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Author: David

Us and Them

I don’t have a point, writing drivel just helps. I had hoped we would stay. Britain woke up on Friday morning to be congratulated by racists and fascists, they thought it was great news that we were leaving the EU. Hate crimes rose, the market crashed and the Leave campaign started to simply deny that any of the things they promised were actually promises. Within hours on social media the response from the Remainers was to shove this in the faces of Leavers. The angry posts followed a two step thought process: Either Leavers were racist/fascist, because the French National Front approve of your actions Or, if they were not racist then they must be stupid, as things had happened just as experts had told them. The promises have already unraveled and markets already crashed. Leavers said ‘we are not racist or stupid’ and logged off. While offline, some Leavers…

The classroom panopticon effect

This was supposed to be a response to the best and worst of educational technology, But ended up a ramble. In 1999 I was in my 3rd year at a high school that despite having a couple of tennis courts, swimming pools and various state of the art drama/music rooms somehow only managed to fund a single computing suite with machines running Windows 3.1.   In your 3rd year at high school your parents are called in by different tutors to discuss how you are doing in their class and the possibilities of you picking it as a subject for GCSE . Despite the school refusing to believe that computers had a place in the future, that Windows versions past 3.1 were clearly unnecessary and there actually being no I.T options to pick, I was dreading my parents seeing my I.T tutor. All I remember from the I.T classes at this…

Learning like a game, paying with data and emotional distress

This is nonsense and ramble that came to my head while writing something else.. Anybody with children or young adults in the family will have at some point had to turn an Xbox/PC/PS4 off to bring them out of a state of emotional distress. I think there are many reasons why computer games cause distress, while the competitive nature of many only games may be a big factor (there is always somebody better than you!), parents of young Minecraft players know that cooperative games also suffer from this, how many times has that ‘griefer’, or younger sibling, just wanted to destroy your child’s world for fun?  . Recently we have seen distress plays a big role in profits, and developers incidentally use what they know about you as a lever to further the stress of gamers. How many times has a 79p micro payment been allowed by an parent because…

Notes: Problem Domain

I’m having lots of trouble writing recently. I think this is because much of my writing is currently sitting around in private word documents. I think because you don’t see any progression that way the work never progresses. So, after a conversation with my professor I’ve decided to ‘dump’ whatever I’ve written while I’ve been thinking about things on my blog and stick a ‘this isn’t finished’ disclaimer on it. Here we go: This work revolves around the following problem: When using communications technology, data about the user is extracted and analysed by organisations, some of this data they may even be unaware they are giving away.  By leveraging the playful nature of communications technology against the information that they are extracting, organisations are able to manipulate them in to a positive feedback loop of emotionally-driven data collection. Communication technologies, such as computers or mobile phones are constantly sending data…

Things I’m not sure I want to share. #1. Salt and Sanctuary

This post originally had lots of images, videos and screenshots. I’ve taken them out because you will have more fun in Salt and Sanctuary without seeing them. I’ve recently been playing a game called Salt and Sanctuary and I’m absolutely loving it, in fact it’s been a long time since I’ve played a game and thought to myself ‘I’m really enjoying this’. The feeling has made me wonder, what exactly makes me really enjoy a game and why do I play games if I’m not really enjoying them? I don’t play games as much as I used to, and in some ways I think I enjoy games more because of that. When you lap up every big AAA title you really see just how similar they are, how little difference there is between FIFA 12, FIFA 13, FIFA14, FIFA, 15 and FIFA 16 except the latest monetization technique, when game…

Scrapping data from dbpedia for trivia game snippet

I’ve been trying to write scripts that can automagically create revision games for a while now. One of the problems I have is getting datasets of questions together. I’ve been sniffing around wikipedia/dbpedia as a way to populate revision game questions. Recently I’ve been interested in building ‘What is it games?’ where you are given a series of clues and then you try and play a hangman style game to guess what the thing is. Wikipedia seems a decent data source for this because you can get data about relationships between things very easily. I’m still in the process of getting my unity game together, but I thought I’d get my spreadsheet ready early so I have something to play around with. Sticking with the wrestling theme I’m leaving my query here for later. SELECT * WHERE { ?person rdf:type <http://dbpedia.org/ontology/Wrestler> . ?person rdfs:label ?name . ?person dbp:birthPlace ?birthplace .…

Glamorous games: Call of Duty – blood, guts and gambling for kids

A few days ago I jotted down some notes describing a view on the motivations of some games, that there were games pretending to entertain but instead they were in the business of raising ‘engagement rates’ getting you to do something in the interest of the developer rather than to entertain yourself. I called them glamorous games because I believed they were hiding their true identity. At the time I was writing with education on my mind, I could see a worrying trend that everything that needed some student engagement was being gamified and that there must be a point where the positive feedback loop of ‘do this for some feedback, the feedback is you should do some more game stuff’ had to come to a head. When I wrote the notes I didn’t really have conventional games in my mind although they often do try to convince you to…

Glamorous Games

I’ve had a few attempts attrying to describe a view on gamification in my blog, but never really felt like I’ve got it across very well. Many academics talk of persuasive games and draw on the themes of rhetoric, but I’m not sure that is the same thing. Plus I’m not sure how I feel about the term, especially since the people deploying them have taken the term as a badge of honour. After a long discussion with my professor I was simply told to look up the word ‘glamour’ in a dictionary, “scratch that” he then said and proceed to recommend the Jamieson’s Dictionary of the Scottish Language and that I look up ‘glamer’, the word he claimed it derives from. I did:   To be honest I’d never really thought what the word ‘glamour’ really meant. I just thought it meant something was really cool you know –…

Who are the Fine Brothers and why is there a fuss?

If you ever procrastinate on Youtube you may have come across ‘reaction’ videos, these videos rang from setting somebody up to do something and recording their reactions, such as making them play a scary game , recording reactions of audiences at events  or simply recording yourself playing a game/watching a movie and reacting to it. The most popular reaction videos belong to a bunch of performers called The Fine Brothers, they have a popular format where they show kids/teens/elders pop culture stuff and then ask them questions about what they have just seen. for example their last video was entitled TEENS REACT TO FULLERHOUSE, was released 2 days ago: At the time of writing YouTube reported that this video had slightly over 2.3 million views, that is 2.3 million views over 2 days. The Fine Brothers release 3-4 videos a week, each getting millions of views. One of the ways…

Notes: setting up a xAPI dev enviroment

While in theory it is quite easy to start firing xAPI to a Learning Record Store there are quite a few things you need and it can get confusing wondering where to start. I’ve played in this space before but found there are so many things to get my head around again I forget what order I did things the time. This time I’ve been recording notes on the things I’ve been doing to make it quicker for myself when I inevitably return to the space. Here are my latest notes: Its as easy as: Finding an LRS you can use. Use the demo Learning Locker or install one yourself Find a place with experience to capture, perhaps use an extisting instance of Moodle or install one yourself. Fire xAPI statements at LRS. The first thing I always end up spending time doing is installing a Learning Record Store to…

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