An Engaging Family Podcast Featuring Biome Builder!

Our beautiful, treasured trophy from the Boston Festival of Independent Games!

Our beautiful, treasured trophy from the Boston Festival of Independent Games!

 

Team Killer Snails is working at a breakneck speed to bring our latest Virtual Reality game BioDive to life. Earlier this month we successfully demoed the inaugural scene at the ED Games Expo and since then we’ve been hard at work building out the next few scenes to share with teachers and friends at NSTA later this spring. So imagine our surprise when we recently discovered our latest tabletop game Biome Builder was featured in a podcast from our friends at Engaged Family Gaming!

Stephen Duetzmann hosts this podcast with the goal of giving “parents and families the information they need to get their family game on!” Stephen met KS team member Noelle Posadas at the Boston Festival of Independent Games (FIG) last fall where Biome Builder took home Best Tabletop Game.

After playing the game, Stephen and his wife Jenna were smitten with this “super fun” game that is “perfect in elementary school classroom to reinforce what students are learning.” We are really honored that Stephen and Jenna enjoyed the game so much that they featured it on their podcast. We’re even more excited that they think that Biome Builder is “a game that on a high level reinforces how ecosystems and biomes work.” Mission accomplished!


Do yourself a favor and check out this great podcast here. You can learn more about Biome Builder starting at minute 14 and also hear about an exciting new cooperative game Stuffed Fables with creator Jerry Hawthorne.

Killer Snails at the New York Hall of Science

Showing the Explainers some Killer Snails VR!

Showing the Explainers some Killer Snails VR!

We are thrilled that Killer Snails has been selected to take part in the very first cohort of Designers-In-Residence at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI). The program is a way to extend engagement within each of the museum’s exhibits alongside Explainers, the young women and men who guide visitors through their journeys at NYSCI. And starting this winter Killer Snails has the honor of working with four of these extraordinary Explainers as we create innovative new ways of looking at and engaging with some of our favorite exhibits at NYSCI.

From game design to experiential learning, these Explainers have a passion for science learning and communication, and we are so excited to be working with them. From February through April, we will document the process of exploring and inventing novel ways of engaging with the museums exhibits. Together we’ll work to extend opportunities for visitors to engage with exhibits from Connected Worlds to Color Shadows and share our progress with you. Better yet, come join us!

We’ll be at NYSCI along with the four stellar Explainers for three months starting on February 2nd. Come join us as each Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. as we explore the exhibits and discover new ways of interacting with the diverse exhibits within these halls.

ED Games Expo Recap & Ed Trends 2018

Two awesome children diving into the ocean with BioDive!

Two awesome children diving into the ocean with BioDive!

Over 90 learning games and immersive experiences were on display this week at the ED Games Expo in D.C.. From modeling molecules to arguing people’s rights, applied and playful learning took center stage at this gathering of creators who brought a host of inspiring and novel learning games and technologies. Here are just a few of the games we played that were our absolute favorites:

Electric Fun Stuff: Teachers know that student voice and student choice is key to making learning meaningful which is why Mission US is the Oregon Trail of our day! Players are cast in the role of young people who lived through extraordinary times during American History to make learning memorable. At the expo we were able to play in missions about both the Great Depression and the Revolutionary War and cannot wait to see what new missions they’ll be releasing in 2018 including some exciting new work in VR.

Schell Games: The brilliant minds at Schell games have an exciting track record creating incredible digital and virtual reality experiences and Happy Atoms is an exciting hybrid of their work. This is the app I wish we had in high school chemistry! This experience links magnetic molecular modeling set to a digital experience where students can see what molecule they built how it fits into the world of molecules. Also shared was their VR chemistry lab SuperChem where players perform experiments in a safe and immersive environment.

iCivics: Learning through applied practice is key to the success of iCivics games. Their new game Do I Have a Right places learners as lawyers specializing in constitutional law. In this game, players must determine if potential clients have rights, match those clients with the most qualified lawyers, and win cases to build their law firm. Never before have the Amendments been so relevant, exciting, and accessible!

Molecular Jig: The immersive nature of virtual reality means that abstract concepts can be made concrete and processes that are nearly impossible to see with the naked eye are at once clear. This is what makes the virtual reality game Immune Defense so awesome. In this game we took the driver’s seat to see proteins up close and personal. Riding across the surface of a cell we could see first hand how the shape of proteins affects their behavior. Biochemist Melanie Stegman has definitely found her calling in creating exciting games that make otherwise abstract science approachable and visible.

