Category: Conferences

Educational Conference Calendar Highlights

Conferences can be a great way to meet new peers and keep up with the latest in educational trends. Here, we highlight just a few educational conferences from this school year that you might consider paying attention to or even attending. Also, we provide links to more complete calendars for even more options to choose from

iNACOL

educational conference Inacol for transforming learning

The Symposium is an annual conference and a leading event for “K-12 competency based, blended and online learning.” By attending the conference, you will gain access to expertise in these areas, along with many networking opportunities. Within the symposium’s programming, attendees choose a specific track to help guide them through the more than 200 available sessions to what they need. It’s a great educational conference to pick up new ways to teach material!

This year, iNACOL takes place in Nashville from October 21-24. You can still register for this year’s conference, although the early bird deadline passed in July. Find out more on the website.

FETC

FETC educational conference logo

FETC tailors itself to the needs of “an increasingly technology-drive education community.” While attendees may come from different backgrounds and possess different skills, they all come to the educational conference to meet with others interested in ed tech. Like other conferences, FETC offers specialized tracks to get you to sessions that align with your professional goals.

Registration is open for the January 27-30, 2019 conference in Orlando, FL. Find out more on the website

SXSW EDU

SXSW educational conference poster

While SXSW might be better known for its film or music festivals, they do also hold a conference for educators. It features presentations and programming with educational thought leaders, traditional sessions, films and more. Some of the sample thematic tracks include language learning, accessibility & inclusion, emerging tech, and student agency. No matter your own educational goal, SXSW EDU is an educational conference that can provide you with resources to get there.

This school year’s program is being held in Austin TX from March 4-7, 2019. Registration rates increase on September 14, 2018, so think about reserving your place ASAP! Find out more details on the website.

More Educational Conferences

While these lists provide dates mostly for 2018, the conferences listed are yearly events, and you can find more information by going to the linked websites for each one. 

Check out these lists from The Edvocate, Getting Smart, and Where Learning Clicks.

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Strong Showing at NCSS!

Dig-iT! Games had a great showing at the recent National Council of Social Studies (NCSS) conference in San Francisco (November 17th-19th).  Our staff presented on topics that are not only recent studio initiatives but also integral in furthering the field of game-based learning.

Stuart Claggett presented the research we conducted with the National Science Foundation on creating a universal data reporting standard for games and digital learning experiences.  He presented on the vision of a universal adoption of data protocols that would not only make it easy for games to report learning events to teachers but also the potential of a school or district to collect and amass all learning data in one location.  This will increase the ability to compare and contrast the value of digital learning tools while protecting student data.  Stuart had great follow-up conversations with game companies and school districts interested in student data privacy afterward.

Elisa Bartolomeo-Damon presented about the power of object-based learning with ancient artifacts and with Dig-iT! Games’ video games.  She demonstrated the “Describe-Interpret-Evaluate” process we not only incorporate into our games but also our supplemental curriculum materials.  This was not only a great reminder to social studies teachers about how artifacts are primary sources but it also was an engaging introduction to our newly released Excavate Card Game. She inspired many teachers to head right to our booth afterwards to pick up their free deck of cards to practice object-based learning in a game format on their own.

Chris Magnuson presented on a new concept from our studio of building a matrix of games to play in order to compare and contrast ancient world civilizations.  The concept entails building a core game for aspects of each civilization like architecture, religion or technology and then customize each game to highlight the unique characteristics of each civilization studied.  We had a small turn out (thanks to a Sunday morning slot) but the conversations afterwards about game-based learning were rich and insightful.

We also had a great time hosting our booth in the exhibit hall in which we presented our newest Excavate! series of games.  Teachers had fun playing Excavate! EgyptExcavate! Greece, Excavate! Rome or Excavate! Mesopotamia on laptops or iPads.  They also reviewed the accompanying curricular materials and were introduced to the Excavate! Card Game as a great group-based review activity.  The booth was busy with a lot of traffic and here are a few things that were overheard while interacting with the crowd:

Teachers participated in our Twitter Contest by taking photos with artifacts and making connections to them. “Teachers today and teachers in Rome liked their wine!”

