2010 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.

Monday, August 16th

8:30am – Breakfast Reception & Registration

9:00am – Welcome & Opening Remarks

Kathryn Gerbino, Assistant District Superintendent for Instruction, Capital Region BOCES

9:15am – Keynote Presentation

Auditorium: “The Game Plan”
Peggy Sheehy, Instructional Technology Facilitator and Media Specialist, Suffern Middle School, and Founder, MetaVersEd Consulting Ltd
Education can’t afford to stand still but must continue to evolve and adapt to the needs of its learners. What games can help us to create is a rich, dynamic and challenging learning environment, tapping into a resource that has cultural resonance for our students. Peggy Sheehy will discuss why games engage us, how we can harness that engagement for learning and provide examples of this solid pedagogical approach happening right now in schools all over the world.

10:00am – Presentations

Auditorium: “Winning at Losing: Adopting loss mechanics from video games for classroom use”
Seann Dikkers, Ph.D. Candidate, UW – Madison School of Education, Curriculum and Instruction
The gaming industry has tirelessly worked over the last thirty years to master techniques not only teaching players to play but helping them to overcome the inevitable losses they will experience in a way that motivate them to play more and more. The ubiquity of gaming today indicates that they are doing some things well. Not only is this a fun trip looking at video game mechanics, but we’ll ask what can we learn from this and how might it change lesson planning and unit design.

Pong Room: “Games and STEM Opportunities”
Carla Fisher, Children’s Technology Developer & Doctoral Candidate, Teachers College, Columbia University
An overview of how games can help support STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum goals across a variety of ages. The talk will center around findings from a series of interviews with STEM educators and content producers from around the country as well as findings from the Museum of the Moving Image Future Lab afterschool program, which sought to teach middle school and high school girls animation and video game programming.

Mario Room: “PBS Games for Young Learners” (1 Hour Workshop)
Barbara Lukas, Family Learning Coordinator, WMHT
This hands-on session will introduce free, educational multimedia resources for teachers and students available from WMHT and PBS, with a special focus on early childhood learners. (PreK – Grade 2).

11:00am – Panel and Presentations

Auditorium: “Successes and Challenges of Using Games in the Classroom”
Moderator: Katherine Jetter, Director of Education, WMHT

Pong Room: “Games Education and the Labor Economy”
Robert Vitello, Deputy Commissioner for Planning and Technology (Chief Information Officer), New York State Labor Department
There is a great deal of talk by advocates of games in education about what the industry should do to improve educational games. The New York State Labor Department, motivated by a need to reach youths with its career exploration strategies, feels that it’s time to put talk into action, and demonstrate what should be done. Working on the design of an Open Education Game Grid (OPEgg), Robert Vitello has set about to demonstrate how, through a collaboration of government, educators, and industry, readily available Open Source technologies–sprinkled with Agile Development, collaborative methods–can be used to build innovative and effective games that can be used to augment classroom instruction. Looking at a game as a collection of puzzles, the OPEgg invites the creation of game components that register with in-class curricula. Characterized as Public Broadcasting for Games, this session takes a peak at a gaming story line, describes the strategies for involving stakeholders in the development of relevant games, and seeks comment on whether this direction serves educators.

Mario Room: “Club Penguin from a Penguin’s Perspective: Examining virtual worlds through the eyes of the residents”
Facilitated by Catherine Parsons, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, & Pupil Personnel Services Pine Plains Central School District
Four resident penguins of the virtual world “Club Penguin” will take educators on a journey through the netherverse as they see it. This session presented by students facilitated by an educator will include a virtual tour of the environment and an exploration of the social, learning, and engagement aspects of the space as they see it. There will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions and get answers from users (the active researchers) of virtual worlds and video games.

12:00pm – Lunch


1:00pm – Presentations & Workshops

Auditorium: “Games – Freedoms and Creation”
Josh Sheldon, Project Manager, MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program
Play is crucial to development, and the four freedoms of play, as posited by Scot Osterweil, are evident in the design of games from the Education Arcade and the Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP) lab, sister programs at MIT. In this presentation, we’ll look at some of the arguments for play, briefly at some examples of games that promote play, and then focus in more depth on Augmented Reality games, a genre pioneered by STEP and students (and other learners) in the role of game creator.

