Archive for September, 2010

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Augmenting Reality in the Public Domain (Free workshop)

September 6, 2010

I just want to raise awareness of this free workshop arranged by the Virtual Worlds research group at Roskilde University on October 1st.

“For the next Virtual Worlds Workshop, Augmenting Reality in the Public Domain, we have invited Professor Gunnar Liestol from the Department of Media & Communication, University of Oslo. Gunnar Liestol will present his work on Situated Simulations, a new mobile augmented reality genre. The day will also cover governmental efforts to incorporate virtual worlds in tourism and education in Singapore, a discussion on the concept of engagement, and future plans for reconstructing aspects of the Sea Stallion Journey in an interactive experience platform.

Join us Friday, October 1st 2010, 10:00 to 17:30, room 43.3.29, house 43, at Roskilde University. The workshop is open to all interested. Lunch is included so please register no later than September 24th to dixi@ruc.dk or phone +45 4674 3813.”

I will be presenting at the workshop together with CarrieLynn Reinhard, who is a postdoc from Roskilde University and the Virtual Worlds project. We were both in Singapore in June, where we met up with some interesting people from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore to talk about their interest in educational virtual worlds. CarrieLynn has been writing about the meeting and the launch of the Singapore 2010 Odyssey here.

Ideas/constructions of augmenting/augmentation are very interesting to me. Augmenting/augmentation comes in many forms and arguments (e.g. better education, more real experiences, more fun, greater motivation, immersive learning), and these have been known to lie at the heart of much digital (serious) games and virtual worlds research and development. 

One thing is the imagined/envisioned roles of virtual worlds/VLE in education as providers of ‘better alternatives’ . But how are educational augmentations actually enacted with virtual worlds? 

I will be talking about educational virtual worlds and the promises and practices of augmentation.

With an outset in actual (empirical) cases, I want to discuss/open up the diversity of what lies in augmented reality experiences. Taking point of departure in different (e.g. Singaporean) enactments of educational virtual worlds I turn to concrete examples of how one educational game / virtual world (Mingoville.com) is developed, marketed and engaged with the ambition of providing better/augmenting opportunities to learn English for people (children) all over the world. 

Of course, when I refer to augmented here it is not in the same sense as for example Gunnar Liestol (one of the other presenters).

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4th European Conference on Game Based Learning (ECGBL)

September 6, 2010

This year’s ECGBL will be held on October 21-22 at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University (Copenhagen, Denmark). It is not too late to register!

Considering the many interesting titles represented among the accepted abstracts, I think that it is going to be an interesting conference. I will be presenting a short positioning paper and poster with the title “Alternatives and Passages: English Teaching, Learning, and Mingoville”. In this paper I present (too briefly) the Science and Technology Studies inspired methodology and four analytic strategies that I engage with to study enactments of passages between English teaching/learning and Mingoville.com ‘in the world’. The contribution of this paper is to the further development of research strategies that include emerging enactments of an educational game/virtual world as an educational alternative in heterogeneously constituted everyday ways of living.

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Opportunity to partially follow EASST 2010 in Trento online NOW

September 2, 2010

Right now the EASST 2010 conference is going on in Trento, Italy. I received an e-mail about EASST related online events ( Twitter and blog) that might be of interest to others like me that were not able to participate themselves.

The people behind the two initiatives write that it is:

a project for all those who don’t find
the time or money to go to conferences

“Practising science and technology, performing the social” is the title of the EASST010 conference in Trento (Italy) which takes place from 2nd to 4th September 2010. Many researchers in science and technology studies will go there, probably some technologists too. And a few students will be there too. There are usually much more students interested in conference themes than those who actually find the time and money to finally attend such a conference.

For all those who cannot physically go to this conference, we started this little project, to in return make our own conference visit possible (as we got some financial support for this project by the local students union). On this weblog we will provide live commentary of what we encounter at the conference. Additionally we will put here daily reflections on what is going on at the conference. We also will try to find some well-known science and technology scholars who have time to do an interview, which then will be provided at the blog.”

The initiators call themselves “a bunch of computer science as well as science and technology students from Vienna (Austria)”. They launch everything in accordance with this Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike license which is worth looking at too for inspiration.

It is a wonderful initiative (that also illustrates the conference title perfectly), and I look forward to following the emerging activities. Hopefully a lot of EASST participants will feel encouraged to share their experiences and reflections on the blog and via Twitter.

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Join the hot seats at our Game-Based Teaching NING

September 1, 2010

We are launching a series of hot seats, which will host different discussions related to Game-Based Teaching. So far, we have planned two hot seats, where we as NING coordinators have taken the liberty to host the two first series of discussions to be discussed by members of the network within two week intervals. The aim of the hot seats is to further dialogue between researchers, educators and game designers in relation to game-based teaching. The first two hot seats are described below. Please feel free to join the discussions!

Hot Seat #1: Gaming, schooling and knowledge forms (13-09-2010 to 27-09-2010)
This first hot seat features an online discussion of gaming, schooling and knowledge forms. In spite of a growing interest in using games in education, it still seems questionable whether games can be fully integrated within the context of formal schooling. A part of this challenge may be explained in terms of teachers’ level of ICT/game literacy and available technological resources. However, the problem is also related to the “clash” between gaming and schooling as different knowledge traditions with different criteria for validating knowledge. In summary, the two questions I wish to discuss are:

1. How can the knowledge forms of gaming and schooling be integrated?
2. How should games be taught in schools?

LINK: http://gamebasedteaching.ning.com/forum/topics/hot-seat-1-gaming-schooling

Hot Seat #2: How can we open up research on games as serious actors in education? (04-10-2010 to 17-10-2010)
As a sort of newcomer to the field of serious games research, I find that there is a lot of concern with how games can/should/won’t be integrated in schools. However, much like the e-learning research field (which I come from), there seems to be too many closed assumptions and too little methodological reflections/discussions going on that emphasize the central question of how can we research this matter.

This hot seat therefore features an online discussion of: How can we open up research on games as serious actors in education?

LINK: http://gamebasedteaching.ning.com/forum/topics/hot-seat-2-how-can-we-open-up

Later this year, other members of the network will be asked to host similar hot seats. Please write to tha@dpu.dk, if you wish to conduct a hot seat!

Finally, we hope to meet some of you at the ECGBL 2010 conference (4th European Conference on Games-Based Learning), which will be held at The Danish School of Education, University of Aarhus, Copenhagen, Denmark, 21-22 October 2010.

Look forward to some great online and offline discussions!

Thorkild Hanghøj and Mikala Hansbøl

NING coordinators and educational game researchers
The Danish School of Education, Copenhagen