Humble Journal Bundle

Over the past couple of weeks I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a couple of Humble Bundles. Humble bundles (humblebundle.com) are packages of games that can be bought online for very cheap prices. Developers put forward the game for a humble bundle and when you buy it, the money is split between a charity, the developers and a humble bundle tip to help the continuation of humble bundles.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be playing these games and then posting a bit about the game and how it could be used educationally or something cool like that.

Games I’m probably going to be playing:
Fez
F.T.L: faster than light
Limbo
Bastion
Trine 2
A Virus Named Tom
Mark of Ninja

I reckon I will start with F.T.L: faster than light first next week.

Grand Theft Auto, Gaming and Parents.

A couple of nights ago Grand Theft Auto 5 was released in Australia. The franchise and other games made by developer Rockstar are known for being controversial. Many of them have excessive amounts of violence, drugs and sex and are constantly blamed for encouraging violent behavior in children. Sunrise reported on the matter the morning after GTA 5’s release:

Firstly, there is no definitive research that says that violent video games encourage violent behavior any more than any type of media or other exposure. Over the past year there have been stories of eight year old children picking up guns and shooting people in America and video games such as Grand Theft Auto are constantly blamed for causing the violence because the child was playing the game earlier. No one questions why the child had access to an age restricted game, let alone a loaded gun.

If anything, there is recent research that says moderate, controlled play, even of these sorts of games, can be beneficial to the age groups they are specified for. The only reason these games could in any way be harmful is not the game’s fault, but more the parent’s.

Many parents these days don’t care what media their child views and others don’t make the effort to involve themselves with their child. For parents, there are parental locks on video game consoles that block content of a certain rating. If for some reason you allow your child to play this sort of game (despite the age restriction) it is up to the parent to explain to the child and help them to understand the differences between the real world and that of a video game. Parents will all too quickly ban something when it would be more beneficial to educate their child about it to give them a better understanding. That way, even if the child comes into contact with media of that type, with a friend or outside the home, they have their own understanding of the context and can process it normally.

It’s at these times children gain important morals from their family. Isn’t it more important to give children skills and understanding to deal with these sorts of situations rather than shelter them? When did you last talk to your child about video games other than telling them to stop playing? More importantly, when was the last time you played with them?

Busy, busy, busy.

Although I haven’t posted for a while, I have definitely not been doing nothing. Quite the contrary, I have busy. Very busy.
I have, for the most part, completed my essay on Lord of the Flies, by William Golding and begun my next inquiry project into Tasmanian firsts. I have submitted an application to speak at TEDx Launceston in November about Minecraft, 21st century learning and the boundary-less classroom. I have also continued my reading of Quiet by Susan Cain.
Yesterday morning I presented with Ms Batty, Harry_Mess, Jo kay and some of the massively kids at the VWBPE (Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education) conference. We spoke about how we use minecraft as a learning tool and what we have gained along our journeys.
I have also, over the past few weeks, attended various meetings of creative folk from all over Launceston, with the hopes of gaining some knowledge and building my PLN (personal learning network.) These include Social Launceston and Crucible Australia meetups.
Overall there are some very exciting things coming up.

Ps. Looking at purchasing a new Nexus 7 tablet for school =P

TED talks

After returning from my trip overseas (which, by the way, was amazing), I have found it a bit hard to get my creativity moving and get back into the groove of work. I have found that TED talks have been a great help for this!
For those who don’t know TED (technology, entertainment and design) conferences bring many fantastic people, from educators to engineers, together to speak about creative ideas.

These TED talks are some of my favorites and I have found them great for getting me thinking differently ūüėõ

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion.html?qsha=1&utm_expid=166907-24&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ted.com%2F

Also I have recently bought “Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking” by Susan Cain, which will be my second novel for Think Big after I complete my essay on Lord Of The Flies, which I am currently working on.

I can’t wait to catch up on my maths work I missed while away and get right into lots of creative learning!

First Couple of days in country!

We have arrived in Cambodia safe and sound (although a little jet lagged). We are staying with our in country agent, Sarath, in his guest house. On the first night we traveled to one of the Angkor Temples to watch the sunset, which was really amazing! We then went to a nice restaurant for dinner which is run to help raise funds and help get kids our age of the streets and into employment.
The next morning we traveled to Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise (again, really awesome!) and began trekking around some of the other temples such as Angkor Tom.
Tomorrow we are traveling down to the capital of Cambodia, Phom Pen, where we will be staying for a couple of days before going to our first trek.

World Challenge is almost here

It’s really starting to sink in that in just 18 days, 7 hours and 50 minutes (not that I’m counting) I will be on my first flight towards Vietnam and Cambodia. I am really looking forward to my first trip overseas and believe it will be a fantastic experience.
The only thing I am really worried about is what I will be missing out on while I’m away. With all the maths going on and with my first exhibition soon after I return I worry that I may be a little behind on my work. I’m sure I will catch up though I still feel a little rushed to get work done before I leave.
In over news we are having a cocktail party to raise a little more money to go away. I will have some photos of the food we are making for it in a similar post to the one last week on the Cambodian curry.

Minecraft Gamification Reflection

There have been quite a few students who have been very excited about the new system with three of our Grade 9/10s leveling up to stone with one of our grade 8s. Looking at our records it seems as though the grade 8s are moving a little slower than the grade 9/10s, so that may be something I need to consider and adjust to help them, though I am yet to figure out if it is due to a lack of explanation or whether they are simply not motivated.

Our class blog (http://projectmistrhs.wordpress.com/) is also doing quite well with lot’s of students having their work posted and getting comments from many people outside of school and the country!

Ms Batty has also been utilizing¬†Google¬†tools to take surveys and gather feedback from the students on their thoughts and ideas for the subject the subject. This has been very interesting and super useful! Everybody seems to be enjoying our inclusion of the mod “mcmmo”, which adds basic leveling mechanics for things like digging, farming and monster fighting.

We have had a few complaints¬†concerning their¬†inability¬†to use the /home command when they are wood level. For those who don’t know, /home gives students the ability to instantly¬†teleport¬†to a location they set as their home earlier. This is a command they¬†receive after leveling up to stone which is the second rank in our system (for more info on our leveling system, scroll down a bit to the post called Minecraft gamification system). I believe, however, that the home command is a great incentive to get students started on the leveling system, as it is one of the more basic commands that everyone wants.

Again with this new group, I’ve seen a couple of requests for PvP. I still don’t think the culture and community of our server is quite ready for PvP, but I think we are getting closer. My only concern, however, is that after we leave (as mods and admins) at the end of this year and pass our roles onto Grade 8/9s, they will need to relearn everything that we have about PvP and we will never get to the point where the community is ready for it. I hope we will be able to teach this to them and maybe they will figure out a way in which PvP can be used safely and fairly.