The London Educational Games Meetup Group (#LEGup) Message Board › Survey Nudge and September Roundup
First of all, thanks to all who came along to our packed September meetup. It was great to see you all. If you haven’t yet, could you please take five minutes to answer some questions on how we can develop the group to meet your needs. We really appreciate your input!
Our first presenter was Imogen Casebourne (@icasebourne) from e-learning giants Epic. She talked about Operation Numerica, their mobile maths training game for the army. Mobile was chosen because soldiers didn’t like doing paper-based homework in barracks. And they chose Nintendo DS for robustness as it can operate even in desert conditions!
She also talked us through a vehicle maintenance support app on DS for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and a personal development game on the iPad for Barclaycard.
Imogen is optimistic about the future of mobile learning games and sees them as being particularly good for motivated self-study.
Next we had Mark Griffiths from NESTA who talked about the role of technology in making better learning and the dichotomy that most products designed to support learning aren't very good from a learning point of view. He referred to some research by Murray and Olcese which highlights an alarming number of poorly conceived educational apps.
NESTA is trying to answer some tough questions in this area, including: How do you find out if your idea meets learning needs? How do you get evidence that it works? Part of their proposal involves devoting the best academic talent to tackling learning challenges, but also on focusing current educational technology providers’ activities on the problems that really matter. They are proposing an infrastructure shift whereby NESTA posts these challenges to suppliers of educational technology, evaluates the results at their own expense using randomised controlled trials, and then guarantees a market by licensing the results to schools. This idea is based on the Innovate New York City model and is provisionally called ‘Innovate GB’. This proposal is in its early stages, and if you want to contribute ideas or register your interest, please contact: Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org
Group member Milverton Wallace told us about his Hackathon on 27/28 October. It’s focused on mobile apps for learning and he is looking for participants (especially teachers). It will be held at Google Campus and is sponsored by Pearson among others. You can find out more at www.hackathoncentral.com or by emailing: email@example.com
Finally we had Ben Templeton (@thoughtben) from Bristol-based Thoughtden, who gave us an inspiring look into his philosophy of playful learning.
He showed us an app for the charity ‘Wildscreen’ called Survival, which merges Trivial Pursuit with Bop It. Survival was released on Android and iOS at the same time and uses gestures such as swiping and pinching as a core part of the game. He talked about the issues surrounding getting graphics to work on non-standard Android screen sizes, and impressed us with his 35,000 downloads so far!
Next he told us about the Magic Tate Ball app which Thoughtden designed for the Tate. The brief was to get casual iOS users interested in different artworks. He mentioned some of the rejected early concepts including ‘Tamagartchi’, in which users have to feed Tracey Emin gin to keep her alive (apparently she was up for it but the Tate opted for a different approach in the end!). Ben recommends coming up with a catchy name as part of a pitch, and the one they settled on was Magic Tate Ball, which is a take on the ever popular Magic Eight Ball. Magic Tate Ball is a free app which matches artwork to your surroundings by measuring things like local weather, location and sound levels and then finds artworks which link to these variables. This project presented several interesting problems in that it involved lots of manual input in order to link to 140 artworks without an API. In addition they had to spend 4 months trying to get permission from Mattel (who own Magic Eight Ball) to use the Magic Tate Ball name. The app has had a very impressive 100,000 downloads so far!
Finally Ben showed us a Kinect game for bringing the Bristol Zoo archive to life. Kids make animal poses in front of the Kinect to unlock images of that animal.
This was our best-attended #LEGup so far. We hope you’re able to join us at the next one – the Member Showcase on 17th October.
Kirsten and Martha