Pong Room: “Social Robotics: A Workshop to Increase Awareness and Excitement about Technology for Children/Teacher Edition” (3 Hour Workshop)
Jen Goodall, Service Assistant Professor, Department of Informatics Assistant Dean for U Albany
Nick Webb, Senior Scientist, Institute for Informatics, Logic and Security Studies (ILS) at U Albany

We are developing a workshop on social robotics to get kids interested in technology and need input from teachers on what would work with their students. We will run the workshop as we would with students, but ask for input, suggestions, and feedback throughout the process. The workshop will be revised based on teacher feedback. We will then be available during the 2010-11 year to run the workshop on site for your students or on the University at Albany campus. This workshop presents basic computer science concepts by focusing both on the core fundamentals of robotics and the role of social interaction in future robot platforms. This workshop engages students with interesting tasks that explore the capabilities and ideas behind robotic platforms. We try to meet students `where they are’, allowing them to explore robotic concepts in terms of exercises based around every day real life scenarios. Prior tasks explored in early versions of this workshop included home aides to help with brushing their hair, and robots designed to assist in buying ice cream and fetching it from the freezer.

Mario Room: “Platinum Arts Sandbox 3D Game Maker Hands on Workshop” (3 Hour 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 this workshop will be to demonstrate the power and ease of the in game editing tools of the free open source software Platinum Arts Sandbox Free 3D Game Maker. In addition the features of Sandbox will be discussed along with experiences of its great success already with students locally and worldwide. 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!

PacMan Room: “A World of Gaming and Learning In My Hand” (3 Hour Workshop)
Lucas Gillispie, Instructional Technology Coordinator, Pender County Schools, North Carolina, and Author of the Edurealms.com Blog
In this hands-on workshop, Lucas Gillispie, Instructional Technology Coordinator for Pender County Schools in North Carolina, will share examples of some of the games that he and partner teacher, Craig Lawson, have implemented in the middle school language arts classroom. Explore the use of The SIMS, Civilization Revolution, and other apps, as a way of engaging and inspiring learning in language arts and creative writing. Participants will have access to sample curriculum-aligned lessons, and will gain a greater understanding of how mobile computing and games will take instruction to a new level. (This session is limited to 20 participants)

2:00pm – Presentations

Auditorium: “Video Games as Learning Tools: an overview of curriculum, research, methods and outcomes”
Brock Dubbels, Teacher and Teacher Educator, The Center for Cognitive Sciences, the University of Minnesota; and Founder, vgAlt
Overview of research regarding play, games, and specific methods and the outcomes I have produced using them. Of interest will be a recent study using video games for STEM education. This talk will cover my work over the last six years, and will include an overview and examples of the nine ways that I have used games in professional development, research, and academic outcomes.

3:00pm – Presentations

Auditorium: “Game Design and ‘Issues Literacy'”
Colleen Macklin, Digital Artist, Interaction Designer and Chair, Communication Design and Technology, Parsons
How can actively designing games lead to a greater level of issues literacy? By Issues literacy, I mean developing an empathy and awareness of societal concerns and an understanding of the systemic nature of society and its problems and, in turn, potential solutions. Games are the medium of systems, and many of the complicated issues facing society today are systemic – from the federal deficit to racism, poverty to climate change. In this talk we will explore through examples from PETlab’s work with the Boys & Girls Clubs and AMD Activate! the different literacies involved in playing and making games and the potential game design has for learning and civic engagement.

Tuesday, August 17th


9:00am – Presentations

Auditorium: “Apps in Education – How Kids Use and Learn from Mobile Apps”
Jennifer Wells, Senior Manager of Product Development for PBS Interactive Ventures
Over the past year PBS has been creating iPhone/iPod Touch games based on our educational TV shows. This presentation showcases some of the lessons we learned as we developed the apps and did educational efficacy testing.
Pong Room: “Designing Core Mechanics for Learning Games”
Jan Plass, Professor, Educational Communication and Technology, Steinhardt School at NYU and Co-Director, Games for Learning Institute
In order to take advantage of the promise of games to become highly effective learning environments, we have to consider how core mechanics have to be designed to be effective for learning. In this presentation I will argue that traditional mechanics designed for entertainment play are often less suited for learning and will present design criteria for core mechanics for games for learning. The application of these criteria will be discussed using games designed for the School of One, an innovative NYC school reform initiative.

