Wednesday, March 30, 2011

STEM Serious Games Challenge - Winners Announced

Serious Games challenging us to play a better STEM education

This screen shot shows Shireen Zaineb’s award-winning science game Discover

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Announces Winners of the First Annual National STEM Serious Games Challenge

NEW YORK, NY and WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - March 30, 2011) - Aneesh Chopra, United States Chief Technology Officer, announced today the winners of the National STEM Video Game Challenge, a competition to motivate interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning by tapping into the natural passion of youth for playing and making video games, at the Newseum in Washington, DC.
The first year of the Challenge featured competitions for students and developers. Twelve students from across the U.S. in grades 5-8 were selected as winners of the Youth Prize for their original game designs. In the Developer Prize category, for emerging and experienced game developers, the science themed game You Make Me Sick! was awarded the Grand Prize and a collection of math games titled NumberPower: Numbaland! received both the Collegiate and Impact Prizes.
"Three cheers for the National STEM Video Game Challenge for catalyzing this entertaining and educational approach to harnessing American ingenuity, all for the cause of science, technology, engineering and math education," said Chopra. "It is efforts like these that will ensure our nation's continued economic and technological leadership well into the 21st century."
The Youth Prize winners were selected from a group of over 500 entries for their ability to use STEM concepts to design engaging, innovative and well-balanced games, with special recognition for those games that also incorporated STEM themes. The 12 winners of the Youth Prize are:
  • Geoffrey Wang, “Your Adventure,” Grade 5, Claypit Hill School (Wayland, Mass.)
  • Rhys Wynn Wilkinson, “Untitled,” Grade 5, Ecole Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Manor, Texas)
  • Joshua Schoen, “The Quest,” Grade 5, Georgia Cyber Academy (Canton, Ga.)
  • Tate Welty, “Outstanding Math Game,” Grade 5, Orono Schools (Orono, Minn.)
  • Bailey Sperling, “Extreme Depths,” Grade 6, Suffern Middle School (Montebello, N.Y.)
  • Jacob Cothrun, “H.E.L.P. Earth,” Grade 6, Sepulveda Elementary (Sparks, Nev.)
  • Shireen Zaineb, “Discover…,” Grade 7, Milwaukee Montessori School (Milwaukee, Wis.)
  • Jasper Hugunin, “Robot Commander,” Grade 7, Islander Middle School (Mercer Island, Wash.)
  • Kendall McGowan, “Green Island,” Grade 7, William H. Lincoln School (Brookline, Mass.)
  • Muhammad Al-Fatih Ridha, “Zuff’s Adventure,” Grade 8, homeschooled (Beaverton, Ore.)
  • Annie Jacobson, “Alien of My Own,” Grade 8, The Nightingale-Bamford School (New York, N.Y.)
  • Mark Fretheim, “Deity,” Grade 8, Austin Academy for Excellence (Garland, Texas)

The students will each receive an AMD-based laptop computer and educational software. A cash prize of $2000 will also be awarded to their school or a non-profit organization of their choice.

For the Developer Prize, the Grand Prize was awarded to Filament Games' Dan Norton and Dan White for You Make Me Sick! They will receive $50,000 for their game which teaches children about the physical structure of bacteria and viruses, as well as how they are spread.

In You Make Me Sick, students design a bacteria or virus and attempt to infect a target host!
NumberPower: Numbaland!, produced by graduate students Derek Lomas of Carnegie Mellon University, Dixie Ching of New York University and Jeanine Sun of the University of California at San Diego, was the winner of the Collegiate and Impact Prizes and will receive $50,000 in total. The collection of four games allows children in kindergarten to grade 4 to construct a set of skills that helps develop their sense of number concepts. The games will be available on different platforms, including the iPad later this spring.

"The National STEM Video Game Challenge demonstrated that kids will eagerly tackle math and science when they can engage with the subjects using video game design," said Allyson Peerman, President, AMD Foundation, one of the contest co-sponsors. "The challenge and the resulting video games are a testament to the power of this invaluable tool to help increase students' critical STEM skills."

"The innovation and creativity in these games are the hallmarks of our industry," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, the U.S. trade group representing computer and video game publishers. "As these great kids show us, video games can affect societal change. They can inspire and educate a new generation of leaders ready for 21st century jobs."

The competition was created with generous support by the AMD Foundation, Entertainment Software Association and Microsoft and implemented by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media.

