Seen today in JOLT
This article presents ten guidelines for the effective use of video games in online teaching environments for post-secondary instructors. These guidelines include: taking advantage of existing resources, asking students to be producers instead of just consumers, avoiding being overly prescriptive, being aware of non-media-intense and non-electronic games, staying focused on learning—not technology, orienting and debriefing students as to the value of gaming activities, embracing interdisciplinarity, taking advantage of serious games, considering collaborative technologies and virtual worlds, and playtesting. Recent research in game-based learning is considered to help guide these best practices and numerous ideas for incorporating games into the virtual classroom are provided. Although empirical research about the effectiveness of online video games as educational tools is an important component for sustainability and for improving online learning games, this paper focuses exclusively on the theoretical and applied issues associated with online game-based learning. The authors contend that such teaching practices are useful for engaging with student audiences and encouraging them to take intellectual risks in comfortable and familiar territory.
Keywords: video games, engagement, play, game theory, teaching, pedagogy, applied research, game-based technology, guidelines, best practices
Nearly a year ago, I posted on a possible way to get Sketchup models into Second Life. Today I received a note alerting me to ‘SketchLife’, a plugin you can start using right away for this very thing (thanks for the heads-up, Anthony!).
From the SketchLife website:
What is Sketchlife?
Sketchlife is a system which allows you to model for Second Life using SketchUp.
Most 3D modelling tools use meshes (vertices connected by edges which define faces), whereas Second Life has adopted solids, referred to as primitives, to be their indivisible building blocks. This guarantees that there won’t be any stray polygons flying around, but it also prevents mesh models from being imported automatically.
The in-world modelling tools in Second Life are quite good, but they are stone age compared to the 3D modelling power tool that is SketchUp. SketchUp is free. (Thank you Google.)
Therefore, if we can’t bring SketchUp to Second Life, we’ll bring Second Life to SketchUp.
Colleen, this might be v. useful for all of your projects…!
There’s a video on the site, and a screen shot of a build, made with Sketchlife:
Archaeologically, I can see how this tool will make life a whole lot easier for recreating sites, excavations, reconstructions… if I only had a better net connection, I’d be in there right now…
The incomparable Escapist has another excellent article that we, who are interested in serious games for teaching and learning, would do well to consider:
When I was a tutor in college, my biggest challenge was dealing with students who thought my job was to make learning effortless and fun. They were often incensed that I could only help them if they were already willing to work hard. Over and over they’d ask in a tone reserved for bad wait-staff at a restaurant, “Hey, isn’t it your job to make sure I learn this?” Fortunately, a poor grade on a quiz or assignment was usually enough to remind them that learning was ultimately their responsibility, not mine.
Game designers, on the other hand, have no such luxury: They must constantly strive to make the learning process in games as fun and painless to players as possible. And paradoxically, the better they have gotten at teaching gamers the mechanics of their games, the less patience gamers have for instruction. This race between diminishing attention spans and less intrusive training has been a major force in gaming’s ongoing evolution, influencing which genres have flourished and which have foundered.
Submission deadline extended: July 13, 2009
Conference site: http://www.icids2009.ccg.pt/index.php?id=1
Scope of Conference:
Interactive entertainment, including novel forms of edutainment, therapy, and serious games, promises to become an ever more important market. Interactive Digital Storytelling provides access to social and human themes through stories, and promises to foster considerably the possibilities of interactive entertainment, computer games, and other interactive digital applications. ICIDS also identifies opportunities and addressess challenges for redefining the experience of narrative through interactive simulations of computer-generated story worlds.
Interactive Storytelling thus promises a huge step forward for games, training, and learning, through the aims to enrich virtual characters with intelligent behavior, to allow collaboration of humans and machines in the creative process, and to combine narrative knowledge and user activity in interactive artifacts. In order to create novel applications, in which users play a significant role together with digital characters and other autonomous elements, new concepts for Human-Computer Interaction have to be developed. Knowledge for interface design and technology has to be garnered and integrated. Interactive Storytelling involves concepts from many aspects of Computer Science, above all from Artificial Intelligence, with topics such as narrative intelligence, automatic dialogue- and drama management, cognitive robotics and smart graphics. In order to process stories in real time, traditional storytelling needs to be formalized into computable models, by drawing from narratological studies, and by taking into account the characteristics of programming. Consequently, due to its technological complexity, it is currently hardly accessible for creators and end-users. There is a need for new authoring concepts and tools supporting the creation of dynamic story models, allowing for rich and meaningful interaction with the content. Finally, there is a need for theoretical foundations considering the integration of so far disjunctive approaches and cultures.
Before ICIDS, two European conference series had been serving as main platforms for these topics:
- ICVS (International Conference on Virtual Storytelling)
- TIDSE (Technologies for Interactive Digital Storytelling and Entertainment)
While the venues of these events were traditionally bound to France and Germany, ICIDS is set to overcome also this geographical limitation.
ICIDS 2009 will be held in the Centro Cultural Vila Flor, in Guimarães, Portugal, EU. It is organized by the University of Minho and the CCG Centro de Computação Gráfica, supported by several partners.