“You have World History content! Sweet!” 

NCSS had many booths that connected to American History and civics but we were surprised to learn that we were one of the only booths solely devoted to Ancient World History.  Many teachers commented on how grateful they were to find rich game-based learning resources for this era of human history.

“This will make my unit on Mesopotamia so fun!”

As teachers played our Excavate! video games they repeatedly mentioned how our games would make the teaching of ancient world history fun and engaging.

“Wait there is more?!” 

Teachers were impressed with the Excavate! video games but as we walked through our supporting curriculum materials with them their eyes widened as they saw concrete ways to incorporate our lessons into their classes.  They saw that we thoughtfully created lessons that could be used verbatim to prepare students to play and also record their learning afterwards.  But as we showed them our Excavate! Card Game as an extension of the video game and the curricular materials they remarked about how there were so many integrated materials to support student learning.  We felt like infomercial sales representatives adding so much value with additional product…but wait there is more!

“That really helps with student-to-student discourse.”

We are proud of our Excavate! video game series as it challenges students to explore ancient world civilizations at their own pace, but we wanted to make sure that we build opportunities for students to review and demonstrate learning in a cooperative group setting as well.  We created the Excavate! Card Game to facilitate rich review discussions among students which was not lost on our booth visitors as one of them remarked how it helped with student-to-student discourse.

“My colleague said I had to come by here!”   

One of the things we heard often, and are most proud of, is that teachers either were brought to our booth by others or were sent to see us.  Word of mouth was evident and we welcomed it at NCSS and we also welcome more of it!  If you came to our booth or would like to share your experiences with Excavate! drop us a line.  We are excited to hear more about how you are using it in your classes and schools. Email Chris and Elisa of the education team info@dig-itgames.com


The Education Team Returns from ISTE

Dig-It Games had a blast last week at ISTE. The Conference was ideal for new technological experiences, ideas, learning, and networking. Our Education team presented on GBL and participated in the 3rd annual Game Night! For 4 days San Antonio became a magical, techy wonderland for all ISTE participants.

While at ISTE, our education team felt exhilarated by the big trends in technology for education! In education, we know that a lot of innovative ideas come out of conferences and they drive the education community to move toward new ideas and techniques that better prepare our students for the future. Some trends our team noticed were makerspaces, coding, mixed reality, and game-based learning.

If you are not familiar with makerspaces, it is time to get your students creating! At the conference, presenters urged teachers to not only allow their students to create but to give students opportunities to publish their works. (Check out this blog for ideas to help build a makerspace – http://ideas.demco.com/blog/lean-startup-approach-starting-your-makerspace/)

Coding is here to stay. Many companies are adding coding activities for students on their sites. There is a push to have students as young as kindergarten play and learn the concepts of coding. Robots are also becoming more accessible for classrooms and are allowing students to apply their coding skills into action! (Check out this article for ideas on coding – https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/250323)

Some new ideas on the rise in technology for education are virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). Pokemon Go has created a whole world of learning through augmented reality that has now evolved into many new companies that are providing workable reality platforms that are allowing students to experiment with their understanding of virtual, augmented and the new mixed reality, which is a combination of both. (Check out this website for more information on mixed reality – http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/01/bored-of-virtual-reality-microsofts-betting-on-mixed-reality-now.html)

Dig-It! Games was among many friends in the GBL community as games for education is still a staple at the technology conference. With new advancements in VR, AR, and MR, Dig-It! Games is looking forward to incorporating new technology into our games that will heighten the player’s experience. Get excited for new things coming from Dig-It! Games!


