Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Games for the Web: Ethnography of Massively Multiplayer On-line Games

From Bill Mackenty

term papers written by undergraduate students in the class "Games for the Web: Ethnography of Massively Multiplayer On-line Games."

These students used a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods to explore sociological issues associated with massively multiplayer virtual worlds. Each student in the class pursued a different research question.

Second Life and School:
The Use of Virtual Worlds in High School Education
Manny Alvarez
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX1
This paper explores the possibility of the use of virtual worlds in high school education to teach or supplement classes. Scholars have for some time discussed the benefits of role playing, technology, and social learning in the classroom, while games have been used recently as models in the classroom. The author interviewed the players of major virtual worlds about their views on using virtual worlds in classes, while also interviewing teachers for their professional advice. The fact that virtual worlds combine technology, social learning, role playing and games make them a “sleeping giant” in education, despite concerns of cost and widespread acceptance.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gateways program for gifted and talented kids

I am writing the reports for my Gateways program for gifted and talented year 5 & 6. I'm a little late but the fact that I wont get paid till the reports are done provides some incentive.

The program comprised 4 x 2 hour weekly sessions where the kids made their own game with Gamemaker . The best bit was that it repeated my Computer Club experience. The kids were highly motivated and highly productive. This is not a result just seen with exclusive private schools, the Gateways kids were drawn from a range of government schools in Melbourne's southern suburbs.

What the two programs do have in common is that the kids elected to do the program.

As I play their games, I am muttering to myself "How did they do that?" "I never showed them how to do that"

Gender: though there were big differences in their perceptions of their abilities before the program, their perceptions of the difficulty of the program showed small differences. Boys were more confident in both cases

I am looking forward to my next Gateways session.

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Thanks Arti and Bill for triggering my thoughts on DNA, oral traditions, the Renaissance, the 60's and evolution.

What separates us with our carbon fibre fishing rods, sonar fish finders or fish farm Atlantic salmon from grandpa's hand built bamboo and cotton rods or from our ancestors scooping out and eating raw fish Gollum like?

Our DNA is little different but there is a lot of evolution in our social structures. We carry 2 sets of encoded data, one in our DNA, the other passes on by oral tradition and later writing and the web.

When Gutenburg invented movable type round 1600, the Renaissance was triggered. A bigger revolution than the industrial revolution. Shakespeare and the novel round 1700 needed this evolutionary change before they could appear.

Yet another evolutionary change occurred in the 1950's. Information flows which had been vertical, from generation to generation suddenly reorganised themselves horizontally, because of mass but one way media, to the extent that my sister (1946) and I(1951), born 5 years apart, recognise that we are from different generations.

The two way web, yet another evolutionary change means that we are now part of a hive mind, refining each other's thoughts at the speed of light.

Yes Bill, the web is part of our evolution, we carry it inside us and pass it on like our DNA.

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Free ranging and bill postering

Leigh Blackall muses on Free ranging and bill postering
"Posting this thought to this blog, loading that picture to flickr, spreading that movie across all the current video servers available at the moment is just like bill postering slogans and images at 2am down the main street of your local town. I make an image and now I go about sticking it up around town for it to get noticed. I paste a few copies down Flickr St, as well as a few on BubbleShare while I'm at it. I tag my posters so they appear in other streets around the block, I scribble a few words in chalk on the pavement knowing that they'll wash off in the next rain. I cut and spray stencils to provoke thoughts in an otherwise sterile urban landscape, and accept that tomorrow the council or local do-gooder will have painted over these marks and others like it."

I theorise that his utterances become part of the thoughts of the hive mind of Web2, they are absorbed and built apon by others, reposted in ephemeral places and further refined at the speed of light.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Blu(e) Fairy

Thanks to Artichoke for these quotes on the importance of including an understanding of the pedagogy and not just proficiency with the technology in teacher PD:

“… by and large, teacher education programmes worldwide have not been very successful in providing teachers with knowledge, attitudes and confidence in using technologies in classes.” Kwok-Wing Lai (2005 p13)

And that a critical factor in this failure is identified as

“Far too often the acquisition of technical skills, rather than the pedagogy of ICT use, has been emphasised in teacher education programmes.” Kwok-Wing Lai (2005 p13)

The Ofsted report (2004) describes this as “the need for competence with the technology drove the training rather than implications of the use of ICT for learning’ (p8)


Friday, June 23, 2006

“Conceptual Age” Skills

On April 23, 2006 I posted on the Pedagogy of World of Warcraft discussing Clark Aldrich 's "big skills".
For another perspective see “Conceptual Age” Skills , right brain “senses” successful workers in a post-information age economy will need to have.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bill Kerr Blog

Haven't seen a blog from Bill Kerr since May? His blog is broken and Blogger wont fix it, he is starting a new one at

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Social Studies Games

Social Studies Games June 16, 2006

Posted by davidmcdivitt in Serious Games. trackback

I found this link while surfing about serious games. This is a great site with tons of information about gaming and social studies. Way too much for me to detail for you in this post. Take some time if you are interested. They are currently posting updates from the GLS conference in Madison.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Social Software

Nesta Futurelab recognises the educational potential of "web 2" or two way web in its publication OPENING EDUCATION Social software and learning

A quick read and it is covering the same sort of issues as
No mention of VoIP applications though like Ventrilo, Teamspeak and Skypecast. It would have been good to see more mention of class blogs, like the stuff being done by:
Darren Kuropatwa
Al Upton

Bill Kerr
Leigh Blackall
and many others

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