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! Egypt, Excavate! 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:
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org