SXSW: NRK’s dedicated tech team employs “open source” tactics to fight trolling. READ MORE: How a Norwegian comment section turned chaos into order—with a simple quiz | arstechnica
Using CrunchBase, I took a look at $5.5 billion invested in 450 edtech companies over the last three years. I’ve highlighted those in this landscape that exhibit the qualities of an amazing company: a great team, an amazing product and the potential for a huge impact. READ MORE: Gamification, personalization and continued education are trending in edtech | TechCrunch
The Purposeful Gaming and BHL project recently launched its first two browser-based video games, Smorball and Beanstalk. Both are designed to offer players a fun online diversion while helping the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) enable full-text searching of digitized materials. Funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which was awarded in December 2013, the project is exploring how games might be used to entice people to participate in crowdsourcing efforts at libraries and museums. READ MORE: Biodiversity Heritage Library Launches Crowdsourcing Games | Library Journal
Launched on Kickstarter this morning, Holus is a tabletop device that converts digital content into a 3D hologram. Created by H+ Technologies out of Vancouver, the campaign has nearly doubled its goal of $40,000 in its first 2 hours.
Don’t expect to use this to summon Obiwan with a seven-inch image of Princess Leia. Objects aren’t 3D in any sense we’re used to. Instead, the device is a square tabletop platform which encases a glass pyramid upon which media is projected from below. The result is an ostensibly 3D image which can be viewed from 360 degrees around the machine.
Levers, pulleys, and wheels—they’re tools that outline some of the most foundational principles in physics. But foundational principles are boring. What’s fun is using a lever to catapult a boulder at a castle, breaking down the bricks one by one to discover a dragon sleeping inside.
That is the premise of Simple Machines, the latest iOS app by the educational game studio Tinybop. In the past, Tinybop has made interactive books on the human body and plant life. They’ve created a fun simulator for kids to build their own robots. But with Simple Machines, they’re taking aim at a very particular part of student curriculum: The first stages of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), in which kids commonly learn about six “simple machines”—the lever, pulley, wheel, wedge, inclined plane, and screw.
There aren’t any express objectives or any real way to win in Minecraft. It’s a “sandbox,” in gaming speak—offering free play without a specific goal and currently used by more than 18.5 million players, with some 20,000 more signing up every day. Users may choose between Creative Mode, in which they can build using unlimited resources by themselves or with friends, with no real danger or enemies, and Survival Mode, where they fend off enemies and other players and fight for resources and space. They can trade items and communicate using a chat bar. Modifications (or mods) can add complexity by creating things like economic systems that let players buy and sell resources from in-game characters using an in-game currency system. These downloadable mods can also add computer science concepts and thousands of additional features.
Minecraft’s worlds and possibilities are truly endless—and increasingly, so are its educational adaptations for school use. Available on multiple platforms (Apple, Windows, Linux, PlayStation, Xbox, Raspberry Pi, iOS, Android, Windows Phone), the game’s flexibility and collaborative possibilities make it a favorite among devotees of gamification.
“Minecraft is like LEGOs on steroids,” says Eric Sheninger, a senior fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education. “Learners of all ages work together to ultimately create a product that has value to them,” he adds. “The simple interface provides students in the classroom with endless possibilities to demonstrate creativity, think critically, communicate, collaborate, and solve problems.” A Swedish student research study also showed that collaboration in Minecraft provided a more immersive problem-solving experience than group LEGO building.
Microsoft introduced Windows Holographic, a technology that gives us a “world with holograms,” during its Windows 10 event on Wednesday. It would let a user transform one’s living room into a “surreal gaming environment,” according to the company.
There are no wires. No external cameras.
It works with Microsoft’s HoloLens headset, which allows users to wirelessly view holograms. Both the HoloLens and Windows 10 are slated to be available this fall.
The Cybersecurity Lab is a game designed to teach people how to keep their digital lives safe, spot cyber scams, learn the basics of coding, and defend against cyber attacks. Players assume the role of the chief technology officer of a start-up social network company that is the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. In the game, players must complete challenges to strengthen their cyber defenses and thwart their attackers. The Lab also features stories of real-world cyber attacks, a glossary of cyber terms, and short animated videos that explain the need for cybersecurity, privacy versus security, cryptography (cyber codes), and what exactly hackers are. MORE: Cybersecurity | NOVA Labs | PBS.
In the future, your doctor may prescribe you a videogame.
In a groundbreaking new study at the University of California, San Francisco, scientists found that older adults improved cognitive controls such as multitasking and the ability to sustain attention by playing a specially designed videogame — and that the effects can be long lasting.
The study, to be published in the scientific journal Nature on Thursday, is part of a broader effort to understand whether specially designed videogames can help treat neurological disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and even depression. There is growing evidence, researchers say, that videogames could eventually become therapies on par, or used in tandem, with ingestible medications.
See the full story: Scientists Use Videogames to Improve Older Brains | Digits | WSJ.