Voices in the Dark -- a videogame for the blind by IguanaBee.com

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First day of school: Anastasis Academy #standagain — from iLearnTechnology.com


Today was one for the books.  We did it! We opened a school with a radical new vision for what a school should look like in light of learning.  It was a truly great day!

[Anastasis Academy’s mission] is to apprentice children in the art of learning through inquiry, creativity, critical thinking, discernment and wisdom.  We strive to provide an educational model that honors and supports children as the unique and creative individuals that God created them to be.  We work to shape the development of the whole-child by engaging the mind, body and spirit while inspiring each to personal excellence.

Also see:

Look where you want to go and steer in that direction: How a blog started a school — from Dreams of Education (6/24/11)


From DSC:
24 “The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face shine on you  and be gracious to you;  26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26) May He bless your efforts as you seek to not only impact the minds of — but also the hearts of — your students.


We really need to impact both in order for our future students to make significant, positive impacts around the globe. Way to go Kelly!


Intel predicts Smart TV is the device of the future — from nyxiotechnologies.com’s blog
Chipmaker Intel believes that the Smart TV is the electronic device of the future, in the living room anyway.


The Smart TV is already upon us, in its various forms from various manufacturers. It has arrived with 3D capabilities, web browsing and social networking and applications. Currently Samsung and LG seem to be two of the big players pushing the Smart TV to consumers.

Also see:


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The Evolution of Transmedia Storytelling
These videos capture a discussion between Frank Rose, Author of “The Art of Immersion” (and a contributing Editor at Wired) and Jeff Gomez, President and CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment at Ad Age’s “Creativity and Technology” (CaT) Conference in NYC June 9th, 2011.

  1. The Evolution of Transmedia Storytelling (Part 1 of 3) (5 min introduction)
  2. The Evolution of Transmedia Storytelling (Part 2 of 3) (15 min)
  3. The Evolution of Transmedia Storytelling (Part 3 of 3) (14.5 min)


John Hunter on the World Peace Game — TED March 2011 — my thanks to Mr. Joseph and Mrs. Kate Byerwalter for this great presentation


TED Talks -- John Hunter presents the World Peace Game -- March 2011

About this talk
John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4’x5′ plywood board — and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches — spontaneous, and always surprising — go further than classroom lectures can.

About John Hunter
Teacher and musician John Hunter is the inventor of the World Peace Game (and the star of the new doc “World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements”).



A hugely powerful vision: A potent addition to our learning ecosystems of the future


Daniel Christian:
A Vision of Our Future Learning Ecosystems

In the near future, as the computer, the television, the telephone (and more) continues to converge, we will most likely enjoy even more powerful capabilities to conveniently create and share our content as well as participate in a global learning ecosystem — whether that be from within our homes and/or from within our schools, colleges, universities and businesses throughout the world.

We will be teachers and students at the same time — even within the same hour — with online-based learning exchanges taking place all over the virtual and physical world.  Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) — in the form of online-based tutors, instructors, teachers, and professors — will be available on demand. Even more powerful/accurate/helpful learning engines will be involved behind the scenes in delivering up personalized, customized learning — available 24x7x365.  Cloud-based learner profiles may enter the equation as well.

The chances for creativity,  innovation, and entrepreneurship that are coming will be mind-blowing! What employers will be looking for — and where they can look for it — may change as well.

What we know today as the “television” will most likely play a significant role in this learning ecosystem of the future. But it won’t be like the TV we’ve come to know. It will be much more interactive and will be aware of who is using it — and what that person is interested in learning about. Technologies/applications like Apple’s AirPlay will become more standard, allowing a person to move from device to device without missing a  beat. Transmedia storytellers will thrive in this environment!

Much of the professionally done content will be created by teams of specialists, including the publishers of educational content, and the in-house teams of specialists within colleges, universities, and corporations around the globe. Perhaps consortiums of colleges/universities will each contribute some of the content — more readily accepting previous coursework that was delivered via their consortium’s membership.

An additional thought regarding higher education and K-12 and their Smart Classrooms/Spaces:
For input devices…
The “chalkboards” of the future may be transparent, or they may be on top of a drawing board-sized table or they may be tablet-based. But whatever form they take and whatever is displayed upon them, the ability to annotate will be there; with the resulting graphics saved and instantly distributed. (Eventually, we may get to voice-controlled Smart Classrooms, but we have a ways to go in that area…)

Below are some of the graphics that capture a bit of what I’m seeing in my mind…and in our futures.

Alternatively available as a PowerPoint Presentation (audio forthcoming in a future version)














— from Daniel S. Christian | April 2011

See also:

Addendum on 4-14-11:


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From DSC:
The incredible potential of location-aware educational materials, which could greatly enable a student to pursue their passions.

