Updates to this blog have been notably inconspicuous over the past eight months. This is primarily due to the arrival of Offspring #2 back in January, compete with sleepless nights, more poo than I care to remember, and general child-related chaos. If in doubt, blame the baby.
Well, I’m finally back; bigger, better, bluer, and with 100% more beavers (long story, see here).
It’s difficult to know where to start: so much has happened in the world of games and learning since the start of the year, and I’ve missed most of it being elbow-deep in infant sick. However, lists are always a good place to start; so here goes…
Five things that I saw in the past year, and meant to blog about, but never round to (in no particular order):
- Blockly. I did some work on languages for teaching programming at the end of last year, and found this interesting, particularly the maze example (which – to my shame – I still can’t solve). One of the problems with teaching programming is meaningful problems, and I love the way that this demo integrates the puzzle with the means of solving it (reminds me a bit of the wonderful Bytes Brothers).
- The lovely people at Popcap Games have always been super-helpful when I’ve needed permissions or images, and it was great to read this recent article about the ten secrets of casual game design. I think that the educational game design community has a lot to learn from casual gaming, and I love lists. All good.
- The Gamification of Education Infographic. Personally, I think that ‘gamification’ is getting far too much prominence over the ‘games-as-constructivist-learning-spaces’ idea, but I have to admit that the former is just a little bit more catchy (therein lies the problem). However, I do like visual ways of expressing stuff, and this provides a nice overview of the gamification world (albeit a world that only contains America).
- Digital Ninja. Okay, now this is long past, but I still think it deserves an honourable mention. This was a video created for the JISC Elevator experiment for crowd souring ideas for funding, by a group from the ALT Games and Learning SIG. It didn’t get funded, but I still think it’s brilliant (and it did get the requisite number of votes in the fastest time). I think there’s still a lot of mileage in this one.
- Tiny Zoo. It’s boring, repetitive, trivial, and completely pointless. Yet compelling. And did I say boring? Really boring. So why am I still playing it three months after installing it to ‘see what all the fuss is about’? I haven’t spent any money on it (yet), but I’ve been tempted (and I know some very clever people who have parted with real cash for zoo dollars). There’s definitely something going on here that warrants further study. Offspring #1 just loves the zombies.