Archive for January, 2007

Crossover for MacOSX

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Crossover for MacOSX (Via D’Arcy Norman Dot Net.) D’Arcy describes (and points us to) an application for running Windows applications on OS X, without installing Windows (via Boot Camp or Parallels).

UPDATE: Parallels wins (Via D’Arcy Norman Dot Net.) Apparently, D’Arcy prefers Parallels after all. As he says, “only a relatively small subset of applications run under Crossover.”

2007 Concurrent Sessions Now Posted!

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

2007 Concurrent Sessions Now Posted! (Via CUE News.) I hope to see many of you at the CUE conference in March… and now we can plan how we’re going to get the most out of our three (or four) days together.

Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education | Gameology They are accepting submissions for this book. I won’t have my study prepared in time, and I’ll be done before it comes out, but I still look forward to this volume.

Coverage: The Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education will provide a compendium of terms, definitions and explanations of concepts, processes and acronyms. Additionally, this volume will feature chapters (5,000-7,500 words) authored by leading experts offering an in-depth description of key terms and concepts related to different areas, issues and trends in teaching and learning with electronic games. Theoretical and empirical chapters are welcomed.

Recommended topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Teaching and Learning with Console, PC, or Handheld Games
  • Learning with and through online games and MMORPGs; interaction studies
  • Gaming in and out of school; formal vs. informal learning through games
  • Educational Games for teaching and learning
  • Non-educational games used for Education
  • Electronic games, gender, and race
  • Electronic games, society, and culture
  • Student creation of Electronic Games as a part of the learning process
  • Content area knowledge acquisition through Electronic Games
  • Psychological studies on the use of Electronic Gaming
  • Game Design for instructional purposes
  • Electronic Games to improve Health and Knowledge of Health
  • Teaching and Learning with Electronic Game Engines (e.g. Second Life)
  • Narrative & Media studies with Games
  • Frameworks for researching or teaching Gaming, Game Design, Game Theory, etc.
  • Electronic Gaming literacies
  • Pedagogies of Electronic Games
  • Electronic Game Genre studies
  • Exploration of self through electronic gaming (e.g. identity, moral development)
  • Future research and development needs and goals

Academic Gamers, one of the trusted sources in my aggregator, have also posted this call for submissions: The Place of Synthetic Worlds: Special Issue of Space and Culture | Gameology.

Early Blogrolls Are In

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Early Blogrolls Are In (Via Secondary Worlds: Teaching, Technology, and English Language Arts.) A list of several (brand new) student blogs. I’m always collecting examples. :)

Also, as Wes reminds us in Addressing the lurkers (Via Moving at the Speed of Creativity), we should comment if we’re reading student blogs, especially if we’re getting something out of it. :)

Open Source Phone

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Open Source Phone (Via Around the Corner – Miguel describes (and points us to) an alternative to the closed and proprietary iPhone. OpenMoko’s NEO1973 is an open platform and looks cool to boot.

Serious games, Square Enix, GDC, and you – MMORPG blog

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Serious games, Square Enix, GDC, and you – MMORPG blog (Via Google News – Games Education.) This post came in on one of my search feeds and caught my attention, especially this bit:

At this year’s Serious Games Summit of the Game Developers Conference 2007 (GDC 2007), the keynote address will be delivered by Ichiro Otobe, chief strategist for Square Enix. That means that Square Enix and other popular developers have ideas about bridging the gap between commercial entertainment and the serious games industry.

And why is this important to you, the QJ reader? Because better serious games will make your life better. Many education-entertainment or “edutainment” games are boring. A multiplication table, even if it has the Winx fairies doing cartwheels, is still just a boring table. But imagine if companies like Square Enix (with their MMO and RPG games), Maxis, or Blizzard got involved.

An interesting/inspiring bullet list of “this is what the world of serious gaming could become” follows.

