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Report on Games and Learning from GLS11

Last week, I was fortunate to attend the Games+Learning+Society conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The conference brings together interdisciplinary scholars, designers, and other practitioners working with games for learning, and thus is a great space to find new inspiration for experiments and games in the classroom.  Just a few highlights of the conference included:

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Making an Impact with Games?

I’ve written a lot about using and making games for the classroom here at ProfHacker, as while games and learning have been around for a long time our ability (and interest) in realizing their potential is on the rise. One of the continuing challenges for bringing games into education is assessing the impact of games on learning. Often, it’s hard even to agree on what we want games to accomplish: are we most interested in raising student engagement? Reaching learners who are alienated by tradit…

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Weekend Reading: It’s About Time Edition

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Happy weekend, ProfHackers! We hope that you’re staying cool in the heat (or warm in the cool if it’s not hot where you happen to be).

After another week of turmoil and debate, the Confederate flag was removed from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol building this morning after a 50+ year term. As the NY Times reports, it’s the end of an era. But NBCNews reports, the battle doesn’t end with South Carolina.

In less positive news, a seven day work week may soon be legal in the state of Wi…

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Weekend Reading: Fourth of July Edition

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Happy holiday weekend to our readers in the United States and happy regular weekend to everyone else (and a belated happy Canada day to our neighbors in the north)!

According to an article in Vanity Fair, technology isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: “How iPhones Ruined Summer Camp.”

Also, for the iTunes users among us, or should I say the former iTunes users, Apple has been unrolling Apple Music over the last several days. If you use iTunes and haven’t gotten the update, it’s coming your way soo…

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Latest Version of Zotero Simplifies Key Functions

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve published several posts over the years about the free and open-source Zotero, which is great tool for managing your research. Yesterday, Zotero announced the release of version 4.0.27, with a focus on “streamlined saving, easier bibliography language selection, and more.” It’s not a massive update (as the version number suggests), but it does simplify some of the key functions provided by Zotero.

If you’ve not used Zotero but are interested in giving it a test drive, t…

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Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution

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In personality typologies derived from the work of Carl Jung, introverts are described as people who gain energy from solitude and extroverts as people who gain energy from being around other people. Understanding where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum can help you understand your own energy patterns and how best to work with them within your professional and personal life. (As an introvert, for example, after attending several sessions at an academic conference and interacting with…

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Weekend Reading: “Interpretive Jiggery-Pokery” Edition

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Happy weekend, ProfHackers! This week’s subtitle is thanks to Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent against the Supreme Court’s vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act. More on that decision and others below.

*When I initially drafted today’s Weekend Reading, I had a paragraph with links about the Confederate Flag and the ongoing discussions about it’s place (or lack thereof) in American culture. In light of today’s Supreme Court decision legalizing gay-marriage across the United States, I’ve decided…

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Web Development: Resources for Learning Bootstrap

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This summer, as part of my efforts to sharpen my web development skills, I’m working on learning Bootstrap. What’s Bootstrap? It’s “a free and open-source collection of tools for creating websites and web applications. It contains HTML- and CSS-based design templates for typography, forms, buttons, navigation and other interface components, as well as optional JavaScript extensions. It aims to ease the development of dynamic websites and web applications” (Wikipedia)

Bootstrap keeps you from re…

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Weekend Reading: Juneteenth Edition

7661811590_4b737793c3_z Happy Friday ProfHackers! It’s been a difficult week to be in South Carolina between the unseasonably hot weather (it’s the South; we are used to hot summers, but not this hot this soon) and the horrible events in Charleston. Many people have offered their thoughts on the shooting at Emanuel AME church. A few worth reading: Charles Pierce’s piece in Esquire,Charleston Shooting: Speaking the Unspeakable, Thinking the Unthinkable“; A NY Times editiorial “Lynching as Racial Terrorism”; and the W…

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Starter Exercises for Interactive Storytelling


When we think about bringing interactive fiction into the classroom we often focus on the technology. I’ve written here about using accessible tools such as Twine, Twine 2.0, Inform 7, and Inklewriter to create everything from games to interactive essays and digital humanities projects. Bringing in software of this type can be a great way to transform an assignment and add procedural literacy outcomes to a range of disciplines. However, before we get into the technology, we need an idea. Here …