Preparing for ISTE 2017

By Chris Magnuson

Speaker badge for ISTE 2017The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a nonprofit organization that supports and trains educators to integrate technology into the classroom and inspires educators to become leaders in educational technology (EdTech).  The ISTE Conference and Expo is an amazing event that welcomes close to 18,000 educators, administrators, EdTech visionaries, and industry leaders to share and learn from each other. This year the conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas from June 25th – 28th. We’re looking forward to attending ISTE 2017!

We are proud to be among the select few individuals and organizations who will be presenting at this year’s conference.  Our session kicks off the conference early Monday morning with a hands-on workshop entitled Become a Game-Based Learning Guru.  We will share important information to justify using games in the classroom, a useful Game-Based Learning (GBL) rubric, and an opportunity to design a game that fits the curriculum that you currently teach. The rubric helps to evaluate the effectiveness of educational games. We will be using games from the Dig-It! Games library to illustrate our points as well as educating attendees on trends in GBL. It will prove to be a fun and engaging workshop.  Register today!

As we prepare for our own workshop, we also need to keep an eye on the many social events and sessions that we would like to attend.  Time is tight so a good plan will help us make the most of the conference and expo.  Here are the sessions that we have earmarked for attending:

Social Events:

Start networking a little early on Sunday night and learn about implementing ISTE standards in your products and classroom at the  ISTE Standards-Aligned Resources Networking Mixer.

Monday night join Dig-It! Games at the ISTE Game Night to play games!  We will be hosting a table with our games and offering game giveaways.  This will be a great opportunity to meet the GBL community attending ISTE as well as play some fun games!

Tuesday night will be an opportunity to see how students and teachers are using games in the classroom by watching creatively narrated video game sequences in the EduMachinima Fest 2017.

Keep an eye out for impromptu breakfasts, coffee meet-ups and some late evening talks at local bars and hotels.  Be sure to sign up for all relevant ISTE communications when you register to learn about the myriad social opportunities while at ISTE 2017.

GBL Sessions:

There are so many great GBL sessions at ISTE this year but here are a few that we think are definitely worth attending:

Put Augmented Reality in your STEM – Learn about augmented reality and how it can be used to engage learners.

Simple, Curricular-Aligned Games in the Wild  Legends of Learning presents a published controlled study showing that building games off of the curriculum teachers use and offering a variety of games for each learning objective increases lesson retention and student engagement.

Certified BrainPOP Educator Showcase – Certified BrainPOP Educators will share the ways they’re putting GBL content and features to use. You’ll hear real-life anecdotes about everything from assessment to PD to game-based learning, from a diverse range of educators.

Invite Students to be Players in the Game of Learning – Collaborate and experience gamified learning. Find out how gamification can create students who are persistent problem-solvers. You’ll leave with tools to gamify your own curriculum.

Helping Teachers Use Game Play Data for Formative Assessment and Differentiation:

Findings from a pilot study with six middle school science teachers who used a video game about argumentation for 1-2 weeks in class will be presented. The discussion will focus on how teachers interpreted game play data to make inferences about student learning and make changes to instruction.

Beyond Pokemon: Virtual and Augmentative Reality for STEM

Virtual or augmentative reality is here to stay! Now, how do we use it for meaningful instruction? This session will focus on VR and AR to develop social competence in the STEM classroom. Yes, skills to problem solve, learn cooperatively and work in teams.

Virtual Environments and Games & Simulations Networks Playground: Escape the Ordinary

The Games & Simulations and Virtual Environments networks will provide a scaffolded experience using augmented reality, virtual reality, games and simulations. This will take a project-, problem- and challenge-based focus allowing participants to play along with an escape room challenge theme.

Game Design as a Catalyst for Learning

Find out how to use game design to let students explore their interests, passions and curiosities as they become creative and innovative and practice thinking outside of the box. Learn to create transdisciplinary learning opportunities that give students voice.

iDigFossils: STEAM Integration through 3D Scanning, 3D Printing, and Paleontology

So you have a 3D printer…now what do you do with it? iDigFossils is a collaborative project between educators and the University of Florida that provides open-sourced, NGSS-aligned K-12 curriculum using 3D printed fossils. By leveraging 3D technology, these lessons allow students to become scientists.

