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Videogames and Virtual Worlds for Learning?. Presented by Ann Crewdson for The CSLA Conference November 22, 2008. Objectives:. By the end of the presentation, you will have: Identified a useful method for evaluating video games for educational content.

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videogames and virtual worlds for learning

Videogames and Virtual Worlds for Learning?

Presented by Ann Crewdson

for The CSLA Conference

November 22, 2008


By the end of the presentation, you will have:

  • Identified a useful method for evaluating video games for educational content.
  • Learned about why engaging children with digital content is important.
  • An understanding on why using electronic resources is a powerful way to teach children effectively, in classrooms.
alsc s great interactive software for kids committee
ALSC’s Great Interactive Software for Kids Committee
  • Formerly Notables, Established: January 1987. Transformed: February 2007.Chair + 5Term: Fall, 2 year
  • Committee Charge, Terms and Criteria for Evaluation:
function statement
Function Statement

(Scope): Birth to 14 years old.

“To select, annotate, and present for publication, within the criteria and procedures established for selection, a biannual list of exemplary computer software and multi-platform media currently available. To define and develop guidelines and criteria for the evaluation of interactive software and electronic media.”

evaluation criteria
Evaluation Criteria
  • Content must be enhanced by the use of the graphics
  • Games should be user-friendly
  • Ease of use
  • Educational and entertaining
  • Age-appropriate
  • Collaborative play
meeting standards for excellence
Meeting Standards for Excellence
  • KONAMI Playground
  • Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree
  • Animal Genius
  • Nancy Drew PC Series

Game Flow










konami kids playground
KONAMI Kids Playground

Alphabet Circus and Dinosaur Shapes & Colors

  • Children refine motor skills
  • Letter knowledge
  • Primary colors
  • Reinforce letter, color, and shape recognition
big brain academy wii degree
Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree
  • Activities to improve brain stimulation
  • Puzzles are both visual and audio
  • Thinking, memorization, computation, analysis, and identification
  • Challenge friends
  • Socialization
animal genius
Animal Genius
  • Ages: K-2--Motivates learners toward goals and learning experiences.
  • Vocabulary Building, Life-Science Concepts, Sorting/Matching/Categorization
  • Skills acquired can be carried forth in new games or applied to real world contexts
nancy drew pc series danger by design
Nancy Drew PC Series: Danger by Design
  • Requires active problem solving
  • Encourages nonlinear and

higher order thinking

  • Develops sequential, logical, reading

and organizational skills


LS&T Roadmaps

  • 6 Roadmaps + Executive Summary
    • Instructional Design
    • Question Generation & Answering Systems
    • Simulations and Exploration Environments
    • Learning Modeling & Assessment
    • Building & Maintaining Learning Systems
    • Games for Learning
  • Multi-disciplinary, multi-year effort
    • Input from over 100 learning science and computer/information science researchers from academia, industry, DoD, other gov’t
    • 3 multi-day workshops
    • Numerous interviews
    • Detailed description of research priorities, R&D chronology, metrics

Technology Can Make Learning:

    • More productive (quicker mastery, better retention)
    • More compelling
    • More personal
    • More adaptable to local needs
    • More accessible

Source: Bloom et al., current technology data from Fletcher (IDA)

fas learning games
FAS Learning Games
  • Immune Attack: basic immunology education for high school (NSF)
  • Discover Babylon: humanities for 8-14 year-olds in classrooms and museums (IMLS)

Immune Attack

  • Goals:
    • Teach basic immunology concepts
    • Create a more positive attitude towards biology
    • Help teach young adults to choose better life-style behaviors to protect themselves from infection
    • Expose young adults to the exciting fields of healthcare and biosciences
  • Features:
  • Navigate realistic, biologically accurate settings
  • Explore human body environments, including blood vessels and connective tissue
  • Explore cell structures and teach behaviors using game-based controls
  • Defeat invading bacteria to prevent infection
new learning tools make possible
New Learning Tools Make Possible:
  • Highly motivating challenges
  • Embedded assessments
  • Scaffolding
  • Question Generation and Answering
  • Simulated environments that allow players to build, experiment, operate equipment, explore
  • Collaboration


  • Engage learners, ages 8 – 14, in challenges and mysteries that can only be solved by understanding
    • the origins of writing and the path from pictures to phonetics
    • Mesopotamian society, business practices, and trade
  • Demonstrate new ways to reassemble artifacts and knowledge about them now spread across many different museum and library collections
  • Features:
  • Accurate historical and scientific information
  • 3D photorealistic simulations of cities & temple complexes that allow open-ended exploration and discovery
  • Contextualization of museum artifacts used by characters in virtual environments
  • Compelling, age-appropriate challenges and assignments
characteristics of games the potential for learning
Characteristics of Games & the Potential for Learning
  • Games support:
    • Active learning
    • Experiential learning
    • Problem-based learning
    • Immediate feedback
    • Learner-centered learning
where do we go from here
Where do we go from here?
  • Form Partnerships
  • Youth Advisory
  • Look in your own backyard
  • Continue to do Research
a path forward
A Path Forward

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world: indeed it's the only thing that ever has!

-Margaret Mead

for more information
For more information
  • Ann Crewdson

Children’s Section Supervisor

Issaquah/Sammamish Libraries

King County Library System

  • Angelique Kopa

Materials Selection, Librarian

Harford County Public Library

  • Michelle Roper

Director, Learning Technologies

Federation of American Scientists