Wednesday, August 31, 2011

3dedrats - A Month of Festivities

Recently at MacICT we have launched our new 3dedrats festival celebrating the latest 3D technologies in education, arts and sciences. We invite you to come join us and play with robots, virtual worlds and video games!

3dedrats is an exciting opportunity to get involved in games, virtual worlds, robotics, arts and science in Australian contemporary education.
Throughout the month of October there will be world first interactive experiences, events, fun competitions, exhibitions and workshops designed for students, families, schools and the general public.
Participation is open to a worldwide audience through online content and virtual experiences as well as events held at multiple venues such as Macquarie University and Sydney College of the Arts. Aimed at all ages, the 3dedrats festival will include world class experiences. Click on the images below to find out how you can be involved:

Right now, if you have a flair for writing, enter our GAME backstory narrative writing competition for a chance to win a prize. The most popular narratives will be chosen to be used in our next challenge - designing a game! Read more on how to enter our competition on the 3dedrats website.

How Video Games are Changing Education - Infographics

Check out this infographic with information provided by Online Colleges

Video Games and Education
Via: Online Colleges Guide

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Invasion of the Shadow Plague Micro Pilot: Midway Musings

Seven weeks ago MacICT launched a micro-trial of its new metagame, ‘Invasion of the Shadow Plague’ with two primary schools and three high schools, totalling 700 students. This project uses a socio-constructivist approach to teaching game design and is centered within a Word Press Blog. It requires students to complete nine missions and write nine mission reports earning the students digital badges allowing them to level up and complete the next mission. While playing the game through completing the missions, students are learning how to design and build games using Kodu Game Lab and practice the skills of good game design. Embedded in the metagame are good game design principles, strong links to literacy, cyber citizenship, problem solving, collaboration and modeled 21st Century skills in the uses of technology. Through participating in an online MacICT games community, the sharing of learning, ideas and games is encouraged and rewarded.

For more information on how the project is going, visit the MacICT Innovative Teaching blog


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gamifying Education

An excellent video from the team at Extra Credits.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Invasion of the Shadow Plague - our new Kodu Metagame

After months of researching, planning and finally building, our new project website has finally gone live. Read about MacICT's new narrative based metagame created by the Game Design team to teach students from Year 3 to Year 10 how to design and build using Kodu on MacICT's Innovative teaching blog.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Game2Design: Directions in 2011

Wow, I can't believe so much time has passed since our last post. I thought we should fill you in on our direction in 2011. My team and I have been madly designing our new project, 'Game2Design: play, analyse, build' where our aim is to move students from playing to building – transforming students from consumers to creators of digital content. We believe that the process of understanding and applying the principles of good game design to student created games not only improves literacy, collaboration and higher-order thinking skills, but can lay the foundations for deep learning, innovation and change in 21st century classroom

We are continuing to deliver our Game2Design project using Kahootz and are excited to have on board both Primary and High schools. We are particularly excited to have a High School from remote NSW join us on this project. All training and support will be delivered via video conferencing facilities to our remote schools.

We are almost ready to pilot our Game2Design using Kodu project. As part of this, we have been building and extensive library of short videos explaining various aspects of using Kodu to design games. We have also been working on the framework for a metagame which we intend to use to teach good game design and Kodu. This project will be very student directed, aiming to build confidence in teachers and relieving them of the stress associated in teaching something that is often very foreign to them. Anthony, Simon and I are very excited about this project, and it has absorbed a lot of our time this year. We expect this project to evolve through repeated iterations.

We have also designed a new 'Good Game Design' workshop which will seek to evaluate innovative applications of game design principles in teaching and learning. The focus is on teachers employing a constructivist approach that promotes inquiry learning to achieve curriculum outcomes across most key learning areas and addresses dimensions from the quality teaching framework. This workshop will give teachers a fundamental understanding of design principles and how these can be applied when teaching students to build games. Teachers can apply these new understandings to any game creation software. We hope to run our first game design workshop later this term.

What else is the Game Design team up to this year?

This year, Anthony has returned to Uni (while still working 2 days/week at MacICT) to train as a Primary School teacher and complete his Bachelor of Education. With the experience he has gained from working at the Centre last year, he should do very well!

Simon still works one day/week at the centre, and this year has a composite Year 5/6 class at Gordon East Public School. He is as enthusiastic as ever and committed to introducing teachers to engaging their students as game designers.

I am still working two days/week at MacICT and, for the remainder of the week, I am ICT RFF teacher at Cromer Public School. This term my Year 6 students are designing LAMS sequences around government and democracy. Year 5 are designing web pages that address real world issues and persuading readers to adopt their solutions to these authentic problems. Year 4 are designing digital stories to share with their buddies in Japan and Year 3 are learning to use Web 2.0 tools and Edmodo. All students are using Edmodo to post reflections on their learning. Next term, Simon and I will involve all our students in designing games.

In two weeks I will be travelling to Thailand to attend Microsoft's 7th Asia Pacific Regional Innovative Education Forum as the New South Wales Innovative teacher representative. I am really looking forward to the challenges the forum will bring and global connections I will make during this time.

We will be blogging about our Game2Design project on MacICT's new blog: We hope to see you there.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reflections: Student as Designers Showcase

Last Thursday, Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre hosted as 'Students as Designers Showcase' where Department of Education teachers and Macquarie University academic staff participated in sessions led by Year 5 and 6 students from Cromer Public School on students as game designers and participative narratives, and Year 11 Caringbah High School students on Learning Design using LAMS. What an incredible job all the students did!

During our Game Design session, five Cromer Public School students talked about their journey as designers and what they learned from this experience. In the guise of investigators, the teachers and University staff then sat with the student game designers, talking to them about their games, what they liked best about their games, how they could improve them and what they learned from designing and building computer games.
We were also very excited to have Sam Doust, Creative Director, Strategic Development at ABC Innovation talk to the students and adults about the augmented reality drama, Bluebird, that he helped write and produce which is set around the leak of Bluebird, a clandestine geo-engineering initiative created by eco-billionaire Harrison Wyld. This presentation highlighted some of the exciting developments in the way we see digital narratives and games in literacy. The possibilities this type of narrative brings to students designing their own interactive narratives, and the depth of learning that would occur, has captured the imaginations of the staff at MacICT.

The hit of the day with the students (and many of the adults present) was the visit from ABC's Good Game hosts Bajo and Hex (aka Steven O'Donnell and Stephanie Bendixen). To the absolute delight of the students, Bajo and Hex mingled with them, chatted about the games the students had made and played some of them. They also talked to the students and adults for 40 minutes about what they like about games, what makes a good game from a player's perspective, how to make a game enjoyable and answered many questions from students and adults. Afterwards, Bajo and Hex stayed around and mixed with the students and were swamped with more and more questions about games and their jobs. This was certainly an experience many students claim has been a highlight of their year!

At both Sam, and Bajo and Hex's session, we had teachers and students from various schools join with us via video conference!

Students and adults also had the opportunity to participate together on an interactive adventure and explore a narrative that Anthony and I wrote with collaboration from my Year 6 students at Cromer Public School. Real and fiction were blended together in this participative narrative that invited the readers to be a part of the story.

When we reflect on what occurred during the sessions we saw, collaboration, cooperation, creativity, innovation, great discussions, teamwork and, we can't forget... some fun thrown in! Thank you to the teachers and academic staff who joined us on this fabulous day and, most importantly, a HUGE congratulations to all the students who, despite some feeling a little anxious, willingly shared with the adults present, their journey into game design. You guys are simply awesome!