Game On: Breakout EDU and the Changing Landscape of Learning

This session starts with a look back at where we have come from in games – especially through the lens of educational technology – and then looks at Breakout EDU as a path forward to a more intrinsic and student-focused education.

Digital Content and Games: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

This panel unpacks customer needs and industry innovation surrounding digital content and education games through dialogue anchored by publications by the Center for Digital Education. This engaging conversation includes voices from district leaders in the field as well as thought leaders and content providers.

It’s hard to believe that the list above is not comprehensive!  There are many other GBL posters, panels, workshops and connections happening and we hope you will be able to make it!

If you are coming to ISTE 2017, please let us know and we would love to connect with you and share what Dig-It! Games is developing for SY 2017-2018.  We are looking forward to building partnerships with schools and teachers for input on our games as well as opportunities to share our GBL learning practices and playtest some of our games!

Jes and I are looking forward to presenting at ISTE 2017 and preparing for a very successful conference filled with new connections, insightful EdTech conversations and strengthening existing partnerships.

 

Drop us a line and we will see you in San Antonio!

Chris Magnuson – chrism@dig-itgames.com  – Twitter = @cromagnuson , @DigItGames

Jes Mylniec – jesm@dig-itgames.com – Twitter = @jmlyie

 

 


Dig-It! Games is going to ISTE

Dig-It! Games is super excited! This June 25 – June 28, 2017, Dig-It! Games is traveling to the ISTE Conference in San Antonio, Texas! Our company will be presenting and participating in a variety of events. We are so excited to bring our games to the ISTE conference, which has been held in numerous U.S. cities every year for the last three decades, to excite teachers with the potential to heighten their instruction. We are slated to present, Become a Game-Based Learning Guru and are planning to attend numerous social events.

ISTE began almost 40 years ago as a way for K-12 educators to network about changes in learning and to make the biggest impact for our students. Dig-It! Games feels that our mission to build fun, educational games for middle-school-aged students is directly aligned with the mission of ISTE. We know that learning needs to be fun and we design fun games that meet a variety of learners needs. By building digital games, we are building bridges from curriculum to learning in a safe, fun, engaging way.

Come check us out on Monday, June 25th for our workshop that will teach instructors on the elements of game-based learning and learn how to evaluate games for their curriculum needs. You can also look for us at any of the gaming networking events Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night. Some events we are planning to attend are ISTE Game Night/LAN Party: Networking with Games, Online Learning Network Annual Meeting, Ed Tech Coaches Network Annual Membership Meeting, and EduMachinima Fest 2017. The ISTE conference is a great way to meet fellow educators that have a thirst for new knowledge and love technology integration in their classrooms. Come check us out and get some Dig-It! Games swag!


STEM & CES 2017

The extremely popular Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up earlier this month in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s always exciting to bring the best and the brightest in technology to one place to show off their new technology. So while it’s amazing to look at the self-driving cars and the super-thin TVs, here in the studio we love looking at learning gadgets. 

 

One of the biggest goals in any educational setting today is including more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) courses. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) say employment in occupations related to STEM is projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022. As we know at Dig-It! Games, one of the best ways to engage students in learning is with games.

 

The biggest hits at CES this year seemed to revolve around robots and programming. Lego came out with Boost, a more simplified version of Mindstorms, where kids as young as seven can follow the kit and build robots or castles and then make them move. Another company, Circuit Cubes, actually works with certain lego kits and challenge kids to learn about engineering electronics. Players learn about magnets, batteries, and currents while creatively playing.  

 

 Another one of the hottest toys for the last few years has been drones. The company RoboLink came up with CoDrone where kids can program their drone to do amazing things. According to their website, kids can program the drone to follow them, engage in laser fights, go through a maze, and more.

