Sylvia Martinez, M.A. Education Technology

Sylvia Martinez
Sylvia Martinez

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Supporting links and info for this presentation


Contact info

NOTE: As of 2011, I no longer maintain this wiki - I have put an updated version here - Games in Education Resources.

Supporting links and info for presentation

I know this is a big list, but there are just so many resources to explore. If I've left something out, or you have a specific interest you don't see here, please email me!
Why games?

What's wrong with edutainment?
Serious Games
  • Serious Games website - home of The Serious Games Initiative and a clearinghouse for serious games and serious game developers in health, education, and business.
  • Wikipedia entry for Serious Games - contains a list of serious games and many links to more support materials.


Examples of Serious Games Used in this presentation
Casual Puzzle/Logic Games
Games in the presentation

Other games
  • Gazillionaire III- Gazillionaire is the award-winning simulation game. It puts the player in charge of a trading ship in a fun universe filled with great characters. This a simple, classroom appropriate game that can easily be the basis for many lessons on resource management, economics, planning and collaboration. (Windows only)
  • Classroom activity with Plan-ED - I didn't have time to talk about this game, but it's on my blog here. This is a cross-curricular activity requiring mathematical skills (pattern recognition, planning, and analysis) and language arts skills (written and verbal).
  • Finding good logic games - There is no "one" great place to find games, and certainly there are great games that aren't technology based. Online, searching for "logic games" is a mixed bag, with some sites that are too ad-filled, and too many distractions for students. If you are interested, probably the best thing is to follow the blogs of logic game enthusiasts, for example PC Logic Games, which, despite the name, often reviews free online games. One site that at least offers good reviews of the games is Caiman Free Games. Just avoid the shooting games and the games labeled "educational".

Look for:
  • game play you can plan and discuss
  • programmable
  • supports big ideas
  • offers multiple ways to “win”
  • slow play not twitch play
  • something you can get better at
Virtual Worlds
  • Teen Second Life in Education - If you are interested in using virtual worlds in the classroom the best place to start is with Peggy Sheehy and the work she has done with Teen Second Life at Suffern Middle School in New York.
  • Quest Atlantis - For ages 9-15. It's a little tough to figure out what exactly you DO in Quest Atlantis, but it seems to focus on environmental awareness and social responsibility. It's free, but they prioritize the applications, and it's not clear how many they accept. Although it runs in a browser, you must download a special version of Internet Explorer (Windows and Mac) and open a firewall for the connection to the server.
  • River City - For grades 6-9. As visitors to River City, students travel back in time, bringing their 21st century skills and technology to address 19th century problems. Based on authentic historical, sociological, and geographical conditions, River City is a town besieged with health problems. Students work together in small research teams to help the town understand why residents are becoming ill. Students use technology to keep track of clues that hint at causes of illnesses, form and test hypotheses, develop controlled experiments to test their hypotheses, and make recommendations based on the data they collect, all in an online environment. It's free to schools, with free online training. You have to install an application and run Internet Explorer (Windows only)

Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Games


Note: there are many, many games that quiz students on content. I just don't put them in same category as simulations and games that require critical thinking. It's sometimes hard to figure out which games are games and which are simply "game-like". You just have to play them. There are clues, however.
  • "Mini-games" is a dead giveaway. These will always be simple click/twitch games that may use a content pool to deliver a continuous stream of "content"
  • Descriptions that use the words: content or deliver
  • Assessment that includes "time on task" (a school invented term)
  • "So much fun the kids won't know they are learning!" - Run away! Kids who play games aren't being fooled into playing them. They play them because they are challenging and fun. Don't look at games as a way to "trick" students into learning, games work because they are NOT tricking anyone into playing.
Why Use Video Games/Overcoming Objections


Communities for using games in school
Game Design

Communities for teaching game design in the classroom

Seymour Papert - Collected Worksand Wikipedia entry. Seymour Papert is the father of educational computing and invented the Logo programming language. He often talks about children making games as part of his vision that students use computers as constructive materials in every aspect of education. A good article to start with is Looking at Technology Through School-colored Spectacles.

Research which supports the value of game programming as an educationally valuable activity for children of all ages.

Alan Kay - creator of Squeak & Etoys - TED Talk - A Powerful Idea about Teaching Ideas. Wikipedia entry.

  • The Game Maker’s Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners
    by Jacob Habgood & Mark Overmars (Amazon link)
  • Minds in Play: Computer Game Design as a Context for Children’s Learning (Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers, 1995) (Amazon link) (Questia link)

General Papers
//Moving Learning Games Forward// - takes a look at the gaming landscape, both learning games and commercial games, and makes recommendations to a broad range of stakeholders on reinforcing and expanding the growing interest in learning games.

Sylvia Martinez is a veteran of interactive entertainment and educational software industries, with over a decade of design and publishing experience.
Prior to joining Generation YES, Sylvia oversaw product development, design and programming as Vice President of Development for Encore Software, a publisher of game and educational software on PC, Internet and console platforms. Sylvia was also involved in the company's Internet initiatives, including, the award-winning web site that provides math help to students worldwide.

For seven previous years, Sylvia was an executive producer at Davidson & Associates/Knowledge Adventure, a leading educational software developer. She designed, developed and launched dozens of software titles including Math Blaster: Algebra, Math Blaster: Geometry and Maurice Ashley Teaches Chess. In addition, she was responsible for Educast - the first Internet service for teachers that provided teachers with free news, information and classroom resources.

Prior to joining Davidson & Associates, Martinez spent six years at Magnavox Research Labs, where she developed high-frequency receiver systems and navigation software for GPS satellites.

Sylvia has been a featured speaker at national education technology conferences in areas ranging from the use of the Internet in schools, Web 2.0 technologies, student leadership, project-based and inquiry-based learning with technology and gender issues in science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) education.

She holds a Master's in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Contact info
Twitter: smartinez
Skype**: sylviakmartinez
View Sylvia Martinez's profileon LinkedIn
View Sylvia Martinez's profileon LinkedIn