Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Future of Games

If you have the 30 minutes to spare, Jesse Schell's recent talk at DICE 2010, is quite a cage-rattler. The financial strategies that underpin many of today's games may be surprising, but there is no arguing the fact that today's games captivate an audience hungry for social play.

In 'Design Outside the Box' Jesse paints a future where point systems and emerging technologies form the scaffolding for an economy that is dependent upon gameplay.

Knowing such a world may be on the way: What role should gaming play in education?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bill Shakespeare Comes to Facebook

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with three students who created Facebook pages as a modern response to Shakespeare’s 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.

Today, I’ve finally gotten around to sharing screen captures that act as exemplars of how Robin Goodfellow, Hermia and others might have experienced social networking.

If you’d like to see the lesson that spawned these pages, Dominic Dedato has agreed to share his differentiated lesson and rubric, suggesting that you are free to adopt, edit, or adapt it to suit your purposes.

How might your students demonstrate their knowledge of character development using modern tools? Would public Twitter feeds be preferred over a private collection of text messages? Might a collection of email correspondence from a bygone era be created? Maybe the characters would've maintained poster pages at ‘Glogster’?

Do you have similar projects or ideas to share? Perhaps our podcast interview will inspire you to consider providing your students with a similar experience...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

10 Terms of Use for Plagiarism Detection

Today at a meeting of department heads, we were asked to consider spending a few thousand dollars to gain access to the most popular plagiarism detection database: Turnitin.

In leveraging tools to teach learners about academic integrity, here are my recommended Terms of Use for Plagiarism Detection:

1] Staff members will commit to teaching lessons on academic integrity. (via @ransomtech)

2] Teachers will overtly model academic integrity by attributing their sources for lessons, assignments, and coursework. (Where do your ideas, text, graphics come from?)

3] Conscientious attempts will be made by teachers to design authentic writing tasks that are resistant to copying. (via @sadone)

4] Students will be provided with opportunities to present their ideas in alternative ways including the use of emerging media tools.

5] It will be the norm for written assessments to be completed in the presence of the teacher.

6] Comprehensive training in the roll-out of digital detection software, will welcome the participation of interested students. (via @rivenhomewood)

7] Plagiarism detection will be used primarily by students as a way to gauge the integrity of their writing before submitting final drafts. (via @GDhuyvetter)

8] It will be the norm for students to use modern writing tools that track the 'history' of a document's development. (E.g., Google Documents)

9] Educators will learn (and teach students) how to use quoted text in a 'Google Search' as a way to validate suspicious strings of text.

10] Users will become familiar with the terms of the service agreement and will carefully consider the ethical consequences of submitting content to an online plagiarism service.

Photo Credit: churl

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What does Quorum Sensing have to do with Me?

I admit it, I'm hooked on learning. I get a rush when I discover something new, especially if it's something known to relatively few people. Today, I learned about Quorum Sensing, and a whole lot more, from the behavior of bacteria.

Bonnie Bassler's hyper-enthusiastic TED Talk from one year ago, is focused on bacteria and bio-chemistry, but if you pay attention, she weaves many lessons into her talk.

Prone to thinking metaphorically, I'm left wondering how our own networked learning might one day lead us to collectively shine our light, to brighten the paths of tomorrow's learners. Is it possible for the online ed-tech collective to enlighten our 'hosts'?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Educon: Multi-Touch with Jeff Han

Four years ago, Jeff Han's TED talk started us thinking about how we might use simple, intuitive gestures to interact with technology; this past week, Educon attendees had the chance to experience a full scale multi-touch wall.

When Jeff brought his multi-touch wall to the Science Leadership Academy, it couldn't help but create a buzz among both students and educators. You likely know this technology as CNN's election coverage tool, but what stunned me, is that this is about the most intuitive piece of technology I've ever used.

In the first half of this two-minute video, you can see my reactions as a novice user, moments after being introduced the large scale multi-touch screen. In the latter half, you'll see Jeff Han, Founder and Chief Scientist of Perceptive Pixel, who is almost cavalier in using the wall to teach us about how broadcasters have engaged this technology.

It was a special treat to be able to speak with Jeff about how Bill Buxton, inspired his scientific mind back when Bits 'n Bytes was our window to the future of technology. And it was refreshing to know that in sharing with an audience of learners, Jeff was also interested to hear our ideas about how such technology might be leveraged in the classrooms of tomorrow.

Where this technology go next? Multi-touch is already influencing the development of new technologies like the recently announced iPad. If the next generation of devices is as intuitive as the multi-touch wall, we may be headed towards a future where even teachers will adopt new tools.