Games for Learning Summit recap (part 1): Accomplishments and progress

The Games for Learning Summit was hosted on June 23-24, 2016 at the New School’s Parsons School of Design, as part of the 13th annual Games for Change Festival. The Summit was sponsored by the Entertainment Software Association, with additional support from Microsoft. This three-part blog post summarizes the outcomes of the event through an overview of recent progress made by the learning games community (part 1), key takeaways from the Summit (part 2), and areas of opportunity for developers, educators and other stakeholders (part 3).

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The Summit built on the first Games for Learning Summit hosted by G4C in 2015, and included speakers from the White House Office of Science, Technology and Policy (OSTP), U.S. Department of Education, Google, Magic Leap, Valve, Unity, IBM, National Endowment for the Humanities, and many more. Panels, talks and workshops covered topics like sustainable business models, the possibilities of VR in the classroom, future of game-based assessments, the Computer Science for All movement, and strategies for developing games for early learners. (Watch videos of the Summit sessions here.)

The tone of the Games for Learning Summit was overwhelmingly collaborative and optimistic. Evidence of attendee enthusiasm was everywhere, from the cross-disciplinary groups feverishly building games in Classcraft’s Gamifying the Classroom workshop to Rhode Island’s Chief Innovation Officer Richard Culatta mentioning that he received more than 300 emails after the 2015 Games for Learning Summit inquiring about a second Summit in 2016.

There were also numerous indicators that learning games and the game industry in general are gaining more widespread acknowledgement, market share, and credibility. The following is a partial list of milestones and accomplishments from recent years that were mentioned at the 2016 G4C Festival and Games for Learning Summit:

  • The Smithsonian’s Video Game Pioneers Archive invited the community to help preserve the history of the video game industry’s first-generation inventors
  • Announcement of Civilization EDU with Sid Meier, the ESA, GlassLab, Collective Shift, and Take-Two Interactive
  • National STEM Video Game Challenge is now in its sixth year
  • Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA) was formed
  • The first White House Education Game Jam was held
  • Computer Science for All (CS4All) is a growing national movement recognized by President Obama
  • 99% of schools to have high-speed internet by 2017
  • 2,000 superintendents (13% of US superintendents) have made the Future Ready Schools Pledge to integrate digital learning into their schools
  • Game champions exist at the federal level such as the U.S.Department of Education—Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Office of Edtech—and White House Office of Science, Technology and Policy (OSTP)
  • 23 million people have completed Hour of Code since November 2015
  • A suite of games is currently in FDA clinical trials to become the first prescribeable video games
  • Federal and private funding led to the founding of GlassLab Games to create educational games
  • Ed Tech Developer’s Guide was created by the Office of Educational Technology
  • Successful brands from entertainment games are being repurposed and adapted in educational contexts (Portal 2, Minecraft, Civilization)

We’d love to hear if there are additional accomplishments to celebrate as we develop an agenda to build towards next year’s Summit. Please share any other milestones, moments, or accomplishment that we left out by emailing sara@gamesforchange.org.

Videos of sessions, workshops and keynotes are available on the G4C YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/gamesforchange

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