Obama takes first step in White House bid

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Obama takes first step in White House bid | Chicago Tribune In a brief break from the usual content of this blog, I thought I’d share that I’m excited about this news.

Now back to tech planning with the Palm Springs Unified School District…

UPDATE: A Message From Barack – Video | Obama Exploratory Committee Obama released a video statement of his intentions… via YouTube.

Review – The Audacity of Hope (Via This Is Not News.) Meanwhile, Dave Thomer reviewed Obama’s The Audacity of Hope.

Final Fantasy XII and the Future of Educational Role Playing Games

Monday, January 15th, 2007

Now that we’ve finished our vacation effort to watch all of LOST seasons 1, 2, and 3, Eva and I are enjoying actually playing Final Fantasy XII [Wikipedia]. I loved LOST (much more than I expected), but it feels good to move on to something interactive.

Meanwhile, I’ve been finally making my way through Salen and Zimmerman’s Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals.

We are enjoying the game, but it occurs to me that current role playing games (of the console and computer game variety) have something important backwards. The most interesting parts of the story are predetermined and are communicated through (admittedly beautiful but) non-interactive cut scenes, while the player controls only relatively mundane tasks such as finding items (or locations) or fighting monsters. The player can’t decide what to say or not say to other characters and cannot affect the story in any important way (in general).

I fully realize the pragmatic reasons behind this, but I think what I am after (personally, and as an educator) is a bit more like the tabletop role playing games I played in the past… an experience where the players (and perhaps a gamemaster – or teacher) create the story as they play. Salen and Zimmerman wrote that “in D&D and other tabletop role-playing games, the game is a system for generating narrative play” (p. 406). I’m interested in a video game that facilitates something similar… actually, rather than a game, it would be a game system that players (and gamemasters) could use to create their own stories, not unlike GURPS or RIFTS or any of the dozens of other systems we spun stories with growing up, including several we created.

Why use a computer for this? Because tabletop games also had something backwards… the parts of the game that described the fastest most intense action were the most painfully slow to play – anything that required rolls of the dice to determine results, including combat. (Some systems, such as West End Games’ old Star Wars game streamlined the rules to alleviate this to some degree.)

So how do we marry the swift and interactive storytelling of a human game master and the swift and interactive rule resolution systems of video games? What would this look like? Would it just be a software package to supplement a traditional tabletop game? I hope not. I’d like to think we can somehow make use of the beautiful 3D environments that are possible today. Would it be something like the Dungeon Siege Tool Kit or the Aurora Neverwinter Toolset? These are probably the closest thing I’ve seen to what I am talking about, but they strike me as too technical or time consuming for most storytellers. I feel the same way about Second Life, though that might be another related possibility.

What am I after here? Can anyone else shine any light on this subject?

Anyone working on it?

Incidentally, as I’ve spent the last two weeks reading game design books, and as I’ve gotten excited about the possibility of spending time designing games in the future… I’ve been surprised to discover I already was a game designer years ago… when I created the worlds, characters, stories, and game systems (including a good deal of simulation) for the role-playing sessions I used to lead. I sense some convergence in disparate parts of my life ahead.

100 principal blogs – Update 3

Friday, January 12th, 2007

100 principal blogs – Update 3 (Via Dangerously Irrelevant.) Here is an update on the admirable effort to start 100 principal blogs in 100 days. They made about 1/4 of their goal, which is still something.

Let OS X developers at the iPhone. Please.

Friday, January 12th, 2007

Let OS X developers at the iPhone. Please. (Via 43 Folders.) This now familiar plea for 3rd party development on iPhone…

NYT: Final word for now, no third-party apps on the iPhone (Via 43 Folders.) … sadly goes unheeded.

Mobile Mind-ed Meanwhile, educators are still thinking about how to use the iPhone, and about the pros and cons of convergence in handheld devices, while…

Why should we cheer for Steve’s patents? (Via Scripting News.) … outside the education world, Dave Winer takes Apple to task.