Newtoon update… (last mentioned here)
A video has been added to the page at Futurelab, so you can see Newtoon being used/played by students – and being discussed by the developers. I have to say that I’d still be more tempted to use Phun based on what can be seen here. Phun looks far more powerful, and based on open-ended play. Newtoon somewhat simpler, but can run on (some) phones and based around using the physics to create ‘micro-games’.
But you can download both if you want to compare – Newtoon from here.
(I wonder why Futurelab don’t also post their videos on YouTube… would allow me to embed it here at least!)
Phun looks amazing – a 2D physics sandbox game from the Umeå VR Lab. I can imagine just giving this to students to play around with or to integrate into a class – asking students to conduct (design as well?) experiments and share results. A bit reminiscent of Crayon Physics (which I was sure I’d blogged, but it looks like I forgot to!), but with more control over the physics and without the game goals.
Check out the Phun and Crayon Physics Deluxe videos below… then go download ‘em and try ‘em out!
Yet another exciting looking project from Futurelab – Newtoon:
Newtoon is a mobile phone and web activity which aims to embed physics learning in mobile game creation and play. It enables young people to create microgames via a web interface on a PC in a 2D world consisting of balls and springs. The games can be trialled and edited on the PC, and various physics principles regulating the movement of objects can be manipulated via the interface.
More here. The full report looks like a worthwhile read – with some very strong apparent outcomes. A very limited discussion below.
I’m currently preparing for this year’s Interactive Physical Modelling class – a blend of maths (a bit of geometry, quite a bit with vectors), physics (some classical mechanics) and C++ programming. Luckily the physics is taught by a colleague who’s much more qualified and capable in that area than I am.
I think I’ll try and take Peter Norvig’s comments at ALT-C (see Tale of Two Keynotes, below) to heart and see to what degree I can cut down on the lectures and use tutorials instead. After all, there is already a full set of notes, and students can read – can’t they? And as Peter pointed out, with some of the world’s best experts posting podcasts and videos of their lectures online, why should I subject my students to lectures from me? I’ll have to also monitor this carefully as whether or not students will read or download and listen/watch is another question.
But meantime, I need to drastically build up my resource bank. Some first finds: