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Contents contributed and discussions participated by bartmon


Games and Accessibility - 0 views

shared by bartmon on 23 Jan 12 - Cached
  • The AbleGamers Foundation, an organization focused on providing disabled peoples with information and technology that allows them to more easily enjoy video games, has awarded Star Wars: The Old Republic its 2011 Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year Award for launching with "colorblind friendly options, full subtitles, and control options to let those with mobility impairments play the game as easy as possible."
    Interesting blurb about the new Star Wars game winning an award for accessibility.

A 'Moneyball' Approach to College - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 2 views

shared by bartmon on 13 Dec 11 - No Cached
  • Think of it as higher education meets Moneyball.
  • Today, half of students quit college before earning a credential. Proponents feel that making better use of data to inform decisions, known as "analytics," can help solve that problem while also improving teaching.
  • In April, Austin Peay debuted software that recommends courses based on a student's major, academic record, and how similar students fared in that class.
  • ...3 more annotations...
  • One analytics tactic—monitoring student clicks in course-management systems—especially worries critics like Gardner Campbell, director of professional development and innovative initiatives at Virginia Tech. He sees these systems as sterile environments where students respond to instructor prompts rather than express creativity. Analytics projects that focus on such systems threaten to damage colleges much like high-stakes standardized testing harmed elementary and secondary schools, he argues.
  • Mr. Mazur argues that his new software solves at least three problems. One, it selects student discussion groups. Two, it helps instructors manage the pace of classes by automatically figuring out how long to leave questions open so the vast majority of students will have enough time. And three, it pushes beyond the multiple-choice problems typically used with clickers, inviting students to submit open-ended responses, like sketching a function with a mouse or with their finger on the screen of an iPad.

    "This is grounded on pedagogy; it's not just the technology," says Mr. Mazur, a gadget skeptic who feels technology has done "incredibly little to improve education."

  • By the eighth day of class, Rio Salado College predicts with 70-percent accuracy whether a student will score a C or better in a course.
    Great article on Learning Analytics. I respectfully disagree with Gardner Campbell's quote, but I do see where he's coming from and that is something that universities need to be careful of.

Bastion - Chrome Web Store - 0 views

  • Bastion is an action role-playing experience that redefines storytelling in games, with a reactive narrator who marks your every move. Explore more than 40 lush hand-painted environments as you discover the secrets of the Calamity, a surreal catastrophe that shattered the world to pieces. Wield a huge arsenal of upgradeable weapons and battle savage beasts adapted to their new habitat. Finish the main story to unlock New Game Plus mode and continue your journey! Also included is the all-new 'No-Sweat Mode', offering unlimited chances to continue.
    This is pretty wild. Google managed to reproduce several top mobile and PC games in chrome, but nothing of this scale yet. Bastion is up for all sorts of awards this year, cool to see Google managed to port this to a browser at such an extreme level of detail.

Gamers solve molecular puzzle that baffled scientists - 1 views

  • Video-game players have solved a molecular puzzle that stumped scientists for years, and those scientists say the accomplishment could point the way to crowdsourced cures for AIDS and other diseases.
  • "People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at,"
  • "This was really kind of a last-ditch effort," he recalled. "Can the Foldit players really solve it?"

    They could. "They actually did it in less than 10 days,"

  • ...1 more annotation...
  • "Although much attention has recently been given to the potential of crowdsourcing and game playing, this is the first instance that we are aware of in which online gamers solved a longstanding scientific problem,"
    Good read on gaming and crowd sourcing to solve long-standing scientific problems.

