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Flash and Serious Games

I know I have been very quiet on just about everything lately. Getting lots done on that doctorate in Educational Technology & e-Learning, helping out at my girls’ elementary school, helping with the local library, stuff on the farm, etc…

Anyway, I am still working on making games for my math students and keep coming across things about flash not working on mobile devices and trying to figure out if I need to learn all new tools. I found a cool site I need to check out that might make it possible for me to work with flash, games & go mobile, http://gaming.adobe.com/getstarted/, there are all sorts of tools to look into!

While I will continue to look into this site with all sorts of tools to play with, I will be examining some other tools, and I will try to keep you updated with how it all goes!

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Post has been removed. I no longer sell “For Every Home” products. I am just focusing on my Math Teaching and Content writing now.

 

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It has been a while since I got any games posted, but I finally made some matching games for some Geometry information.
Please feel free to play & make suggestions for improvement! (Or if you spot some bugs.)

I do have plans for other games, but as always, they have to wait until I have time in my schedule.
🙂

http://www.ramshillfarm.com/Math/Games/MathGames.html

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I have always heard that kids don’t like school, learning, reading, doing math, etc.

For the life of my I could never figure why not, I always did. My family always did, my husband’s family too. What makes us different?

From what I can tell it is the way we do things. Books and learning have always been a part of the home no matter my age. We were always read to when we were little, we explored things to see how they worked. We experimented with little things around the house. We had chemistry class regularly in the kitchen with certain recipes for dinner. My mother received a phone call from my kindergarten teachers complaining that I was teaching myself take away.

I am now a mother, my little ones are always bringing me books, exploring ideas. My 5 year old has understood the mathematical concept of take away for several months, and not just because toys get taken away, she can do it with numbers.

Kids love to learn and explore, it is important to help them continue to do it. As a parent you also teach your children by showing that you enjoy to do these things too. If you are in school, don’t ever complain about it in front of them. Children learn everything from us, good or bad.

Still working on picking up toys, but it’s getting there.
🙂

I still remember a situation from a while ago, I was working in a comic book store. A father would bring his son in regularly. One time the father complained about his son spending all of his money in the store buying comic books. I reminded him, “At least he is reading, and he isn’t spending his money on other things.” The father left very happy his son spent his money on comic books and not the other things teenagers sometimes spend their money on.

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The trip was well worth sitting through the DC & environs traffic, and hope I can do it again!

Day 1: Workshops

I chose the Game Design Workshop with Brenda Brathwaite followed by the Game Jam Challenge.

Game Design Workshop with Brenda Brathwaite

Brenda went over some principle ideas having us each design a “Basic Game.

Basic game

start

finish

3 things that slow you down

3 things that speed you up

One of the activities was to design a game for an IP. The whole group came up with 12 IPs, 6 ‘good’ & 6 ‘bad’. Some of the ‘good’ ones were ABC, Disney and Doritos, some of the ‘bad’ ones were Al-Qaida, BP, Congress, Enron & United. My team got Enron.

In this activity we were to design a game:

Core of Game

3 or features

Define avatar

platform

budget

release date

It’s a good idea to include the ant-game as part of the game design.

Most commonly used math in game design:

Triangular numbers (or Pascal’s Triangle)

Probability & Statistics

Some things to think about when designing games:

If it is a social game, is it real or fake social interaction

Have a goal & reward for every level

If a ‘free game’ how will it make money, sponsers

How can you creatively get people to invite friends to play the game

Some games or concepts that behave like games or other items to look into:

Heroes of Gaia

Ebay – auction, game-like feedback & reinforcement

Foursquare

Facebook Games – Parking wars, Social City

Gamasutra

GameDaily

Kotaku

Next Generation

Game Jam

We were put into groups of 2 or 3, and we had to design a Facebook game about being a Novelist.

· 3 – 4 Repeatable Tasks

· Schedule

· Progress

o Rewards

o Bonus

o Acheivements

· Social Actions

My group made “The Novel Idea”

Day 2: 4 Game Sessions & 2 Keynotes

Dr. Alan Kay, keynote: “What Does It Mean to Learn Something NEW?”

