Designed for game, build for real

I spent some time looking around concept sites today — looking for an idea. I need some object that two characters I’m messing about with might use to leave messages. . Just about everyone who is or will be an industrial designer is blogging and developing highly rendered concepts online, so it’s not hard to fly though hundreds of ideas.

From mobile phones to cars, household items – you name it – there are highly talented people doing it. During my travels, I noticed this video – where a car — designed for a game – has been put into real life. There was a time Industrial Design students sketched out ideas with Pantone Markers — today they are building cars in games, racing them and creating movies from their virtual toys. This is a great video to make the point about how easily influential 3D has become in the development of — well everything.


Picture 2

There are times, when I see something new and think, oh my god. Game changer. Unity3D is that.

It might not look much here, but go and see how fast it loads, how graphically rich it is, how it deals with sound, runs on a browser, allows flash like interactions, and is already in commercial use on multiple consoles and even iPhone.

Spend 20 minutes playing with it, watching it, using it – then ask yourself – why do I still believe that content and online experience will not move from my computer to my phone, my car, my wall or my console. Here’s a starter world just to get you immersed. As you are looking at this think about all the flash content you’ve used … blend it all together with game-play and instructional design – and you can see why game and content developers are flocking to it. Before you rush off, you may remember playing Timez Attack – the Mathematics Video game … it’s on Unity3D.

Still feeling left out? Not into solo games – how about a serious game, WolfQuest, where multiple players form a wolf pack and explore life – well, as wolf. Why is it serious? – Because it is instructionally designed for a real zoo and real organisation to engage kids in a social game, to learn about the environment. It’s co-produced with an educational developement company – EduWeb – a to me represents a new avenue for educators to explore professionally – designing learning for immersive environments. Taking ‘play’ and wrapping it in ‘learning’ is what games based learning is all about. Unity3D is just another technology changing the role of teachers online and why teachers can ill afford to limit themselves to teaching procedural functions of computer and Internet use.

End of Web

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End of Web – A Game Based, Virtual School Project

Playful learning always seems more interesting that being powerpointed (guilty). And I did make a powerpoint last week.

So to make amends, and to follow up on numerous conversations in the last month, I have been trying to figure out how to offer professional development and at the same time embed some of the 21st century ‘soft’ skills that we know are important, but often really hard to align, assess and justify in out existing curricula – and in that I’m talking K20, not K12. So this is virtual school, a game, social action and professional development – all in one.

The start date would be February 2010 – 6 months. Then run the project.

It’s based on the simple game of ‘what if’. This seems apt as many of the barriers to 21C learning are based on ‘what if’. So the idea is simple; between here and early 2010, a game is developed which not only engages students in a social action, enquiry project but allows them to engage in ‘virtual school’. In essence, playing the game will allow them to demonstrate 21st Century learning outcomes in a safe fail environment, allow teachers to determine tha classroom activities – and align the game with content and standards/outcomes. It will run for 60 days over the internet, but not all activities need to be ‘technology’ based.

The aim is to create a massive multiplayer game – active not just in one space, but fluid over many. It’s a chance to get together and make a robust learning object that not only allows creative publishing of information; but allows teachers to learn from each other and along side students. We might even convince the world, though the action that the alternate reality is actually real. A kind of pixel based War of the Worlds.

What I need, is for people to click here – and help shape the idea, the activities and the assessment; so that we can evaluate it – and all of that is open for discussion. No filters, no standard tests, no yeah buts … this is virtual school. Right now it’s a 3 page wiki – I hope we can develop it into something that can work in K12 and showcase some of the amazing opportunities that we have as educators. No more problems, this is solutions only. Please join in.

The End of WebAn alternate reality game

The scenario:

It’s 2020 and the world has changed. Some say for the better, for others it is the worst of times. The internet, the technology that connects us, will be turned off in 60 days. The world leaders have agreed that the internet is making the world worse, and is now to big and too powerful. It must be stopped. The official orders have been given … the internet is closing down, to be replaced by a single information service called the “Alternet”.

The sides:

Each day, the “Alternet” publishes information and news about the status of the internet closure and will become the one place for information. Those opposed to the groups have called themselves the ‘Cylores’. The don’t agree with Alternet and want to stop the closure. Somewhere in between are ordinary people like you and me. It’s time to think about how the world got to this point, and how it might would change as the days pass by and what will happen when we reach day 60.

What will be your story?

Imagine yourself in those 60 days … what will happen … what would you do, how could you stop it, do you want to? – how will it change your world. What could you say to stop it; what could you do. Do you even want to stop it?

This is a game; you get to choose your character – you need to tell your story in any way which you choose – as in 60 days the internet will be shut down. You can connect to others, read their pages and add your ideas. Each day, you can use social media and human networks to highlight those stories that you think are fantastic! but beware – Alternet is watching – and you might well find yourself being asked to explain yourself. Do you keep a blog? do you make a film – do you organise a protest?

Look for information being published by the Alternet and the Cylores; share it with others … take action … the end of web is near.

So that’s the plot line (right now) and here’s a link to a graphic (which you can make better – or maybe even a film trailer … ideas and input welcome)