Issa’s Edible Adventures: Social studies meets math, science, and language arts in this interdisciplinary trip around the globe. We loved this digital game where we travel with Issa and her trusty sidekick Tartufo to international spots collecting ingredients to prepare a dish for a VIP foreign dignitary. Finally a digital game that shows how food is an exciting language that we all share.

Filament Games: Remember planting seeds and eagerly watching them grow on your classroom window sill? In Reach for the Sun students apply their knowledge of plant growth to even broader topics of plant reproduction and pollination pairing the exciting growth of their classroom plant to issues of survival and resources.

Alchemie: Chemistry teachers had many great tools to choose from at the expo including two from a former chemistry teacher! In ChirosVR middle and high school students are able to experiment with molecular construction while Connections and Isomers is a digital puzzle game that encourages learners to reach for the stars while they grow their dendrites!

 

Thank you to our friends who came out to play the demo of our newest game BioDive and BiomeBuilder! We missed our friends from Andamio and can’t wait to see what’s new with their games later this year when we meet up at the NSTA conference in Atlanta.

Great group of people playing Biome Builder!

Great group of people playing Biome Builder!

Looking back at 2017

2017 was an awesome year for us @KillerSnails1 and we’d like to share 9 reasons why we’re excited for #learninggames #vr & #STEMEducation in 2018 

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1. We received a @NSFSBIR grant to fund our #KillerIdeas for bringing VR to the classroom using @GooglePlay VR  #cardboard

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2.  We were >300 % funded @kickstarter for our second game #BiomeBuilder

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3. We met the awesome women of DolphinTank @lynnloacker & @SpringboardEnt and gained a new community of entrepreneurs!

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4. Our new game #BiomeBuilder won best game @BostonFIG !! Our amazing game designer @DopeAtNope brought home the trophy!

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5. We were named @nysci designers in residence and will spend Spring 2018 working with their awesome explainers on gaming and exhibitions... maybe even a new game! See more here!

 

6. Our new game #BiomeBuilder was nominated for @Playcrafting 16Bit award.. putting us two for two in games and nominations!! Very cool and grateful for the recognition...

 

7. We started a meetup for #VRinEducation to cultivate a community of learning game designers and educators using digital media to break barriers in the classroom and beyond. Our first @Meetup date is January 17. Come join the party

 

8. We launched our first game “Assassins of the Sea” on @iTunes ! Now you take play anytime and anywhere!

 

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9. We made lots of new friends, taught classes, and showcased our games at conferences all over the country. Shoutout to @nsf @1stPlayable @cunygames @AndamioGames @ThePocketLab @NeuroTinker #2018 we’re ready for you! @scimaven @lportnoy

Killer Snails and Electric Fun Stuff!

Killer Snails and Electric Fun Stuff!

 

 

 

Demo at the Kennedy Center on January 8th!

Come play with us!

Come play with us!

On January 8, KS is thrilled to go to the Kennedy Center for a day of demonstrating educational games! KS is bringing a virtual reality game, a digital game and a card game.


Attending last year was a wonderful opportunity to meet many other people working in the learning space. We tried other people’s experiences and received feedback on our game too.

This year, we are incredibly excited to unveil BioDive, our prototype virtual reality experience!

We’d love to see you there and hear your thoughts! Learn more: https://www.sbir.gov/node/1320867

Hear our Chief Scientist talk Gamification on Tuesday!

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Program Description

As our regular readers know, gamification is the process of taking something – a website, an app, an online community – and using game play to motivate and engage customers, and keep them coming back for more. Businesses in the education, marketing, sales, energy and health sectors have used gamification to increase engagement, and many others can benefit from it too.


Our chief scientist, Mandë Holford is joining an interactive webchat on Tuesday, December 12 at 11:00 a.m. EST/16:00 UTC to discuss how using gamification can add value to your product and more fully engage your customers. She and the other two participants will answer your questions live!

To participate in the conversation, visit www.gistnetwork.org/content/gist-online or submit your questions on Twitter by using #GISTTechConnect. The program will be in English with Spanish interpretation.

 

Why participate?

-Listen to a panel of experts discuss how gamification has impacted businesses

-Ask the experts your questions about adding game elements to your programs

-Learn the best uses of these techniques for increasing customer interaction

 

 

Speaker Biographies

Elena Bertozzi

Dr. Elena Bertozzi is an Associate Professor in Game Design & Development at Quinnipiac University. Dr. Bertozzi and her team have worked with scientists, artists and healthcare professionals on a variety of games that incentivize players to seek and achieve positive behavioral change. She has written extensively on gender, sexuality and technological self-efficacy. Motivated by her experiences in using games to address previously intractable problems, she studies ways in which interactive technologies can guide players towards better decision making based on accurate knowledge. She specializes in leveraging current technologies to produce low-cost 2D games that can be delivered over the most accessible device for the target audience.

