Monthly Archives: March 2007

PSP in the classroom

Disappointingly little information on what they will actually be doing with them, but one school in England will be trialling the use of PlayStation Portable to support learning, reported by the BBC. This clearly follows from this recent Sony event.

Interesting, but perhaps unsurprising, that to explain the use of this technology, the head teacher has to start out defensively:

“It’s not about using the console for games, but it does have a lot of exciting potential for learning opportunities,” he said.
The school says there will be no football games or violent scenes.

The recent moves by Sony to associate its products with education are a significant move. I remember talking to some people from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe a couple of years ago, and they mentioned how important it was for the company for its products to be seen solely as entertainment devices.

TV culture makes us smarter than… what?

Scott McCloud recently finished Steve Johnson’s “Everything Bad is Good for You Book”, and gives it a very positive review. I still haven’t read it all the way through – I dipped in, but couldn’t really engage with it at the time. I did post a couple of blog entries contrasting the overall message of the book with that of Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, here and here. Now to add some more to the discussion…

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Busy

Been quiet on the blog… for a reason.

On Thursday, the Massively Multi-Learner event I was co-ordinating for the HEA turned out to be a real success as far as I could see – some very positive feedback. Panic to begin with as the network adapter on the PC we were going to use for all the presentation died. Luckily there were enough laptops to go round, and with a bit of work we even got Second Life access through the firewall.

Plus, a whole day of talks on using MMO technology in education (mostly Second Life based, if not specifically about Second Life) and only one mention of Games Based Learning!

Video casts of the presentations and powerpoint slides should be available soon(ish). Aleks has put her slides up already on Social Sim.

Coordinating the event and preparing a research grant soaked up all my time… hence no blogging. Hopefully normal service will soon be resumed.

Update: Meanwhile I’m preparing for a talk tomorrow at the Open University. And my 40Gb pocket hard-drive has just died. Gah!

Teaching in Second Life


Originally uploaded by Daniel Livingstone.

I’ve not written anything about it yet, but I’ve been using Second Life with a class this semeter. It’s been an interesting experience for all I think, and I’ve learned from it too.

I’ve taken a very constructivist/constructionist approach to things, and let the class experiment and build largely whatever took their fancy. I then discovered that I needed to provide more explicit guidance to get everyone going (extra scaffolding required). Meanwhile, a few interesting structures emerged…

Enraged and Engaged redux

I can’t believe I missed this debate on Prenky’s “Engage me or Enrage me” till now. Here on Dennis Fermoyle’s blog and here on Chris Lehmann’s. Both are good reads. Found these via another page of discussion here on Scott McLeod’s blog, which I think I might re-visit later…

One interesting thing, reading the comments especially, is the degree to which people interpret Prensky’s writings in different ways. This is I guess something that has come up here before – is Prensky merely describing how students have changed (and how accurate is his description?) or is he celebrating it?

Anyway, the discussions include a number interesting anecdotal examples and stories, so worth reading through.

Eduserv SL in Education event

I missed this at first. Will have to add the Eduserv blog to my Google Reader list.

This year’s Eduserv symposium is titled “Virtual Worlds – Real Learning?” and will focus on Second Life, including speakers from Linden Lab and Nature! Get all the details here.

I’ve previously agreed to give a talk locally on that date, but now I have to see if I can get out of it. And if I can face a trip to London just two days before I go for a ten day trip to visit Jeremy Kemp in San Jose. An excellent line-up though, and a great chance to do some excellent networking.

PlayStation becomes SchoolStation?

I’d heard this was coming… PlayStation Buzz – the quiz game which comes with its own buzzer controller – has been adapted for classroom use. The PlayStation Portable is also now being promoted as an educational tool (albeit a relatively costly one). More details at gamesindustry.biz.

As an aside, as similar solutions appear on the PS3, I’d expect Sony Computer Entertainment to go back to the EU to get the machine classified as a computer and not as a ‘game machine’ for the tax benefits.

Downloading YouTube

Just a handy link in case I lose it! vixy.net allows you to download Flash videos from YouTube and other sites to save them on your hard disk. I’ve used other services for this before, but the great thing about vixy is the ability to save the file in a wider range of formats – PC and Mac friendly!