Monday, 15 October 2012

Blog 3: Apps, Gaming & the Tablet

In April 2012, I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. Knowing this information may be of little significance to you. However, you must also know that from childhood to present day, I have never purchased anything but Apple computing products. In many ways, I feel stretched and challenged in my decision - I have ventured onto an unfamiliar path and my loyalty is now divided. Learning how to effectively use the tablet has been somewhat awkward and uncomfortable. The device itself is not complicated or unfriendly. As with all problems with technology, it is the user.
The tablet has a different type of intuitiveness than that I am used to. I often stop to evaluate which device I will use - tablet or Mac desktop. I often default to using my Mac (because I believe I can get more done in a shorter period of time). However, this defeats the purpose of owning and learning to use a tablet. So, in the past few weeks, I have spent more time on my tablet - to learn how to use it more effectively. I am beginning to see its unique properties (ex. high access and usability of Apps).

After reading the NMC Horizon Report K -12, I was intrigued with the near-term and mid-term horizon technologies (NMC Horizon Report K - 12, 2012). More specifically, I was interested in exploring how the near technology of Apps relate to mid-term technology of tablets. Since owning my tablet, I have spent some time downloading Apps – mostly ones focused on productivity. However, over the past week, I downloaded several gaming Apps. This decision to “play” is out of my usual framework and approach to technology. Admittedly, I truly enjoyed playing and spent hours doing so. The learning built into gaming is quite complex. What is more important was the high engagement – the time spent on task, problem-solving focus and persistence. I have gone from being someone uninterested in gaming to someone who can see its viability in the classroom. I am a believer…

TED Talks: Jane McGonigal - Gaming Can Make a Better World

Four Key Benefits of Gaming
(taken from Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk: Gaming can make a better world)
  1. Urgent Optimism – “Extreme Self-Motivation.” In playing online games, we have to act immediately to overcome obstacle(s) and have high optimism for success.
  2. Social Fabric – We like people more when they play games with us because it requires high levels of trust and cooperation.
  3. Blissful Productivity – “Right work leads to happiness.” We are happy to work hard if it is meaningful and is the right work.
  4. Epic Meaning – We want to be a part of something larger than ourselves - to build a strong knowledge resource accessible to others, ex. Wiki.
What does gaming truly do?  Gamers are Super-Empowered Hopeful Individuals.
They believe they can change the virtual world and have yet to discover how to change the real one.
How will this belief transfer and manifest itself in our classrooms?

Thomas, D. & Brown, J.S. (2011). A New Culture Of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Seattle, WA: Create Space.

The Horizon Report K-12, published by the New Media Consortium