Founding outreach partners for the National STEM Video Game Challenge include the American Library Association, The American Association of School Librarians, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, The International Game Developers Association and BrainPOP.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop is an independent, non-profit research center that is fostering innovation in children's learning through digital media. The Cooney Center conducts and supports research, creates educational models and interactive media properties and builds cross-sector partnerships. The Cooney Center is named for Sesame Workshop's founder, who revolutionized television with the creation of Sesame Street. Core funding is provided by the generous support of Peter G. Peterson, Genius Products, Mattel, Inc. and Sesame Workshop.

E-Line Media is a publisher of game-based learning products and services that engage, educate and empower, helping to prepare youth for lives and careers in the 21st Century. E-Line works with leading foundations, academics, non-profits and government agencies to harness the power of games for learning, health, and social impact.

The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, owning the E3 Expo, business and consumer research, federal and state government relations, First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts.

The AMD Foundation connects and empowers individuals with knowledge, thereby opening doors to opportunity. The Foundation's signature program, AMD Changing the Game, supports initiatives designed to help youth harness the power of digital games with social content, while learning critical science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills and life skills. The Foundation also funds the AMD Employee Giving Program which supports AMD employees' community interests by matching their personal donations of time and money to local organizations and schools.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft  is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Mission Expedition: Serious Games Recreating The Experience Of Nat Geo's Documentaries

Serious Games bring alive the joy of exploring some tiny corner of the real-world

A stop-motion building of the miniature sets

National Geographic, at its core, is dedicated to going out into the world and uncovering amazing new things. It's about putting those new things into a context that helps us better understand our planet, makes us amazed, and stokes our senses of awe and wonderment at the sheer awesomeness of the world we inhabit.

Every year when they put on Expedition Week, all of those things are in the very DNA of the documentaries that they air. This year, in building out the Expedition Week website, they wanted to come up with an experience that would bring alive for visitors the joy of exploring some tiny corner of the real-world, and recreate the excitement of finding something no one else has found before.

The result is Mission Expedition! Serious Game. Take a turn at the helm of a robotic camera-train and drive it through a miniature world that represents the environments from several Expedition Week documentaries. Find tiny artifacts and take just the right picture, and we they mail you the life-size version! It's that simple — go on a miniature adventure into a real-world environment, and you have the chance to return with something amazing, something one-of-a-kind.

Over 200 items are hidden in this tiny world, just waiting to be found. Will you unearth a real-life artifact from ancient Rome? Perhaps you'll discover the 3000 year old scarab-beetle carving from ancient Egypt, or an authentic London newspaper from 1888 reporting on Jack the Ripper. They are all there for the taking... if you can find them!


WASHINGTON, D.C. — March 28, 2011 National Geographic Channel announced the launch of Mission Expedition, an immersive interactive experience inspired by the signature event Expedition Week, literally taking viewers inside the exotic, historic and impossible-to-reach locations featured during the week.

Beginning Monday, March 28, and continuing through Saturday, April 9, viewers can log on to between the hours of 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. EDT to line up to control the strategically placed state-of-the-art telepresence cameras attached to a moving model train. For up to 60 seconds, each participant will get an individual turn to navigate through miniature sets of a remote Papua New Guinean village populated by cannibals, Victorian London during the time of Jack the Ripper, the Himalayan Mountains where Yeti sightings have been reported and the Roman Coliseum during the gladiator era.

