“The Role of Assessment”
– Alex Games (Education Design Director, Microsoft), Zoran Popovic (Associate Professor, University of Washington), James Portnow (CEO, Rainmaker Games), Bob Dolan (Senior Research Scientist, Pearson)

Some really insightful thoughts on how to assess the effectiveness of any education.

several useful quotes from some smart speakers (thinking of education as a process instead of a product, to the ideas around how games can assess for the rest of your life to… much more).

Bob Dolan: His background is in visual neuroscience.

Alex Games (Gah-miss): notes that assessment cannot be divided from the content being taught.
Games at their heart are interactive systems.
The book doesn’t teach you. The game doesn’t teach you. You teach yourself, with their help.
Don’t apply a level of agency to the game.

Zoran Popovic : (kinda rambles)
The “game” is a self adaptive presentation of challenges, adapting to each student, presenting the best thing to each in order to keep them engaged and push the boundaries of their knowledge.
Notes that games are bad at “transfer” [? what does this term mean exactly?]

Says tetris is teaching rotational invariance. Studies show that is what is really being used. You lose the educational effect, by of over-fitting. Suggests that if you want this to work, you really need to change the shapes over time. So you could apply to any shape, rather than fitting to small set.

James Portnow:
(…Paces a bit, to be different from all stuffy smart guys the sitting…sigh.)
“We’ve all seen serious games that are a series of flash cards with some (graphics/flashy distractions) wrapped around them, and we all know they don’t work.”

Bob Dolan:
“One of my great passions is seeing where educators are applying one size fit all”
He is really excited about “blending learning.” (Blended?)…
He really wants to incorporate the teacher into the student/game relationship. And process. We are no longer teaching teachers to get involved (and roam the class and identify common misconceptions before they spread to far). Hopes that this data can scaffold teachers into this (by presenting stats and such to them).

“Identify during design, what our assumptions are about students abilities – And identify when are these assumptions are going to create barriers for students.” whatever they bring to the table, we have to give them an opportunity to learn (by law).

Moderator asks: Why do you need games for assessment?
Alex: The kinds of knowledge that emerges from games is very different from what emerges from standardized paper tests. These present knowledge as a disjointed series of facts. “sterile knowledge” you only use on tests. You want something you use in the real world. Games capture imagination of people around the world. Because they start with curiosity.
Games let us think about knowledge as a process instead of a product.

Notes that schools were originally started to solve the problems of education that we are wrestling with now.

Zoran: the point of assessment is “how can I help this person the most”. Within a certain period of time, how can I advance this person’s curiosity the most.

“A blended approach is ideal. Sometimes gaming doesn’t help. And lots of standardized assessments aren’t about what they should be about. Sadly.”

James: we have to consider games as something not written by a machine. Notes how mods are assessed by other human beings “based on their story”

Moderator asks: What is your 5 person dream team for creating a game?
Zoran talks about multiple goals at same time…
James notes it is very hard to find designers who have a passion for the specific subject matter.

We see all the time that games teach the scientific process. But they are still considered kid toys. If you approach them thinking they won’t teach anything thing, then you won’t learn anything.

Science has shown that knowledge transfer doesn’t work…. Sequestered… Something.
“Don’t look at their answers look at their questions.”

Formative assessment is the kind where: you see what was learned, to know if you can move on. Also talks about Summative… something… But I missed it.

Q: Someone asks why STEM interest is down, when games are so up (his generation had less video games, but way more STEM interest)

no great answer…

SCORM” or other things offer standards for eLearning (apparently these are guidelines created by ADL and Department of Defense?).

… probably no need to check back on this one actually

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