“Learning without reflection is a waste.

Reflection without learning is dangerous.”


2023 ED Games Expo Group Photo
2023 Ed Games Expo Group Photo

The 9th annual Ed Games Expo was held from September 19th through September 22, 2023, at the Kennedy Center REACH.

The short-lived whirlwind experience of amazing Ed Games Expo 2023 is unfortunately, behind us.

I am honored that my team at Indelible Learning have had this wonderful opportunity to again participate at the ED Games Expo. This is our 3rd year attending this event, alongside other game-changing technological and educational innovators, entrepreneurs, game developers, researchers, educators and others.

Thanks to the Awards we received from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences and Department of Education Institute for Education Sciences, we assembled an outstanding team to create learning games that tackle important problems for U.S. youth: improving sleep, improving handwashing technique, developing healthier habits, improving disease prevention, and increasing civic engagement. End of Imperial is a learning game that demonstrates the consequences of poor sleep hygiene. Bubble Beats Hand Washing Trainer trains learners in implementing correct handwashing technique. Election Lab Online increases understanding of Electoral College and the role swing states play in U.S. presidential elections.

I am a physician, internist who has been working in hospital medicine for over the past 25 years. Taking care of sick patients in the hospital for a very long time, gave me first hand insights that the preservation of health is much easier than the cure of the disease. The earlier we start educating, the easier it is to learn and the bigger societal impact we can make. That is only one of many reasons why I, along with my husband and our children, have dedicated the last 15+ years to this quest of creating innovative and impactful programs for children, youth, and young adults.

Indelible Learning educational innovations were showcased again this year at the ED Games Expo, in the company of other outstanding teams demonstrating their latest technologies in STEM, social studies, special education, health, early learning, and many more.   

We learned from attendees. We learned from other teams. We learned from invited speakers. We learned and we reflected as both are necessary for progress and making the difference. We shared what we knew and learned from each other.

Our overall experience was deeply meaningful and impactful.

While it is hard to capture everything (there is just so much to capture), here are few things to memorialize and reflect upon.

Welcome Reception

On 9/19/23, Institute for Educational Science team organized all inclusive and engaging welcome event. The kickoff event was truly that: a kick off of a wonderful event, with cranked up energy, cranked up tunes, many great speakers, leaders, and innovators attending, making everyone’s evening a wonderful learning and connecting experience.

We connected with number of other colleagues and developers. We were also able to hear from several U.S. Department of Education presenters.

We heard encouraging words and wonderful insights. While it is impossible to capture them all, here are only few that come to mind:

Christi Barnhart, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the Entertainment Software Association, said this about the importance of video games for life and learning:

“Video games are new form of entertainment.” 

“There are emotional and mental benefits of playing video games.” 

“Studies showed that playing video game as little as 2 hours per week can help students/players improve attention and reading.” 

“Games help to facilitate or supplement education in the classrooms.”

“Girls who play more video games are more likely to pursue stem careers.” 

Monica Medium IMG 5341 1 1

Monica Gray Logothetis, Senior Advisor for Innovation, U.S. Department of Education noted:

“Learning games and new educational technologies help us re-imagine education.”

“We need to put money where our mouth is: Education.” 

“Help us rethink education and supercharge our educational innovation.” 

“We have this one opportunity, and we will seize it.”

Mark Schneider, Director, Institute of Education Sciences acknowledged SBIR program as jewel in the crown: 

“Our most important investment we can make.”

“Congratulation for running small businesses!” (Even if it is hard).

Small business and technological and educational innovations are essential for U.S. Department of Education.

He astutely noticed that:

“What you are trying to do is change facts on the ground. For most academics this is secondary. Mission of everyone here is to change facts on the ground. That is big.” 

Scaling up is fundamental for everyone in this group.

Scaling is hard.

It is full of obstacles.

However, it is also fun.

He ended with thanking all innovators and participants:

“Thanks for things you do. 

Thanks, for learning you generate. 

Thanks, for changing facts on the ground.” 

Ed Metz, U.S. Department of Education SBIR Program manager and the main force of nature behind this event, reflected on how it all started 10 years ago when government shut down. Will that happen again? 

Mark Deloura and Dr Ed Metz came up with the idea to start an event like this. Consequently, Dr Metz received moral support and encouragement. Furthermore, with lots of hard work and clear vision, ED Games Expo eventually became a reality.

This event would not have been possible without Dr Ed Metz and his planning, organizing, and supporting team including Erin Higgins, Laurie Hobbs, Alice Kinney, Dr Liz Newbury and several others too.

Rest of the evening draw me into deep conversations with some fascinating innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs. The Welcome Reception itself had number of engaging presentations and creative performances like those that demonstrate how you can learn math through music, (by Muzology and Adara Music) and of course performance by Cleo and Theo from the Between the Lions program.

At the end of the evening, Ed Games Expo 2023 was officially kicked off.

Ed Games Expo Event – September 20th – 22nd 2023

The following 3 days included an array of offerings, from tabletop demonstrations to educational presentations of educational technology innovations created through more than 50 programs at the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, and across government.

Few notable things to mentioned (but there are many many more) included:

ED Games Expo for Schools: a free event for schools to learn about and experience the latest EdTech innovations.

ED Games Expo for the Public: a free event for public to learn about and experience the latest EdTech innovations.

IES Innovation Day: a day of workshops and panel discussions on the latest research in EdTech.

Showcase Events:

Showcase: Innovations in Civic Education @ Library of Congress

Early Learning & Technology

Scaling Evidence-based EdTech in Postsecondary Edu

Special Education & Technology

Cyberlearning and Gaming

Mental Health in Rural and Underserved Schools

EdTech AI Workshop

Citizen Science Education

EdTech innovations that were at display included:

In addition, edtech developers and researcher were given an opportunity to attend   Expo Office Hours which allowed developers and researchers to interact with representatives from a variety of government programs and one-on-one meetings with EdTech experts.

Overall, Ed Games Expo 2023 was an outstanding event.

This event reinforced the importance of federal investment in EdTech innovations to:

Ed Games Expo 2023 demonstrated that EdTech innovation are making a difference in the lives of students and their teachers.

We learned and reflected because learning without reflection is a waste and reflection without learning is dangerous.

Why is learning without reflection dangerous? More on that in another article.

Going forward, we need to continue building capacity to support continued research, development, and dissemination of impactful EdTech innovations.

We are honored to have been, again, part of this wonderful event. We are grateful that we were able to invest our time and energy into building something that significantly contributes to Ed Tech innovations and to future of education. We are thrilled that we are one powerful voice and creators of innovative approaches, for students to reach their full potential.

Why does it all matter?

Because: students are our future

Furthermore, great education alone is the single best thing we can do for all of our students.

As the world changes so do needs for betterment of future education.

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