Tag Archives: Games

The Connected Age

Learning Technology at the core of The Connected Age? #LTHE

Enjoy this video from Educause. I hope you can see where I am coming from and why I’ve added this video to the #LTHE project as I see the Learning Technologist as an enabler, facilitator, manager, specialist, and even student in these ‘connected age’ Education settings:

“Higher Education is a connected community, and connections can do transformative things. When education is connected it forms a pathway; formal and informal learning are no longer separated. Learners can connect to an ever-widening circle of mentors, peers, experience, knowledge, games, simulations, collaborations tools, and augmented reality can help learners connect the dots in ways never before possible.”

The Connected Age from Educause on Vimeo.

How Students Learn

How Students Learn

While we may think we know ‘how students learn’, do we?

This post called “The virtues of daydreaming and 30 other surprising (and controversial) research findings about how students learn“, from Julie DeNeen, has some interesting findings, of which the following are interesting (to me – read the full list on the link above to see what gets your interested):

  • Scary/violent video games … “can be an alternate way to release negative emotion, and help children alleviate their innate desire for risk and adventure.” I’ll sit on the fence on this one: while there may be some positive benefits to these kinds of games I’m not sure if they outweigh the negative?
  • Science practicals … “isn’t always as effective as it may appear on the surface.” This statement says that science  or lab practical work isn’t working – is it the actual time spent in a practical or the actual experiment itself that isn’t working? I enjoyed my science lab work, even more so when it didn’t work, but (and this was more down to the way it was taught and not the subject, I think) I was not given the opportunity to ‘try’ out different things.
  • Chess … “forces students to slow down, concentrate, use precise thinking, active both inductive and deductive reasoning, as well as recognizing difficult and complex patterns.” Yes, but so do lots of other ‘games’ in different and equally beneficial ways. Let’s not single out a specific game, we should be able to advocate all game-based learning, especially when there is scope for the student to “understand that ‘losing’ the game is as valuable as winning.”
  • Building blocks … “one of the simplest and longstanding toys, teach geometry, patterns, shapes, colors, and physics” not to mention spatial awareness and dexterity?
  • Music and movement … help children to “learn to appreciate the pacing of words and how to speak more clearly” through rhyme. “Children who engage in music from a young age have a more finely tuned ability to speak and communicate” therefore are more articulate when it comes to reflection and critical thinking in later life?
  • Drama and comedy … induce a “vibrancy of emotion that shows a student’s entire mind and feelings are engaged in the activity” and learning, in various ways, is a result from an engaged child – “one who is more likely to absorb information, retain it, and make real-life associations with the knowledge.”

These are just a few of the interesting ‘findings’ on how students learn, so be sure to read the full article on the link above to read more about these and:-

  • “Children who construct their own video games experience increased cognitive and social growth”
  • “Engaging children in planning and reflection enhance their predictive and analytic capabilities”
  • “Children are not blank slates on which adults imprint knowledge”
  • “Children learn more when they initiate an activity and are actively engaged in it”
  • Children behave better when parents are involved in their education at home and at school”


Games for Learning Infographic

Here’s an interesting infographic on “Can Gaming help Kids Learn?

Can Gaming Help Kids Learn?
Click to view the full Infographic

 Here are some little factlets:

  • 74% of school administrators feel that digital education technology increases student engagement (while 50% think it helps to personalise instruction).
  • 90% of school children (2-17 years old) play electronic games.
  • Kids are motivated through games due to ability to manipulate objects and events, they have control over actions, and engage in ‘experiential learning’ (even if they don’t realise it).
  • A study found students improved skills through game playing, which in turn taught teamwork and life skills including problem solving, communication, collaboration, and negotiation.
  • More than half had played (recognisable) education games.
  • Mobile “edu-apps” are becoming increasingly popular, with toddler/pre-school ages children accounting for over half the apps targeted at them.

What ‘games’ or ‘simulations’ to do use, with what age children/students, for what purpose, and why did you start using it/them (and do the students enjoy them)?

Infographic: ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2012

Students and Information Technology 2012 #edtech #eLearning #educause

ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2012The Educause Centre for Applied Research (ECAR) has recently published their “ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2012” report.

