For Equity & Social Impact

Games for Learning

He tākaro, he huarahi ako

Blog & news

Opening the door to games at Hutt Central School

What happens when four teachers in a senior primary syndicate launch confidently into a term-long inquiry process based around games?

Announcing the Games for Learning Workshop Auckland 2018

Bookings are now open for a one-day Games for Learning workshop on Saturday 3rd November, 2018. Brought to you by Mission Heights Junior College and NZCER.

Copy Of -Copy Of -On the blog: Game design is hard. That's why your students should do it.

For the past couple of years I’ve been researching classrooms where teachers and students have taken on game design as a vehicle for learning. I've read extensive international research (and some rhetoric) on games and game design and its potential for learning. I’ve befriended game developers, and lurked curiously in their conferences and online groups, And I did the most challenging and humbling thing of all: I worked with others to design a game.

On the blog: Call for papers: set special issue on playing, gaming, and learning Primary tabs View

We've put out a call for contributions to a special issue of set: Research information for teachers on the theme of "Playing, gaming, and learning".

If you're keen to write for this special issue, read on for some tips on putting together your contribution!

Coming up: Gameful Praxis meetup in Wellington

Details about the next Gameful Praxis meetup in Wellington have been released! "Learn how to use matrix games!" at 7pm on April 23rd at Wellington High School. Be sure to RSVP as spaces are limited.

On the blog: Rachel's recommended reads, views, and listens (repost)

Check out Rachel's updated 2018 list of recommended books, podcasts, and videos to keep growing your expertise in games, gamification and game design.
Leave a comment on the blog to add your own recommendations!

NZGDC 2017 panel session

The New Zealand Game Developers Conference held in September 2017 held a panel session with Dan Milward, Amy Fredeen, Yasmin Kafai, and Rachel Bolstad (featured speakers at NZCER's Games for Learning conference). 
Click below to watch the video.

Gameful Praxis meeting in Wellington

The theme for the first meetup for the year was "tabletop and card games in the classroom". NZCER Senior researcher Rachel Bolstad and co-founder of Gameful Praxis has written a blog on the meetup, full of great ideas and game suggestions for your classroom or school.

Gameful Praxis hold meetups in Wellington for talks, hand-on workshops, networking, playing and more. Register for future meetup announcements here. If you're interested in setting up a Gameful Praxis meetup in another town or city, please contact them to discuss!

Te Kura Workshops

After the conference, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu | The Correspondence School asked Rachel Bolstad, Diana-Grace Morris and Dan Milward to run a 2-day workshop with more staff, to help them kick off plans for bringing student game design into learning at Te Kura in 2018. It's shaping up to be and exciting and ambitious initiative – watch this space!

Te Mara Hupara

The latest book from Harko Brown describes 30 ancient Māori artefacts for play, learning and exercise. Harko's co-author is his teenage daughter Yves Tennessee, who assesses the hupara from the perspective of a 21st century  learner.  

Join the Games for Learning Facebook group!

Join the Games for Learning Facebook group! This group is for "gameful" educators, and anyone whose work aims to support gameful learning.

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NZCER Games for Learning blog

The Games for Learning blog shares emerging findings from  an exploratory research project led by NZCER researchers Rachel Bolstad, Sue McDowall, and Elliot Lawes. The project investigates the actual and potential role of games to support "transformative learning opportunities" for diverse learners in diverse New Zealand schools. The project foregrounds the intentions and experiences of New Zealand teachers and learners as game players, game selectors, or game makers, and looks at what happens in the learning environment when games are part of the picture. 

April 10, 2018

Game design is hard. That's why your students should do it.

Rachel Bolstad

For the past couple of years I’ve been researching classrooms where teachers and students have taken on game design as a vehicle for learning. I've read extensive international research (and some rhetoric) on games and game design and its potential for learning. I’ve befriended game developers, and lurked curiously in their conferences and online groups, And I did the most challenging and humbling thing of all: I worked with others to design a game.

April 08, 2018

Rachel's recommended reads, views, and listens (repost)

Rachel Bolstad

​We've put out a call for contributions to a special issue of set: Research information for teachers on the theme of "Playing, gaming, and learning". If you're keen to write for this special issue, read on for some tips on putting together your contribution!

March 15, 2018

Rachel's recommended reads, views, and listens (repost)

Rachel Bolstad

Over the past two summers I've posted some recommendations for things to read, watch, listen to, or play if you're interested in games, gamification, and game design for learning.

November 13, 2017

Can conference participants gamify their own learning?

Rachel Bolstad

This post is part of a short series to share highlights from NZCER's 2017 Games for Learning conference.

So you went to an inspiring conference. Now what?

