2009 Schedule

The Symposium features speakers that are leaders nationwide in the area of using video games to enhance educational goals. They represent experience with award winning games that are household names, as well as real experience in application to the classroom.

Wednesday, August 5th

8:30am – Breakfast Reception & Registration

9:00am – Welcome & Opening Remarks

Dr. Margaret Geehan, Dean of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Hudson Valley Community College
Gladys Cruz, PhD, Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement, Questar III

9:15am – Keynote Presentation

Auditorium: “How to Get to Sesame Street, Online”
Makeda Mays Green, Director of Education & Research, Digital Media, Sesame Street Workshop
After two years of research and development, Sesame Workshop launched a brand new website with innovative features, including a live muppet host, Sesame Street playlists and interactive video games. Makeda Mays Green will discuss the formative research that led to the redesign of Sesamestreet.org and showcase some of the site’s newest games.

In addition to Sesame Street, she will introduce content from The Electric Company and share how literacy-based games are being used to enhance learning online as well as via the iPod Touch.

10:00am – Panel Presentations

Auditorium: “From Arthur to Zoom: The A to Zs of Reaching Kids in the Digital Age”
Bill Shribman, Executive Producer, Kids Projects, WGBH
Silvia Lovato, Director, PBS Kids Go! Interactive

Silvia and Bill work together from within two very different organizations (PBS in Crystal City, VA and WGBH in Boston, MA). Between them, they and their teams create some of the highest trafficked content for kids to be found. Their sites bring in well over 10 million visits per month. In this experimental tag team event, they’ll present different aspects of their work. Covering ground from literacy to engineering, from user generated content to mobile, they’ll take you on a virtual studio of PBS KIDS.
Room 1: “Immersive VLE’s and the Use of Simulation as a Platform for Understanding 3D Reality”
Mark Petersen, Instructional Designer, Center for Distance and Online Learning, HVCC
Lorraine Emerick, PhD Candidate in Instructional Technology, SUNY Albany

In this presentation, Mark and Lorraine will discuss how systematically planned simulation activities in immersive VLE’s (Virtual Learning Environments) such as Second Life can help students overcome the conceptual limitations of studying inherently 3-dimensional subjects, like architecture, through the medium of 2-dimensional learning materials. Although they will use the example of architectural history to illustrate what they uphold as the potential advantages of using immersive VLE’s as learning environments for students who are learning this subject, the presenters will also point out how those environments can provide equal instructional benefits and advantages for any subject (physics, chemistry, civil engineering, etc.) in which students are required to think conceptually in 3-dimensional terms and/or work with 3D simulations or models.

11:00am – Panel Presentation

Auditorium: “Relating Social Issues & Historical Events through Games”
Andrea Lauer Rice, CEO & Founder, Lauer Learning
Rik Panganiban, Assistant Director, Online Leadership Program, Global Kids

Lauer Learning creates innovative multimedia products to teach kids about language, culture and history. Global Kids’ programs address the urgent need for young people to possess leadership skills and an understanding of complex global issues to succeed in the 21 st century workplace and participate in the democratic process. Together, Andrea and Rik will explore the potential to convey serious historical, social and political issues and events in a meaningful way through games and related media.

12:00pm – Lunch & Round Table Discussions

1:00pm – Presentations & Workshops

Auditorium: “Welcome to Ramapo: Second Life in School”
Peggy Sheehy, Instructional Technology Facilitator and Media Specialist, Suffern Middle School, and Founder, MetaversEd Consulting Ltd.
This presentation will outline the history of the Ramapo Islands Middle School project on Teen Second Life from inception to current incarnation. Peggy Sheehy will describe the value and methodology of using virtual worlds for instruction, enhancement and creative exploration as well as for professional development. She will address the obstacles, as well as the triumphs in pioneering this new domain for learning.
Room 1: “New Models for Learning Games”
Scot Osterweil, Creative Director, Education Arcade
Too many developers of educational games try to shoehorn gaming into existing classroom practices. There are new models emerging, which “let games be games” without disrupting the culture of school, or overwhelming teachers with technologies that are difficult to adopt. New work from the MIT Education Arcade in language learning, science, math and statistics will be presented as examples.
Computer Lab 1: “PBS Kids Hands On Workshop – Early Learning”
Katherine Jetter, Director of Education, WMHT
This workshop will introduce the wide-range of free, educational multimedia resources for teachers and students available from WMHT and PBS, with a special focus on early childhood learners. (PreK – Grade 2)