Now, wouldn’t that be grand: tenure for digital work! Folks are working on developing guidelines for it… (now, if I could just persuade these humanities folks that there is more to digital work than databases…). Seen over at the College Art Association
posted by Christopher Howard
“Even as the use of electronic media has become common across fields for research and teaching,” reports Scott Jaschik at Insider Higher Ed, “what is taken for granted among young scholars is still foreign to many of those who sit on tenure and promotion committees.”
While junior professors lament the exclusion or diminution from tenure reviews of their born-digital work, whether publication or project, the Modern Language Association (MLA) and a group called the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) are tackling the issue head on with new guides that offer tenure committees help in properly evaluating digital scholarship. MLA’s Information Technology Committee is developing these guides through a wiki, which publishes both finished and in-progress work.
In his article, “Tenure in a Digital Era,” Jaschik examines the many perceptions and problems at issue, including peer review; digital and print publications; and work that crosses traditional categories of research, teaching, and service.
One thing I like about the National Post, is that it treats issues related to heritage, culture, and education as worthy topics for long, considered, discussion pieces (and not just filler, as is the case in some of our other dailies). Today’s editorial is worth reproducing:
Canada should get serious about preserving its historic buildings
National Post Published: Thursday, July 09, 2009
There will always be debates about what buildings and historic sites deserve preservation, as well as legal discussions over who is obliged to pay for such preservation efforts. Perhaps now is a time when many of those arguments can be settled: At a time when governments are looking to bolster employment through infrastructure stimulus, one option that should be considered is for the federal government and the provinces to restore a wide range of Canada’s historic buildings. It would seem more worthwhile to protect our heritage than, say, buy a failing company.
To understand the role of government in the preservation of historic buildings, consider the fate of the Bata shoe headquarters in suburban Toronto. It was just 40 years old when it was demolished last year to make way for an Ismali Muslim spiritual centre and Islamic art museum — despite the fact that the Toronto Society of Architects had identified it as one of the most outstanding examples of Modernism in the city. The building’s fate is typical of “endangered” buildings identified by the Heritage Canada Foundation, a nongovernmental advocacy group established by the federal government in 1973 to lobby for historical resources’ rescue: While the Bata International Centre may have represented an architectural style worth preserving — as well as being an artifact from one of Canada’s first great international commercial empires — the new owners, the Aga Khan Council of Canada, have a valid claim to use land they purchased in any legal way they please. Only if the Council had been reimbursed through appropriate public financial incentives could the building have been preserved.
The same goes for Edmonton’s Arlington Apartments, Montreal’s Ben’s Deli and Vancouver Pantages Theatre. While Heritage Canada — which released its annual list of endangered buildings on Tuesday — believes all should be retained, each is located on a valuable piece of privately owned real estate in its city’s business core that could be developed for tens of millions of dollars if these old buildings could be removed.
Heritage Canada’s efforts at identifying historically valuable old structures is vital — even if the blame it directs toward public officials often is off the mark. For instance, in this week’s report, it blames the demolition of Ridgetown, Ont.’s Erie Street United Church on “intransigent officials,” and classifies the loss of Halifax’s Violet Clark Building — the last of the city’s old wooden waterfront buildings — as a “scapegoat” in a development dispute. It is not always that simple. Developers cannot be sold land and then be forced to wait years for permission to develop it, all the while paying mortgage and interest and staff costs, not to mention losing sales opportunities as markets fluctuate.
Still, the organization’s basic point is a good one: We Canadians often value our structural history too little. An old church or an old house is taken for granted. Or it is considered insignificant as compared with a great palace in India or a towering cathedral in Europe– too trivial to save.
But while the Dominion Exhibition Display Building in Brandon, Man., may not rival Barcelona’s Holy Family temple or London’s St. Paul’s cathedral, it does honour a time when many new prairie settlements nurtured big ambitions. Built in 1913, the Beaux-Arts Classical-style hall was constructed to house a national fair that would showcase the vast and growing breadbasket of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta at a time when Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s claim that “the 20th century belongs to Canada” rang true in many Canadians’ ears.
The David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill, Ont., another of the Heritage Foundation’s Top 10, was site of one of the first black hole discoveries in the world. It is now under threat of redevelopment because its current owners, the University of Toronto, want to sell off most of its 77-hectare park for homes, condos and strip malls.
Saving these buildings won’t be easy, but money would help. We may be a young country with more land than history, but we risk losing much of the history we have in a race to eradicate old buildings for new ones.
…can be downloaded here. Every archaeologist should have one of these!
This is from back in the day when game makers included all sorts of extra goodies and trinkets to enhance the immersion in their games. I miss those days. Now, I have to buy the tennis rackets, or the steering wheel, for only $$ extra.
The game in question was the tie in for the movie: Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade – The Graphic Adventure. In a way, I see a connection between those days and the current DIY approach to solving ARGs… just a thought for later.
Seen in Wired today:
Humans have probably been calculating since the moment that Paleolithic hunters first used a scorched stick to scratch a record of their kills on the limestone walls of a cave.
“Rrrr! Og kill four! More than Zog!”
Fast forward a few millennia to July 7, 1752, when Joseph Marie Jacquard is born. His automated loom, controlled by punch cards that encoded the complex fabric patterns it was to weave, led the way for many subsequent calculating and computing machines.
But Jacquard was hardly the first to conceive of using machinery to enhance the human brain’s computing power.
People have built calculating and computing tools for thousands of years. Let’s take a look at a few of the non-electronic predecessors to today’s silicon circuits.