Games and 3D Simulations: Dystopian Fears to Utopian Visions

Game Studies

Dystopia to Utopia

Please join the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Games & Simulations Network for a livestream of the closing keynote on Wednesday, August 12 at 6 p.m. Chris Luchs, CCCOnline Associate Dean and ISTE officer  will be hosting the livestream. Questions and a back channel will be over padlet on the livestream page.

Dr. Cynthia Calongne, Colorado Technical University professor, game designer and researcher will be presenting Games and 3D Simulations: Dystopian Fears to Utopian Visions.

In the Games & Simulations Network book club this summer, the discussion included virtual reality, gamification and the quantified self, games as assessment and what online learning would look like if it took place in a 3D virtual environment.

In addition to reading Ready Player One, the book club has investigated the online geolocation mobile game Ingress which was developed by the Google Geo (now Alphabet). ISTE educators,  Michael Flood and also Cynthia Clark guided participants in hangouts as participants played across the United States. Participants also played a riddle game,  the Fauxasis created by Matthew Winner with a competitive leaderboard based on game and popular culture associated with the book. Lastly participants had the opportunity to play four games associated with the Dystopian Aracade curated by Jon Spike for an English class.

Dr. Calongne’s presentation will complete the Metagame Book Club discussion on a rather optimistic note of how the future might look if we use games and 3D simulations in education.

The Metagame Book Club’s next session is in November and will have two tracks, the Psychology of Games facilitated by Sherry Jones, and Game Mechanics facilitated by Kae Novak, Trish Cloud and Chris Luchs. The ISTE Games and Simulations Network will be hosting an online Interactive Fiction Festival and Jam in Spring 2016. If you would like more information please contact Kae Novak at


Game Based Learning at edcamp Global

Game Studies, PLN

edcampbadgeAre you going to edcamp Global today and tomorrow? It is a free online “conversational event featuring discussions, demos and interactions between participants, rather than a group of people listening to a particular speaker.”

​Starting tonight at 8 pm CT (They are using US CT) there will be 24 hours of tweetchats and Google Hangouts. Here’s the schedule.

If you are interested in game based learning, gamification and Minecraft, the Games & Sims Network scanned the schedule and pulled them out.

ISTE Games & Sims Network will be doing a session at 9 am CT. Here’s the link. Please join us! Since we were already doing our book club discussion, we decided to do a hybrid of sorts. 30 minutes will be on how we’re doing our book club and integrating games in it and the other 30 minutes will be on our Ready Player One discussion this week.

Additionally one of the Games & Sims Officers, Rachelle Poth will be doing a Hangout Saturday at 11 am CT on Inspire Creativity and Transform Instruction.

We pulled out the game based learning and gamification session in case you are interested:


8 pm CT              Twitter Chat #gamification Carina Hilbert:

Using Classcraft LMS

9 pm CT              Google  Hangout Mallory Kessen:

Gamify Assessment

11 pm CT            Google Hangout Mallory Kessen:

Benefits and Challenges in Game Based Learning


6 am CT              Twitter Chat #KahootGlobal Mandy Vasek:

Kahoot! A Gamifying Experience!

8 am CT              Google Hangout Melanie Thompson:

Game On! Gamification

9 am CT              Google Hangout Marlena Heber:

Game Based Classrooms (limited to 10 participants)

9 am CT              Google Hangout Kae Novak:

Creating an Online Book Club that include Game Based Learning

10 am CT            #edcampgaming Harrison McCoy:

Using Gamification to Individualize Your Classroom

12 pm CT            Periscope Elias Donally and Hannah Donally @fronkdonally

Using Minecraft in EDU

1 pm CT              Google Hangout Edward Mertens:

Gamification of the Learning Environment

2 pm CT              Google Hangout Garrett Zimmer:

Engage with Game-based Learning in Minecraft Edu

#ShelfieWednesday and #ReadWhereYouAre



#ShelfieWednesday and #ReadWhereYouAre both happen today! It’s like a literacy doubleheader. Not familiar with these? No worries, here’s the basic information.