Startup Weebly takes profitable leap forward - 1 views

  • At 7.5 million users, Weebly doesn't have the size or visibility of platforms like Tumblr (more than 25 million blogs) or WordPress (about 54 million). But Weebly, which tries to make it cheap and easy for businesses to create their own websites, now powers 2 percent of the Internet, according to research firm Netcraft.
  • They did it using a "freemium" model, giving away most services at no cost but charging for additional features.
  • Veltri, the chief operating officer, says that 51 percent of businesses still don't have a Web presence.
    Interesting for a few reasons. This was an IST class project in 2007 or 08, that led to 3 PSU students dropping out of school and driving across country to chase funding. They are also using the freemium model, a model that a lot of game companies adopted to turn net-loss IPs into profitable IPs the last few years. Finally, the stat "51% of business don't have a web presence" is surprising. I know a lot of small business don't have a presence (I'm looking at you, Watkins Glen hotels and wineries!), but 51% seems high.

Official Google Blog: Games in Google+: fun that fits your schedule - 1 views

  • If you’re not interested in games, it’s easy to ignore them. Your stream will remain focused on conversations with the people you care about.
    Google is already taking some major flack about putting Games on Google+, mainly from people that don't want to re-live the Facebook spam days of Farmville and Mafia Wars. Looks like they're listening and trying to make the games transparent for those that don't want to play.

    Solid list of launch titles though, including Angry Birds, Zynga Poker and a Dragon Age game.

Ian Bogost - Gamification is Bullshit - 3 views

  • The title of this symposium shorthands these points for me: the slogan "For the Win," accompanied by a turgid budgetary arrow and a tumescent rocket, suggesting the inevitable priapism this powerful pill will bring about—a Viagra for engagement dysfunction, engorgement guaranteed for up to one fiscal quarter.
  • Exploitationware captures gamifiers' real intentions: a grifter's game, pursued to capitalize on a cultural moment, through services about which they have questionable expertise, to bring about results meant to last only long enough to pad their bank accounts before the next bullshit trend comes along.
  • Gamification seems to me to take the least interesting thing about games and try to shoehorn it into other areas of life. Points and upgrades... bleah, I get enough of that from my frequent flyer program. Where's the imaginary world? Where are the characters to care about, the story to follow? Where are the viscerally meaningful consequences of my decisions?


    I'm not certain I agree with Bogost, but he does raise some interesting points (and he's approaching this from a similar viewpoint; tenured faculty at georgia tech). The most interesting dialog takes place in the comments...

The new intimacy - 4 views

  • Call it penance. Detox. I stop gazing at screens. Five days with no tweets. No Zelda. No email. No RSS. I jettison the barriers - the screens, the earbuds, the chatter. I disconnect to reconnect with the non-virtual world I inhabit. Recalibrate. Reevaluate "productive." Embrace silence. Ride my bike. Build towers for the joy of knocking them down. Pay attention.
    Pretty good work-life balance piece.

Blog meta-analysis - 3 views

shared by bartmon on 26 Jul 11 - No Cached
  • The search process was undertaken on 5 January 2009. Using the “advanced search” feature available on ISI Web of Science, SSCI and AHCI were searched using the keywords blog*, weblog* and web log* (trunctuated so as to find different usage of the basic word, such as blogs, bloggers, blogging, etc.). This indentified papers that focus on blogs but also those that examine blogs in relation with other media. As for temporal limits, all articles published before 1 January 2009, were considered for inclusion. In total, 311 articles were identified.
    This is a fantastic resource for anyone working on the research side of blogs. I've been looking for a meta-analysis of blog research for a while now, and this appears to be the home run so far. 311 articles reviewed. Millet - this is one example of how we might structure a lecture capture meta-analysis.

Creating a Meaningful College Experience in an Era of Streamlining - Commentary - The C... - 1 views

shared by bartmon on 28 Jun 11 - No Cached
  • in many classrooms on today's traditional campuses, with class sizes in the hundreds of students, distance learning begins in the fifth row.
  • in many classrooms on today's traditional campuses, with class sizes in the hundreds of students, distance learning begins in the fifth row. At the same time, students spend much of their days holed up in their dorm rooms chatting with one another on Facebook. The opportunities to learn from other students and professors, in and out of class, are declining at the very time that we know such engagement is critical for learning.
  • We know students learn more when expectations are high and when feedback on what they need to do to improve is constant. I'm certain that my young friend, and his friends, would work harder if we expected it of them—but we don't.
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  • We have to decide what students should learn and then offer courses that will enable them to achieve the goals we have set. The smorgasbord that currently exists is inefficient, ineffective, and meets the whims of the faculty rather than the needs of the students.
    Good editorial on large class size and disengagement across large institutions. A very student-centered piece that rings true on a lot of fronts.

