Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on 25th March 2015
How Kids Are Learning to Code While Playing Minecraft
New MineCraft Mod Teaches you Code as You Play
Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on 25th March 2015
Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on 23rd March 2015
game-based learning seems to be a misnomer, as the learning is not based on games, but enhanced by them. Commercial games are repurposed and modified to support curricular goals, as opposed to driving them. Of course, learning can and should also be based on games, as they are valid texts that can be studied in and of themselves, but it is important to see video games as elastic tools whose potential uses exceed their intended purpose.
My note: game-enhanced learning can be safely classified under “gamification”:
Gamification is defined as the process of applying game mechanics and game thinking to the real world to solve problems and engage users (Phetteplace & Felker, 2014, p. 19; Becker, 2013, p. 199; Kapp, 2012).
More on the issue of gaming and gamification (including coding) in Scandinavian countries:
Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on 19th March 2015
Based on the literature regarding games, gaming, gamification, game-based learning, and serious games, several clear trends emerge:
Recommendations for LRS
Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on 18th March 2015
Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on 9th February 2015
Garry’s Mod (GMod) is a sandbox game like Minecraft but instead of building and exploring, students use a fun physics engine that simulates things like gravity and mass. They also use a virtual toy box of assets from Valve Software’s popular games. The tool is a step up in complexity from the elegant simplicity of Minecraft, but with Garry’s Mod, students are exposed to physics concepts while having madcap fun.
Kerbal Space Program has a robust physics engine too, but it’s more focused than Garry’s Mod. Players purchase rocket parts, put them together, and then see if they can get a ship into orbit, to one of two moons, or even to another planet. These aren’t easy tasks, so play is focused on trial and error testing, and, like Minecraft, seeking help from the community is part of a successful strategy.
Sound Shapes is a visually stunning platform puzzle game set to a rich musical soundscape. Even better: students can create and share their own levels – like interactive sheet music — using sounds and objects unlocked by playing the platform game. It’s an accessible entry point into musical composition as well as game design, and provides an experience that builds on the creativity of Minecraft while offering something wholly unique for music lovers.
For creative kids who want to get their hands dirty, check out DIY, a site where students can find things to build, instructions for how to build them, and ways to share their creations with others. All projects are aligned to 50 skills that run the gamut from outdoors to indoors, and feature various challenges to complete and cool badges to earn and display.
Computer programming is a great next step for students who love to mod Minecraft or toy around with the redstone resource (which simulates basic logic and circuitry). One solid entry-level tool is Stencyl, a game creation program focused on codeless, cross-platform game making. By snapping blocks of code together, students can create games that can be published and played on a variety of platforms including mobile phones.
Minecraft has introduced a lot of youth to games as well as the critical thinking, problem solving, and creation skills necessary for self-motivated learning. The games and sites on this list have the potential to extend that learning, providing fresh outlets for self-expression in the digital world and beyond.
More on gaming in this blog:
Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on 4th February 2015
greater autonomy for students, greater levels of feedback, and a variety of assignments.
More on badges in this blog:
In each of the classes for which I use badges I have 24 different badges that students can earn. Each one is a “micro-assignment” which asks students to apply some concept or set of concepts we are covering in the class. Students submit their responses and if they meet the badge criteria they earn the badge. When they earn a badge they receive the points for that in their grades and also receive a badge graphic uploaded to their own personal profile which only they can see. One feature I would like to incorporate is the ability to share these badges via their social networks but I am not sure about how this would work with regard to FERPA requirements. More research on my part is needed regarding this.
If the student does not earn the badge, they are provided with detailed feedback and allowed to resubmit to try and earn the badge. They can submit as many times as they want or need to in order to earn the badge. Students need to earn a minimum of 14 badges to earn a C in the course and 18 badges to earn an A.
Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on 25th January 2015
A team of German researchers has used artificial intelligence to create a “self-aware” version of Super Mario who can respond to verbal commands and automatically play his own game.
Students at the University of Tubingen have used Mario as part of their efforts to find out how the human brain works.
The cognitive modelling unit claim their project has generated “a fully functional program” and “an alive and somewhat intelligent artificial agent”.
The most popular approaches today focus on Big Data, or mimicking humansthat already know how to do some task. But sheer mimicry breaks down when one gives a machine new tasks, and, as I explained a few weeks ago, Big Data approaches tend to excel at finding correlations without necessarily being able to induce the rules of the game. If Big Data alone is not a powerful enough tool to induce a strategy in a complex but well-defined game like chess, then that’s a problem, since the real world is vastly more open-ended, and considerably more complicated.
Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on 13th January 2015
bibliography and research
Playing in the Past: A History of Games, Toys, and Puzzles in North American Libraries
Author(s): Scott Nicholson
Source: The Library Quarterly, Vol. 83, No. 4 (October 2013), pp. 341-361
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/671913
p. 357 Another upcoming area of gaming in libraries is gamification. Gamification is the application of game design elements to a nongame setting ðDeterding et al. 2011Þ.
Nicholson, S. (2013, June). Exploring Gamification Techniques for Classroom Management. Paper Presented at Games+Learning+Society 9.0, Madison, WI
The concept of meaningful gamification is that the primary use of game layers is not to provide
external rewards, but rather to help participants find a deeper connection to the underyling topic
More on games in education in this blog
Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on 30th December 2014
Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on 15th December 2014