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Time to Play and Learn: The 2019 ED Games Expo at the Kennedy Center

A designer stands over a table with the Happy Atoms game and explains it to 3 students in front of the table.

Game-based learning is gaining popularity in education as more young people and adults learn from games both in and out of the classroom. Well-designed games motivate students to actively engage in content that relates to coursework and master challenging tasks designed to sharpen critical thinking, problem solving, employment and life skills.

Every year, the ED Games Expo promotes game-based learning though the display of exciting educational games and technology. With the 6th Annual ED Games Expo taking place next week, here are 5 things to know about this year’s Expo:

Elementary aged students sit in front of the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center as presenters prepare to present. 1.) The ED Games Expo will take place on January 8 from 4-8PM at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Expo is free and open to the public. Expo attendees can demo 125 educational learning games while meeting the developers. The games and technologies are for students of all ages in education and special education and cover topics including STEM, reading, social studies and social development. Many incorporate emerging technologies, such as virtual reality, 3D printing, engaging narrative adventures and puzzles.

 2.) This year the Expo is hosting activities to showcase the role of STEM and the arts in the development of learning games. On January 7 from 10AM-2PM, eight learning game developers will provide TED-style talks to Washington, DC-area students titled “How The Game Was Made.”  The talks will illustrate the many roles that it takes to develop games, including the concept creator, engineer, coder, web designer, graphics artist, script writer, musician, teacher, education researcher, learning scientist, business expert and more. The talks are intended to inform and inspire students in their own education and future career aspirations, from STEM to literature to the arts to thinking like an entrepreneur. The talks will be live simulcast and available as recordings on the Kennedy Center website.

3.) The Learning Game Awards, a special competition launched this year, will showcase the original “Art,” “Musical Scores” and “Video Demonstrations” in the Expo’s learning games. Be sure to check out the entries and vote for your favorites.

 A student is assisted by a teacher as they try on a virtual reality headset and play games.4.) Many of the games and technologies at the Expo were developed with funding from more than 25 government programs, including ED’s Small Business Innovation Research program, the Institute of Education Sciences, the Office of Special Education Programs, the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education and the Office of Innovation and Improvement.

 5.) To learn more about the Expo and to RSVP for next week’s event, contact [email protected].


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