2:00pm – Presentations

Auditorium: “Boys, Books and Beyond: How Gaming Practices Enhance 21st Century Literacies”
Beth King, Doctoral Candidate, Curriculum & Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison
It’s no secret that boys have become increasingly disinterested and disaffiliated with school–especially concerning literacy related coursework. It’s also no secret that most boys play video games. With a growing a body of research documenting the productive literacy practices available around these digital play spaces, what’s the disconnect? This session will begin with a brief summary of the persistent literacy crisis among boys, followed by an overview of the types of traditional and non-traditional literacies many boys are engaged in outside of school in their digital play spaces. Discussion will focus on practices that may incubate “productive literacies” going beyond reading and writing to also feature 21st century workplace literacies in general. Concluding comments will center on methods of encouraging bridges between formal, school-based and informal, games-based learning experiences.
Room 1: “Machina… What? Gamer Videos Go to School”
Marianne Malmstrom, Technology Instructor, The Elisabeth Morrow School
Gamers have been making videos of their digital adventures long before the word “machinima” was coined in 2000. Could it be that using video and 3D virtual worlds in the classroom holds real potential for learning 21st century skills? Learn how The Elisabeth Morrow School is exploring the use of machinima as a tool for building media literacy as well as proficiencies in communication, collaboration, creativity, and problem solving. See examples of how 21st century learning is addressed.

3:00pm – Presentations

Auditorium: “Fostering Young Children’s Peer Relationships Through Video Games”
Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, Children’s Technology Developer & Doctoral Candidate, Teachers College, Columbia University
In this talk, Carla examines the relationship between video games and peer interactions in childhood, making a case for the use of cooperative and physically active video games as a type of social intervention for children who are exhibiting aggressive or socially-isolated behaviors.
Room 1: “Learning with the Lich King: The Potential of World of Warcraft in the Classroom”
Lucas Gillispie, Instructional Technology Coordinator, Pender County Schools, NC
“You mean there’s potential educational value in World of Warcraft?” Absolutely! In this session, Lucas Gillispie will discuss some of his experiences playing MMORPGs like World of Warcraft (WoW) with his students and other educators over the past eight years. Come hear as he shares his experiences, both good and bad, gaming online with students. Lucas will also share information about his latest project, WoWinSchool, a program that targets at-risk students in an after-school program designed to build community, leadership, and students’ confidence in a variety of curricular areas using WoW. This session will close with an opportunity for the audience to speak with members of his guild, both students and teachers, live in World of Warcraft.

Thursday, August 6th

9:00am – Presentation

Auditorium: “The Jekyll and Hyde Effect: Play, Games, and Learning in the Classroom/ Professional Identities Torn Asunder?”
Brock R. Dubbels, Educator, Minneapolis Public Schools, and Research Associate, Center for Cognitive Sciences, University of Minnesota
New models of comprehension and memory validate the value of active and playful learning for cognitive enhancement and generative transfer. Data on academic performance and engagement measures from five years of games, play, and virtual space learning in K-20 classrooms will be presented in the context of assessment measures using a model for assessing cognitive growth. This is contrasted with educator beliefs, the efficacy of play, and the limitations of models of teacher professionalism creating a Jekyll and Hyde Effect. Though interviews, artifacts, and surveys, K-20 educators have expressed a willingness to embrace games, but have been reluctant to do so publicly for fear of professional reputation, as well as the ability to implement such pedagogical change.

In this presentation, on overview of research, methodology, outcomes, and descriptions of implementation will be presented on how video games and virtual worlds were used to raise standardized reading scores. This evidence, methodology, and experience is presented with outcomes of surveys, interviews, and discourse analysis of teacher artifacts, and presents the institutional experiences of educators balancing the tension of using games and play, and the fear of being stigmatized as unprofessional at their teaching sites. The result begins to create a picture of creating two different sets of books, and two different teaching identities — Jeckyll and Hyde.

Jekyll — standards, benchmarks, traditional curriculum to not be singled out — proper, professional, dignified
Hyde — I know what works for my kids, modification of genre chains– INTASC, Standards of Effective Instruction, Personal Development Plans, learning walks, oversight accountability, parent letters, and report cards–and offering coursework that is engaging and developmentally appropriate, and fits the teachers MOJO.

11:00am – Panel Presentation & Workshops

Auditorium: “ROBOTS: They’re Not Just for Taking over the World, but for Education, too!”
Nick Webb, Senior Scientist, Institute for Informatics, Logic and Security Studies (ILS) at the University at Albany
Ilene Frank, Director of Public Programs & Education, Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium

This session will introduce participants to the Social Robotics Consortium of the Capital Region and its work with incorporating social robots into curriculum. Nick Webb from UAlbany will present on robots as educational model, roles for social robots in the future, robots currently used for education and will have examples of robots used at UAlbany. Ilene Frank, Schenectady Museum, will present on the Museum’s role in connecting college research to K-12 audiences and how informal science education vehicles, like our Robo-Thon, hook youth into learning.
Computer lab 1: “PBS Kids Hands on Workshop – Early Learning”
Katherine Jetter, Director of Education, WMHT
This workshop will introduce the wide-range of free, educational multimedia resources for teachers and students available from WMHT and PBS, with a special focus on early childhood learners. (PreK – Grade 2)
Computer lab 2: “Platinum Arts Sandbox 3D Game Maker Hands on Workshop”
Michael Tomaino, Creator, Platinum Arts Sandbox 3D Game Maker
Interested in helping your students create their own 3D games, worlds and stories, even cooperatively? The focus of the workshop will be to demonstrate the power and ease of the in game editing tools of the free open source software Platinum Arts Sandbox. In addition the features of Sandbox will be discussed along with experiences of its great success already with students. Children as young as five have already been enjoying the experience, come and learn how Sandbox can help your students bring their imaginations to life!