Newell sees no distinction 'between games and educational games' | Joystiq - 0 views

  • "The interesting thing about Portal 2 is it doesn't sort of fit the traditional simplistic model of what a game is. It's not a collection of weapons. It's not a collection of monsters. It's really about science. It's about spatial reasoning, it's about learning physics, it's about problem solving.
  • "There seems to be this distinction between games that are educational, and games that are going to be commercially successful. I'm not really sure I buy into that."
  • A lot of times [the label] 'educational games' is a way of being an excuse for bad game design or poor production values."
  • ...3 more annotations...
  • "Games are becoming increasingly useful as educational tools. From our perspective, it's one of the things we always think about -- we always think about games as a learning experience. You can't design a game without thinking about the progression of experiences and skills that a person is gonna have. The value that we have is that they're self-directed. Rather than that being a problem -- rather than resisting the chaotic nature of an individual one-on-one play experience that people have, we embrace it."
  • "Someone should write a book, "Everything I Needed to Know to be Successful I Learned From World of Warcraft."
  • "In terms of what educational psychologists are sort of starting to discover about what are the highest value educational experiences, games are a lot closer to being those things than traditional middle school/high school kinds of curriculum,"
    Some interesting notes from Gabe Newell's keynote at Games for Change. This is interesting because it's the first time a president and figurehead for one of the biggest game developers out there has really put a stake in the ground for using games as educational tools.

Portal 2 Authoring Tools for schools: Newell explains | Joystiq - 0 views

  • turning the game into a more direct learning experience, with custom tools to match educational programs. "We just add another layer on top of the authoring tools to simplify the production of those spaces," Valve head Gabe Newell explained to us this afternoon.
  • the level creation tool for the PC version of Portal 2 gets another layer of interaction on top of the placement of, say, platforms or boxes. "If you give us a lesson plan, we can give you a tool that allows kids to build content to lock down those lessons,"
  • "The layering on top of it of the framework for giving people a direct physical experience of physics is there, but you have to tell me exactly how you want to measure whether or not your students are successful or not."
    This is of the top developers (Valve) building an 'educational layer' on top of Portal 2's authoring environment specifically for education, likely physics education.

    Even crazier...Gabe wants the implementation ASSESSED!

    We already have a great relationship with Valve, being an early adopter of SourceU that runs our Steam installs. Anyone know science/physics profs we can approach for this? I plan on sifting through the Institute's database to see if we have any contacts that might want to play in this space.

College 2.0: Academics and Colleges Split Their Personalities for Social Media - Techno... - 1 views

shared by bartmon on 22 Jun 11 - No Cached
  • Colleges themselves are also finding a need to craft multiple identities online, setting up a different Facebook page and Twitter account for every department or research lab. The University of Virginia's library has 14 Facebook accounts.
  • Watch Out for Zombies

    The job of updating a Facebook page or Twitter account for a university department is often assigned to a student worker. When the academic year ends and that student has graduated or moved on to another job, though, those pages may stand lifeless, creating a kind of zombie online presence.

    "If it's not active, it's detrimental," says Erin Dougherty, who recently became Endicott College's first digital-marketing coordinator. "It just sort of turns people off if you're a visitor to go to something that hasn't been updated in a long time."

    Ms. Dougherty is hunting for zombie accounts on the campus and either recommending they be spiked or finding a permanent point person or group to make sure each one has a pulse.

    Nothing earth shattering, but I do find the "zombie" section extremely accurate. Getting people to keep the social spaces alive with content seems to be a big issue (at least with SITE, likely with others as well).

Raph's Website » Gamification - 1 views

    Gamification, including examples from Nike, health month (the game), Khan academy, Nissan's MyLeaf, the email game, etc.

