It lives on in you

5 07 2010

Ewwww…


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Game: I wanna play forever

30 06 2010
Kids hard at learning.Image: sean dreilinger (Creative Commons)

Play-based learning is used in the Early Years to provide children with an intuitive learning environment suited to activities that little kids do best – playing around with stuff.

This tends to be phased out around the end of year 3, as we move into constructive activities and even, ‘oh noes’, direct instruction. This is something one the children I look after lamented now he is in a year 3/4 class at his new school, “We never play anymore”. Boo hoo, little Johnny, boo hoo. You don’t think I don’t not want to not play games too, yeah?

With gaming returning to an acceptable past time for adults – just listen to Kevin Butler¹ at this year’s E3 – shouldn’t this be reflected in our schools and curriculum? Many of the kids I taught respond to questions like “What’s your hobby?” or “What do you do in your spare time?” with some form of console or another. Many child care centres, and even libraries, these days have consoles available for visitors to use. And if you want to get into economics, I’m sure you can go and find your own figures on just how much this industry is worth.

Games in the classroom do present some problems, mostly to do with moral panic. Firstly just about “games” in general – with some of the students I’ve worked with not allowed to complete teacher-set homework on Mathletics at home because carers won’t let them². Others more serious and understandable moral panics about inadequate classification, excess violence, and depictions of sexual and criminal activities. The ethics and other social issues surround video gaming culture and industry is probably enough to design a unit (or three) all on your own – but what I am interested at the moment is what recreational video games are out there that could provide the stimulus material for an entire trans-disciplinary unit on there own.

As this Dueling Analogs strip illustrates games today are becoming more and more complex – not only in gameplay and graphics – but in background stories, character development, dialogue, and even the style or genre of storytelling themselves (also known as interactive fiction). These components should make it easier to take a single game and safely stretch it into multiple learning areas.

Below the fold are just some ideas:

Read the rest of this entry »





I Made This

29 06 2010

Well that’s another 12 months gone.

And here is all¹ I have to show for it.

This is a collage made up of business cards and free (advertising) postcards that you pick up on campus, at restaurants and clubs etc.

Can you work out what has gone into it (and bonus points for from where)?

I used to have one made up from my cards picked up while I was at CQU and things I picked up in Japan. Sadly I lost it when I moved back to Brisbane from Sydney. My landlady said she’d send it up, but I’m still waiting, still waiting … she also has my map of the world. Bitch.

¹”All” may be a bit of an exaggeration. Hopefully I’ll get even more bonus letters after my name in under a month.





Do you teach about dinosaurs?

29 06 2010

The wisdom of Calvin:

Click for full strip

Why do clearly bright and passionate kids not perform so well in class?





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.





No, not Latin and Owls!

16 04 2010

Friday night at the movies:

How do I know this is bullshit? She says Harry Potter was “beautiful written and extremely provocative”. Excuse me? One word. “Muggle,” just, “Muggle.” Whenever anyone tells HP is the bomb, I say this, “Muggle?”

I also think it is a wonder of self-contradiction that such adamant True Believers in the One and Only God, still think that their is power in the symbols and practices of Thor and Wicca.





Something smells fishy about this sushi

5 04 2010

Click frame for complete comic at Ménage á 3 (NB: comics can be NSFW).

One of the activities that has seen me diverted from blogging duties has been a Japanese language group I joined last year.

Despite Brisbane and Queensland in general being a popular destination for Japanese in Australia, the Japanese students and visitors I’ve met complain it is hard to find authentic Japanese cuisine. With sushi bars approximately every 200 meters, it may seem difficult to believe. But even I notice that many of the city’s sushi bars are actually owned an/or staffed by Koreans (complete with Korean signs, Korean pop star posters, and Korean community papers and zines on display etc.).

Korean restauranteurs posing as Japanese is not anything entirely new or restricted to just Brisbane or Australia (Ménage is set in Montreal, and here is an article with the Japanese government wagging a finger at L.A.). Why does it happen?

I can’t find anything exactly investigating the phenomenon. I don’t think it is because old war issues, because they are as likely to be with Japanese as Koreans. And I don’t think it is because people don’t like Korean food, because, at least in Brisbane there are still plenty of of Korean restaurants around. Anyone know of another suggestion? Perhaps it is just that there are some Koreans who open Japanese restaurants.