ESA Foundation: Education Challenge Grant

9 03 2012

Here is another grant I found (and posted on 3 days ago). Summary: The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation, with other academic organizations, is developing a contest for a K-12 grant to support the implementation of computer and video games in the classrooms. Winnings go from $15,000 to $40,000. USA only.


The ESA Foundation and its partners, the Cooney Center, FAS, California Endowment and the Association for Middle Level Education, will issue a call for lesson plans, submissions and other proposals incorporating existing computer and video games into school curricula. The goal is to harness the excitement and energy of playing video games into positive, measurable outcomes that advance children’s education and learning experiences.


The Challenge Grant partner organizations will serve as the blue ribbon panel of judges who will review the submissions and choose winners. The judges represent key sectors – including education, computer and video game publishing/development, and media and arts – that know first-hand how innovative games have and will continue to play a critical role in our education system.


Three prizes will be awarded to the most innovative entries, in the amounts of $40,000, $20,000 and $15,000, to use toward implementing the proposed lesson. The awards will be based on the originality and creativity of lesson plans that reflect the contributions that games make to a child’s learning.


  • February 2012 – Launch
  • April 6, 2012 – Deadline for submissions
  • April 20, 2012 – Panel judging
  • May 1, 2012 – Announce winners

Download the application here:

Complete info at and other pages on that website.

Here is a badge for tweeting about it, sharing it on your blog/network, and/or for posting in comments that you are applying for it (Then, you'll have to keep us updated on the progress. Good luck). Thanks!


Learning Without Frontiers

3 02 2012

Repost from (02/04/2012). Here is the latest newsletter, titled future positive, featuring reviews and the opening talks from the  2012 LWF conference including:

Noam Chomsky -The Purpose of Education
Noam Chomsky discusses the purpose of education, impact of technology, whether education should be viewed as a cost or investment and the value of standardised assessment.

Ray Kurzweil -Exponential Learning & Entrepreneuship
Inventor & futurist, Ray Kurzweil on DNA, 3D printed buildings, prediction accuracy, adjusting to change, neuroscience, innovation in schools & learning.

Jaron Lanier -Learning by experience and Play
Renowned computer scientist, pioneer of virtual reality, artist, musician and author, Jaron Lanier presents this talk about learning, experience & play.

also present were Ellen MacArthur and Keri Facer.

Tweet the post. Help LWF makes some tracks all over the internet.

Pearson’s gamified career planning program

2 02 2012

So why has Pearson’s partnered with one of the most interesting new education entrepreneurship initiatives Startup Week EDU? simple really. product placement. Pearson has unveiled its new startup called Alleyoop, a career planning program for students. It is touted to be a game (remember, everyone knows how to gamify education, training, etc…., right?) . Unfortunately, the product is not free (not expected. This is not billed as a support tool to other products, and it is a for-profit company pitching this) nor is there a free trial period (I like to get a feel of what I am getting and everyone offers free trials right?). On top of that, the promotional video is a (cute) stop-motion video with absolutely no information nor indication that the program is built on gaming strategies.

As I remarked to Kalimah Priforce, co-founder of Qeyno Labs,  “too bad the video nor the About ( does not explain how the career planning program was gamified (a short video on a student going through missions maybe?). Since this has become such a buzz word lately, it would be wise to have it explained so that most of us don’t assume that lazy gamey strategies were used such as slapping a fun music on it. I’ve seen educational games that included the math activities, without really integrating them in the story of the game…which resulted in chasing monkeys with occasional math quizzes sprinkled between missions. Looking forward to learn more about Alleyoop.”

What do you think?

Happy Digital Learning Day!

2 02 2012

Digital Learning Day is a nationwide celebration of innovative teaching and learning through digital media and technology that engages students and provides them with a rich, personalized educational experience. On Digital Learning Day, a majority of states, hundreds of school districts, thousands of teachers, and nearly 2 million students will encourage the innovative use of technology by trying something new, showcasing success, kicking off project-based learning, or focusing on how digital tools can help improve student outcomes” (Read more at

In support of Digital Learning Day, Rocketfuel invites teachers to submit ideas to be made into an educational game. Rocketfuel Games is a producer of interactive entertainment that you play online and in the real world.

How to Submit

1) Send us a written game concept – 500 words or less. You can share ideas from games you have played, seen. Identify the target grade, subject, topic and key learning objectives.

Submit your idea here:

2) Tell the world – tweet out your 140 character idea @rocketfuelgames and add hashtags #bringyourAgame #DLDay

i.e. “@rocketfuelgames Combine a first person shooter and math #bringyourAgame #DLDay”

FYI: On Dec 8, 2011, Rocketfuel Games announced that they agreed to co-produce a new education-based video game with GURU Digital Arts College (Edmonton, Canada). “Mind’s Eye is a first-person shooter game that teaches students math skills while they obliterate mutant enemies. (read more

Please tweet (#educedge) to spread the word on the Rocketfuel teacher contest!

