Presenting at ISTE Conference: First-person learning and civics

iste-2016If you’re one of the 15,000 educators heading to Denver later this month, join our session!

Our theme is “First-person Learning” with a focus on civic education games.  Co-panelists are USA Today’s Greg Toppo, author of The Game Believes in You, iCivics Executive Director Louise Dube, and teacher/researcher Matt Farber.

Wednesday, June 29, 11:45 am–12:45 pm in CCC 607.  See the official session description.

In more detail:

Description: USA Today’s Greg Toppo, author of The Game Believes in You, will discuss the application of learning games with some of the world’s foremost experts, including American University’s Benjamin Stokes, iCivics Executive Director Louise Dube’ and teacher/author Matthew Farber. Find out how games can change students’ learning perspectives and points of view.


Standards addressed: Traditional teaching describes essentially a story or a process and asks young people to understand those stories or concepts based on a tertiary explanation from a teacher or a book. Games actually immerse students inside of the lesson and put them inside of the concept they must learn. It lets them explore from within what they must master. It changes their perspective on learning, makes them collaborate. To unlock the true power of games, teachers must learn how their perspective must change as well and how they can become not just teachers but gamers and game masters.


Purpose: By immersing them in content and concepts as active participants, games are changing children’s perspective of themselves as learners. They require students to see failure as learning and to leverage game rules vs. their own goals. They force them engage in model-based thinking, value collaboration, theory crafting, and collective intelligence — and favor exploration, lateral thinking, and testing limits over routinized thinking, making effort and not luck as the basis of success. This panel will look through the lenses of four of the world’s experts on games and learning what’s working, what’s next approaches for reaching learners through games. They include: USA Today’s Greg Toppo, author of The Game Believes in You Louise Dube’, executive director of iCivics, the MACEI Award winning nonprofit games company founded by Sandra Day O’Connor to teach civics, Matthew Farber, the author of “Gamify Your Classroom and a teacher in Denville, N.J., and Benjamin Stokes, a civic media scholar, game designer at American University and the co-founder of Games for Change.


Objectives: Look at how games change how learners see themselves and change forms of interaction, collaboration, capacities and sense of self in classrooms? Show how students as “gamers” can proactively contribute to teaching, learning, curriculum and classroom building — and get teachers to think as designers Explore the massive social interest driven systems of teaching, learning, modding and interaction built around games outside of school help reform classrooms. Technology intervention: Games are possible in the classroom through PCs Tablets, mobile devices and laptops. In part, this session will discuss the tools needed. Models Employed: Most ISTE participants know of the flipped classroom. Games learning goes well beyond changing the order in which we teach. It turns the classroom into a collaborative lab in which students and teachers need to work together to solve problems that aren’t on static pages in books, but that are alive and changing as students explore and learn from the inside out.


Lesson plans or instructional activities: This panel will explore exactly how lesson plans can be built around games. What works? What doesn’t? What are good games? What are bad games?
Evidence of success: Specifically regarding iCivics, which teaches civic education through video games

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