The robotic camera train, which travels on a track that snakes throughout the miniature sets, will allow viewers to drive and participate in a photo safari in search of tiny hidden artifacts within each location for a chance to take home a piece of history. Participants have up to 60 seconds to navigate through the set and take a picture of what they deem the most valuable artifact they encounter. If the captured image turns out to be one of the hidden artifacts of the day, the viewer will be notified and the artifact will be delivered from the Mission Expedition set directly to the viewer’s home. Nearly 200 of the featured miniature artifacts are stand-ins for life-sized items — totaling more than $10K in value — tied to the themes of Expedition Week, including a life-sized inflatable tiger, a replica of an ichthyosaur snout fossil, a copy of an 1888 London newspaper with Jack the Ripper headlines, a 3,000-year-old Egyptian scarab beetle and a bronze bust from ancient Rome. Artifacts will be rotated throughout the set during each live play period.
Built over six weeks by a team of four people from Pittsburgh-based interactive firm Deeplocal, the Expedition Week experience includes a miniature set that reflects microscopic details of the chosen locations to simulate the experience of being in the midst of Victorian London, Papua New Guinea, the Roman Coliseum and the Himalayas. For instance, the handmade huts in Papua New Guinea are modeled after real tribal huts found in the region today and replicate the high poles on which houses are built to avoid insects and flooding.
The transmedia experience of these four miniature sets and the hidden artifacts will also extend to Twitter, where four Expedition Week-inspired characters — a Papua New Guinean cannibal, Jack the Ripper, the Yeti, also known as the abominable snowman and a Roman gladiator— will interact with viewers and engage them in topical conversations related to Expedition Week programs. These Twitter characters will also share insights about the Expedition Week online hub.
Put together by Neo-Pangea, the Expedition Week website will also be home to 50+ exclusive preview video clips, photo galleries, behind-the-scenes stories and facts leading up to the April 3 premiere of Expedition Week, plus the Expedition Granted online contest, in which two National Geographic Young Explorers compete for viewer votes in pursuit of $10K toward the expedition of their choice.
Many of the artifacts that are part of Mission Expedition have been generously provided by the National Geographic Store, National Geographic Books,,, and
About Expedition Week
Building on the great success of the first two signature events — critically acclaimed as “must-see TV” and “endlessly entertaining” — 2011 Expedition Week brings viewers to more never-before-seen places, promising one jaw-dropping story after another. With 13 world premieres over seven straight nights, we’ll trek deep into the rain forest in search of tribes practicing cannibalism, go on the trail of the abominable snowman, bring back gladiators from the dead using special forensics, visit a tiger man who has captured an amazing portrait of South African tigers as never seen before … and so much more! The entire week is hosted by the Shark Men as they prepare for the return of their series on Sunday, April 10.
About National Geographic Channel
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channel (NGC) is a joint venture between National Geographic Ventures (NGV) and Fox Cable Networks (FCN). Since launching in January 2001, NGC initially earned some of the fastest distribution growth in the history of cable and more recently the fastest ratings growth in television. The network celebrated its fifth anniversary in January 2006 with the launch of NGC HD, which provides the spectacular imagery that National Geographic is known for in stunning high definition. NGC has carriage with all of the nation’s major cable and satellite television providers, making it currently available in nearly 70 million homes.
About Deeplocal
Deeplocal is an innovation studio that helps brands create remarkable experiences that bridge the online and physical worlds. Deeplocal is a Carnegie Mellon University spinout company that has devised and developed cutting-edge marketing concepts for the Tour de France, the World Cup, and for brands like Nike, EA Sports, Volkswagen, GAP and Good Magazine. The company’s campaigns have received numerous awards, including “Top 10 Campaigns of the Digital Decade” by the One Club, “Best of Interactive” by Communication Arts and a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions.
About Neo-Pangea
Neo-Pangea is an innovative digital boutique that specializes in digital video production, Web design, 3-D design, interactive experiences and live-environment multimedia. It has created successful promotions for Fortune 100 brands across the globe such as National Geographic Channel, Comcast and Wal-Mart.


First-Ever Serious Play Conference Covers Most Of Serious Games Taxonomy

Serious Games challenging us to play a better future

Serious Play Conference Aims Program at Corporate, Military, Education, Healthcare Decision-Makers, Developers for Serious Games; DigiPen to Host

The first-ever Serious Play Conference will take place in Seattle, Aug 22-25, at the DigiPen Institute of Technology, one of the top game development institutions in the United States.

Serious Play will be attended by heads of corporate, military and healthcare programs using Serious Games for mission-critical training, senior educators, top simulation and education developers, and strategic vendors providing hardware, software and applications for the serious games sector.The conference will also include the following tracks:

• Education/home learning
• Government training/military simulations
• Health/medical training
• Business/corporate training
• Consumer/games for good

Here is the full press release.

SEATTLE -- March 29, 2011 – Heads of corporate, military and health care programs using Serious Games for mission-critical training; senior educators, top simulation and education developers; strategic vendors providing hardware, software and applications for the serious games sector; as well as industry leaders who see games as valuable tools for connecting with the next generation will gather in Seattle Aug. 22 – 25 for the first Serious Play Conference, a “boot camp” for decision makers.

The conference is being hosted at DigiPen Institute of Technology, recently named one of the top game design schools by the Princeton Review. Clark Aldrich, author of five industry books on serious games and a serious games consultant, is conference director. Game industry veteran Sue Bohle, president, The Bohle Company in Los Angeles, whose agency helped build GDC and currently supports Penny Arcade Expos, will help produce the event.