 

These toys go right along with Dig-It!’s idea that learning and fun go hand in hand. Kids can build, be creative, have fun and learn all at the same time. Another important aspect that I think we will see in the future is that kids who learn these skills from one toy will realize how easy it is to transfer to another toy. They are flexible with their skills and able to adapt to different toys which will be extremely helpful as they get older.

 

Dig-It! Games believes in the power of STEM and the importance of introducing students to these fields through engaging games.  We have recently released Exotrex which is a science adventure game for middle school students that reinforces chemistry and planetary science as students aim to save humanity.  Sound like a tall order?  The game itself is fun, but preparing the next generation to meet our nation’s need to for STEM-based workers is the real challenge!  Check out Exotrex today and join our efforts to prepare students for the future, one game at a time.

 

 

Comment below and let us know what your favorites were from CES.


FETC 2016 Game Workshop Slides

We were happy to have our CEO, Suzi Wilczynski present to over 175 educators at the FETC 2016 Game Based Learning Workshop this year. For those who could not attend, here is a summary set of slides here to share with you. By reading through these, you should gain a basic understanding of game based learning and its benefits.

The slides outline the key features of game based learning and how they can be used effectively in the classroom. Based on research, the positive effects of game based learning in the classroom is undeniable. However, this is only when educators know how to use the games. Through effective implementation, game based learning can help students grow, explore, and experiment. The Keys to Success defined here should give teachers a good start in figuring out how game based learning could work for them!

Should you have any questions about Game Based Learning, please feel free to reach out to us. We love hearing from interested parties and answering questions about how games can be used in education.

If you want to know more about our products, check out our social studies series Excavate! where students are put in the shoes of archaeologists or our STEM games ExoTrex and ExoTrex 2 where students must investigate other planets with the goal of finding a new home for humanity. Our full game library can be viewed on our Games page.

If you want to know more about the Future of Education Technology conference, check out their website to learn about their history, goals, and more. Thanks to everyone who came to see Suzi speak this year! We had a great time at FETC.


The FETC 2016 Experience

 

Dig-It! Games joined nearly 10,000 education leaders and tech experts at the 38th annual Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC). From our participation in an exclusive Game-Based Learning Summit to the Education Arcade on the show floor, we loved sharing our games and insights.

GBL Summit attendees at FETC 2016

GBL Summit attendees at FETC 2016

 

As part of the GBL Summit, Suzi Wilczynski, Dig-It! Games’ Founder and CEO, led a discussion on important features of game-based learning, including how to make it easier to find, evaluate and utilize games in teaching. GBL Summit attendees also took place in a 3 Digits competition and found out more about Dig-It! Games classroom resources.

FETC attendees getting hands on demos of Dig-It! Games in the Education Arcade

FETC attendees getting hands-on demos of Dig-It! Games in the Education Arcade

 

Dig-It! Games also offered hands-on demos in Exhibit Hall’s Education Arcade. Thank you to all the educators, FETC and our GBL Summit partners for a great conference!


Join Dig-It! Games at FETC 2016

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The Dig-It! Games team is heading to Orlando next week to join teachers, administrations and other educational technology advocates at the 38th annual Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC).

On January 12, Dig-It! Games is partnering with FETC,  BrainPOP and the Learning Games Network on the Game-Based Learning Summit, a day-long professional development session on integrating game-based learning in the classroom. As part of the GBL Summit, Suzi Wilczynski, Dig-It! Games’ Founder and CEO, will lead a discussion on important features of game-based learning, including to how to make it easier to find, evaluate and utilize games in your teaching. She will also highlight the Dig-It! Games Teacher Network, its benefits and how attendees can get involved!

Dig-It! Games will also be a part of the Maker’s Space in the FETC Exhibit Hall January 14 and 15. Come meet the team, play games and sign up for our Teacher’s Network. Not attending FETC? Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates from the GBL Summit and FETC.