He had a lot of great things to say, but I got distracted by the cool presentation tool he was using “eToys” at http://www.squeakland.org/ that he worked on. It can be used for all sorts of things, even simple game creation.

My main take-away, not something new to me, but I think it will stick in my mind a little better. The first time something is seen it is new and so is hard to grasp, but the more it is seen the easier it is to internalize.

Jay Graser: “Expedient Application of Simple Gaming for Learning and Assessment”

He went over some good basic principles for Game Design, and the differences between simple and complex games. Mr. Graser showed a lot of good examples of good simple games. I would have called these Game-Like Learning Activities, because they are ‘fun quizzes’, but I could just be behind on the terminology.

Two of the more creative examples that he showed was Jet being assembled or taken apart depending on the correctness of the answers. The other one was a gremlin disassembling the airdrop if the answers were wrong.

In the examples he gave, if the person had too many of a type wrong, the quiz would bring up remediation for the topic. This would cut down on the ‘anti-game’ players, and would remind the testers the importance of the material.

Michael Freeman: “Serious by Design: Learning Design for Serious Games”

One of his interesting points were that it is important to pay attention to al the Game Mechanics, interaction with the game and the interaction with the computer. Another is that it is important to have clearly defined learning objectives and that the design fits them.

The example he used looked like a military medical technician training game. They had combat situations, when one of the characters was on the ground the player had to click on it, then figure out what was wrong & menus would pop around certain areas of the body for evaluation.

John Romero, keynote: “Deathmatch to Dailies: The Evolution of the Social Game”

Many people are familiar with the still popular Doom & Quake games, and you can thank Mr. Romero for them. He has a ton of games under his belt. Interesting points about the evolution of gaming going from social to ‘individual’ and now back to social games. World of Warcraft keeps people paying for a subscription price, but the now more successful Farmville nickels & dimes people, er uses ‘micro transactions’ play for free, but can get upgrades “cheap”.

Brian Malloy & Donald House: “A Game-Centered Approach to Teaching Computer Programming”

They showed their game in progress for helping designers learn programming. It is a very neat game by itself. The group shared comments and ideas, some information about what they do is at brianmalloy.com. Some other games discussions were MegaMan, Bioshock, Darwinia & Tron 2.0.

Dr. Clark Quinn: “Gaming to Go”

He shared some ideas and work about using mobile technology and other things for games that ‘follow you’. Some ways were using cell phone, email and other things to help with practical training, like for sales or customer service. He also shared how he designed quizzes for the cell phone and “Just in Time Training” for negotiators, again on the cell phone.

He gave a really nice diagram that can be used for basic game design. Start with the Story, have a situation which causes a decision to be made. Now depending if you choose the right or wrong answer there will be particular consequences which will put you in a ‘new’ situation.

Day 3: 4 Assorted Sessions & 2 Keynotes

Mr. Frank Anderson, Jr, keynote: “A Global Learning Enterprise”

I have to agree with many of the twitter posts and some of the other blog posts, the main take-away from this one was the cartoon.

NT + OO = COO
New Technology + Old Organization = Costly Old Organization

This is so true, and very few places are getting it. You can’t just ‘tape the rocket on the basset hound’ to bring the organization up to date, and make it run well.

Mark Oehlert: Sociallearning Bootcamp

I attended 2 of the nine sessions held. The two were basically recaps of previously covered material and both were on day 2, so I will summarize in this section for both sessions.

The reasons many places don’t use Sociallearning are they often have issues with fear, control, and trust. These are reasonable issues, but some of them can be dealt with better than by just saying “No.”

He showed a picture of the design of a prison where 1 guard could easily see every prisoner; this is easily compared with many lecture halls. The instructor needs to learn to share some of the control to get more engagement.

Ever feel like you have too many things too read, blogs, tweets, etc? This is not information overload, just bad filters. If you use social networks correctly they can filter out much of the junk for you.