Serious Play will be designed to move the discussion around Serious Games to a higher competency -- the productive level. Speakers from organizations and individuals already leveraging Serious Games for training and education will share critical success factors; game designers will advise on how to take advantage of emerging platforms and operating systems; project leads and vendors will describe best practices for measuring results. Managers will be given the tools to develop and execute work plans.

"Serious gaming has become an integral part of the world today. Simulation helps us to learn from the past and allows us to predict what may occur in the future, so that we can take proper action before events happen. In the future, simulation will become an increasingly essential tool in more and more aspects of our lives, from safely and cost effectively running machinery to predicting disasters and their effects.” Claude Comair, founder and president of DigiPen, said.

DigiPen recently created software for Boeing that allows simulation of human behavior, a package that could be used in almost any field, including military, medical, aviation, financial or gaming. The software won a Best Technology Award for vendors from Boeing.

“Our DigiPen campus is an ideal place to hold the Serious Games conference. DigiPen has been involved in simulation since the 1980's, even before we were involved in developing video games,” Comair added. “We look forward to hosting people from many different industries to exchange opinions and ideas about the exciting and expanding field of serious gaming."

Serious Play will feature five market tracks plus sessions for developers, with any topics crossing over

o Education/Home Learning
o Government training/military simulations
o Health/medical training
o Business/corporate training
o Consumer/games for good

• Exhibitors demonstrating technology and services
• Awards for the most innovative Serious Games and simulations today

The conference will focus on games developed for commercial hardware.

For more information, please visit

About Clark Aldrich

Books authored by Aldrich include Simulations and the Future of Learning; Learning by Doing, The Complete Guide to Simulations and Serious Games; Learning Online with Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds; and Unschooling Rules: The Complete Guide to Simulations and Serious Games.

Clark Aldrich Designs and his colleagues work with corporate, military, government and academic organizations both at the board-level and hands-on in the areas of simulation design and other advanced learning strategies. Clients (past and present) include Cisco, Microsoft, Department of Defense, Center for Army Leadership, Harvard Business School Publishing, HP, Shell, GM, UPS, McDonald's, World Anti-Doping Agency and parts of the intelligence community.

For more information, see

About DigiPen Institute of Technology

DigiPen Institute of Technology is a leading educational institution offering several Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees, and a Master’s degree in computer science. DigiPen’s undergraduate programs focus on video game programming, production animation, computer engineering, and game design.

The school was established in 1988 in Vancouver, B.C., Canada as a computer simulation and animation school. In 1996, DigiPen moved to Redmond, Wash. In 2008, DigiPen opened a new campus in Singapore at the invitation of the Singaporean Government, and is currently opening a campus in Bilbao, Spain. Because of its commitment to providing an exemplary educating and furthering the study and research in science, technology, engineering and math, DigiPen offers numerous K-12 educational programs throughout the United States and abroad.

For more information about DigiPen's college, K-12 initiatives and to see student work, please visit

About The Bohle Company

The Bohle Company has been providing hands on, senior level counsel to game companies for more than 25 years, supporting companies offering game hardware, software and enabling technology and has launched titles for every platform and in every genre, from MMOs and Serious Games to casual games.

The firm has extensive experience with game and technology-focused conferences.

For more information on The Bohle Company, please visit

Disruptive Innovation in K-12 Education: Serious Games Across The Board

 Serious Games challenging us to play a better education

Via: User Generated Education More Disruption of Education

+ Accredited Online Colleges - 10 Latest Trends in K-12 Education

User Generated Education has just posted an article quoting Ronald A. Wolk, in Education Week on 3/7/11.

Wolk asks “How do we explain that nearly 30 years of unprecedented effort and enormous expenditures has not improved student performance, reduced the dropout rate, or closed the achievement gap?”

“More standardization is not what our schools need. As Harvard Business professor Clayton Christensen states in his book Disrupting Class, “only an administrator suffering from virulent masochism would attempt to teach each student in the way his or her brain is wired to learn within this monolithic batch system”.

The future is now. Clay Christensen's groundbreaking bestselling work in education now updated and expanded, includies a new chapter on Christensen's seminal "Jobs to Be Done" theory applied to education. Disrupting Class is a well thought-through proposal for using technology to better serve students and bring schools into the 21st Century.

