The key to Break the ¨All Work No Play¨ Cycle

What is the life of first year students looks like? Standardised classes and standardised exams after classes. Solutions to problems are set. The line between right and wrong is clear. They need to recite, repeat and regurgitate facts to earn credits and pass the test. This worn out routine has bored students and generated huge amounts of class distractions, which have been exacerbated by the ubiquitous existence of smart devices. Kids are kept away from play since primary school.

This is not a healthy phenomenon, which has drawn the lots attention of social scientists, who come up with studies and conclusions saying ¨lack of childhood play can disrupt normal social, emotional, cognitive development¨. If left free, children will make their own rules, unleashing the boundless potential and innovation, which serves as a huge contribution to a structured gaming like sports and board games.

The process of game designing can be a leveraged as a process of kids learning from and getting to know each other better, thus improving their social and emotional development. But the benefits of letting kids play have not stopped there. It´s proved that the cognitive development can also be improved along the way. Children come out smarter after exploiting what´s behind the game, and how to design a game of their own because they are leveraging the power of their imagination, logics, critical thinking and computational skills. They also need to conquer challenges and obstacles in the way of playing. This process would prepare them better for the future adventure, and their readiness to accomplish tasks.

No One Left Behind, the co-funded EU Horizon 2020 project, is the kind of project that would break the boring circle of ¨all work and no play¨ by implementing all the benefits entailed with playing. Pocket Code special version provides the necessary supporting tool to bring back the play element in classes with curriculum related subject and learning platform.


Last Call to Abstract Paper Submission to ITAG

No One Left Behind with its partner Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is calling your attention for the approaching of the extended abstract paper and poster submissions deadline: Friday 20 May 2016.

The Interactive Technologies And Games Conference (ITAG) that will happen during 26-27 Oct. 2016, hosted by NTU, is a platform with particular focus on gamifications which have potential impact in multifaceted areas. It provides a channel to an interesting, easily engaged and interacted approach to Education, Health and Disability.

ITAG is a conference with low entrance fee to include not only high-profile researchers, technical experts but also practitioners, teachers, trainers, clinicians, members of the public, games and education companies with an interest in these topics. It’s a place intends to fertilize ideas, create new opportunities, and innovative future projects and partnerships.

In spirit of ITAG, it collects papers and workshop activity ideasi before the conference. The abstract versions are intended to be submitted through TIAGE on-line portal before 20 May, 2016, this FRIDAY! If anyone of you, no matter what you do, as long as you have new ideas about how to make an impact in the field of Education, Health and Clinicians, you are still welcomed to submit your abstract paper!

The conference encourages multidisciplinary papers and examples of themes and topics include, but are not restricted to:

* Games for Education, Health and Wellbeing

* Assistive Technologies, The Internet of Things, Location based Games, Robotics, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Serious Games and Mobile and Wearable  Systems all in a health, education and wellbeing context

* User Centred Design, Co-Design, Participatory Design, Accessibility and Making  all in a health, education and wellbeing context

* Technology to support interaction: including natural user interaction, multimodal interaction, BCIs, NeuroGaming

* Games and Psychology: Player typologies and identities, psychosocial implications, Psychology of game design.


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No One Left Behind helps you learn with games and games jams

We tend to associate games with nothing but fun and entertainment, while work with real learning and knowledge, until we uncovered the educational significance of games and game jams. For example, Alice Game Jam showcases a wonderland with hidden significance of deep learning, where kids can learn while playing games. Not as simplistic as conventional games, those games are educational ones, embedded with the pursuit towards technology and the spirit of entrepreneurship. Being utilized into schools, workplaces and other learning sites, they can help boost students’ desire to learn, explore and excel.

Within the scope of No One Left Behind , The Teachers’ Guide provides  educators with templates to create high quality games for learning with Pocket Code.

It is structured in three steps, Plan, Teach and Improve, which are designed to ease implementation, understand the rational of the template, and facilitate the operational process following Pocket Code Guide. Therefore, during the coordination and engagement with students, teachers can leverage the ¨mechanics and dynamics¨ that Pocket Code provides to transfer the element of fun and entertainment in a pedagogic and academic environment that is traditionally static.

In the No One Left Behind project , Alice Game Jam bridges the gap between gaming-techniques and pedagogy across academic subjects, grades, schools and national boundaries. The concept applied behind the Game Jam is to provide equal learning opportunities to students, the impact of which can go beyond national level.

During the Alice Game Jam, games from different continents were submitted (Europe, Africa, America -north and south-, and Asia) with different game-based initiatives (from games to storytelling narratives).  95 participants of the Alice Game Jam connected a single proposed theme with different games and stories. The 95 project submissions were mainly driven by schools.

Thus, taking Game Jams to classes can also support the development of the children’s social and academic attitudes. Furthermore, the students’ various talents are nurtured by building or enriching personal or collaborative knowledge with other social and cultural perspectives. Therefore, it is safe to say that the Game Jam tool has strong potential to be adapted and taken to classes to support learning and teaching strategies.


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No One Left Behind empowers Spanish school in the First Lego League Championship

We are proud to announce that the school SaFa Úbeda, one of the pilot participants of the No One Left Behind project  in Spain adopted Pocket Code in the First Lego League 2016 .

SaFa Úbeda has been one of the most active candidates of the First Lego League since 2014. In March, 2016, The Úbeda Team (Lego Tec SaFa Úbeda) ranked the second with the guidance of couch Andrés Romero Peralta in the local championship of Granada .

The FIRST LEGO® League Open European Championship is an international robotics tournament hosting more than 90 teams from more than 80 countries all over the world. It presents an international platform that inspires future leaders and innovators in science and technology through challenges, competitions and team work. Young candidates of 10-16 years old will be guided by adult coaches in FIRST LEGO team to research a real-world problem of their interests, such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to come up with a solution, the process of which requires them to design, build, program a robot with LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology. The competition would be on a table-top playing field.

Pocket Code and No One Left Behind  support all the LEGO MINDSTORMS® NXT motors and sensors. Candidates could give their robots with face, voice, or even realise face detection, which means the robot can turn to and speak with someone in front of it. With Pocket Code, all these exciting features would be achieved in the easiest way, only by mounting the phone on robot and programming through visual blocks in mobiles or tablets. No PC or laptop needed!

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Jam Session No One Left Behind & Pocket Code at Net Futures 2016

The No One Left Behind partners from Graz University of Technology and INMARK organized a Game Jam session at the Net Futures 2016:  Driving Growth in the #DigitalSingleMarket conference in Brussels on 20-21 April to explain how relying on smartphones and Game Jams using Pocket Code can close the digital skills gap in ICT technologies.

The Game Jam session showed how creating games on one’s own smartphone can strongly motivate kids to acquire the coding skills that are fundamentally important to our present and, even more, to all our future. By promoting the use of Pocket Code, No One Left Behind supports schools to develop a new environment where students can learn how to program by creating games/apps directly on their smartphone.

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