Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Suffolk eLearning Forum

There was a great turnout, interesting speakers and a nice set of prototypes of student games on show at the today's Suffolk eLearning event.

Scott Hewitt of RealProjects kicked off the talks with an overview of the development of elearning, from screen -> screen -> test type-scenarios to current developments that make use of 3D game engines, not to mention a variety of portable devices, including familiar pocket-fillers such as the Nintendo DS, Sony PSP and the Apple iPhone, as well as some examples of how Wii-controller technlogy is being harnessed for training and educational use.

Scott Hewitt has posted his presentation on the RealPrtojects website. View it here: Games-Based Learning. Other resources are also available on the RealProjects site:

Dan Mayers and Adam Mayes's presentation on Alternate Reality Gaming (ARG) was really interesting and thought provoking. I'm not that familiar with the concept of ARG-ing beyond it involving some running around and "doing stuff" IRL, but the presentation suggested how ARG-ing can bring a whole new lease of life to things like field trips and guided walks. There are some great integrational (is that a word?) possibilities, directing users/players to online content--web pages, information, clues, video etc.--using QR codes and mobile phones. Truly fascinating stuff.

Adam wasn't physically present--he was in Denmark, so it was great that he took part via Skype with nary a hitch (I've been to several tech-focussed conferences where the inevitable technical hitch leads to non-ironic whoops from the audience after someone gets on stage and manages to get the speaker's Mac to connect to the internet via wifi. Adam's link-up today was so seamless that no-one noticed or, if they did, they were all too cool to whoop or make a fuss).

There was some concern about Matthew Applegate as his last known contact with the world was a tweet last night to say that he was feeling poorly, but he nonchalantly arrived, bang on time, with a laptop and a carrier bag and talked about the decline of programming in the school curriculum and went on to make some suggestions about some ways people could get coding (eg: scratch, squeak, atmosphir, processing) and he also mentioned some projects that will bring basic--beginner's all-purpose symbolic instruction code--to some popular consoles.

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