Category Archives: games

Logo and Scratch: Coding Through the Generations

Logo, the educational programming language created in 1967 to teach kids how to program, was years ahead of its time. Using a “turtle”, the language had kids giving instructions to make it turn in multiple directions and create fascinating line drawings. Seymour Papert, one of the creators, explains how the language works in a wonderful, …

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Video Game Design: Teaching Reflections Part 1

As a lifelong gamer (both tabletop and video), I view games as more than just diversions or time-wasters.  I view them as learning tools.  Tools than can teach skills like communication, collaboration, logic, patience, problem solving, critical thinking, reading, math, and many more.  But many games have a bad reputation as being violent, repetitive, or …

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Savannah Geekend Debrief

On November 5-6, I went to a conference called Geekend in Savannah.  After going last year and really learning a lot, I went again and here are my thoughts. Straight from the conference program: What is Geekend? Geekend is the annual gathering of the geek tribe in Savannah, Georgia.  Geekend is what you might call …

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Using Fun Technology in Nature With Kids

While many people like to disconnect from technology in nature, I like to find fun ways to integrate the two, especially with my son. Here are some iPhone applications I use while outdoors (I believe some of these apps are for other cell phones too) Gowalla and Foursquare: These apps use your phone’s GPS feature …

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When to Abandon a Game

Stacks of unfinished games fill my shelf, longing to be played. Like the unloved toys in “Toy Story”, I imagine them patiently waiting for their day of glory that may never come. Recently, Bioshock got some love as I bumped down the difficulty and gritted my teeth to finish it, even though the little sister …

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Beyond Check-in Spamming: Useful Ideas for Location-Based Apps

Josh Williams of Gowalla said checking in is the gateway activity of location-based applications. In my last post, I raised the question,”Gateway to what?” Here are some ideas I have to make these programs more useful: * Create local Gowalla trips of state parks, art museums, historical sites, etc. * When you create a spot …

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How Games Can Shape Education and Local Behavior

Jesse Schnell’s presentation on games at DICE got me thinking about how games have been shaping our behavior for years.  Weight Watcher points, frequent flier miles, stamps for free smoothies, Xbox achievements:  all of these are gaming devices that shape our behavior.  Game designer Jane McGonigal’s site discusses games  she  has created that have changed …

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MyTown: addictive real estate iPhone game

Location-based games have become a major passion for me lately.  First Gowalla and then Foursquare.  But once you check in with both of those apps, there’s not a whole lot to do. Booyah’s MyTown let’s you buy and sell properties you check into kind of a like a pseudo-Monopoly.  The devious hook is that you …

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Games Can Teach

I’m a gamer first and a teacher second.  I’ve been playing games most of my life:  board games, card games, video games, etc.  In the last 5 years I’ve become a teacher and a father within the last 3 years.  In that time, I’ve noticed that my lifelong hobby can be applied to education and …

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Board game session: Shadows Over Camelot

I own many board games, probably too many for my own good.  They run the gamut from simple 2-player card games to complex war games with hundreds of pieces.  My biggest problem is that I have no one to play them with.  I’ve been to the local game shop and tried to play there, but …

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