Mande Holford

Dr. Mandë Holford is an Associate Professor in Chemistry at Hunter College and the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, with scientific appointments at the American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medical College. She is a World Economic Forum New Champion Young Scientist and recipient of the prestigious Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. Mande co-founded several initiatives including, KillerSnails.com, an award-winning learning games company that uses extreme creatures as a conduit to advance scientific learning, and RAISEW.org, a National Science Foundation (NSF) project to increase women in science. She also co-created the first Science Diplomacy course at The Rockefeller University to encourage early career scientists to think globally about the impacts of their research. She leads pioneering efforts in scientific research, education and policy.

Moderator: Josh Mandell

Joshua Mandell is currently an Adviser for Halcyon, a social enterprise incubator in Washington, D.C. that focuses on accelerating early stage startups solving 21st Century problems. Prior to Halcyon, Joshua served as a Senior Adviser for Innovation and Competitiveness to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Joshua was also the Science and Technology Program Officer at the World Bank Group focusing on building science and innovation capacity in the public and private sectors in lower and middle-income countries.

Our Game Designer Speaks at Pratt!

Noelle dispensing wisdom!

Noelle dispensing wisdom!

Our award-winning game designer, Noelle Posadas, gave a lecture yesterday at her alma mater to about two dozen current and former Pratt Institute students.

Noelle detailed a bit about her past year with Killer Snails which included coming up with the idea for Biome Builder, play testing it with hundreds of students at locations ranging from the American Museum of Natural History to the New York Hall of Science before launching it on Kickstarter.

One of the most important pieces of advice according to audience members were “what makes a good educational game is that the mechanics lead to learning”.

The center for career resources at Pratt live-streamed the talk which will be available on their site next week here and we highly recommend it to all!

Biome Builder is here!!!

We have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of our Biome Builder games from the manufacturer and they finally arrived!!

The story ends with this beautiful image:

Biome Builder looks lovely and we are so excited!

Biome Builder looks lovely and we are so excited!

But to show the full event, first, this nice man brought all the boxes:

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Then we had to open the first shipping box...

So far, so good... boxes look nice!

So far, so good... boxes look nice!

And then we were so excited!!

Lindsay shows off our amazing new game!

Lindsay shows off our amazing new game!

And now we will begin shipping out games to our Kickstarter supporters and pre-orders through our website!  In the next couple of weeks, the game will be available on Amazon through Amazon Launchpad in time for the holiday season! 

Trick or treat with Killer Snails & Playcrafting!

Noelle and Adam (an honorary Killer Snail) are playing Biome Builder and handing out Candy at Playcrafting's Trick or Treat Halloween Game Expo!

Not only can you play with the extreme creatures below (Narwhals and Sloths are awesome!) but there will be loads of other fun games to try as well. 

The event will be:

Microsoft- 11 Times Square, New York, NY 10036

We will be there from 2pm-7pm!

Hope to see lots of you there!

They may look innocent, but the Sloth and Narwhal are full of tricks!

They may look innocent, but the Sloth and Narwhal are full of tricks!

Biome Builder wins First Award!

We are SO THRILLED to announce that Biome Builder won the Best Family Game at the Boston Festival of Independent Games!

Pitching on Dolphin Tank!

Last night we had the opportunity to pitch on Springboard Enterprises Dolphin Tank!

Jessica in mid-pitch

Jessica in mid-pitch

Springboard Enterprise is a fantastic organization that offers unique events on topics useful to founders.  The Dolphin Tank events give founders the opportunity to practice pitching and receive feedback in a friendly environment. We were incredibly fortunate to have the chance to pitch at Davis Wright Tremaine law firm and we were given great feedback by the panelists: Amy Millman, President of Springboard Enterprises; Heather Myers, Strategist Spark No. 9; Kay Koplovitz, Co-Founder & Chairman, Springboard Enterprises andManaging Partner, Springboard Growth Capital; and Jisoo Kim, Associate, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. 

Not only did each of these women offer thoughtful feedback, but we also met many other fantastic people in the audience and we plan to continue these conversations!

Hunting for an adventure this weekend?

Are you on the hunt for an exciting activity this weekend? Team Killer Snails has you covered!

This fast-paced stacking game takes 15 minutes to play and is perfect for everyone ages 5-105!

This fast-paced stacking game takes 15 minutes to play and is perfect for everyone ages 5-105!

We will be play testing our brand new science game Biome Builder at the Discovery Room at the American Museum of Natural History this weekend from 2-5 p.m.

