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Ready Player One? Augmenting Digital Game-Based Learning

Change display time — Currently: Central Daylight Time (CDT) (Event time)
Location: Room 343-4
Experience live: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite
Watch recording: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite

Explore and create : Creation lab

Rosalind Abreu  
Ellen Gianakis  

In this interactive session, learn how to “gamify” your classroom to foster student inquiry and increase student collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. Explore how to leverage CoSpaces and Metaverse to facilitate gameplay that bolsters student engagement and come away with practical strategies and resources to aid your implementation.

Audience: Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators, Professional developers
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: iOS, Android, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: To best participate in this session, participants should bring a device such as a laptop, cell phone, or tablet.

Required Accounts:
CoSpaces: https://cospaces.io/edu/
Metaverse: https://studio.gometa.io/discover/me

Topic: Augmented, mixed & virtual reality
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this interactive session is to connect attendees with the tools, knowledge, and strategies necessary to support students through the AR game design process. Participants will be able to engage in immersive gamified learning experiences curated by students across a wide range of subject areas including, but not limited to, ELA, mathematics, history, science, world languages, and engineering. The session will include an introduction to Augmented Reality gaming, and discuss the benefits of empowering students to create authentic, interactive game-based AR experiences to communicate complex ideas with others. By participating in this session, the attendee will:
1. Discuss the impact of game-based AR experiences on student learning and its significance in fostering life skills such as creativity, critical-thinking, and problem-solving
2. Learn how to teach students to curate game-based AR experiences using applications such as CoSpaces and Metaverse to transform students from content consumers to AR content creators
3. Gather project ideas through exposure to student created examples and scaffolded templates for supporting students through the AR design process
4. Gain access to resources and tutorials for each platform referenced within the presentation that they can utilize to turnkey this experience within their schools

Evidence of success will be determined and measured as the participants share their game-based collaborative AR creations with their fellow attendees and global communities at the end of the session.


The presentation will include the following components:

1. Rationale for Student Creation of Game-Based AR Experiences in the Classroom (5 minutes): We will briefly review the differences between augmented, mixed, and virtual realities and then share our experiences of promoting student creation of game-based AR experiences in the classroom as well as the impact that it has had on our students’ personal, academic, and social development. We will then offer a brief discussion of current theories of AR pedagogy in order to provide a theoretical framework to inform practices within the classroom and inspire teachers to transform students from content consumers to creators. Further, we will review research such as Tillan & Smith’s (2018) work on the development of classroom-based AR and support for successfully incorporating it into classroom instruction. In addition, we will review research such as Pratama & Setyaningrum’s (2018) study which revealed that game-based learning had positive effects on students’ cognitive, social, and emotional development.We will distribute an extensive annotated bibliography of AR resources and platforms that we use within our classrooms to gamify learning.

2. Virtual Gallery Walk and Station Preview (10 minutes): During this portion of the presentation, attendees will use their devices to engage in an interactive gallery walk where they will explore student designed game-based AR artifacts from a wide range of subject areas including mathematics, history, language arts, science, and world languages. In addition, they will gain insight to students’ experiences with interactive learning environments and how students can use various tools to engage their peers and demonstrate their enduring understandings. Further, participants will gather project ideas through their exposure to the provided student creations. During the gallery walk, attendees will be able to preview the creation stations that they will be using later in the session.

3. Station Rotation: Interactive Attendee Design of Game-Based AR Experiences (30 minutes): Attendees will have the opportunity to roam through self-directed station to station experiences and engage in the creation of game-based AR experiences that fit their curriculum and diverse student needs and interests. This will immerse participants in interactive, hands-on learning experiences that parallel those of their students. As attendees move from station to station, the presenters will circulate and assist participants in their design processes. Stations will provide tutorials on how to construct game-based AR experiences using platforms such as CoSpaces and Metaverse. This station rotation will embrace the flow of a makerspace and therefore attendees will have the opportunity to explore their own interests and become innovative designers with the support and coaching of the presenters.

4. Virtual Sharing and Exploration of Learning Artifacts (10 minutes): After designing the game-based AR experience of their choosing, each participant will generate a QR code to share out their learning artifact. Session participants will have an opportunity to explore one another’s final products and network with one another during this time.

5. Roundtable Question and Answer (5 minutes): We will provide time at the end of our presentation for a roundtable question and answer session where participants can engage in peer-to-peer interaction to discuss how they can encourage students to be content creators of game-based AR experiences in their unique classrooms, and use the principles and pedagogy discussed in a manner that suits their curriculum as well as students’ interests and needs. During this time, attendees will receive digital resources that include student project descriptions and timelines that they can adapt for use within their schools.

Supporting research

Brown, A. & Green, T. (2016). Virtual Reality: Low-cost tools and resources for the classroom. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-016-0102-z

Burns, M. (2018). Virtual Reality without a headset? Real classroom strategies for VR. Retrieved from: https://classtechtips.com/2018/02/25/virtual-reality-without-headset

Southgate, E., Smith, S., Cividino, C., Saxby, S., Kilham, J., Eather, G., Scevak, J., Summerville, D., Buchanan, R., & Bergin, C. (2019). Embedding immersive virtual reality in classrooms: Ethical, organisational and educational lessons in bridging research and practice. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcci.2018.10.002

Merchant, Z., Goetz, E., Cifuentes, L., Keeney-Kennicutt, W., & Davis, T. (2014). Effectiveness of virtual reality-based instruction on students’ learning outcomes in K-12 and higher education: A meta-analysis. Computers & Education. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.07.033

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Rosalind Abreu, Diana C. Lobosco STEM Academy

Rosalind is a Secondary Mathematics Educator who aims to diversify the instructional delivery and learning experience for students. She has a Bachelor of Science in Teaching Mathematics from NYU and a Master of Science in Teacher Leadership from Quinnipiac University. She recently collaborated with Ellen Gianakis and other colleagues on a virtual presentation at NCTE on Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Across Disciplines.

Ellen Gianakis, Colts Neck High School

Ellen Gianakis currently teaches AP Language and Composition at Diana C. Lobosco STEM Academy. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Education from Montclair State University, a Master of Arts in English Education from Columbia University, and an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Seton Hall University. She previously served as Grover Cleveland Middle School’s Teacher Research Group coordinator and spearheaded research projects centered on elevating student achievement and engagement. Ellen has presented at several national and state conferences, and is passionate about connecting her students with authentic learning experiences that transcend the four walls of the classroom.

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