July 16, 2008
The Games, Learning, and Society conference v. 4.0 this year in Madison Wisconsin gathered an insightful group of educators and designers who are intent on making a difference in the domain of learning and play. I ran a workshop there for Values at Play, and many of the panels during the full two days of conference-going were amazing.
Among the best of the panels was “Creating a Culture of Critical Game Designers in Elementary Classrooms and Clubs” which showcased Yasmin Kafai’s study on how particular schools and clubs were fostering criticality among students. Some teachers in the study used the programming environment Scratch to facilitate kids making creative projects, but then surveyed them (how many projects used red? etc) and did statistical analysis that could be used in the middle school math classroom. I thought the approach used by the researchers and the amazing teacher working with the researchers was a very positive direction in the integration of technology, play, and learning, and I will certainly go read their research results after the presentation.
I would recommend this conference. The organization, discourse, social events, and ambiance was conducive to great discussion.