Boggle – iPhone App of the Week

May 18, 2010

Boggle – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is Boggle.

Test your way with words by playing the popular wordsearch game.

Until 23rd May £0.59

Boggle is a nice simple game that gives you sixteen letters, has a time limit, and you need to create as many words as possible with the rules that the letters can only be used once and must be “touching”.

The iPhone is a great little gaming device and works really well with these casual games. At 59p it’s not expensive and is certainly value for money. I think it was David Sugden who told me about it, so he’s to blame!

Research from various universities has demonstrated that if learners play word and number games this can improve their literacy and numeracy skills. As reported by The Telegraph:

Scrabble is just as good at improving mental sharpness as a Nintendo DS video games console and a copy of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, say researchers from the University of Rennes, Brittany.

Just on that article and research I have to admit I have always found it much easier to get 17 year olds to play games on the Nintendo DSi or the iPod touch than I have getting them to play Scrabble!

Boggle is a fun word game that fills the time waiting for the bus, the train or coffee.

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Scrabble – iPhone App of the Week

April 20, 2010

Scrabble – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is Scrabble

Scrabble spells major F-U-N on your iPhone! Experience the realistic look and feel of Europe’s favorite board game.

£2.99

I recently discussed gaming and learning with Ron Mitchell and Kev Hickey in one of our podcasts.

Last week saw the Game Based Learning Conference, we didn’t go, but that didn’t stop us from talking about using games for learning and using gaming devices to enhance and enrich the learning process.

At the end of the recording we asked what was our favourite games, Scrabble came up twice!

Scrabble is a word game in which players get points for playing words on a board in a similar manner to a crossword.

Research from various universities has demonstrated that if learners play word and number games this can improve their literacy and numeracy skills. AS reported by The Telegraph:

Scrabble is just as good at improving mental sharpness as a Nintendo DS video games console and a copy of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, say researchers from the University of Rennes, Brittany.

Just on that article and research I have to admit I have always found it much easier to get 17 year olds to play games on the Nintendo DSi than I have getting them to play Scrabble!

Having said that I have “caught” learners in our Library playing Scrabble on the computers. I didn’t know if I should throw them off or congratulate them.

Scrabble requires players to use both word and number skills to maximise the points they earn, so has as demonstrated by the research to improve literacy and numeracy.

Scrabble on the iPhone can be played solo or with other players over wifi.

I quite like playing the game, even if the iPhone cheats and uses words that a) no one has ever heard of and b) no one would ever use!

When waiting for a train, or on a train, or to pass a few minutes away, Scrabble is a nicely executed iPhone game.


e-Learning Stuff Podcast #041: We’re playing a game

April 4, 2010

Last week saw the Game Based Learning Conference, we didn’t go, but that didn’t stop us from talking about using games for learning and using gaming devices to enhance and enrich the learning process.

With Kev Hickey, Ron Mitchell and James Clay.

This is the forty-first e-Learning Stuff Podcast, We’re playing a game

Download the podcast in mp3 format: We’re playing a game

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

Shownotes

  • The Game Based Learning Conference is one of the largest events of its kind dealing with all aspects of games in learning. Building on the success of Handheld Learning and provided more depth by creating stimulating, challenging and provocative dialogue spaces at the intersection between the education, gaming, social media and consumer electronics sectors. There, policy makers, thought leaders, innovators and key practitioners met and exchanged ideas, knowledge and experiences as part of a unique ongoing conversation.
  • Using computer games to support learning – The Mobile Learning Network (MoLeNET) has released a new report exploring the ways in which computer games, digital games and digital learning games can be used to enhance and support teaching and learning.
  • The PlayStation Portable PSP is a portable gaming system that uses the GO! Camto take photographs and video. The PSP GO! doesn’t have a camera and can’t use the GO! Cam.
  • If you need cases for your PSPs, then Gloucestershire College have been pleased with the cases from Connected.
  • If you do have a PSP then you might want to consider an AV cable to connect it to a TV  or a projector to show images and video.
  • If you don’t like the PSP then you may want to look at the DSi or the new DSi XL (the one with the bigger screen).
  • Pictochat on the DSi is certainly a useful communication tool, in some ways the there are advantages it is a closed system.
  • We’ve talked about screencasting before and some time ago I wrote a post about screencasting tools for Mac OS X. At this time I use Screenr a fair bit.
  • The Nintendo Wii is one console that seems to have found a place in many classrooms.
  • A website created by Learning and Teaching Scotland to explore the latest games technology. Find out more about the background to learning with digital games and watch the case studies to see computer games successfully used within the classroom.
  • Neverwinter Nights was used to improve key skills.
  • at-Bristol in Bristol has a virtual volleyball game.
  • The future of gaming includes Sony’s Eyepet for the PS3, Microsoft’s Project Natal for Xbox and rumours of a Nintendo Wii with 3D.
  • Scrabble – 80% off this Easter, only £1.79
  • Prince of Persia

Bling it on…

February 18, 2009

I will be the first to admit that I am not a great fan of educational software, not sure why, probably because when I was teaching it was so difficult to book a computer room that when we were in there, the focus was on using office applications to write assignments and prepare presentations or use the web for research. So use scarce computer time for educational games for all my learners was not really an option (for me). The use of learning technologies was more often a way of enhancing and enriching my practice than allowing learners to use the technology.

