently
conducting research into SMALLab, an embodied learning environment. He
has even hacked a bathroom sink.

Katherine Isbister, a G4LI Co-PI at NYU-POLY, and Her Research is Featured on Wired.com

Published November 16th, 2010

Category

By Charles Hendee

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Nintendo’s Wii game console may owe some of its extraordinary success to emotions that are triggered by specific movements: It might essentially be using your body to hack into your brain.
A better understanding of which motions trigger which emotions might not only lead to better games, but could one day help improve the iPhone, iPad and other gesture-based and multitouch interfaces as well.
“There’s no reason why dealing with a spreadsheet or sorting e-mail couldn’t be as wonderful as tai chi,” said computer and social scientist Katherine Isbister at NYU’s Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn. “Games are the perfect ecosystems for evolving fun, and hopefully we might be able take those lessons elsewhere.”
The Nintendo Wii introduced physical movements to gaming consoles and in just four years became the fastest-selling console of all time. Now Isbister and her colleagues are investigating how Wii games can make us feel by mapping the responses certain movements and gestures evoke.
For example, in “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed,” a player can fling an object or a person to the ground, using a hurling motion with the nunchuk part of the Wii controller, creating a feeling of aggression.

Nintendo’s Wii game console may owe some of its extraordinary success to emotions that are triggered by specific movements: It might essentially be using your body to hack into your brain.
A better understanding of which motions trigger which emotions might not only lead to better games, but could one day help improve the iPhone, iPad and other gesture-based and multitouch interfaces as well.
“There’s no reason why dealing with a spreadsheet or sorting e-mail couldn’t be as wonderful as tai chi,” said computer and social scientist Katherine Isbister at NYU’s Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn. “Games are the perfect ecosystems for evolving fun, and hopefully we might be able take those lessons elsewhere.”
The Nintendo Wii introduced physical movements to gaming consoles and in just four years became the fastest-selling console of all time. Now Isbister and her colleagues are investigating how Wii games can make us feel by mapping the responses certain movements and gestures evoke.
For example, in “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed,” a player can fling an object or a person to the ground, using a hurling motion with the nunchuk part of the Wii controller, creating a feeling of aggression.

The full article is here

GAMES FOR LEARNING INSTITUTE, MICROSOFT RESEARCH, AND MOTOROLA FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE COMPETITION TO CREATE GAMES THAT MAKE LEARNING FUN

Published November 1st, 2010

Category News

By Charles Hendee

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Can you make this fun?

Are games the future of learning? Can you make an entire school curriculum into a learning game and still make it fun? Willplayers be able to apply what they learn to new problems long after the game has ended? Can the samegame benefit players of different abilities and levels of knowledge?

Teachers, principals, and school administrators are starting to ask these questions, and there is growing demand for effective games for learning. One of the key academic subjects that many believe could be made into a game is basic geometry for 6th graders, which includes skills like solving for the missing angle in a triangle and finding perimeter, area, and surface area of simple shapes. But is it possible to make this fun?

The Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), research partner Microsoft Research, and Motorola think it is and are challenging developers to create such learning games through the 2010 Games for Learning Design Competition. Contestants will create and submit their own game for learning basic sixth grade geometry.

Entrants will choose five New York state standards that their game will address, and then create a learning game to teach those standards and demonstrate that the learning goal was achieved. The first-place winner will be awarded $5,000. Cash prizes will also be awarded to 2nd through 5th place winners.

Update: To reach all relevant communities of game designers, G4LI is extending the deadline to enter the game design competition. The contest is open to the general public. Entries are due January 12, 2011 (11:59 p.m. EST). For more information about how to register, game design requirements, and judging details, please email registration@g4li.org or call 212.998.3342.

Select entrants will have the opportunity to demo their games to professional game researchers and designers at the Games for Learning Design Competition Expo to be held on January 30, 2011, 2-4 p.m. at NYU’s Kimmel Center for University Life, Room 914 (60 Washington Square South at LaGuardia Place).

Register by:                                                                   January 12, 2010

Game Submission Deadline:                                         January 12, 2011

DIRECTIONS

Use the following directions to guide your submission to the game design contest.  Additional information is contained in sections later on in this document.

  1. Read Official Rules
  2. Register Your Team
  3. Choose 5 Standards
  4. Review Sample Test
  5. Study the Scoring Rubric to See How Judges Will Assess Your Game
  6. Design an Awesome Game Around the Standards You Selected

  7. Demo Your Game at the Games for Learning Design Competition Expo on January 30, 2011 at NYU Where Winners Will Be Announced

OFFICIAL RULES: Second Annual Games for Learning Design Competition

Published November 1st, 2010

Category News

By Charles Hendee

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OFFICIAL RULES:

2010 Second Annual Games for Learning Design Competition

GAME

Your game should teach basic geometry concepts and skills at the 6th grade level.

●      Your game should be appropriate for use by 6th graders in school. This game is for average students who are receiving their first exposure to basic geometry.  It is intended to supplement their regular school instruction.

