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Month: September 2014

Unexpected Creativity

In gaming circles a ‘shit crayon’ is a term used when a user creates something amazing despite the barriers that have been put in front of them. The term was coined by popular game developer and writer Ian Bogost and draws from the concept of the magic crayon by Chaim Gingold in his thesis. You may have heard of the idea that a magic crayon, a tool that boosts creativity in such a way that the produced artifact would not be possible without the tool. But Bogost suggests that sometimes people create barriers that also boost creativity but are not magic crayons. ‘..like the despots who confined Soyinka until he shit poetry onto toilet paper, because he had to do or else go mad in isolation.’ I’m not sure that the story about Wole Soyinka is entirely true, but you get the gist. In gaming circles a discussion about magic…

The audit of every thought and word

I recently read this great post on Sheila MacNeill’s Blog, one of the many reasons I thought it was a great post being that it was so open and honest. My favourite posts give an insight in to what was going on in the person’s head as their fingers hit the keyboard. Sheila explains that her feelings on the subject made her to write an article in a certain vein, but she couldn’t, the subject of the post interweaved with her own feelings about commenting on the subject. I told her via twitter that I enjoyed the post because I thought it was honest, which made it an enjoyable read for me. I followed up by saying that I thought an open practitioner is not somebody who just posts stuff online so people can read it, but can really open up about how they feel about a subject and their…

Age of Strategy Android

On booting up Age of Strategy the first thing that you will notice is the sheer amount of content. From the menu you have access to lots of content, the core of which is a series of campaigns, these are a collections of maps that are linked together with a short text story. There are loads of campaigns to play through, most are fictional battles but some are based on historical events. It seems that some of the campaigns are fan built and that this content is added to the game regularly; I was intrigued by the ‘History of Hungary’ section that seems to be filling up with battles based around the Hungarian empire. Perhaps the developer is Hungarian or there is an Hungarian fan of the game submitting content, whatever the case it is interesting that this level of detail is what the developer is aiming for. Aside from…

We were promised jetpacks

Going off very little research except a quick skim read of the Wikipedia page for Education Technology I have discovered that an Educational Technology is something that is ‘improving performance’ in the education system. The page has a few technologies listed as examples; these examples are a mix of both physical and software related things that could be used to improve organisation or connectivity in some way. Criticisms on the page were generally around cost and lack of research in to return on investment. The reason I was on the Educational Technology Wikipedia page was to see what it said about technologies or criticisms related to privacy. This is because, as the rambling nonsensical nature of my blog presumably reveals, I am very confused about what Education Technology actually is, or whom it is to benefit. One thing I do know is that I have been very interested in privacy…

No Going Back

The survivors huddled around the fire, times had not been easy since The Incident. The group had been on the road for two years already and were getting tired of their endless struggle; they had heard the rumour that up north the city of Graduation was a full of food, jobs and warmth. Many felt that Graduation was their only hope and at their current pace only about a year of travel away. It would be a hard year, but the survivors were no strangers to hardship. In fact, they had really only survived on their journey because of the skills of their leader, Veronica Tutor, an ex software engineer who always carried a small black box with her everywhere she went. Veronica was had a strange attachment to the box, which she affectionately called Pulse, and would sneak a look at it when she thought nobody was looking. Pulse’s…

Haiku from the Learning Analytics and Educational Data Mining communities

There is a bot on Reddit that crawls through comments and looks for haiku in the text, I like the bot because everything has more of an emotional impact when it’s written as a haiku, even Reddit comments. Inspired by this I had a look online and it turns out there are a few python libraries that will find haiku in text files for you. I opened my LAK14 R workspace, which contains both stats and the contents of papers from various learning analytic conferences and wrote the contents of those papers to a text file (papers$content if you follow the method of grabbing LAK data in the link). I then  ran the python script to pick out a haiku or two and it turns out the learning analytics community are a poetic bunch. These haiku have have been generated from the LAK dataset, they were found using a special…

The student experience

Some blog posts I find really difficult and take me a really long time write. This particular one has been very hard; I’ve had this very post in different forms in an instance of OpenOffice open on my desktop for the best part of a week. The gist of this is about two jobs currently being advertised at my institution that have been created with the aim to improve the student experience. The aim of the post was to help me think about the idea that projects and initiatives that have the aim to improve student experience are now being funded by institutions themselves and no longer from external sources like EU or JISC projects. During the writing of my post I was hoping to get across a point that institutions perhaps aren’t doing this because they honestly care about people and want to do their best to improve their…

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