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.

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Sixth Sense: The world is your touchscreen

21 04 2010

Here is the TED video I snuck in at the end of the previous post. It is just way too amazing to miss.Pranav Mistry from India explains the amazing potential of the “Sixth Sense” interactive media device. No psychics involved, I promise.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Pranav Mistry: The thrilling potentia…“, posted with vodpod





Sneeze!

1 09 2009

Games at Miniclip.com - Sneeze Another part of the multiliteracies project was identifying relevant texts to use with students to teach grammar and other concepts. In this day and age it’s important to recognise non-written grammars (colours, lines, vectors etc.) and digital texts. So I am able to use flash games as learning aides.

Sneeze! is a gem of a game. Very simple and illustrative. Use your single loaded sneeze to infect as much of the level as possible.

In addition to all the pretty colours – which set the mood, and add meanings – there’s also some audio to get children to analyse too.

Hattip to Nature’s The Great Beyond.