The Ultimate Take Your Child to Work Day!
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the ED Games Expo at the Kennedy Center this week. The Expo was a showcase of around 100 game developers and companies covering the major K12 learning subject areas like math, reading, science, and social studies; and iCivics was in attendance showcasing some of our latest upgraded games. In addition to developers, companies, investors, and foundations, there were around 600 K12 students in attendance throughout the day visiting tables, attending panel discussions, and asking game designers questions about educational game development. What a treat!?
I brought my very excited, very opinionated, and very analytical third grader to assist me at the iCivics booth. Most importantly, I wanted her to have the opportunity to talk to game designers, play games, and experience the edu-gaming industry up close. Like many children, she plays her share of Minecraft and downloads mobile apps without thinking about what’s happening on the backend of the console or mobile game. Though we did not get to attend any panels, or visit as many tables as we would have liked, according to her, the time was well spent. Here are a few highlights...
We stopped by the Killer Snails booth and splashed into an underwater virtual world identifying the various aquatic life in the food chain (you can find the Assassins of the Sea card game here). After which, she beat me in a game of Biome Builder, a card game by Killer Snails, LLC that teaches kids how ecosystems work through building food chains and reacting to natural and human made disasters. At the Wealthy Life table we met CEO and Founder, Angel Rich, a black female founder vocal about diversity and inclusion in the startup world. The Wealthy Life Credit Stacker app is a game changer in financial literacy, teaching players about credit score as they play (iTunes/Google Play). The Schell Games table was definitely one of her favorites. She spent the bulk of her time with the Happy Atoms manipulatives, building molecules and capturing them with the app. She also visited the virtual chemistry lab- SuperChem VR - where she mixed volatile chemicals in a safe, virtual environment. We stopped by the BrainQuake table to learn about increasing math problem-solving skills through games and puzzles. Their popular Wuzzit Trouble game is available on Brainpop. We also checked out the PBS Play and Learn Science Games, Future Engineers, Reach for the Sun, and 1st Playable Productions’ Playscope- a learning device which enhances microscopes through the use of smartphones allowing students to interact with microbes.
A huge takeaway for me from this event was that games are and will continue to be relevant and engaging mediums for learning concepts and content. Industry leaders are doing a great job at providing new and innovative methods of learning. But most importantly, we need more kids at gaming and tech showcases to show them how technology can enhance learning and daily life, and to inspire them to build innovative tools for the next generation. This event changed my daughter’s life, since Monday, she’s been talking about apps and games that she’d like to develop. About the ED Games Expo she says, “I had a fun time, a very interesting experience, there were lots of things to do to keep me occupied. I think education technology will make a kid stay focused. With a game they won’t even know it’s educational and they’ll enjoy it more and keep asking to use it to learn.”
Special thanks to Ed Metz, Ph. D. for bringing this together!
Catch up on all the action on social media: #EdGamesExpo
Read the Recaps:
What We Learn from the Edtech Games the Government Plays - Edsurge
Schell Games Recap
Read more about our adventures with edtech:
Technology: It’s a Whole New World
White House Games for Learning Summit
Edtech Devs… Listen to Your Users
A Conversation About Anonymity
Celebrate Digital Citizenship
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working in edtech. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.