Mario Room: “World of Warcraft and Learning With Teens”
Lucas Gillispie, Instructional Technology Coordinator, Pender County Schools, North Carolina, and Author of the Edurealms.com Blog
Many students today are engaged in what some have called a parallel curriculum. This learning isn’t taking place in desks or even in schools, but rather in virtual spaces called Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplay Games or MMORPG’s. These game-based worlds force players to tackle a variety of cognitive challenges that scale proportionately as their skill level and proficiency increases. These persistent game worlds are also intensely social spaces, forcing players to work cooperatively in a variety of roles to advance in the game, fostering communication and even leadership skills. These are the very “21st-Century Skills” that schools advocate but are often failing to produce. What might it look like, though, if these games were brought into the classroom? How does this look, logistically? Are there solid curricular connections? In this session, Lucas Gillispie, Instructional Technology Coordinator for Pender County Schools in North Carolina, will share what he and Peggy Sheehy have learned by implementing just such a project.
PacMan Room: “Activate!: Hands-on issues-based game design” (2 Hour Workshop)
Colleen Macklin, Digital Artist, Interaction Designer and Chair, Communication Design and Technology, Parsons
In this very hands on design workshop we will explore new online curriculum for 13-15 year olds, Activate!, to design video games focused on ecological issues. From ideation to iteration to playtest, participants will engage in the design process from start to finish, with some fun detours illustrating design and programming principles along the way. The games we make will be developed in Game Maker, but the lessons learned are transferable to a broad array of tools.

10:00am – Presentations & Workshop

Auditorium: “Games, Learning, and Social Interactions”
Meagan Rothschild, PhD Student at University of Wisconsin at Madison and Educational Multimedia Consultant
Learning is social. Games can be engaging. Put together, amazing things can happen. This session goes over the results of a research study for a game that will be released later this month, covering the key findings, how this is interesting in the context of learning sciences and applied design, and what we can learn from this experience to improve the learning environments in classrooms. It sounds heady, but it’s actually amazingly practical.

Pong Room: “MISSION US: Understanding History through Interactive Gaming” (2 hour workshop)
Robin Cannito, Assosciate Outreach Producer, THIRTEEN
This fall, New York City public television station THIRTEEN is launching a groundbreaking new multimedia project designed to engage upper elementary and middle school students in American History content: MISSION US. Developed over the past three years by a team of educators, historians, public television representatives, and professional video game designers, MISSION US is part of a new public television initiative sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The centerpiece of MISSION US is a series of standards-based, quest-themed video games. Through dynamic, innovative, and engaging gameplay, students “choose their own adventures” as they navigate historic settings, develop relationships with key figures, investigate primary source documents, witness pivotal events, and ultimately decide their fate in the face of history. Get a sneak preview of the first game in the series, “For Crown or Colony”, and learn about the wide variety of accompanying educational resources in this dynamic, hands-on workshop.

Mario Room: “9 ways to integrate games for academic acceleration” (2 Hour Workshop)
Brock Dubbels, Teacher and Teacher Educator, The Center for Cognitive Sciences, the University of Minnesota; and Founder, vgAlt
This workshop will cover with example and explanation of the nine ways that video games can be used in a classroom or professional work environment to create and accelerate outcomes in productivity.

11:00am – Panel Presentation

Auditorium: “Successes and Challenges of Using Games in the Classroom”
Moderator: Katherine Jetter, Director of Education, WMHT

12:00pm – Lunch


1:00pm – Presentations & Workshops

Auditorium: “Conspiracy Code: Eddie and Libby Teach Social Studies & Other Lessons Learned in Developing and Implementing Game-based Courses”
Erik Sand, VP of Sales and Business Development, 360Ed, Inc.
360Ed, a studio based in Orlando, has partnered with Florida Virtual School to fulfill a vision of providing engaging game-based and rich media content for education. This partnership has yielded Conspiracy Code, a series of action-adventure games that are complete, one-credit high school social studies courses designed to be both engaging and yet meet rigorous educational standards. The current installments in this series are American History and Intensive Reading courses. Each have been in pilot with several hundred students for the past year in Florida and select clients around the country. Erik?s presentation will focus on the experiences and lessons learned in designing, developing, and deploying Conspiracy Code to virtual school and lab environments in Florida and with key clients across the US. He will share key design points and development challenges as well the key feedback from students, teachers, and administrators that will shape the future direction of the Conspiracy Code franchise and other products 360Ed is developing.

Pong Room: “Let’s Play! – Incorporating Interactive Whiteboard Games in the Classroom”
Scott Cummings, Assistant Director, PBS KIDS Interactive
The purpose of this session is to give attendees an understanding of the application of games on the interactive whiteboard and the opportunities this technology offers to drive student engagement with curriculum. Participants will explore the use of educational games and rich media on interactive whiteboards through an examination of game research and production by educational media experts at pbskids.org and use cases from teachers leveraging these tools in the classroom. The session will conclude with an open discussion on using games on this platform in the classroom. Through this presentation we hope to inspire participants to think creatively about how to incorporate games on the interactive whiteboard into their lesson plans and how to create engaging content for classroom use.

