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For Equity & Social Impact

Games for Learning

He tākaro, he huarahi ako

Featured talks

Harko Brown

Tihei Mauri Ora: The Breath of Life

Speaker: Harko Brown

The premise for this opening talk is how traditional Māori games transcended the dirt floors and tin walls I remember in my childhood.  Those games became constants in my life.  I believe that - with their intertwining of their physical, spiritual, and digital realms - they can provide hope for the future and become saviours for our dying world.

Exploring and Extending Culture Through Games: Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)

Speakers: Amy Fredeen

The session features the makers of Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna).  Never Alone was crafted through an inclusive development process that paired experienced game makers with Alaska Native storytellers and elders.  She created a game that delves deeply into the traditional stories of the Iñupiat people to explore and extend culture. The project's lead cultural ambassador, Amy Fredeen will discuss the project's impact objectives, inclusive development process, and outcomes. She’ll lead a discussion around how to catalyse support for more indigenous voices in the medium. 

See the slides for Amy's featured talk

Rethinking who (and what) makes a game educational

Speaker: Bron Stuckey

This session examines the breadth of value that games, game-based learning (GBL), game design and gamification bring to the classroom. Games from many quarters offer educational value.  Educators and their students need to be prepared to examine, acquire, adapt, and reinvent games in their classrooms to increase students’ engagement and love of learning. We can take creative control of our classrooms while offering students agency, autonomy, responsibility and real world experiences. We don't need to wait for more ‘edu’ games to be invented.  We can reinvent ‘off the shelf’ games and game design processes (physical, table top or digital) to offer exciting opportunities for 21st century classrooms. How do we as classroom educators begin, or stay abreast of all that's on offer?  We can only accomplish all that is possible by being active participants in of a culture of sharing in school, professional, and networked communities.

See the slides for Brons's featured talk

Hīnātore | Learning Lab - Connecting learning and taonga

Speaker: Tara Fagan

Hīnātore | Learning lab is Te Papa's new learning space, where learners connect cutting-edge technology with the museum's taonga to inspire meaningful learning. Tara will outline the Hīnātore learning philosophy including the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) approach across its programmes. This approach supports students to make connections in their learning, bringing Te Papa’s taonga to life, and enabling them to create in new ways. The 21st century learning skills of communication, creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, collaboration, and cultural engagement are woven through Hīnātore programmes. Tara explains how this is done, and how design thinking and gamification are shaping the learning.

Connected Gaming: What Making Video Games Can Teach Us about Learning and Literacy

Speaker: Yasmin Kafai

Video games designed to teach academic content have multiplied over the last decade. Students can use games to learn about Newtonian physics or prep for entry into the army. An emphasis on this instructionist approach to gaming has overshadowed the constructionist approach, in which students learn by designing their own games. The educational benefits of constructionist gaming — coding, collaboration, and creativity — suggest the move from ‘computational thinking’ toward ‘computational participation’. Recent developments support a shift to game making, including the game industry's acceptance, and even promotion, of ‘modding’ (modification) and the growth of a DIY culture. These student-designed games teach technical skills such as programming and academic subjects. Making games also teaches collaboration, as students frequently work in teams to produce content and then share their games with in class or with others online. Future directions of serious gaming should be inclusive of instructionist and constructionist approaches, promoting connected gaming in which both making and gaming play a part, as the growing popularity of Minecraft illustrates.

See the slides for Yasmin's featured talk

The NZ Game Industry, Overview and Q&A

Speaker: James Everett

Ever wondered what it's like to work as a game designer? Maybe your students want to know how to make games their career? James has been a game designer for over 15 years across many platforms and multiple genres. He's now working in the emerging field of Mixed Reality with Magic Leap/Weta Workshop, and Chairperson of the New Zealand Game Developers Association, whose members develop everything from serious games to mobile mega hits. In this session James will provide an overview of the growing New Zealand game industry before opening the floor for you to ask him (almost) anything.

Tara Fagan
Yasmin Kafai
Bron Stuckey
Amy and Michael
James Everett
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