The Game of Learning

Serious Games

The Serious Games Showcase & Challenge is the premiere venue for recognition of excellence in the field of Serious Games development. The challenge prides itself on helping to foster creativity and innovation in Serious Games for the last seven years as part of NTSA's I/ITSEC Conference held in Orlando, FL. At STEAM3 we will feature:

 People's Choice Award:   Eagle Eye by U.S. Army's PdM Ground Maneuvers

People's Choice Award:  
Eagle Eye by U.S. Army's PdM Ground Maneuvers

  Game Over Gopher  New Mexico State University Learning Games Lab

Game Over Gopher
New Mexico State University Learning Games Lab

 Best student-developed Serious Game: Cyber Heist

Best student-developed Serious Game: Cyber Heist

 Student Choice Award Winner:   National Geographic - The Underground Railroad Journey to Freedom

Student Choice Award Winner:  
National Geographic - The Underground Railroad Journey to Freedom


Part of a qualitative STEM study that seeks to explore how young learners distribute cognition and negotiate collaborative learning and problem solving with a simulated personal assistant for learning while immersed in a virtual world called the Next Generation Learner Imaginarium. This prototype features transmedia game elements, imagination, discovery learning, and bioscience content aimed at 5th grade learners. 

Participants enter the Imaginarium and encounter imaginary creatures in a virtual environment. Their mission will be to identify and classify the most promising for inclusion in a top 10 list. All the while, learners will use an interactive simulated Personal Assistant for Learning (PAL) that is tailored to meet each learner’s individual preferences.

The Imaginarium is used to teach adaptability in the context of “common good” decision making that is centered on sustainability science and ecosystems.


Drawing Apprentice
Brian Magerko, Georgia Tech

Creative technologies have come a long way in supporting human creativity in a variety of different ways. Perhaps one of the most influential Creativity Support Tools (CST) is Adobe’s Photoshop, which has become a staple in many creative vocations. However, with all its capabilities and features, Photoshop, and other programs like it, never intentionally contribute to an artwork. Modern CSTs have been extremely effective at helping users build up skills, explore creative possibilities, perform complex simulations, and record and track their ideas. Now, with recent advances in artificial intelligence and computational creativity, researchers are beginning to develop co-creative computer applications to enrich the human creative process through collaboration. Instead of just supporting human creativity, this new breed of machine would be able to perceive, analyze, and intentionally contribute to a shared creative artifact. What happens when computers start to become colleagues in the creative process? How can autonomous agents be designed to co-create with humans in open ended and inherently ambiguous domains, such as art? With the Drawing Apprentice, we explore how computers can co-create with humans in abstract art.

The Drawing Apprentice is an enactive AI drawing partner. It is ‘enactive’ in the sense that its contributions are improvisational and based on the input of the user. There is a reciprocal feedback loop between the user and the system. The system models the user’s creative process and artistic style to determine how to collaborate through real time improvisation. As a result, the user is influenced, and perhaps even inspired, by contributions made by the Drawing Apprentice. Instead of a creative human or creative computer, we conceptualize the human-AI pair as a creative system whereby creativity emerges through an interactive and negotiated process of collaboration, experimentation, play, and learning by doing.

Tinkering: Play Station
Olga Jarrett

According to Dale Dougherty, editor and publisher of Make Magazine, “tinkering is the essential art of composing and decomposing physical things to suit a variety of purposes --- from practical to whimsical.” This hands-on station focuses on playful activities that encourage experimentation and scientific thinking. Influenced by the Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium Museum of Science, Art, and Human Perception in San Francisco, this station involves playful, exploratory activities that are both high tech and low tech. The tinkering that they promote is valuable in learning about how to experiment as well as in developing concepts about electrical circuits, color mixing, aerodynamics, and light and vibrations. Activities include paper spinners, squishy circuits, color mixing with spinning tops, “MaKey MaKey” music production, and a laser light show with junk materials. Stop by to tinker and pick up a handout with instructions and resources. For everyone who is not too grown up to play!

Olga S. Jarrett, PhD has recently retired as Professor of Science Education in the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Georgia State University where she taught master's degree classes in science, social studies, and child development as well as a doctoral seminar in play. Her research and publications focus on the importance of recess and the role of play in developing interest in science. She is a past president of The Association for the Study of Play and the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play.