Wolk proposes that disruption of K-12 education can occur through personalized education. Some of his recommendations include:
• Preschool education would be universal.
• Beginning in middle school, multiple educational pathways would lead to college and other post-secondary programs to prepare young people for work in a complex and changing world. A student could choose a pathway reflecting his or her interests and aspirations. Each student would play a significant role in designing the curriculum, which would be anchored in the real world, not in the abstractions of most classrooms.
• There would be no “traditional” core curriculum with typical academic courses and rigid schedules in middle and high school.
• Teachers would become advisers who guide students in educating themselves. They would tutor students and help them manage their time and energy.
• Technology would largely replace textbooks and worksheets.
Aligned with the latter, here are the 10 Latest Trends in K-12 Education as per Accredited Online Colleges:
1. iPads in the classroom. Apple’s tablet computer, the iPad, has proven to be popular with not only everyday consumers but educators as well. Grants from both public and private sources have allowed schools across the nation to provide them to students. These tablet devices are easy-to-use and perfect for classrooms involving a wide variety of learning styles. Students can complete assignments on the iPad, share their work with teachers and peers, take notes, blog, play Educational Serious Games, write papers and much more.

 2. More mobile devices. Smart phones were once seen as contraband in classrooms, but today more and more educators are turning to them as interactive and cost-effective tools to get kids interested in learning. They can use these devices anywhere and anytime to engage with peers and learn.

Experts estimate that over the next two to three years, there will be an explosion of use of these devices for classroom-based activities.

3. Tech-based monitoring of student progress. New apps are making it easier than ever for teachers to follow student progress, no matter where they might be. Tracking student progress comes with a wide range of benefits: it allows teachers to easily keep in touch with parents who may push their children to do their homework when they see missing assignments instantly. An added bonus? They’re often easy to use and provide instant access from anywhere– even on a mobile device.

4.  Cloud computing. You've likely seen the "to the cloud!" commercials on TV, but probably didn't consider the advantages of this type of computing for students and educators. For one, it allows easy collaboration on everything from simple homework assignments to in-depth presentations – and it makes it much harder for students to forget a homework assignment when it’s easily available to pull up on the web. Additionally, cloud computing provides access to a wide range of educational materials without students actually having to be on-site. They can access any resources they need from anywhere with an Internet connection– and that’s a powerful force when it comes to equal access in education.

Google Anatomy Lab
Google Body Browser is a free, 3D net atlas of the human body (Click the Google chrome beta link that they give you on the page, and then open Google chrome).

- You can peel back the layers of the body – muscles, then bones, arteries, veins, nerves – or focus on specific regions – then rotate the view through all 360.

- There’s a gradient of “deepness”, so if you’re on the organ level you can play with how much, say, lung vs. heart you want. (Make sure to zoom in – the level of detail changes drastically.)

- Choice of labels or no labels –> easy self-testing.

5. Educational Serious Games – Digital Gaming Goes Academic. There have always been educational games for students to play at home or in school, but these days that variety and accessibility is growing rapidly. Educators hoping to increase interest in subjects like math, history and science have begun bringing games into the classroom, allowing students to play while they learn. Often online or on mobile devices, students can access these games from anywhere making them perfect learning vehicles at all grade levels.

6. Social networking for learning. Blogs and sites let students collaborate and help give even the most shy of students a voice. While some parents may worry about privacy issues, sites set up specifically for education are often closely guarded, helping to keep kids safe while they learn. To date, thousands of classroom and homeschool blogs have been created from kindergarten up to college, and many more are likely to pop up as teachers increase their knowledge and understanding of the technology.

7.   Adaptive learning environments. Programs that are able to change and adapt to the needs of their students may just be the next big thing for the K-12 set. These adaptive learning environments react to preferences designated by the students as well as helping identify places where they need additional support and help or for lessons to speed up or slow down. These apps allow teachers to pinpoint student needs and to help them out, without having to embarrass them in front of the class as they would in a more traditional setting. It’s personalized, private and highly effective, but many educators believe this trend still has a long way to go to make a significant impact– something that may just well happen in the coming years.

8.   Electronic, interactive textbooks. Interactive textbooks are something publishing companies have been playing around with for quite some time, but the latest technology has finally made it possible to improve the quality and effectiveness of these programs.

DynamicBooks - Textbooks That Professors Can Rewrite Digitally

9.  Online summer school. For students who miss out on or need to repeat classroom material, they may not need to head to school over the summer– just to a computer. More and more schools are implementing online summer school programs allowing students to complete the necessary work or credits they need without the additional costs associated with having them in the actual classroom. 