Mario Room: “WoW in Schools” (3 Hour Workshop)
Peggy Sheehy, Instructional Technology Facilitator and Media Specialist, Suffern Middle School, and Founder, MetaVersEd Consulting Ltd.
You mean there’s educational value in World of Warcraft? Absolutely! In this hands-on session, we will jump into the land of Azeroth and see for ourselves how this rich immersive MMORPG can support learning. We will discuss our experiences playing World of Warcraft (WoW) with students and other educators. Peggy will also share information about her latest project in collaboration with Lucas Gillispie, WoW in School, a program in which they target at-risk students in an after-school collaborative 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 the education guild, Cognitive Dissonance, live in World of Warcraft. Participants will be invited to join the Cognitive Dissonance Guild – the fastest-growing guild of educators in World of Warcraft.

PacMan Room: “Possible Worlds: Casual science games for classroom learning”
Jim Diamond, Research Associate at the Education Development Center/Center for Children and Technology
Possible Worlds is a five-year research-and-development project of EDC’s Center for Children and Technology (CCT), funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Our goal is to develop and test four educational game modules that use handheld game systems to support science and literacy learning for middle-school students. Our research has been focused on gaining insight into how teachers and students make use of digital games and related instructional materials in their classrooms. In this session, participants will play the first game we’ve developed for the Nintendo DS, which focuses on photosynthesis and changes in states of matter. We’ll play the game, look at the accompanying classroom materials currently under development, and do some collective brainstorming around how educators might incorporate them into their current teaching practices.

2:00pm – Presentation

Auditorium: “New Media Applications that every teacher should at least look at for 1 minute.”
Seann Dikkers, Ph.D. Candidate, UW – Madison School of Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Technology moves fast, real fast. Even in the last year thousands of new applications have hit the market that is becoming nigh impossible to stay on top of. This session only begins to summarize the last few years. But ooh, what wonderful years they have been for teachers. Thanks to network applications, the ‘cloud’, open sourcing, demo marketing, and serious games, teachers, and their students, can take advantage of the digital age in whole new exciting ways.

In an hour, we are going to blast through over 60 applications teachers across the country are using in for organization, production, multi-channeling, information, collaboration, and to reinvent their classrooms. You will leave with at least a couple leads on technology that you can use tomorrow – or better yet, this coming school year. Technology moves fast, buckle in, because we’re going to move faster.

Pong Room: “Ubiquitous Games for Science Learning” (2 hour workshop)
Josh Sheldon, Project Manager, MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program
Ubiquitous Games are play-anywhere, anytime tools for engaging students with science learning. These games are designed to be playable on a handheld device, are not graphics intense, and are playable on a small screen. However, because they are web-based, Ubiq Games can be played on any computer with a web browser. The first two examples of the Ubiquitous Games genre, developed by the Scheller Teacher Education Program at MIT, are Beetle Breeders, a game to help players learn Mendelian genetics, and Weatherlings, a game that builds weather prediction skills. In this workshop, participants will have the chance to experience both games, and discuss how they might be incorporated into a broader classroom unit.

PacMan Room: “Art/Science Collaboration and Creativity”
Samuel Bowser, Senior Research Scientist, New York State Department of Health
Maureen Pagano, Executive Director of The Capital Region Center Institute for the Arts in Education

A presentation and discussion that will explore how collaborations between artists and scientists can nurture creativity, innovation, along with scientific skills and discovery.

3:00pm – Presentations

Auditorium: “Cyber bullying: What you want to know”
Kelly Schermerhorn, Model Schools Coordinator, Questar III
This one hour presentation given by Kelly Schermerhorn, Model Schools Coordinator for Questar III will give you an overview of what it is, where you find it and the technologies used. Also discussed will be some recent cases and statistics on this under-discussed topic.

PacMan Room: “Recognition and Scholarships for Teen Video game Designers”
Alex Tapnio, Senior Manager, National Programs, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers
The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers presents The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a recognition program for creative students in grades 7 – 12. In this session, teachers will learn how to use The Scholastic Awards program to educate and motivate teen artists. Students can submit their original video game designs for review by game professionals for awards and scholarship consideration. This year, the Alliance will present scholarships for teen video game designers, including the AMD Game Changer Award–$1,000 scholarships to college and $2,500 scholarships for video game summer arts camps. Graduating seniors who earn national awards for their video games can leverage partial to full-ride scholarships to attend prestigious art colleges and universities. See examples of national award-winning teen video games, and learn how video game designers in your classroom can participate in The Awards.