Some examples: Delicious is for Social Bookmarking, if you are the only one who has tagged the bookmark, is it because you were first or is it not a really good link for what you are looking for. On Twitter if you follow a lot of people with the same interests they are more likely to retweet the good stuff, so you won’t see the “I had a hamburger for lunch” as much.

If you, and you teach your students, to have better filters it will be easier to get the information that is worth reading or using.

Some ideas on making learning more social & fun, have badges/trophies that students can try to earn throughout the course. This is from the yahoo & kongregate game site models. People earn badges for playing games & such.

There are a few open courseware sites out there:

Bloomfire

udemy (beta)

udutu uses fb

academic earth

iTunes university

Some other sites & applications discussed:

netvibes.com

oneforty.com

seesmic.com

Smokescreen

expertlabs

thinktank

pindax

linoit

voicethread

ping fm

Dr. Bror Saxberg: “Myths about Mind – and Lessons for Learning”

He had several good points about learning. Once you master a topic it is often very hard to describe in detail how to do it. However, if it is possible to get the details the learner will learn it more quickly.

Until a task is mastered, most people are normally not fond of doing it. The example he gave was of his son, when he was learning his letters, he hated the letter, but by the time the son was up to sentences, he no longer hated letters. Once the material is internalized, it becomes something pleasant to work with and is often hard to forget.

On my way home from the symposium, I was listening to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar. Tarzan has an accident and has amnesia, he doesn’t remember things that he learned later from society, but he does remember what he learned as a child. Those things that were internalized and he did not have to work at remembering he could do. Tarzan had practiced jungle survival for a long time and mastered it far better than he did the societal behaviors.

This leads us to another bit of interesting information; it takes a lot of practice to reach mastery. “Talent is over rated” and "mastery is a matter of work, not talent". One of the attendees mentioned she teaches Highland Step Dance, and she has some talented students who never practice and she has a student with scoliosis who does. The student with scoliosis wins more awards because she practices.

Mr. Steven Haber, keynote: “Bridging the Digital Divide”

My main take-away is an interesting tidbit that, again, is not new, but fun is to note. Americans are one of the few countries that want a dictionary for their own language in an e-Reader.

Other

I had a great time meeting some of the other people interesting in “Innovations in eLearning” I was surprised there were very few people from the education ‘industry’, ie K-12 & college level. For some reason, all the training stuff that I used or made, I just never really associated it properly before. I got a lot of great ideas and places to get more information. There were so many great presentations, I hated having to choose. I am glad many people posted to twitter and on their blogs so I could get some recaps of all the great information.

Some of the links from Twitter for the conference:

Blogs of other people who attended:

http://in-the-middle-of-the-curve.blogspot.com/

http://notes.aaronsilvers.com/

http://blogoehlert.typepad.com/eclippings/

http://teachingcollegemath.com/

http://elearningjockey.blogspot.com/

http://karlkapp.blogspot.com/

http://blog.learnlets.com/

Other Links, some have a title with them:

http://donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com/2010/05/10-techniques-to-massively-increase.html

http://www.tvwsp.com/home.html

Welcome to The Virtual Worlds Story Project

Second Life Loyalist College Canadian Border Simulation

http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/academy/pdf/academy_of_the_future.pdf

The academy of the future IBM’s Academy of Technology blazes new trails in collaboration and Inclusion

http://www.elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?article=64-1&section=best_practices

Tips for Effective Webinars

http://blog.cutter.com/

Cutter Consortium

http://yfrog.com/b9cotvj

a screenshot of the Life Sciences Viz Gallery in Protosphere

Tsunami simulation in SecondLife

http://work.secondlife.com/en-US/successstories/case/noaa/

Engaging the Public in Environmental Learning & Enhancing Scientific Collaboration: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Second Life

http://bit.ly/9q005l

NOAA Weather Island in Second Life

http://screencast.com/t/ZTY2YTkyMTQt

Here’s a 5-min vid of ProtoSphere

http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/SolidsWhoseCrossSectionsHaveTheSameShape/

Solids Whose Cross Sections Have the Same Shape

http://www.squeakland.org/

etoys

http://karlkapp.blogspot.com/2010/06/3d-slideshows-and-interviews.html

3D Slideshows and Interviews

http://www.mindmap.com/

actually many different tools for this type of notetaking. It is interesting.