The report summary has the following key points and recommendations:

Key Findings

  • Blended-learning environments are the norm; students say that these environments best support how they learn.
  • Students want to access academic progress information and course material via their mobile devices, and institutions deliver.
  • Technology training and skill development for students is more important than new, more, or “better” technology.
  • Students use social networks for interacting with friends more than for academic communication.

ECAR Recommends

  • Look to emerging or established leaders (other institutions, other countries, other industries) for strategies to deliver instruction and curricular content to tablets and smartphones. Learn from their exemplary strategies for IT support and security with student devices as well as planning, funding, deploying, and managing instructional technologies, services, and support.
  • Prioritize the development of mobile-friendly resources and activities that students say are important: access to course websites and syllabi, course and learning management systems, and academic progress reports (i.e., grades).
  • Bridge the gap between the technologies that have seen the greatest growth (e-portfolios, e-books/e-textbooks, and web-based citation/bibliographic tools) and students’ attitudes about their importance. Focus training/skill-building opportunities for students, professional development opportunities for faculty, and support service opportunities on these emerging technologies.
  • Use e-mail and the course and learning management system for formal communication with students. Experiment with text messaging and instant messaging/online chatting, and don’t focus efforts on using social networks and telephone conversations to interact with students.
    (See the 2012 report for a full list key messages, findings, supporting data, and actionable results.)

While it’ll take some time to digest the report and it’s findings/recommendations, they have also produced this wonderful Infographic:

Infographic: ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2012Click to view the complete Educause Infographic

Some figures from the Infographic:

  • eReader is only important to 31% or respondents, where as laptop (more important than desktop or tablet) is important to 85%.
  • Laptop ownership is up 83% form 2004.
  • Android smartphones are more widely used (only just) than iPhones (46% vs 44%).
  • Accessing courses from a mobile device is more important (66%) than checking grades (57%) or accessing library resources (26%).
  • 54% of students more actively involved in courses that use technology
  • 70% of students say they learn most in blended learning environments.
  • 55% of students wished their instructors used more simulation or educational games.
  • Only 16% of students skip class when lectures recorded and made available online.
  • 57% want to keep academic and social lives separate.
  • 29% of students want their instructors to use Facebook more, while 43% want SMS text messages and 53% want more face-to-face interaction.

Show students’ skills along with degree #OpenBadges

YouTube: Digital Badges for Learning

This is the first instance I’ve heard of where a major University (Purdue U) is using Open Badges, and have called the system/process ‘Passport’:

“[Passport] is learning management, mixed with gaming, meets ePortfolio. Students earn badges by completing learning activities presented as a series of challenges. Passport guides students through each task by providing a framework to submit documents, share links, complete quizzes, or gather approvals. Instructors can follow each students’ progress and connect badges with course objectives. As badges are collected, they can be shared online as Mozilla Open Badge or through the mobile portfolio.”

This is what Open Badges can do when implemented across, and through, the whole Institution. They’re going to be far more important and recognised when used for course related activities (simulated business exercise, research, etc) as well as giving the students the ability to showcase their other activities (portfolio, careers, sport, societies, charity, etc?) and when applying for placements and graduate jobs.

Whether employers will embrace badges is another question, but anything that can make it easier for an employer see the best candidate from the noise of the good candidates should be a good thing, yes?


Sol Free Solitaire App

Solitaire App

Sol Free Solitaire AppSol Free Solitaire (iPhone/iPod): If you’ve a few minutes to spare between appointments or you’re sat in the dentists waiting room trying to ignore the sound of the dentists drill, then you don’t want to get involved in complicated gaming, you want a simple game of solitaire.

“Easy-to-read cards, iPhone 4 high-res graphics, Simple tap card movement, In-game rules, Statistics, Scoring, Moves tracking, Reversing layouts, Game restart”

Sol Free Solitaire (free): http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/sol-free-solitaire/id287197884

This was one of the first apps I downloaded for the iPod Touch nearly 4 years ago, and it’s one I keep coming back to on the iPhone to pass the time. It’s simple interface and ad free (for the most part) makes it a game you can pick up and put down as often as you want.

With a selection of 7 different tiles of solitaire to choose from you can make it as hard as you want, or try and master a new type f card game without the fuss of a deck of cards and table, or embarrassing losses as you try and figure out the rules!

What quick and easy game do you have installed that you play in short, sharp bursts or prolonged periods?

