Thursday, April 27, 2006

Which is better, playing COTS games or building games?

Thanks Bill for your comments to my previous blog
"So, why do you think building games is better than playing off the shelf (COTS) games?
v. interesting to see world of warcraft in action the other night, with a young expert in control. Has he learnt more from playing or building?"

COTS games or game creation
Well firstly, what I see with WoW is different learning than I see discussed in relation to COTS. The COTS enthusiasts talk about using RollerCoaster Tycoon to look at kinematics or Age of Mythology to look at history. Its a bit of a square peg in a round hole, an attempt to sugar coat instruction.

What I see in WoW is that the game is the education, not the game is used for education. The learning relates to the social structures in WoW. Children get to interact with adults in teams and undertake team endeavours which require a high level of planning and coordination. They buy and sell at auction and learn about a market economy and much more.

Drama, art, music and sport have long been recognised as activities with educational value. The COTS stuff is a bit like saying that we'll use football to teach newtonian mechanics or use the school play to teach the times table!

Do you learn more from playing or building?
Is 10 apples > 15 oranges??
Its different learning. Game creation for mathematics, physics, metacognitive strategies and affective gains. WoW for the social skills that Clark Aldrich refers to .

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

WoW is worlds 98th largest country

With 6 million inhabitants, World of Warcraft now is larger than
Israel 5.7m
Denmark 5.3m
Finland 5.1m
NewZealand 3.6m
Ireland 3.6m
So you cant say that OMFG is not a real word if a nation of 6 million have it in their vocab


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pedagogy of World of Warcraft

Thanks to Clark Aldrich for documenting his "big skills" I think that these are the kinds of skills learnt through playing games such as World of Warcraft which I think is badly overlooked as an educational game:

  • business process improvement and business process reengineering
  • contracting, sourcing, and outsourcing
  • communication
  • conflict management
  • cost benefit analysis
  • creating and using boards and advisors
  • creating new tools
  • decision-making
  • ethics
  • innovation/adaptation
  • leadership
  • negotiation
  • nurturing/stewardship
  • project management/program management
  • relationship management
  • researching
  • risk analysis, management/security
  • solutions sales
  • teamwork
  • turning around a bad situation.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Typology of Cognitive Pleasures in the Classroom

I liked Cognitive seduction (a Typology of User Experience Pleasures) which lists 13 cognitive pleasures which come from game playing. I thought they may give some insight into what is happening when children program their own games and what the educational gains might be. Game creation as a learning tool is a very poorly researched area. It was interesting how the blogosphere allows ideas to be refined at lightning speed with a derivitave blog a day later in Employing cognitive seductu-cation in the classroom (Typology of Cognitive Pleasures in the Classroom)


Wednesday, April 05, 2006


In reply to Graham Wegner

When I learnt that Marc Prensky would be in Australia, I jumped at the opportunity. In collaboration with ACMI and DE&T the ASISTM Games Cluster was able to bring him to Melbourne. Marc is an excellent communicator and was able to fill the venue easily, something that would be harder to achieve with an Australian speaker. We were able to spread the message about games in education to a wide audience.

Richard Van Eck, in his paper Digital Game- Based Learning It’s Not Just the Digital Natives Who Are Restless suggests that proponents of digital game-based learning (DGBL) should move from the promotion of DGBL to a critical analysis of DGBL.

“Like the person who is still yelling after the sudden cessation of loud music at a party” we now have the world’s attention and its time to do critical analysis of what exactly we are promoting. Though I don't agree with his conclusion that we should adopt off the shelves games ahead of game making, he makes a good point.

Its a bit like the 80's and Logo. The educational literature of the day was strong on advocacy but weak on analysis. There was lots of hype but a shallowunderstanding of the pedagogy, teachers were understandably disappointed and Logo got a bad name.

We are fortunate in Australia to have world class practitioners of DGBL. To mention some, there's Bill Kerr, Margaret Meijers, Al Upton and Mark Piper and the Games In Learning group.

Doug Johnson is right, part of our national psyche is a totally undeserved inferiority complex. We need to recognise the position of leadership we hold in game programming and as Doug says "I do hope you start recognizing and speaking more of the contributions you make"

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

SA Computer Educator of the Year

Congratulations to Al Upton, SA Computer Educator of the Year.
Al's work in ICT education including game making was recognised by the Computers in Education Group of South Australia.

Al is the second member of the ASISTM Games Programming Cluster to be recognised.
Margaret Meijers received The National Awards for Quality Schooling Best National Achievement by a Teacher

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