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Friday, October 6 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Beyond Just Content: Learning Games that Empower Teens to Cultivate Positive Habits

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Effective learning games don’t “trick” students into engaging with content, they provide students with meaningful experiences that empower them to expand and develop their mindsets, relationships, and skills. Digital gameplay has the potential to empower teens to cultivate not just knowledge, but also social and emotional skills that are critical for positive development. Practicing positive habits like cooperation, empathy, gratitude, and curiosity can cultivate those skills, and embedding these positive practices into gameplay offers a tremendous opportunity to meet teens where they are and where they want to be. In this panel, award-winning designers of learning games present their unique approaches to creating meaningful in-game experiences that empower teens to not only learn subject matter but also develop strengths that can be transferred to their daily lives. Doris Rusch of DePaul University discusses how she leverages the power of embodied learning in games to boost empathy for the lived experience of conditions like depression (“Elude”), addiction (“Akrasia”), and anxiety (“Soteria: Dreams As Currency”). John Krajewski, founder and CEO of Strange Loop Games, discusses, among other titles, his ambitious social sim, “Eco,” a game that invites students to draw on and refine their ability to cooperate, lead, negotiate, and solve conflicts as a classroom community with the goal of saving their shared game world. Barbara Chamberlin from the Learning Games Lab at New Mexico State University discusses her approach to user-centered design and iterative testing to create engaging STEM and life-skills digital learning experiences (like “Night of the Living Debt,” a zombie-themed game on credit score). Panelists will share their experiences, strategies, and design tips to address critical questions like: How do games serve as a meaningful anchor for deep learning in classroom settings? What supports need to surround gameplay to ensure that skill development is taking place? How do game developers collaborate with educators to use digital games to their fullest capacity in sometimes technophobic educational settings? Susan Rivers from iThrive Games will moderate. iThrive Games collaborates with game developers to design evidence-based, engaging games that provide opportunities for teens to adopt positive psychology habits that help them thrive.

Speakers
avatar for Barbara Chamberlin

Barbara Chamberlin

Professor, New Mexico State University
Barbara Chamberlin directs game and media development at New Mexico State University’s Learning Games Lab. The production team works on a variety of content and audiences, most recently completing Math Snacks games for mid school learners (mathsnacks.org). Dr. Chamberlin also conducts... Read More →


Friday October 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Woods ABC

Attendees (26)