Game-Based Educational softwares -math (2)

30 01 2012 is aimed at ages 7 to 12. The free demo I tried took a while to download and I did not appreciate seeing a Microsoft pushing the Bing bar on me. However, once the software was ready to run (and I decline the Bing upgrade…which means you need to stick around while the demo downloads, reboots, and runs), it was fun. The story was interesting (although having to click on the characters to move the dialogue along was a bit awkward….but I can see how useful for the pupils with reading difficulties (although the characters also use audio), the game activities fun (push, run, collect, …), but i still felt that the math activities were not really integrated in the story. They just popped in between stations. They were creatively designed (laser shoot and ball throwing at the numbers) but they were nonetheless separate activities to the story. Completing a math problem does help you collect monkeys, so ….i guess you can have fun with your personal zoo during the game.

I mentioned Dimension M in passing in my previous post. Dimension M was previously known as Tabula Digita. Now Dimension U, it has collected numerous awards, educational partners and clients (over 70 districts in the US). It is standard-based, research-driven, and fully integrates the math activities within the story. Lucas Gillespie blogged about his experience with the software on Edurealms. You can also listen to Nt Eruk and parents talk about it. The video is clearly a marketing tool, but it gives you some ideas of the game platform:

Finally, here is a repository of about 60 educational games created by teachers within the ProActive EU project (I found only 2 that were math related, but have not explore them yet. If you do, please post here what you thought of the gaming and learning experience offered by that software).

The joystick badge is yours if you post a game-based software review here.

Game-based educational softwares -math

30 01 2012

It seems that everywhere I turn I hear someone pontify on “how to gamify”, or to claim to be an expert in gamifying education. Last week, a colleague told me that she had a consultant help them gamify their company’s training sessions. As I asked her to explain what the consultant said or did, it turned out to be a lot of hot air. So, the buzz word now seems to be “gamify”….and it seems that we are back to the old arguments about slapping a fun audio on a couple of flashy and flashing objects on an online quiz test making it a game. How disappointing.

Today, I came across a couple of games whose developers qualify as game-based. I’ll let you be the judges: (free trial) “gives students a great place to practice basic math with instant grade-level assessment. The main game is to color a grid with appropriate colors” (quoting the developer).
🙂 it’s a great quiz. Nice to review specific math topics in a different format than paper exercise. Good for self review (instant assessment). Possibly a good app that teachers can download on the class’ iPads. But this is not offered as an app.
😦 this is not a game; This is a quiz. Also, notice that the “game” goes up to grade 8+. I don’t know about you but my 4th grader at home is way past coloring rewards. The byline “Math Makes the World Go Round” promises an interesting story line….which does not exist. ” is a SMART-accredited, game-based learning portal that uses high-quality resources to facilitate skills-based teaching in maths. Its aim is to make teaching and learning genuinely fun and engaging for students aged 11-16″ (quoting the developer).

😦 Now call me picky, but I am not thrilled by the opening picture. Too reminiscent of what others have done.

🙂 Once the game started, I was getting into the story very quickly. First there is an interesting story. Second, it’s an epic story. Third, despite the Voki-like appearance of the mission dispatcher, the game uses audio, video, and text to deliver the message. Each mission have the option to try again if you can’t or aren’t satisfy with your results. The graphics are clear, the music not distracting but adding a hint of urgency to the mission. I think that it approaches what I’ve seen at the beginning of what Tabula Digita was offering.

…more to come

30 01 2012

2 weeks without news….ouch. Well, this has been such an incredibly busy month. I have been helping setting up some activities on EDTEC Island, host of the SITE Virtual presentations (, Here is Dr. Lisa Dawley welcoming you to drop by anytime:

ARVEL is co-hosting SITE Virtual and is providing the Livestream solution for all virtual events during SITE: At 10 AM PT on 03/07, ARVEL will present CLIVE by Dr. Jonathon Richter, an ARVEL Inworld Discussion/SITE special virtual events series (Bookmark this page for other events:

ARVEL is also hosting VWBPE 2012. Expect to see LOTS of really cool exhibitions and traffic on the CAVE Island common grounds. Similarly to SITE Virtual, VWBPE 2012 will be using the dual-sim presentation space (EDTEC and CAVE Islands) to welcome up to 100 simultaneous avatars.

So bookmark your calendars for March: 03/04 to 03/09 SITE; 03/15 to 03/17 VWBPE; and all ARVEL Inworld Discussions are listed in the ARVEL Event Calendar (We’ve had a discussion EVERY week since we came back from the winter break!)

I’ve also been quite busy with the ARVEL SuperNews Winter 2012. The theme of this issue is Engagement and Renewal. We still have a lot of room for picture submissions for the Club Photo page, questions for Dr. Chris Dede for his ‘Dear Abby’-like open letter, blog and twitter suggestions, etc. We already have some great reviews of softwares and apps for augmented reality and video games. I know that a few ARVEL colleagues will be sending more suggestions based on their own trials, errors and usage. What a great community of practice we are building.

Last by not least, Jonathon Richter, Patrick O’Shea and I are busy setting up a really (and I mean, REALLY) cool member experience that we will open for the 2012 AERA Annual Meeting. Called The Scholar Journey, this quest-based experience will include AR, 3D GameLab, and onsite events. BYOMD!!!! (Bring Your Own Mobile Device!!!!!)

Please twitter this post (#educedge). This will help get the word out regarding all the cool events coming up in SL and in real life. Cheers!