Category Archives: Technology

Tapped-In is closing

Tapped-In is probably the longest running, still active, virtual world for educators (If I’m wrong, let me know in the comments!), but it has announced that it will be closing on Friday 15th of March. So now is your last chance to see this world before it disappears… (unless, of course, a mysterious benefactor steps in with money to keep it running)

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CFP: Computer Animation and Social Agents

A little bit of a tangent for this blog, but the social agents aspect of this conference has a large crossover with educational agents in virtual worlds, so of some interest. Anyway, current call and recently extended deadline for CASA 2013:

CASA 2013 – Call For Papers

May 16-18, 2013, Istanbul, Turkey


All accepted full papers will be published in a special issue of Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds journal. We are seeking regular full papers, short papers, and posters with the following topics, but which are not limited to:

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CFP: IEEE International Games Innovation Conference, September 2013, Vancouver

September 23-25, 2013, Vancouver, Canada

Call for Papers

Conference Theme: Designing for Play, Education, Health, Training, Social Change, and Gamification

The IEEE Consumer Electronics Society is pleased to announce the Fifth International Games Innovation Conference. Continuing the tradition that began in London 2009, to Hong Kong in 2010, and extended to Orange, CA, USA in 2011 and Rochester in 2012, this conference is a platform for disseminating academic peer-reviewed papers and industry innovation papers that describe innovative research and development and implementation of game technologies. Participation from academia, industry and government are welcome. We are soliciting the following type of papers:

For Academic Style Peer Review:
Short papers (4 pages)
Long papers (5-8 pages)

For Industrial Strength Work:
Papers on practical aspects of game technology (2 pages or 10 slides)


Posters, panels, and workshops (2 pages).

Papers (abstract, main text, figures, and references) or slides (for work from industry) or short papers (for posters, panels, and workshops) should be submitted to

Paper submission deadline: May 1, 2013

Who needs a degree now?

Want to get an interview with one of the world’s top IT companies? Facebook or Microsoft.

Perhaps you think they only look at folk with top degrees from top universities. Wrong. In fact, you can get an interview without having a degree – you just have to be good (really good) at coding, and be able to demonstrate that.

Say hello to Interview Street:

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Forward to the Past – Medieval University Strikes Back

I first started writing this post over a year ago, but it has sat as an unfinished draft for a long time.

I found myself wondering whether universities are going to experience a (likely painful) rebirth, one that leaves many in a very different shape going forward but with surprising echoes of the very earliest of medieval universities (unlikely as that may seem). It is a while since I read Charles Homer Haskins’ The Rise of Universities,but recall some of the details. Before universities came into being, anyone wishing to study would have to seek out a tutor or master and pay to join his classes. Over time certain towns (such as Bologna) became known for having many tutors, and hence attracted increasing numbers of students. In Bologna, the students who traveled to the town to study formed societies in order to be able to obtain citizen-like rights for living in the city and used these societies for collective bargaining with tutors over how much tutors should be paid and what they should teach. Thus the first European university was formed by the students themselves. (As per usual, Wikipedia has more on this)

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Avatar Classroom: Powered by SLOODLE

Things have been very quiet over at the SLOODLE project for a while, but Edmund Edgar and Fire Centaur (Paul Preibisch) have been continuing to work on SLOODLE, contributing to the open-source code base while also developing their own supported solution for end users – Avatar Classroom. There will be a chance to see what they are up to coming soon (SLurl/URL to follow). From Edmund:

Class on Avatar Classroom: Edmund and Fire’s SLOODLE-based classroom, Tuesday March 20th at 8PM Pacific Standard Time

Some people may have heard of the hosted service Edmund Edgar and Fire Centaur have been working on, built on the latest SLOODLE 2.0.

This gives you a pre-fabricated classroom integrated with a fully hosted Moodle website, with all the SLOODLE tools, designed to get you up and running with SLOODLE as quickly and easily as possible.

We have all the usual SLOODLE tools, so you can:

  • Upload their Presentations in Moodle, and have them displayed in Second Life with the Sloodle Presenter
  • Create quizzes in Moodle, and have students complete them in Secondlife using Sloodle quiz chairs, and the all new Sloodle Scoreboard!
  • Create and award points on your scoreboard for quizzes and role-play activities.
  • Submit homework assignments in Second Life, and grade them using the Moodle Gradebook
  • Distribute Virtual items to the class using a web based interface.
  • Record and bridge Student / Teacher chat sessions in Second Life and have these automatically archived in Moodle Chat

We also have a few additional touches, like a shark pool to attack your students if their quiz chairs drop too far.

Fire Centaur will be holding an informational tutorial on Tuesday March 20th at 8PM PST for all those interested.

Hope to see you there!

Learn to Program in 2012

Earlier today I was watching a video interview with Grace Hopper’s biographer, and at one point he discusses how some academics disliked Grace’s work because she involved the users in developing programming languages, and from her attempts to take programming away from the mathematicians and make it something that ‘normal’ folk could do.

This point is pretty much the central theme of Ted Nelson’s 1974 classic ‘Computer Lib‘ – with “You can and must understand computers NOW” emblazoned on the cover.

It has resonance today with the flurry of recent activity highlighting the need to drastically improve computing education in the UK – Next Gen and Royal Society reports, recent government statements, and so on.

Appropriately, CodeAcademy have declared 2012 to be the Year of the Code – the year in which everyone should try to learn and program.

Here are some good start points for complete novices: – CodeAcademy’s Code Year site. This uses interactive online lessons that build your skills with JavaScript – the scripting language used in web-browsers (and some other places besides).

Even more basic, the School of Webcraft will introduce you to HTML – not a programming language as such, but the basic markup language used to create simple webpages.

One of Stanford’s free courses is CS101, and this will introduce you to some of the fundamentals of computing and will allow you to practice programming online. The course starts in February, so still time to sign up. I think this course will be using Python – another easy to learn, beginner friendly language. The course leader, Nick Parlante, also runs the CodingBat site which has a range of programming challenges that can be completed online to test your skills in either Java or Python.

There are many other free online courses on computer programming, from a wide range of institutions and available through iTunes U, YouTube or elsewhere – but what these courses offer is exercises you can complete online and the opportunity to learn alongside other learners and mentors.

Call for Papers: ICEC 2012

The IFIP International Conference on Entertainment Computing explores the application of computational technology to entertainment. The conference brings together practitioners and researchers interested in the art and design of entertainment computing applications. ICEC welcomes submissions on the design, engineering, application and theory of entertainment technology. We solicit paper, poster and demonstration submissions, as well as proposals for tutorials and workshops. Papers will be published by Springer and archived in the SpringerLink digital library.

Download here the whole Call for Papers as PDF.

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