Today things are different. In my own college we have many more computers, laptop trolleys and we are also purchasing more micro-laptops (UMPCs) for use across the college.

This makes it much easier for practitioners to use educational software and games to enhance and enrich a session.

One game I recently was advised to look at (by Shirley Crawford of Cornwall College) was Bling it on…

Bling it on...

Bling it on is a literacy, language and numeracy game.

The game was designed to hook reluctant offender learners and their families into a ‘first step to learning’ and should appeal to adult learners and their children alike. The subject matter of driving cars was chosen to appeal to male learners/carers in particular. It’s been piloted in prisons initially using the ROWA Learning bus with offender learners and their families.

Find out more and download the game.


“learning by stealth” on the PSP

January 8, 2009

gamesindustrybiz has an interesting and informative interview with Marco Minoli from Slitherine Software.

Slitherine Software are a games based company but with a slant.

Well, it’s very simple – we make history-based games. That’s our core, and I think while there are other companies who make a variety of products, we have a very clear idea of what we want to do. That’s what’s important for us – our licenses and the types of games we create.

It has to be cultural and entertaining – history is culture, and we don’t want people to notice that they’re actually learning something while they’re playing, that’s the goal. Because retail hates edutainment and culture, they just don’t like it. As soon as you say “culture” they tell you they won’t sell it.

The goal for us has always been to get people to learn by stealth, and movies like Gladiator or Saving Private Ryan – they’re entertainment, but they’re also giving some educational learning content too.

Though making a lot of PC software, they also see the PSP as having real potential as an edutainment device (though like most people I can’t stand the term edutainment).

But I think the PSP is more of a suitable platform right now, and I think at the moment it’s the console has the most potential to target new consumers.

From a learning perspective I do believe that the PSP has a lot to offer learners, and certainly my experiences with our MoLeNET Glossy project last year back this up, the PSP was the most used and popular mobile device we used, over other devices such as the iPod touch and the Asus EeePC.

Will be interesting to see if the PSP starts to have more educationally orientated content, the Nintendo DS certainly at the moment seems to have more non-gaming titles in its catalogue, though PSP sales outsell DS according to Minoli.

I’ve seen sales charts for some territories now and a top ten PSP game sells more than a top ten Nintendo DS game.

What do you think, is the PSP the future of mobile learning?

Original source of news, PSP Fanboy.


Are we playing games?

October 14, 2008

So here we are on day two of Handheld Learning 2008.

I am in the plenary session listening to Steven Berlin Johnson talking about technologies and how children learn through simulations.

Are we playing games?

Common theme so far seems to be about the innate way in which young children learn through the use of technology.

Talking about Civilisation, of which I played the original version, and how this very complicated game is being played by children who are learning while playing.

Some amusing observations from the game.

Moved onto the simplicity of Pac-Man versus the complex goals of Zelda.

Today’s games are a lot more complicated than the games from my generation.

More soon from Handheld Learning 2008. In the meantime check out my Flickr photographs and my Twitters.


Learning on the Wii

March 11, 2008

A MoLeNET colleague of mine has been playing working hard on seeing how the Nintendo Wii can be used to support learners.

Learning on the Wii

http://www.xlearn.co.uk/2008/03/learning-on-wii.html

http://www.xlearn.co.uk/2008/03/getting-your-wii-on-net.html

I’ve finally got round to buying some points and downloading Opera on my Wii. I’m excited by quite a few possibilities in its use for education, especially since some colleges I know have bought them to support learners in their Entry Level courses for the Learning for Living and Work projects.

From my perspective this device can be used for mobile learning in addition to learning in college.

For some learners this is their “mobile” device.

If learning while mobile means learning at home using a console, that has to be an advantage over “not” learning at home.

If I am at home learning on the net on my wifi capable Nokia N95 is that more or less mobile than learning on the net on my 17″ MacBook Pro on Brighton beach using the free Pier to Pier wireless network?

Do you have to be at Starbucks using their wifi for it to be mobile learning?

Surely it is all about choice, and learner choice at that?