10. Serious Games - Sims. Simulation in education can be a real an essential key to helping students understand both lessons in the classroom and the world at large. Long used in training for astronauts and pilots, simulations can help students learn to grasp cause and effect and more easily see how events relate to one another in a real-world setting, something that’s hard to teach any other way. As education moves more and more onto the web, these simulated environments may yet become invaluable tools and something every teacher will want to add to his or her repertoire.

Kids don’t question, they just flow, which is why they are often experts on computers. It seems to indicate that it is not so much the technical skills but the ability to creatively explore that gets them there. Taken at MacWorld EXPO 2007, Moscone Center, San Francisco by David Pham on Flickr

Monday, March 28, 2011

Serious Games For Diplomacy In Action

Serious Games challenging us to play a better future

Via: TechAtState Serious Games, May 27-28 @ the Newseum

Tech@State connects tech innovators and those interested in diplomacy to enable 21st century statecraft by improving education, health and welfare of the world's population.

Tech@State was created by the U.S. State Department's Office of eDiplomacy. Founded in 2003, the Office is part of the Bureau of Information Resource Management, combining the expertise and experience of Foreign and Civil Service Officers and contract professionals.

The Office of eDiplomacy is divided into two branches: the Diplomatic Innovation Division and the Customer Liaison Division.

Formed in response to recommendations from the Overseas Presence Advisory Panel that the State Department improve its ability to communicate and share knowledge, the Diplomatic Innovation Division (DID) hosts a variety of platforms that equip State Department employees with innovative tools for collaboration, an initiative that closely aligns with Secretary Clinton’s call for 21st Century Statecraft.

Tech@State will explore games, the Serious Games that teach, train and solve problems in ways the real world may not always allow. By bringing parties together in a virtual setting with defined rules and constraints, a Serious Game can help players understand a complex problem, empathize with an adversary, accomplish an otherwise unwieldy task, or develop a new model for business or governance. Leveraging technology to compartmentalize the chaos of the real world, the gaming experience can help grasp puzzles that have remained unsolved for centuries.

Tech@State is moving ahead with the Serious Games topic for their next Tech@State event , which will be May 27-28 at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

The Newseum — a 250,000-square-foot museum of news — offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits.

The Newseum is located at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., on America’s Main Street between the White House and the U.S. Capitol and adjacent to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall.

The principle design guideline was a free press, free speech, and the embodiment of a free spirit for the world community

The exterior’s unique architectural features include a 74-foot-high marble engraving of the First Amendment and an immense front wall of glass through which passers-by can watch the museum fulfill its mission of providing a forum where the media and the public can gain a better understanding of each other.

The Newseum features seven levels of galleries, theaters, retail spaces and visitor services. It offers a unique environment that takes museum goers behind the scenes to experience how and why news is made.

Serious Games For Healthcare Design Beyond the Hospital

Serious Games challenging us to play a better healtcare system

Dr. Yan Chow, a pediatrician with Kaiser, demonstrates a videoconferencing system that would allow doctors to speak with patients in their homes. Last year, Kaiser Permanente delivered 5 million visits via videoconference (Skype), telephone, and email.

Via: Interactive Multimedia Technology Healthcare Design Gets Closer to Serious Games

As reported by Lynn Marentette today on her blog, the article For the Future of Health Care Design, Look Beyond the Hospital at is a must-read for anyone thinking about developing applications for healthcare professionals, clinics, hospitals, patients, etc. In her opinion, it is very important to look at the "Big Picture", especially for techies who are finding themselves taking on responsibilities related to information architecture in this field.