This is Learning Without Frontiers

Ever wondered what Learning Without Frontiers (LWF)  is about? Wonder no more, and watch this ‘review’:

“Learning Without Frontiers (LWF) is a global platform that facilitates the ongoing dialogue about the future of learning. LWF attracts an engaged and open-minded audience who are forward thinking, curious and receptive to new ideas and perspectives about education, teaching and learning.”

I was lucky enough to be able to go to LWF12 event (read my review here). For 2013 LWF I think I might prefer to make the 2 day Game-Based Learning rather than the 3 day follow-on of the main LWF event, but that’s less about my current role and requirements and more about personal interest in seeing what is happening on the gaming/simulation front.

FOTE12 - Future of Technology in Education

Future of Technology in Education #fote12

FOTE12 - Future of Technology in Education

So, we’re at that time of year again when we can start planning the trip to London for the ULCC ‘Future of Technology in Education’ conference. As with the last couple of years I’ve attended the tickets are released in two batches of 150 tickets, and the first batch this year was snapped up in a matter of hours (at least 50 in the first 20 minutes!).

So far the speakers who I am looking forward to are, and why:

  • Nicola Whitton – “What is the Future of Digital Games and Learning?” I’ve been reading a little of her book (it helps to share an office with her co-author Alex Moseley) so I’m interested in her talk because of the aspect of where game-based learning and simulation-based learning are going in education.
  • John Townsend – In his role at Liverpool John Moores University John has “responsibility for the development and support of information and technology services and associated strategies, tools and technologies” so is well placed to provide insight into how technology can be maximised (or not?) in the changing education sector.
  • Yousuf Khan – I’m sure that the deployment of over 2000 iPads at the Hult International Business School couldn’t have been an easy process, so I’m hoping Yousuf can provide insight into how this was done, why they did it, and how they expect to improve on what they’ve learned.
  • Anirban Saha – While there isn’t any information on Anirban’s talk at the moment I can’t help but be impressed on what Anirban ‘could’ be talking about considering his title at Nokia is “Head of Social Innovation & Intelligence”. This should be good!
  • Cailean Hargrave – As the Further Education Business Development Manager for IBM the potential to hear about innovation in both software and hardware. In his profile, posted last year, Cailean is interested in “immersive technological environments, affording tailored educational pathways for learner success, entrepreneurial access and education for young adults”, I just hope his talk isn’t another product placement session and he provides some real insight into what is possible with the technology available.
  • 140 Challenge – not 140 characters, but 140 seconds, and this is the chancefor students to share their “views, thoughts and expectations about technology in education and education itself.” Excellent!

What are you looking forward to from this years FOTE event? Anyone or anything in particular?

For those interested here are a few Instagram photos that were posted last year (see all of them on the Ink361 website):

#fote11 - Eyes down

#fote11 - Senate House


I’ll be collating the Instagram photos in the Ink361 album for the #fote12 hashtag again this year: http://ink361.com/#/tag/fote12

So, I’ll be seeing you there again in October. If you see me please come and say ‘hello’, and don’t be offended if I stick a camera in your face and ask a question or two … it’s my job for the day to record speaker and delegate views for the FOTE website, so be nice. If you can’t be nice, be honest!

Natural gesture computer controls

Can you see a use for this in teaching and learning – The future is in the reach? (thanks to Steve Wheeler for the first tweet about this)

“Control your desktop and interact with apps through natural hand and finger movements with The Leap.”

Watch this and let me know what you think:

Comments and reviews that are coming in about the Leap Motion:

“Minority Report-like UI interaction? Yes please!”
Source: @mattcutts

“… 100 times more precise than Kinnect!”
Source: Mashable

“The goal is to fundamentally transform how people interact with computers and to do so in the same way that the mouse did, which means that the transformation affects everyone, both from the most basic use case all the way up to the most advanced use cases you can imagine for computing technology.”
Source: redOrbit

“The system is built on a small USB input device and a lot of sophisticated software, which the company plans to begin retailing next year for $70. For the price, users will be able to manipulate their machines with the kinds of gestures that are becoming more and more ubiquitous thanks to the explosion in touchscreen technologies–things like pinch to zoom, swiping between screens, or scrolling with the flick of a finger. The difference is that the user touches nothing; Leap 3D creates a four-cubic-foot interaction space in front of any computer that is more responsive than either a touchscreen or a mouse (and offers increased capacity for control by adding a Z axis to the touchscreen’s X and Y axes).”
Source: Radford Education

There are quite a few people wondering if this is real, I sure hope so, especially for those who have signed (and paid) up for their Leap ‘console’, which is due for shipping early 2013 (unless you’re a lucky one who get’s one of the early editions).

