Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Iste13 from a distance

The iste conference had me glued to twitter late Sunday night. The experience of waiting for the key speaker, and then receiving their presentation through the media of a few hundred tweets was a real entertaining and gloriously odd. First came tweets from the queue as people shuffled into the main hall, over looked by a different group gripping at the length of it and the herd mentality. Next came endless excited comments about the 'house band', the thrill of being there and occasional mention of the who the key speaker was. 
As the presentation started the tweets summarised the key points over and over again as each tweeter delivered their individual perspective. For every 20 tweets of diligent relation of the key points would come the occasional voice of decent "not sure a really agree with that". At the virtual back of the room a few 'bloggers' revelled in the fact that a few people were leaving the conference and preferred not to comment of the presentation, "nobody watching the presentation in the blog zone". 
I prodded with tweets of my own, trying to get a deeper response from those present. 
I don't pretend to understand the phenomena any better but the experience did have a tangible unique quality which I can imagine being highly addictive.  

Monday, 24 June 2013

Keynote at iste 2013 - digital games, I can't believe we are still thinking like this

Educational games and games for learning have been researched, produced and tested for over 10 years. Some fine examples exist, and interesting results published. But one major problem stands in the way of this new technological nirvana. Designing a successful digital game takes incredible skill. The successful games that kids and adults play are the very cream products that an industry is turning out. Where there is one success, there are 1000s of failures, that fail on such a wide variety of reasons, You can get a game design wrong on some many levels. If we take the equivalent in the literary world it's like saying, "wow life of pi is such as great book, and so many people are reading and enjoying it, if only my lesson on . . . . was like that, I know let's write a book that's as good as that but stick some learning in it". The audience is too savvy, the skill required to create this takes years to develop, unless you push the resulting book down the students throats the market is too saturated for people to discover it and, most important of all, the  material is already rich with meaning.  

I could expand more, but the message is simple . . . 
Don't design educational games, but if you must think about games in the classroom, look at current commercial games and discuss them, they are already rich in meaning.

But . . .  Simulations, that's where it's worth exploring.