Grounds of future play

21 09 2010

Two weekends ago I went to an education resources expo at the Brisbane Convention Centre – mainly as a bid to get freebs. I arrived a little late but still managed to catch some of a seminar, a few free posters, petted a snake and a lizard, and entered in as many lucky draws as possible (and possibly signing my boss up for swades of spam – sorry…).

Two things caught my eye in particular. And I’ll share one now – The SmartUs Digital Playground (their Finnish website).

The whole set up is very futuristic. Kids are issued with RFID smart cards that can be recognised by readers scattered throughout the playground. They login at the main portal and are assigned a task (run from point A to B via C three times, or something more complex) and the computer records their time. This time is recorded on an international online network where kids from different schools, or even different countries, can compare each others times and records.

Additional tasks and learning can also be integrated by assigning different nodes answers to a multi-choice quiz. This also comes into play by the presence of a dancepad hooked up to the main video monitor of the playground as well. This can be used for quizzes, fitness, dancing or simon-type games.

In Finland, it even became the basis of a family/children’s gameshow which involved celebrities and national atheletes, called FunTzu. Again, these TV scores were uploaded online, so schoolkids could challenge their idols. Unfortunately I can’t find any videos of the TV show – but after some searching I have found a news item of Asia’s first SmartUs playground in Hong Kong which shows how it works.

Tapping into children’s natural competitive behaviour, and then combining it with social media and massively multiplayer gaming Lappset have really hit the mark (or market). The only real downsides to it I can see are the initial outlay costs (which you can guess would be quite high) and also the pitfall of having ‘standardised cookie cutter playgrounds’ that don’t have their own individual community flavour. There also might be other hudles here in Australia given EQ’s stance on students and social networks.





Future blast from the past

12 09 2010

via Here’s Why

Take in some futurology from the past in these videos – A combination of industry propaganda and promotions from the early 20th Century.

“Frontiers of the Future” (A Screen Editorial With Lowell Thomas) (1937) Archive.org

“To New Horizons” (1940) Archive.org

“Century 21 Calling” (1964) Archive.org

“Connected Earth” (1969) Youtube

Can you see some modern day inventions, perhaps in a slightly different form? And how about those inventions that never eventuated – was it because they were impractical, or an industry related reason, or perhaps they still might-someday-be?

What things did these futurologists never take into account? Perhaps the inverse growth relationship between the size of a TV screen and the size of a mobile handset…





If you are having trouble understanding the election

21 08 2010

Hat tip: Dave the Happy Singer

You can learn much from this video which offers a brief overview of recent politics and issues in Australia.

Yes. It is true. In Australia we choose our leader by dangling rancid meat and political portraits before a crocodile pit and hurl beer cans at those crocodiles.





Reality Boats

20 08 2010

I sort of wish Get up would spend their funds putting non-partisan and worthy public education advertisements like this one on TV rather than random Abbott quotes.

(That said, this one was pretty good too)





Can they pull off the election?

20 08 2010

Real ad. Real political party.





Some of the world’s finest teachers

17 08 2010

Part of our requirements to achieve successful teacher registration and qualification is to complete a professional learning profile, which must include a log of professional development activities.

This might include current or previous jobs, research, volunteer work, PD sessions, or even trawling through youtube and teachers.tv

So for those of you who might need something to add to those personal development logs, or just gain a clue in the classroom watch these global experts at work.

Embedded videos below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »





Starts with Sue, ends with She

19 07 2010

Answer to my children’s question, “What’s for afternoon tea?”

Little do they know what it actually means.





It’s good to be in charge

5 07 2010

Less so to not be in charge. Mitchell & Webb:





Clean Graffiti? Where’s the crime?

29 06 2010

via EpicWinFTW

The authorities don’t seem to impressed by this eco-graffiti artist, even though he isn’t committing any vandalism.





Don’t worry nurse, its a *healing* sword

30 05 2010

I’m all up for learning in gaming, and even for gaming in learning (more on that story later), so the story of Healing Blade intrigues me. It even has a trailer.

A company called Nerdcore Learning has released what looks like a Magic: The Gathering Style Trading Card Game (TGC) that is supposed to help medical students remember what antibiotics they should be using for particular infections. It also mixes things up with cards for antibiotic resistance, as well as broad-spectrum antibiotics. I’m am quaking at the sight of Bacillus athrancis and his hordes of sparkly butterflies.

Yes. Your future doctor will have learned how to cure your ails by playing a medical-themed version of Yugi-Oh. Oh, dear, what?*

I wonder if they will release an OVA, or at least a web-comic.

If your interested in medical card games for younger demographics, there’s always Zygote Games’ Parasites Unleashed.

*Actually I’m far more worried about the med student likening his practice of medicine to Mass Effect





Clown science

18 05 2010

Misconceptions and wonder can be a great way to teach science.

Last year I had a thirteen year-old doubt me when I said that grasses were plants, which was surprising, but was a good place to start a discussion.

It’s all about asking questions, rather than making statements. The student didn’t tell me I was wrong, and I didn’t do the same for that. I was asked  something like “Is grass really a plant?” and I responded, “Well, what have we discussed plants are? Does grass match the description? If it’s not a plant what is it?” Perhaps to many questions at once, but I was only starting out.

Problems can happen when the questions are treated as the answer. “What is up with that?” is treated as “Whatever.” It’s enough to make a clown’s head hurt.

If this doesn’t make sense you may have to check the ICP original.





Free Science! No ulterior motive necessary!

16 05 2010

Ulterior motive may be included anyway.

Valve has released steam for mac (squeee!), and for the next couple of weeks is offering award-winner Portal for free download to everyone*. Enjoy some portal fun and the eternal promise of cake!

Okay. I managed to finish it in under 3 hours gameplay (at least that’s what Steam is telling me), but Portal is an awesome game, and I’ll put that down to me having already played the last quarter of the game (which is plenty crazy when you haven’t gone through the original training levels).

And that was my Saturday.

*Which may or may not have something to do with Portal 2 being imminent.





Hello. What’s your name? Aaaaaaaaagh!

3 05 2010

Pink titty woman. Hehehehe...

No, it is not my Friday night pick up line.

While I’m busy stressing over my last two pieces of assessment – both taking an indigenous angle – enjoy this delightful Aussie short I rediscovered during my research, Mimi by Warwick Thornton, courtesy of australianscreen.

It does not embed. It is also incomplete. Which is disappointing because the ending is just wonderful.

Rated PG. May contain names, images, or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons.

Clip 1.

Clip 2.

Clip 3.

The ending involved a raw chicken and body paint. I’ll leave that as a tantalizer for you to go looking for it.





Kate’s Having a Party

28 04 2010

Not quite a hump-day happy, but close enough.

I don’t know if it is the original event, but Kate’s party appears to be still on – are you going?





A deadly vengeance of deadly revenge most deadly and vengeful

25 04 2010

I played a game of Dr. Who Mao* the other week and was lost by all these references to damnfangled new doctors and catchphrases (actually I was also stumped by a reference to obscure old tape episodes too). If only I had seen this video sooner:

Curse of Fatal Death Part Two (with lots of guest stars) HERE.

*If you don’t know the game Mao, I’ll explain later.