In this game you’ll learn about 48 unique creatures that are part of food chains in 4 biomes. But be careful, there are effect cards lurking in these decks! Your sister’s invasive species card may put the kibosh on your nearly perfect food chain, but you can always use a carrion card to take back the coveted great white shark.

This fast-paced stacking game takes 15 minutes to play and is geared towards players 5 and up. It’s perfect for the budding ecologist in all of us!

Come play with us!

Pronghorns and Parrot Fish and Fruit Bats @ Girls Prep?

On Tuesday, June 20th Team Killer Snails play tested our latest game Biome Builder with the incredible middle school students at Girls Prep in NYC. Over the course of the school day 168 girls at this Bronx school played this fast-paced card game.

Students at Girls Prep Playing Biome Builder

Students at Girls Prep Playing Biome Builder

Sixth-grade science teacher Ms. Hill looked on while her students engaged in gameplay and was excited to see that, “my students are actively applying what they’ve learned in my class about food webs!”

In our continued efforts to ensure that our games are as educational as they are fun, Girls Prep middle schoolers took quick pre- and post-tests around game play to see if building biomes and using effect cards really did improve learning.

Game Designer, Illustrator, & KS Team Member Noelle Posadas Play Tests with Students at Girls Prep!

Game Designer, Illustrator, & KS Team Member Noelle Posadas Play Tests with Students at Girls Prep!

Our results were astounding! After a single period of game play Girls Prep students demonstrated an impressive gain of knowledge of 14.8%! These incredible students were able to improve their ability to:

Explain a biome by 28%
Give examples of a biome by 33.9%
Define/explain herbivores by 5.9%
Define/explain omnivores by 5.9%
Define/explain apex predators by 38.1%
Provide concrete examples of the results of climate change by 13.6%
Explain a food chain by 8.5%

What is more, we were thrilled to see that 31.9% of the students we met in June could see themselves as scientists! These bright students gave a host of reasons why they could see themselves as scientists including:

"I enjoy discovering new things."
"I enjoy learning about the animal and plant kingdom and have thought about becoming a zoologist since 5th grade."
"I could see myself as a scientist because I like new inventions."
"I could see myself as a scientist because I like to explore."
"I could see myself as a scientist because I ask a lot of questions and want answers."

Stay tuned for more results from play testing this fast-paced, exciting new card game in more schools nationwide very soon!

KS Co-Founder Jessica Ochoa Hendrix Playtesting with Girls Prep Students

KS Co-Founder Jessica Ochoa Hendrix Playtesting with Girls Prep Students

Launch events for Biome Builder!

Team Killer Snails has been playtesting and working on our newest game, Biome Builder for over six months and we are so excited to have the first launch event on Tuesday evening!

We will be demoing Biome Builder from 4-7 PM on Tuesday, June 11 at

Money G Card Shop which is located at 1 North Galleria Drive in Middletown NY

Please come out and try the game with us! More details here: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1488722941189720/

Playtesting at the 2017 STEMinism Conference

Playtesting at the 2017 STEMinism Conference

A Caiman ate a Howler Monkey at the New York Hall of Science Today!

This May team Killer Snails was invited to play test our latest science game at the New York Hall of Science and join in their massive STEM Expo along with some of the most exciting organizations in New York City!

Students play Biome Builder outside the Connected Worlds Exhibit @ NYSCI during the STEM Expo

Students play Biome Builder outside the Connected Worlds Exhibit @ NYSCI during the STEM Expo

Learners young and old took turns building biomes within the exciting new exhibit, Connected Worlds.

KS Consultant Jenny Lam looks on as students play Biome Builder with Designer Noelle Posadas and Co-Founder Jessica Ochoa Hendrix

KS Consultant Jenny Lam looks on as students play Biome Builder with Designer Noelle Posadas and Co-Founder Jessica Ochoa Hendrix

Players used carrion to steal coveted cards from siblings, friends and parents, built food chains in the Sahara Desert, Amazon Rainforest, American Plains, and the Pacific Ocean, and used strategy in enacting invasive species cards to force opponents to stop their stacks.

Q & A About Game Design by High School Students @ the STEM Expo at NYSCI

Q & A About Game Design by High School Students @ the STEM Expo at NYSCI

Museum staff were on hand to get in on the fun and now we’re ready to kickstart this exciting new game so that you too can join in the fun. 



 

The Landscape of VR/AR in Education

A dear friend asked for the skinny on up-and-coming companies doing interesting VR or AR work in the education space. I quickly realized this may be helpful for other folks in our space so I’m sharing it here and asking that you please share any edtechs doing VR/AR that I have missed in the comments below.

Continue reading here....