Serious Games Shifting Healthcare From A “Point Of Service” Clinical Model To An Ongoing Dialogue Between Patients And Their Providers
The authors refer to New York Times article - Disruptive Innovation, Applied to Healthcare – that states that “Healthcare hasn’t become affordable because it hasn’t yet gone through disruptive decentralization.
“The business models were all created decades ago, and acute disease drove those costs at the time,” says Steve Wunker, a senior partner at the consulting firm Innosight. “Most businesses in this industry are looking at their business model as entirely immutable. They’re looking for innovative offerings that fit this frozen model.”
Advances in technology and medical research are making it possible to envision an entirely new healthcare system that provides more individualized care without necessarily increasing costs. Ultimately, those therapies can be administered by nurse practitioners or others trained to handle routine ailments. The expensive “intuitive medicine” practiced by doctors trained to wade through a thicket of mysterious symptoms in search of an accurate diagnosis can then focus on those cases that truly require their services.
Using innovation management models previously applied to other industries, Clayton M. Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, argues in “The Innovator’s Prescription” that the concepts behind “disruptive innovation” can reinvent healthcare.
Disruption in healthcare entails moving the simplest procedures now performed in expensive hospitals to outpatient clinics, retail clinics, and homes.
By creating a continuum of care that follows patients wherever they go within an integrated system, says the Princeton University economist Uwe Reinhardt, care providers can stay on top of what preventive measures and therapies are most effective. Tests aren’t needlessly duplicated, competing medications aren’t prescribed by different doctors, and everyone knows what therapies a patient has received.
As an example, at Kaiser Permanente experimentation with new technologies and business models occurs at the Sidney R. Garfield Health Care Innovation Center in San Leandro, Calif. Kaiser opened the facility in 2006 to test such new technologies as a videoconferencing system linking health care professionals to patients in their homes. Another is a laser-projected keyboard to prevent the spread of germs via computer equipment.

A laser keyboard could be used in spaces too small for a conventional one and might help prevent the spread of infection among hospital workers.

Shifting healthcare from a “point of service” clinical model to an ongoing dialogue between patients and their providers is a profound societal and technological shift.

DR. JOHN H. COCHRAN, who as executive director of the Permanente Foundation is the highest-ranking physician among Kaiser’s 14,000-plus doctors, says information technology will play a crucial role in revolutionizing the country’s healthcare system.

“There’s a mythology that I.T. decreases the personal relationship between the physician and the patient,” he said. “In point of fact, it enhances it.” 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nintendo New Release Raises Some Serious Debates On 3D Games

Serious Games challenging us to play a better future

Via: The Associated Press 3DS Can Reveal Vision Problems

Promising to usher in a new era in 3D entertainment, Nintendo’s glasses-free handheld 3DS will go on sale on March 27 in the U.S. for $250. That's the same price that the revolutionary Wii console cost when it went on sale in 2006.

Nintendo Co. said 3D games on its highly anticipated new handheld console could harm the eyesight of children aged 6 or younger, warning of possible ill effects from a technology on which many companies are betting big.

Nintendo said some specialists believe that "there is a possibility that 3D images which send different images to the left and right eye could affect the development of vision in small children."

3D Depth Slider
A built-in 3D Depth Slider allows you to immediately adjust the intensity of the 3D settings on the Nintendo 3DS system to your liking. The 3D effect can also be turned down completely—all Nintendo 3DS games and applications can be played in 2D, and look better than any Nintendo handheld before it.

However, some United States eye specialists are welcoming the Nintendo 3DS game device, dismissing the manufacturer's warnings its 3D screen should not be used by children 6 or younger because it may harm their immature vision.

The optometrists say it is a good idea to get kids to try the 3D screen, especially if they are younger than 6. It will not do any harm, they say, and it could help catch vision disorders that have to be caught early to be fixed.

"The 3DS could be a godsend for identifying kids under 6 who need vision therapy," said Michael Duenas, associate director for health sciences and policy for the American Optometric Association.

The new handheld game device has two screens like the DS machines it is designed to replace. The top screen can show 3D images, without the need for special glasses, though only new games will be in 3D.

If children were unable see the 3-D effect on the 3DS, that was a sign he or she may have a vision disorder such as amblyopia, or "lazy eye," or subtler problems that could cause problems with reading, Duenas said. Kids who experience dizziness or discomfort should also be checked, he said.
NOTE: Amblyopia (or lazy eye) is a condition, wherein one eye has poor vision, compared to another (In some cases, both the eyes can be amblyopic). In such cases, the affected eye sends poor images to the brain and the brain does not acknowledge such images. With time, the brain gets tuned to receive the images from the stronger eye, thereby rejecting the images transmitted by the weaker one. Even though, this condition develops in early childhood, it is not usually detected during that time, as the stronger eye compensates for the poor vision of the other. The child may not realize the fact that one of his/her eyes has a poor vision. However, if the condition is not detected and treated, it may result in vision loss of the affected eye.