●      Your game should teach 5 standards from basic geometry. Choose five standards from the section called “BASIC GEOMETRY STANDARDS” to build your game around.

●      Your game will be judged by 1) how well it teaches the math standards you selected, 2) how it adapts to each player’s skills and weaknesses, and 3) how fun it is.

PLATFORM

Most American school computers are commodity PCs with Internet access and limited administrative privileges.

●      Your game must run in a major browser. Acceptable browsers are Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer.  Cross-platform capability is not required.

●      Your game must run on a commodity PC. Acceptable PC operating systems are Mac OS X 10.4 or newer, or on Microsoft Windows XP or newer.  Your game resolution should not exceed 1024×768.  Cross-platform compatibility is not required.

●      A limited set of plug-ins are allowed.  Acceptable plug-ins are Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, or Oracle Java.  Games requiring other plug-ins or special hardware will not be reviewed by judges.  

●      Each team is responsible for its own web-hosting.

ELIGIBILITY

The Games for Learning Design Competition is open to the general public and may comprise of one or more members to a team.

REGISTRATION

Your team must register by December 12, 2010 by emailing registration@g4li.org.  Your registration will need to include your intended platform, your chosen five geometry standards, the URL (if known), your team name, and team member names.

DEADLINE

Your game must be completed no later than January 12, 2011 at 7:59AM EST and emailed to submitgame@g4li.org.  Changes to your game after this date will result in disqualification.

JUDGING

A panel of judges will use a scoring rubric to qualitatively assess your game.   The exact rubric the judges will use can be found in the section called “SCORING RUBRIC”.  Websites sometimes go down, so the panel will make two attempts to play your game.  If the URL given during registration is not working on the first attempt, your team will have 2 hours to restore it.

PRIZES

Five cash prizes will be given for the best games.  The winners will be announced at the Games for Learning Design Competition Expo on Sunday, January 30, 2011 in New York City.  For more details, please see EXPO section.  Select entrants will be given space to demonstrate their game at the expo.

1st Place         $5,000             (1 prize)

2nd Place        $3,000             (1 prize)

3rd Place         $2,500             (1 prize)

4th Place         $2,000             (1 prize)

5th Place         $1,500             (1 prize)

THE FINE PRINT

You may enter multiple games in this competition, however contestants cannot win multiple prizes.  Individuals intending to register who are less than 18 years old will need parental consent.  Questions regarding the contest should be directed to cbyrne@g4li.org

Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Data

Published September 30th, 2010

Category News

By Charles Hendee

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Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google—Sept. 17, 2010 Talk, Hosted by G4LI

In decades past, models of human language were wrought from
the sweat and pencils of linguists. In the modern day, it is more
common to think of language modeling as an exercise in probabilistic
inference from data: we observe how words and combinations of words
are used, and from that build computer models of what the phrases
mean. This approach is hopeless with a small amount of data, but
somewhere in the range of millions or billions of examples, we pass a
threshold, and the hopeless suddenly becomes effective, and computer
models sometimes meet or exceed human performance. This talk gives
examples of the data available in large repositories of text, images,
and videos, and shows some tasks that can be accomplished with the
resulting models.

Kaelan Doyle Myerscough on gaming and the future of the world

Published September 17th, 2010

Category Press

By Charles Hendee

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Kaelan Doyle Myerscough, G4LI scientific advisory board member, wrote this wonderful article for CBC news last week.

Kaelan Doyle Myerscough is a 16-year-old high school student and an advisory board member for the Games for Learning Institute, an initiative of New York University. Her favourite video games include the Pokemon and Ace Attorney series.

First, there are games aimed at learning. As an advisor to an institute trying to figure out what kinds of educational gaming work, I’ve looked quite deeply into the concept of games as an educational tool.

Since the dawn of video gaming, educational games have gotten a bad rap. Although it is true that some educational games are less a game than a math or grammar quiz with bright colours, some recent ones have come out that are quite good, and many of these are Flash- or Java-based games.

One excellent example is the McDonald’s video game — produced by Molleindustria, not by the famous fast food company. In this game, you are the CEO of the McDonald’s Corp., and you must make good decisions to run the company properly. It is an addictive lesson about business and finance. It also shows the large-scale effects a corporation can have on the world. It is subtle and humorous — and it’s a potent educational tool.

This, I believe, is where educational games are headed -learning is being blended more smoothly within the gaming experience. Soon, many gamers won’t be able to tell the difference between an educational game and a simply entertaining one.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/09/17/f-video-games-future-predictions-kaelan-doyle.html#ixzz0zytIqoyB

G4LI featured in New York Times Magazine

Published September 16th, 2010

Category Press

By Charles Hendee

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The New York Times Magazine publishes in its September 19 issue a cover story by Sara Corbett on Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom, which features G4LI research. Our work was also described in the video Games Theory that was published online with the same article.

Will Wright’s February 2010 talk at G4LI

Published September 15th, 2010

Category News

By Charles Hendee

Tags g4li, Talk, Talks, Video, Will Wright,

Will Wright—Why Games are good for Learning