#ShelfieWednesday is a geeky shout out to and from teachers to tweet out a picture of what you are currently reading or anything else bookish you would like to share. Last week @amgonza shared the books she was reading over periscope  I tried it but periscope does broadcast video over a Samsung Galaxy. So if possible stick to the i products. This hashtag is associated with the #Read4Fun tweetchat group.

#ReadWhereYouAre is new. The National Writing Project, White House and the Department of Education are calling for a day of action and reading. Today (Wednesday) July 29 tweet out a picture of you, kids, reading and since we are gaming book club you might want to throw something gamey in there too!

Mobile Games, More Than Candy Crush!

Mobile Games

Not that I’m badmouthing Candy Crush, we all have different ways to unwind, decompress and de-stress. Mine is fruit ninja and yes I even like the video of fruit ninja in real life.

In April, the Games & Sims Network developed our plan for professional development for this year. One of our initiatives is to introduce, report on and design more mobile games. Our plan is to look at commercial and indie mobile games. We want to see where the learning can be aligned to the mobile game,  create games using apps and create game apps.

Prior to the conference, we started to play Ingress. Michael Flood did a Hangout with us on the basics of the game.

We went to ISTE conference and found that this type of massive online multiplayer game made walking the streets feel like we had our own special tour guide as we found portals for landmarks. Michael even came to our LAN (Games) Party to introduce Ingress to more educators.

We continued with Ingress in our book club pairing it with Ready Player One. Cynthia Clark joined us this week for another Ingress Hangout where we had lots of questions. Thankfully she had answers.

We’re not saying Ingress is a perfect mobile game for education, but we think it a great way to introduce to pervasive games (a game that takes place in the physical world concurrently with other activities of everyday life) and ARGs which are alternative reality games (interactive narratives that uses both online and the physical world as transmedia storytelling).

Starting in September, we’ll be introducing our monthly review of mobile games. We’ll also be polling the membership to see what games you are using and what you would like reviewed. If you’d like to be one of our cool hunters, let us know. You can respond here or email me at


#Metagame Book Club Highlights

Game Studies

The #Metagame Book Club wrapped up last week in time for the new school year. It was hectic! We had just finished with the ISTE Conference in Atlanta which had us meeting everyone we possibly could in the Games & Sims Network and putting together the ISTE Conference Recap.  I wish I had been blogging all along but instead I’ll do highlights!


Track 1: Game Studies with Sherry Jones
This was four weeks of a graduate level seminar in game studies. We did a close reading of chosen classics in game studies. So that meant… if name-dropping is allowed – Huizinga, Callois, Zimmerman, Juul and Jenkins. What I really took away from these four weeks are a academically rigorous understanding of what is play and what is a game. I also emphatically agree with Sherry’s urging that teachers have their students study games as well as make them.

Track 2: For the Win
This discussion went everywhere. Vasili did a great job on what you would expect – narrative, plot and characters but allowed the discussion to grow. We talked geography, politics, ethics and labor relations. I threaten to map one of the characters, Leonard activities to the ISTE Standards (which I may still do.)

Track 2: For the Win – Virtual Economics
There was only suppose to be two tracks, but inevitably we expanded it into an unofficial third track which was virtual economics. Chris created a weekly short intro video like this and we had the second half of the Google Hangout on Saturday. By the way, we have over seventeen hours of indexed videos on Summer #Metagame Book Playlist.

Next Time
We had 87 people do more than register, they also joined our Google + Community. We hope to have even more next time!

Great Feedback on Kristina’s Leaderboard. We don’t have a lot of responses yet, but in feedback we have they asked for more challenges!

The suggestions are coming in….for the young adult book so far the suggestions have been Ready Player One! and also the World of Warcraft books by Christy Holden.

And if you’d like to take a look at any of the material, here are the links.

Book Club Site

Book Club Google + Community

Hangout Recordings Playlist