Reimagine Learning

Going to School on the Electoral College

Victoria Van Voorhis

by Victoria Van Voorhis on Oct 19, 2016 2:46:49 PM


Try telling a classroom of students that it’s possible for a presidential candidate to win the majority of votes in the U.S., but still lose the election—and that it has happened four times. Bush v. Gore wasn't the first time! 

According to Allan DeCarlo, an AP American History teacher at Pittsford Mendon High School and Voters Ed user, the Electoral College is one of the most difficult concepts for students to understand.

To help simplify election teaching, we’ve put together an infographic to outline the basics of the Electoral College. Explore the concepts of electoral vote, popular vote and swing states with this resource below.

The Magic 8 Ball says "Concentrate and Ask again": Can You Predict this Year’s Election?

Annie

by Annie on Aug 25, 2016 5:12:40 PM

 

Topics: Education, Back to School, Educational Gaming, Election 2016

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Top 5 Reasons Why Videogames Are Actually Good for Kids

Jackson Wheeler

by Jackson Wheeler on Aug 17, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Hi, I’m Jackson.

As someone who boasts an extensive resume of boss-beatings, puzzle solvings, and steely resolve in the face of the princess continually being in another castle, interning at a company that makes educational videogames has been pretty sweet. There are some who might disagree with the compatibility of education and gaming, but to me, they’ve always been necessarily intertwined.
 Here are five of my own reasons why I believe videogames are not just a worthwhile investment for entertainment’s-sake but also for their educational value.

Topics: learning, Education, Games

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"Eyes on the Future" Future of Game Design Industry (podcast)

John Jordan - Product Owner

by John Jordan - Product Owner on Jul 21, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Tory Van Voorhis of Second Avenue Learning joins Jennifer Hinton of MAGIC Spell Studios at RIT, Jason Arena of Workinman Interactive, to discuss the game design industry.

Topics: Martha Madison & Voters Ed

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Not so Flashy... Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Top 5 Considerations when migrating from Flash

Stan Monu

by Stan Monu on May 24, 2016 6:05:36 PM



Let’s be honest, you and Flash were great partners when you met. It was a great beginning. Together, you enabled students and faculty to have a nearly seamless user experience across a wide variety of platforms.  But it just isn’t working any more, and you've grown apart. Flash’s computational overhead leaves you feeling drained, its lack of support on mobile devices means you can’t travel together and perhaps most importantly Flash can’t keep a secret, so your privacy feels vulnerable. And your friends, like Chrome, are telling you it is time...

Topics: Flash, conversion, transform, migration, LTI, xAPI, HTML5

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Why Classroom Playtesting Sessions Are Required

Brian Regan and Victoria Van Voorhis

by Brian Regan and Victoria Van Voorhis on Feb 25, 2016 5:18:23 PM

Making videogames for a living is awesome!

I’ve helped create and shape videogames for many years now, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of working with talented, creative people who share my passion and want nothing more than to build something that will knock your socks off. Game development can also be really, really difficult as well. One of the most challenging aspects of making a good game is the fact that, as content creators, we never actually have full control over the content once the game is done and in the hands of consumers. We build the framework and lay the ground rules, but the details are handled by the individual players.

This is a unique challenge for videogame production, as compared to other creative pursuits such as filmmaking, book-writing, or painting. Because the consumer of a game has a certain level of control over the experience, it is impossible to foresee all the possible ways in which players will interact with our games. Educational games add an additional layer of complexity, since we have to ensure players not only have fun with our games, but must retain the information as well. This leads to one of the most important questions in our field: how can we ensure our games are fun and perform well, when we cannot even begin to fathom all the different ways in which players will interact with them?

Topics: Serious Play, Games, Voters Ed, Martha Madison

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Put the Power of the Pundits in Your Classroom or Your Living Room

Victoria Van Voorhis

by Victoria Van Voorhis on Feb 1, 2016 7:30:00 AM

Recenly the Iowa caucus, the first test of electability for many of the presidential candidates, was held.  Like many voters, we at Second Avenue are thinking about the 2016 election and following it closely.  Here are some of the questions we found ourselves asking: 

How did two states, Iowa and New Hampshire, come to dominate the early discourse in the presidential primary?