Is this going to make you think twice about Kinnect, or can they both develop alongside each other? Are there some topics or subject areas that will benefit from this more than others (e.g. chemical or biological simulations, sport or injury science, early stage learning, etc, not to mention gaming). What do you think … and will you be getting one or even signing up for a developers kit?

I would love to get my hands on this, and I’d love to be a better developer and designer than I am to get the maximum from this kind of technology. I’ll just have to settle with watching how others use/develop it and see if there is anyone around here I can join and help if they want to go down this route.

‘Generation Y’ is dead, long live ‘Generation T’

I wasn’t aware of all the different labels that have been assigned in the past, but here is a brief overview (for those who are equally in the dark):

  • The Lost Generation: Those who fought in World War I (born pre-1900)
  • The Greatest Generation: Veterans of World War II (born 1901-1924)
  • The Silent Generation: Also known as ‘War Babies’ (born 1925-1945)
  • The Baby-Boomers: Those born in post-war boom and are generally attributed with(born 1946-1964)
  • Generation X: (born 1960’s to early 1980’s)
  • Generation Y: Also known as ‘Millennials’ or the ‘Net Generation’. This label is more about their attitude  (born between late 1970’s to early 2000’s)
  • Generation Z: Also known as the ‘Internet Generation’ (born early-mid 2000’s)

From what I can see the movement from one categorisation of generation to another has been about the enlightenment of the individuals to their surrounding based on different elements of cultural and economic influences. However, I think this only applies to the earlier classifications. Once we see the eruption of technical capabilities, and our reliance on it in our every-day lives, we can see the classifications above become entwined with technical advancement. This is why I opt to use the term ‘Generation T’ for children born post 2008/9 … the ‘Tablet Generation’. As with the classifications above I would also advocate the use of  the ‘App Generation’ in reference to the way in which we are now using and talking about technology – everything is about the App, whether it is smart phones, tablet PCs, or cloud computing (Chromebook).

Here’s a good example:

YouTube: Baby Works iPad Perfectly. Amazing Must Watch!

In this video a father gives his child a tablet for the first time, just look at how quickly she learns to use the home button to exit the app and find another …

You Tube: A 2.5 Year-Old Has A First Encounter with An iPad

There are loads of examples if you look for them, but the fact is that tablet computers are so intuitive that children of all ages can use them. Robert Thompson explains that a tablet, “with its touch interface … can help children extend their creativity using intuitive applications that allow them to color, trace letters and do simple counting exercise — the possibilities are endless.”

Please note that I am trying to stay away from identifying one tablet over any other (or even operating system) as it is the technology and how we utilise it that interests me, not brand or price (although we cannot ignore the importance that is placed on form over function and preference on iPad or Blackberry PlayBook or HP TouchPad, etc).

While the jury is out on whether tablets will replace traditional computers that use a keyboard and mouse, the children/student of the future “will still need laptops, because they’re great for doing school work and just try passing a degree without one, the same goes for many jobs” (Tablets: A backseat for creativity). This is, of course, based on the assumption that the education system will not change and we will still instruct and assess in the way we do now, which we have been doing for many decades before. But this too is changing, just look at the way in which recent Web 2.0 systems (blog, wiki, podcast, etc) have been introduced to the learning environment, and the way the students have engaged with it. If this continues then the historical framework of teach/assess will also change.

Are we ready to embrace the changes? I think we are; there are already schools around the world providing tablets for each child, game consoles are used for game-based learning, etc. While these could be viewed in isolation, don’t forget that 25/30 years ago there were only a very few schools that had a room full of computers for students to use, this is now viewed as the norm, in fact it is essential equipment.

So, how long will Generation T last? I don’t know, but I’m sure the developers at the big tech firms have already started planning for the next big ‘thing’ – but will it be a game-changer like the advert of smartphones and tablets? I welcome your input and ask you to leave a comment or thought below.