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NECC Session: Pandora’s Box: Video Games for Education, Health, and Social Change

NECC Program Description

I’m interested to hear what Jim Brazell has to say about video games.  I’m sure I’m not going to cover this very well, but hopefully will be able to identify some good points and resources.

Today’s Games

  • What’s different about today’s games?  Visual Fidelity…things look almost real, we can’t tell the difference.
  • Procedural Fidelity…very robust simulations embedded in the games…like flight simulators, etc.

Virtual Heroes makes gaming headsets etc. that provide bio information to a game…your heart rate, respiration, etc. and then that will change the environment of the game.  Wow…

Game-based simulations are the new e-learning paradigm.

  • The average game player age is 30.
  • Who plays games online? 56% male, 44% female

Learning Games

  • Water Cooler Games
    Video games with an agenda.
  • Our Courts is a soon-to-be released interactive, problem-based civics lesson.
  • Can you balance the U.S. Budget?  If you can, then you’re a Budget Hero.

Health Games

Be an international journalist in Global Conflicts: Palestine.

Go through a soldier’s basic training (including CPR training) with America’s Army.

Interact and learn while you’re a citizen of Whyville.

As I’m review this post…I didn’t cover it well a I suspected.  However, there are great links here for anyone interested in exploring how games can be learning tools.


NECC Session: It’s in Your Pocket: Teaching Spectacularly with Cellphones

NECC Program Description

I didn’t attend Liz Kolb‘s cell phone session, partly because it was a hands-on session (and packed) and my cell phone doesn’t do much and also because I invited her to present at our TechCamp event in August. I heard a gal in front of me yesterday practically giddy about Liz’s presentation, so I’m really looking forward to TechCamp!

So now I’m sitting in Hall Davidson’s session…I can listen and not have to participate with my worthless phone since we’re in an auditorium. Hall is always entertaining and I’m sure I’ll be able to snag a few bits of information from him.

If you have a cell phone, you have a…

  • Telephone
  • Text Messenger
  • Still Camera
  • Video Camera
  • Video Viewer
  • Podcaster
  • GPS
  • Music Player

There really shouldn’t be a discussion on “should we ban phones?” That really shouldn’t be a question…they are here! Parents are ultimately the ones who are determining if kids are going to have phones…they can monitor what their kids are up to in a number of ways. They love that! So cell phones aren’t going anywhere…

Cell phones sound a lot like the way things were when the web showed up…”this thing won’t take off!” There are 3.3 billion working cell phones on the planet…that’s half the world’s population! Who has them? Tons in the third world…who forbids them? The Taliban and your local high school.

What can you do with a cell phone?

  • Watch live IP security cameras from anywhere
  • Create and upload videos…so post a video to Youtube of yourself giving instructions to the sub…post updates of news and events
  • Send video messages out to the community…like a voice message alert system

What else? You can call Jott and convert a voice message to text. For example, call in and Jott to email, blogs, twitter, etc. Another option is to translate languages…if you can go from voice to text, and you can go from text to translation, then you can go from voice to translation.

Gcast is a free service that allows users to call in their podcasts…basically sharing voicemails online with anyone. Of course you can subscribe to the updates via an RSS reader or podcast aggregator. Another choice is to call the teacher’s Gcast account to leave an answer to a question…sweet.

If you want to get some information use PollEverywhere. Participants can text their responses in and we can watch the responses in real time. The graph is extremely interactive…kind of makes some of the response systems used in schools now obsolete…well, unnecessary. PollEverywhere lets you export responses into Excel…nice. You can also text in messages and they drop right into the screen…right now. Very sweet for collaboration…everyone can put in their two cents. This is probably one of the best applications I’ve seen so far this week.

Where can we go from here. Hall suggests that teachers can find relevant, important uses for cellphones and has challenged everyone to be ready to try out new applications and strategies for using these interactive peices of hardware.