The other day, I was talking to my son after he had just finished playing a Wii-based football game. As we were talking, the situation made me reflect upon the power* that could come into play when a game/resource knows your (general) location. For example, in this NFL-based game, the system might ask if my son wants the Detroit Lions involved in the game. If he said yes, then the system might ask if my son were interested in knowing more about the Detroit Lines upcoming schedule. Again, if he answers in the affirmative, the system could provide a link to instantly take him to that information.

Now…take that same concept into the world of education, as a student attempts to pursue her passions, interests, and gifts. If she’s using a device that is teaching her how to draw, the “game” might present a list of art shows and exhibits in her area, along with information on how to get tickets to such events. In this manner, she could feed her passion. Such applications could open up a network of opportunities — in real-time — and present to a student what’s currently happening around them that could further involve them in the very thing that they are working with at that time (be it music, art, math, physics, or whatever discipline that’s involved). This is especially powerful if one were traveling or on a field trip.

Museums and educational institutions could tag their events so that such software goes out looking for such information and would bring such information back to the “game”.

It seems to me that if such technologies uncover chances to further one’s passion, the student will develop more of a love for learning. If a student develops a love for learning, the chances are better that that person will become a lifelong learner.

My bet? Some pretty cool teaching and learning times are ahead…


* I realize there are reflections going on in my mind — and others’ minds as well — that such power needs to be taken seriously, responsibly…and not abused from a commercial standpoint nor from a security standpoint. Software may even be needed to absolutely block such inquiries — but if we get to that point, we’ve let the bad apples out there control everything…again.

Game levels and scaffolding–they’re related — from Kaplan EduNeering by Karl Kapp


If you are in need of a good laugh…

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When textbooks and social media collide — CampusTechnology.com by Bridget McCrea
A professor at a Christian liberal arts college in Michigan puts textbooks together with social networking to get students jazzed about historical events.

Right around the time that the term “social networking” was starting to roll off the tongues of school administrators and teachers, Christian Spielvogel was already deep in the throes of a project that would combine the next concept with traditional textbooks.

The year was 2007, and Spielvogel, now an associate professor of communication at Hope College in Holland, MI, was experimenting with the idea of implementing gaming and computer simulations while on sabbatical at the University of Virginia. Having conducted intensive research into the public memory of the Civil War period, Spielvogel wanted to “un-romanticize” public perception of the conflict and create a more realistic, engaging, and even risky learning experience for high school and college students.

Using the University of Virginia’s Valley of the Shadow digital archive as a guide–and funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities for financial support–Spielvogel developed an online reenactment and multiplayer role-playing simulation that takes place during the American Civil War.

Little did Spielvogel know at the time, but his creation would become an early example of how computer gaming can be successfully combined with education. “At the time, there had already been some efforts made to develop games and simulations with most of them based on single-player models,” said Spielvogel, “but the whole idea of a multiplayer experience that allowed a group to become involved in the game and interact online was still pretty new.”

What makes a good learning game? Going beyond edutainment — from e-Learning Magazine by Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen

After developing more than 30 learning games I can safely say that it is definitely not an easy task. Developing good learning games requires constant attention to opposing factors, which only through creativity can truly be made to smoothly work together.

Since the inception of computer games, there has been learning games. In the early years, games were used to demonstrate the potential benefits of computers. Although learning games date back to at least the 1960s, it is still a discipline fraught with challenges [1]. One of the fundamental questions that remain unanswered is: What really makes a good learning game? This simple question is far from trivial as it might be seem upon first sight. The question relates to what we define as a good game and what we define as good learning—none of which have been fully answered.

This article is not be a quick-guide for “how to design” learning games with ideas like points, leveling, power-ups and clear goals. Rather it will present a helicopter view on what often happens when you apply these principles and ignore the fundamental structure of games. You may very well create a learning game that is motivating, and uses level and feedback in some ways, but still fail miserable. This often happens because designers are not conscious of how games are fundamentally structured. They forget games are about “what you do” and not “what you see.” Instructional designers apply game principles but forget to step back and see whether these principles distort the learning experience. Often this happens by failing to integrate game and learning goals, losing sight of the difference between seeing and doing, and accidentally derailing the player away from learning in favor of pure fun. When you use very simple principles from games in your e-learning applications the risk of distortion is less, unlike when designing more complex, game-based learning applications.

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Our Puppet Shows, Published — from Kevin’s Meadering Mind

All 22 of the collaborative puppet shows have now been published at our Puppet Shows of Norris School website. Just a reminder: these are original plays planned out and written collaboratively, with original puppets made by students, and performed behind a puppet theater made by sixth graders about 10 years ago.

The Puppet Show Website

I have to say that for the most part, the stories were pretty cohesive and followed a story arc with protagonists and antagonists and most were able to get a moral or theme into the writing. These are the writing skills that I was going after, plus the exploration of the genre of script writing.

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