Going to see a 3D movie or trying a 3D TV can also help screen for problems, but optometrists expect the 3DS to be in front of kids' eyes more.
However, optometrists are not quite seeing eye to eye on this issue with another group of eye specialists: the ophthalmologists, who are medical doctors. (Optometrists are doctors of optometry but not medical doctors.)
David Hunter, a pediatric ophthalmologist affiliated with the Children's Hospital in Boston and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, said the idea that off-the-shelf 3D games or movies could help screen for vision problems such as amblyopia was "a little perplexing".
Kids with amblyopia do not have much depth perception, he said, so if they do not see depth in a 3D screen, they might not say anything because that would not be much different from what they see around them.
It was not impossible it could help, but it was "all sort of exploration and speculation," said Hunter, who has started a company developing a device for childhood screening of vision disorders.
Nintendo's warning was vaguely worded. It said specialists believe "there is a possibility that 3D images which send different images to the left and right eye could affect the development of vision in small children".
The Japanese company did not back the warning up with scientific evidence, so Duenas sees it as being motivated by liability concerns rather than a true danger.
Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, said the company was "aware of all the work that had been done in the field" and issued the warning based on that work. The warning, he said, was based on research that up until age 6, a child's eye - specifically the connection between the eye and the brain - was still developing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

LudoMedic: Serious Games For Kids Hospitalization

Serious Games challenging us to play a better health

Via: LudoMedic Serious Games For Health Platform, Release Date -December 2011

LudoMedic is a Serious Games Platform, whose main theme is the hospitalization of 6-14 year old children.

Developed by CCCP Studio, LudoMedic, formerly called MediKids, will host a number of Serious Games for Health intended for kids, parents and healthcare professionals.

The platform consists of a game engine, a dialog engine with integrated speech synthesis, especially conceived for children who cannot read yet; three independent healthcare pathways: MRI, pediatric surgery and chemotherapy; a collection of mini-games and educational activities specific for each pathway; and a community website providing free modules available to the public.

LudoMedic has three complementary objectives: simulate children’s healthcare when hospitalized; inform the parents about the healthcare processes involving their children and allow physicians to better communicate with their patients.
The official release is scheduled for December 2011, with a second layer aiming at health workers training to diagnose an emergency, planned to go live in August 2012.
The project team resulted from a consortium composed by EURA SANTE (medical expertise), Orange (a technical partner for speech synthesis and research labs) and Universities for the pedagogical aspects.
About CCCP Studio
In 2008, French officials announced an important initiative that would have an impact on Serious Games future.
The French government has chosen Northern France as the region of excellence for Serious Games. That meant start-up companies willing to locate in the Nord-Pas de Calais Region could receive government funding and support.
The “Regional Image Cluster” pilot program, centered in Valenciennes, started with the objective of funding 20 Serious Games prototypes in 2009.
The choice of Valenciennes was astute: The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Economic Development Department in Valenciennes (CCIV, a well-funded government agency, had previously established the legendary animation school Supinfocom, and its younger sibling Supinfogame. In addition, the region has several design, technology, and art universities.
In fact, three Serious Games companies were already located in Northern France thanks to the support from the Chambers in Valenciennes and nearby Lille. One of them was CCCP (Confluence Composite de Concepteurs et Prestataires) which the Valenciennes Chamber was incubating in its digital workshop facilities.
CCCP is a video game development studio based in Valenciennes that since its inception in 2005, CCCP has pioneered Serious Games development in France.

Serious Games As Collaborative Publishing: Carbon Zero Just $2 K From Threshold

Serious Games challenging us to play a better future

Join Alex Steffen in an experiment in collaborative publishing!

Following my recent post Serious Games As Collaborative Publishing: Join Alex Steffen's Carbon Zero @ Kickstarter, here is update #1 from Alex Steffen:


Thank you so much for your support, encouragement and enthusiasm. It's been great hearing from you, getting your ideas, reading your blog posts and tweets. This has been an absolutely wonderful experience. Thank you.

And it's working! Our community-funded ebook Carbon Zero: A Short Tour of Your City's Future is now just $2,549 away from hitting threshold goal of $10,000. If we can go over $10K, we're making a book. That could happen today! It would be a great statement to hit the baseline funding in less than a week (and might create some sponsorship opportunities, allowing us to do an even cooler project - more on that soon):

Thank you for joining OPEN and I in this experiment. I appreciate it deeply. I don't think I've ever had more fun putting a project together.


Eliane’s personal note: Will you come join Alex Steffen and back this project today? Pledges can be as little as a dollar, but for $10 or more they have cool, gamified rewards to share. It only takes a minute to pledge. I’m a backer and it feels a lot like a Serious Game!

Will you go to their Kickstarter page now and do it?