2016 Tech Tool Tourney: Games Edition!

Round 3 voting is open! (updated 3/24/16)

What is the best game-based tool for learning? In the spirit of March Madness, join us for the Tech Tool Tourney, hosted by Common Sense Graphite and KQED MindShift. This 32-game bracket-style competition is a teacher-fueled smackdown of learning games thoroughly vetted by Graphite.

Your votes determine the winners of each round! If you aren’t familiar with a game, take a look at the Graphite review to learn more, or download it and give it a whirl. Be sure to return for each round of voting, then find out who takes the trophy on April 5.

Voting dates:
Round 1: 3/16 – 3/19
Round 2: 3/20 – 3/23
Round 3: 3/24 – 3/27
SEMIFINALS: 3/28 – 3/31
FINALS: 4/1 – 4/4
Winner announced: 4/5

Voting closes at 5pm Pacific on the last day of each round. We’ll announce the winner the next day at 11am Pacific and open up a new round of matches. We also have a printable TECH TOOL TOURNEY 2016 bracket for your convenience.

Congratulations to these 8 games! Here are short descriptions of round 3 games and links to Graphite reviews. Vote for your favorite games by clicking on the icons below.

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING

GoNoodle vsZoo U   
GoNoodle creates an efficient and effective way to provide five- to 10-minute bursts of physical exercise right in the classroom. What really stands out is the sheer variety of activities kids can participate in, from Zumba to yoga to Wii Sports-type running games.

Zoo U is a powerful and focused social problem-solving game designed to reach kids who need direct instruction. Given a variety of situations, conversations, and social encounters, kids make choices to practice building skills such as empathy, managing feelings, self-control, and more.

SCHOOL SUBJECTS

Kerbal Space Program  vs. Twelve a Dozen
Kerbal Space Program is somewhat like a NASA simulator except it’s set in a fictional star system and on the planet Kerbin. Players purchase various rocket parts, put them together, and then see if they can get their ship into orbit, to one of Kerbin‘s two moons, or even to another planet.This accurate rocket sim encourages trial-and-error learning and makes for great (often explosive) physics and engineering experiments.

Twelve a Dozen is an engrossing platform-style puzzle game that challenges kids’ math and thinking skills. As kids progress through 30 levels that increase in difficulty, they help the main character, Twelve, overcome math-related challenges, unlocking new levels as they go.

CRITICAL THINKING 

Zoombinis vs. Simple Machines, by Tinybop
Zoombinis is a logic puzzler that promotes powerful thinking skills, resilience, and decision-making through gameplay. Players command a crew of rotund blue characters uniquely defined by features such as eyes, hair, and nose color through a series of puzzles en route to a new communal home. Each puzzle requires pattern recognition, deductive and inductive reasoning, and spatial arrangement based on the characters’ defining features.

Simple Machines lets kids manipulate tools to explore physics concepts. They’ll use a wedge to split up an iceberg, push a lever to destroy a castle, drag planes into the sky with pulleys, lift fishtanks with screws, and play pinball with inclined planes. Each step of the way, kids are changing variables to see how the machine reacts.

CREATIVITY — Game Making

Construct 2 vs. Scratch
Construct 2 is a Web-based 2-D game-creation tool that doesn’t require knowledge of programming languages. It uses a paneled interface reminiscent of older Windows programs with the main panel in the middle containing a tabbed area that shows off the game’s playing area. Designers can drag these objects into the various game screens they’ve set up and then start programming behaviors for them.

Scratch is a project from MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten group that teaches math, programming, and creative expression through technology. Most of the learning is tacit and supported by classroom teachers helping kids learn to code. Students can create animations, games, and models that communicate artistry and learning.

Round 3 voting ends Sunday, 3/27/2016 at 5pm Pacific. Check this page on Monday, 3/28/2016 at 11am Pacific to see which games will advance to the semi-finals.  

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