12:00pm – Lunch & Round Table Discussions

1:00pm – Presentation & Workshops

Auditorium: “Using Strategy Games to Own History: A Pedagogical and Practical Reflection on Using Games in the Classroom for Ten Years”
Seann Dikkers, Doctoral Student, Curriculum & Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison
This session takes a look at the “do’s” and the “do not’s” when using digital strategy games to give students access and experience in the vocabulary, themes, and discourse of historical and geographical thinking. We spend time reviewing this teacher’s journey from experimentation, to integration and research in this area, and his current work in the development and production of digital simulations for the classroom. Attendees will take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of various pedagogical options, get tips from a teacher that has “been there”, and walk away with materials for using games in and out of the classroom. When done right, students don’t just learn about history, they experience it in a way that helps them to own it for themselves.
Computer lab 1: “Getting your Virtual Feet Wet in Second Life and World of Warcraft (WoW)”
***3 Hour Workshop, Pre-registration Required

Peggy Sheehy, Instructional Technology Facilitator and Media Specialist, Suffern Middle School, and Founder, MetaVersEd Consulting Ltd.
Marianne Malmstrom, Technology Instructor, The Elisabeth Morrow School
Lucas Gillispie, Instructional Technology Coordinator, Pender County Schoold, NC

Start your journey into virtual worlds! Get a Second Life! Take your first steps as a virtual filmmaker! Run a beginner’s raid in World of Warcraft! This hands-on workshop is a beginner’s mash-up of virtual world technology holding promise for educators. Come prepared with newly created accounts in Second Life (from the ISTE PORTAL ONLY); https://secure-web14.secondlife.com/join/ISTE (free), Jing; http://www.jingproject.com/features (free), and World of Warcraft; https://signup.worldofwarcraft.com/trial/index.html (10 Day free trial). Peggy, Marianne and Lucas will walk you through your first virtual steps and show you some of the basics to getting started.
Computer lab 2: “Web Technologies in Support of Teaching and Learning –> 3 HOUR workshops”
Matthew Jager & Lenore Hororwitz, PhD Candidates, College of Computing and Infomation at the University at Albany
Educators at every level are teaching increasingly web-savvy students. Even in classes where web technologies are not a part of the curriculum, students are bringing an understanding of what’s possible on the web to their studies in any subject area. Teachers also ought to understand how the subjects that they teach have been affected by the technologies of the Information Age, generally, and how they can use these technologies to support teaching and learning in their own classes, specifically. This workshop will introduce the attendees to web technologies—including HTML, the language of the web; webpages in general; blogs; wikis; forums; and social networking services (SNSs). Attendees will then have an opportunity to develop a webpage, designed to support teaching and learning in their own classes. Schedule:

1st session (30m): Introduction to Web Technologies (Lecturer: Matthew Jager)
2nd session (60m): Introduction to HTML Basics (Lecturer: Lenore Horowitz)
3rd session (60m): Developing a Webpage (Lecturer: Matthew Jager and Lenore Horowitz)

2:00pm – Presentation

Auditorium: “Serious Gaming for Science: High School, Higher Education, and Beyond”
Victoria Van Voorhis, CEO, Second Avenue Software
Susan P. Byrd, Business Development Consultant, Second Avenue Software

This talk will address the ways in which serious games can be used to engage students and encourage them to challenge themselves to master complex material at the high school and college levels. Presentation will include demonstrations of materials featuring different styles of serious games as well as a discussion of the marriage of instructional design and game design.

3:00pm – Presentation, Game Expo & Networking Opportunities

Auditorium: “Hitting Reset: Changing Attitudes about Video Games and Education”
David Wolf, Coordinator of Curriculum and Instructional Design for Advanced Learning, Empire State College
Stacia Snow, Lead Social Studies Teacher, Tech Valley High School

Games have often been touted as the Panacea of education. Presently the US schools faces poor science and math performance, as well as literacy performance and the use of games offers several attractive features for engaging students. However, it also has a $10 billion dollar industry promoting its use. This presentation will investigate the use and misuse of games as nonstandard learning objects in education. Given their growing market and its demographics, games may offer not only a means of attracting children to learning exercise, but are also an effective way to target older learners.