How has the selection of presidential candidates evolved over time?

Is this process partially responsible for the increasingly bitter partisan divide?

How have parties evolved and how has the geographical landscape of party affiliations changed along with them?

How, as a parent or educator can you have this conversation in a constructive, non-partisan way in a classroom or in your family room?

Lots of questions, so we rolled up our sleeves and decided to answer them with input from middle school and high school teachers and expert insight from Professors Ferber and Sutton from the Rochester Institute of Technology Political Science Department

Topics: Technology, Ux

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Creating Future Rock Stars: Inclusion, STEM, and Games

Victoria Van Voorhis & Anne Snyder, Ph.D.

by Victoria Van Voorhis & Anne Snyder, Ph.D. on Dec 31, 2015 11:51:47 AM

Women, a little while ago, I found myself feeling a bit like a high-schooler who has just spied a favorite lead singer at a concert…except instead of a concert I was in the executive offices of the White House. During our meeting on educational technology, I thought I caught a glimpse of someone really incredible in the hallway just outside the door.

“Was that Megan Smith?! She is a rock star!!!!!” I whispered. Indeed it was. The Chief Technology Officer of the United States and previous VP of Google was right in the hallway, waiting to talk to our group about inclusion as well as game-based assessment. I was over the moon – this remarkable woman has helped transform the world of technology, while also supporting the inclusion of women in minorities in both education and the workplace.

This topic, inclusion, was one of the themes of her discussion with our group. Referencing Grace Hopper, one of the first American computer scientists and inventor of the first programming compiler, Ms. Smith reminded us of the great potential talent in STEM among our women, and minority groups. She asked us to focus our efforts on repairing the wide representation gap between these groups and majority groups in the STEM fields. The under-representation problem has persisted for far too long, and Ms. Smith suggested that educational games and access to low-cost maker technology such as Raspberry Pi offer partial solutions to this complex problem.

Topics: STEM, game-based assessment

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2015 Congressional App Challenge - Computer Science & STEM

Victoria Van Voorhis & Anne Snyder, Ph.D.

by Victoria Van Voorhis & Anne Snyder, Ph.D. on Dec 23, 2015 7:00:00 AM

On a recent Saturday morning, local participants were invited to the Student Innovation Center at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where Representative Louise Slaughter introduced this year’s Annual Congressional App Challenge. In its second year, the App Challenge invites high school students across the nation to submit their designs for original mobile and computer applications.  

As representatives from the industry, Second Avenue Learning presented on the importance of diversity in product teams and end-user requirements gathering and testing. Faculty from the University of Rochester discussed game design, the Strong National Museum provided information on game history, and a member of local game studio, Workinman, explained important factors in game development. All of these issues are of critical importance for app development.

Topics: Technology, Workflow, Inbound

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Ed Games Expo

Victoria Van Voorhis & Anne Snyder, Ph.D.

by Victoria Van Voorhis & Anne Snyder, Ph.D. on Dec 17, 2015 3:35:56 PM

The ED Games Expo - A game night extravaganza!

Second Avenue was delighted to participate in this year’s ED Games Expo, sponsored by 1776 and the Entertainment Software Association! After all, everyone loves a good “game night” from time to time, right? (In our office, when we finish our writing, designing, coding, and testing for the day, many of us play Super Mash Brothers, a vintage game like Street Fighter, or even old school board games – they help us think about our own designs). The ED Games Expo was like a game night extravaganza, with attendees not only playing games, but also meeting the developers.

This year’s event featured 30 developers, funded by Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation and four other Federal agencies. The Expo also showcased commercial learning games developers, including Minecraft EDU, Ubisoft, and PBS Kids ScratchJr.

Topics: game-based assessment

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