http://www.slideshare.net/judyb

Posted slides from mobile learning workshop yesterday

http://bit.ly/PlayLearn

Serious Games sorted by particular topic

http://www.mindomo.com/view.htm?m=73adb8d9c6d24d0a9f92090d5877b862

Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age (interactive mindmap)

http://blog.learnlets.com/?p=1593

Alan Kay keynote mindmap from #iel2010

http://elearningjockey.blogspot.com/2010/06/first-keynote-of-iel2010-alan-kay.html

First Keynote of #IEL2010: Alan Kay

http://twitpic.com/1tbyyw

One of the Novelist FB entries

http://yfrog.com/1qol9j

visual map of Romero’s keynote

http://www.maa.org/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf

A Mathematician’s Lament by Paul Lockhart

http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/467/book-review-the-complete-guide-to-simulations–serious-games-by-clark-aldrich: my review of Aldrich’s ‘Guide to Simulations & Serious Games’: Learning Solutions

http://www.introversion.co.uk/uplink/

computer science game called Uplink

http://www.introversion.co.uk/darwinia/index.html

Here’s another game about computer viruses

http://teachingcollegemath.com/?p=2332

Calculus Tweetwars

http://twhistory.org/

TwHistory: Those who forget history are doomed to retweet it

Book links from Dr. Saxberg’s talk

http://mindsetonline.com/

http://www.strengthsfinder.com/113647/Homepage.aspx

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As we all know there have been a lot of changes especially in the past few years. When we compare what we remember from childhood to the way things are now, in some ways I am very happy about these changes.

Except through history books and ramblings by us older folks, my daughters will not see things I had to grow up with.

I remember:

· being the only girl at the Library’s D&D tournament when I was 14.

· being the only person in the class who knew how to use the two computers in the school.

· being the token girl on the math team and in the computer club, but contributing more than some of the guys.

· classmates not expected to ‘get math’ because they were girls, for some reason I was not grouped with them.

· going to comic or SF cons and there being very few females, and they could easily be categorized: not attractive, for show only, and if the third group actually made it attractive but too shy or uncomfortable in the crowd. Not that I went to many of them being in the third group.

· Math only being a very dry subject whose ‘teachers’ where not creative in any field

· “Those who can do, those who can’t teach” which boiled down to “those who can’t teach, do go into teaching”

I am so glad that I now see, at least though connections online:

· excellent math educators who are undoing the damages of the previous generations, both with the children of today but also those who ‘were damaged’

· whole sites dedicated to women in …

· excellent women game developers, not just ‘designers’

· and of course, those women who manage to combine these three

· very creative ways of teaching all the wonderful and fun topics in Mathematics

· “Those who can teach, DO”

I may still be in the ‘too shy for my own good’ group, but I am working on it. OF course, with a very full plate it goes very slowly. My wonderful daughters take a lot of time since they are not in all day school, and the farm that is its own pleasure distracts me from technology or at least gives me a break.

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I know many people are asking for donations at this time, and I didn’t really want to do this, but…

Due to bad politics at the church my daughter’s preschool was located, the teachers had to move, and many of us parents decided that the teachers made the class not the building. Another local church kindly took us in, but many items of course did not move and need to be replaced.

We have donated many things, but there are still things the preschool needs. To help with that one of the moms who is a Just Jewelry consultant is hosting a fundraiser for them. Specifically they are looking to purchase enough sturdy children’s chairs since the church did not have as many as needed for all the students.

The school will get 40% of the purchase price from the sales.

If you would like to make a purchase for the fundraiser, check out the website, jmiller

If you would like to place an order please email me, and we can discuss how to get me the money & your order to you.

The school can also use books and crafts appropriate for the 3 – 4 year old students. If you would like to help in any way, please contact me and I can get you the teacher’s contact information.

Please pass this information to other people you think may be interested, the jewelry is $10 – $20 and is nice.

Oh, I should mention the deadline is January 29th! So please contact me ASAP so I can get everything together to get turned in.

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