    Great quote "Games are the only force in the known universe that can get people to take actions against their self-interest, in a predictable way, without using force." Zichermann

    Great slideshare, but time consuming.

Intro to GLaDOS 101: A Professor's Decision to Teach Portal - Giant Bomb - 1 views

    • "This is a course about what it means to be human, focused on some of the enduring questions our existence inevitably raises for us. The goals of this course reflect this focus."

      You roll your eyes, figuring the next four (or five (or six)) years were supposed to be about shaping your own destiny, learning how to drink alcohol without throwing up and playing a bunch of games until some ungodly hour in the morning. Grudgingly, you look at the reading list. Gilgamesh, Aristotle, Goffman, Donne, Portal.

      ...Portal. No, you haven't misread. But understandably, you look closer.

        Week 4
      • February 7: Montaigne, Essays, selected
      • February 9: Goffman, Presentation of Self, Introduction and Ch. 1
      • February 11: Portal (video game developed by Valve Software)
  • "She's got her forestage and she's got her backstage, the stuff she doesn't want you to see," he said. "The game does an amazing job of slowly peeling back her veneer, and the stuff she doesn't want you to see or know is so slowly revealed. Those students started to exchange stories about what they saw behind the scenes or writing on the walls, little stuff they would find, little artifacts. That really provoked a lot of interesting connections between the Goffman text and GLaDOS as a character, as a personality, and the way that the environment is an extension of her and her personality. That really clicked."
    Interesting read regarding the game Portal being used in a freshman humanities course, alongside classics like Gilgamesh and readings about Aristotle.

Entertainment Software Association's annual video game report - 0 views

    Average age of gamers continues to rise (now 37). Female population continues to rise due to casual/mobile games (42%). Who buys most games? 41 year olds (was 39 last year). Males average 13 years of gaming, females 10 years.

    Lots of good data points, but they ALWAYS fail to answer a huge question about methods: how do you define a gamer? Depending on how you define a gamer dictates who is included/excluded in these types of studies and drastically impacts all the age/gender data.

Why I Will Never, Ever Hire A "Social Media Expert" - 4 views

  • Ready for the ultimate kicker? We still haven’t learned! We got thirsty again, and are drinking the same ten-year-old Kool-Aid without so much as asking for ice. Rather than embracing this new technology and merging it with what we’ve learned already, we’re throwing off our clothes and running naked in the rain, waving our hands in the air, sure that this time it’ll be different, because this time it’s better!

    “It’s not about building a website anymore! It’s so much cooler! It’s about Facebook, and fans, and followers, and engagement, and influence, and…”

    Will you please shut up before you make me vomit on your shoes?

    This is quite the rant. I know World Campus had a social media expert and Liberal Arts has a this trend on the upswing of the downswing in terms of hiring personnel specifically for this at PSU?

The seduction secrets of video game designers | Technology | The Observer - 2 views

  • Central to it all is a simple theory – that games are fun because they teach us interesting things and they do it in a way that our brains prefer – through systems and puzzles
  • "An effective learning environment, and for that matter an effective creative environment, is one in which failure is OK – it's even welcomed,"
    Interesting read on some of the hooks game designers use to keep people motivated and engaged, with a few plugs from educators on how we can use things like autonomy and agency to better engage.

BioLab Disaster - 2 views

shared by bartmon on 19 May 11 - No Cached
    Very good demo, illustrating how far you can push HTML 5 in terms of building browser-based games. I would have guessed this was flash at first glance.

Built-in video editor for Team Fortress 2 - 0 views

    Kind of wild...TF2 now has the ability to not only record your in-game footage, but now edit it as well with some custom tech. Even more interesting, you can toggle the camera from FPS view, to 3rd person view, to a 'free roam' view, allowing you to get different angles out of replay.

    Figures they also have direct links to YouTube, tied the video making/editing to achievements, as well as offering special in-game items if youtube vids hit certain view thresholds.
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