October 25, 2017

Game developers on an educational mission: Dan Milward and Maru Nihoniho

Rachel Bolstad

This post is part of a short series to share highlights from NZCER's 2017 Games for Learning conference.

As I noted in my last post, it’s not uncommon to find that people working in game development want to make a contribution to education.

But it’s one thing to aspire to this, and another thing to actually do it.

October 24, 2017

James Everett on working in game design, and two ideas for discussion

Rachel Bolstad

This post is part of a short series to share highlights from NZCER's 2017 Games for Learning conference.

Have you, or your students, ever imagined working in game design or another creative digital industry?

October 16, 2017

Yasmin Kafai on what students learn from making games

Rachel Bolstad

This post is part of a short series to share highlights from NZCER's 2017 Games for Learning conference.

October 10, 2017

Bron Stuckey on rethinking who (and what) makes a game educational

Rachel Bolstad

This post is part of a short series to share highlights from NZCER's 2017 Games for Learning conference.

October 06, 2017

Exploring and extending culture through games: Amy Fredeen on Never Alone

Rachel Bolstad

This post is part of a short series to share highlights from NZCER's 2017 Games for Learning conference.

October 03, 2017

Four things I learned about ngā tākaro (games) from Harko Brown

Rachel Bolstad

This post is the beginning of a short series to share highlights from NZCER's 2017 Games for Learning conference.

August 21, 2017

What motivates game-using teachers? Episode 6

Rachel Bolstad

This blog miniseries has profiled the motivations of various game-using teachers we have interviewed in the Games for Learning project.

July 31, 2017

Game-based learning: Typologies and butterflies

Rachel Bolstad

One possible challenge for anyone trying to get their head around the role of games in education is the semantics.  Which words should we use to describe learning that involves games? What’s the difference between “educational games” “serious games”, “gaming”, “game design”, or “gamification”?

July 23, 2017

You are here Gazing through the fog surrounding games and learning

Rachel Bolstad

Rachel Bolstad is gazing through the fog of ideas surrounding the role of games and games design in school education, and comparing research to soup in her new blog up now

June 27, 2017

Digital gaming, coding, and makerspaces in NZ schools (Part 3)

Rachel Bolstad

Just what is a 'makerspace'? Rachel Bolstad's latest blog on digital technologies reflects on how to ask the right questions about things that may be unfamiliar.

June 01, 2017

Digital gaming, coding, and makerspaces in NZ schools

Rachel Bolstad

There’s lots of interesting information in the report, and I encourage you to have a look at the whole thing if you have time.  For this blog series, I’ve pulled out some of the “digital games-related” data that might encourage further conversation.

May 28, 2017

Digital gaming, coding, and makerspaces in NZ schools (Part 1)

Rachel Bolstad

Today NZCER released a report called Digital technologies for learning which presents some findings from the  2016 NZCER national survey of primary and intermediate schools...

March 08, 2017

Opening all the black boxes

Rachel Bolstad

A few months ago I found three small boxes in the NZCER staff room.

They'd been quietly abandoned on the “free to a good home” pile. Their dazzling holographic surfaces caught my eye; the cryptic labels A, B, C caught my imagination.

October 02, 2016

What Makes learning through games so engaging?

Sue McDowall

One of the questions that we, and the teachers we work with on the Games for learning project, are fascinated by, is what makes games so engaging.

September 01, 2016

What motivates game-using teachers? Ep.1

Rachel Bolstad

I’ll be sharing the game-using origin stories of some of the different teachers in our project. We’ll look at how they got started with games, and what they and their students are actually doing with games. If you’re a game-using or game-curious teacher, I wonder if any of these stories will resonate for you?

In this blog we'll meet Andrew, a secondary history teacher whose game-based learning practices are based around board games and role play.

August 28, 2016

Meet Bob

Elliot Lawes

Meet Bob. Bob is a floating eyeball with a hard luck story he's dying to tell you. Are you willing to listen?

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NZCER resources for
Games for Learning

Curriculum for the Future is a set of three resources designed to stimulate open-ended conversations about learning and curriculum today and into the future. The resources can be used separately or together, and in any order.

Curriculum for the Future: The digital game

"A strangely addictive game that gets you thinking differently about education"

Curriculum for the Future: The Digital Game is  designed to generate thought-provoking conversations about learning and curriculum today and in the future. It's a fun way to think about complex ideas and it's great for playing with a group of people who care about what we will learn in the future. Players get to choose a curriculum and juggle multiple points of view as they try to convince a panel of citizens. 

Visit the Curriculum for the future microsite to learn more about the game or download now to your iPad or tablet from the App Store or Google Play.

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