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My experience of Infinity Blade 2

The beginning of the game:

A cartoon is played at the beginning of the game. There is two characters, a male and a female dressed in armors talking in a foreign language and then the language switch to English. They are talking about finding the worker of secrets. They promise each other not to get killed and then both go there separate ways. At the same time they are talking the subtitles are on. Once the female character is gone and the male is by himself, a blue flashing circle is on the left hand side of the screen. The music is playing in the background but nothing happens, I click on the circle. An opponent arrives, he raises his sword the image froze and on screen there is a message saying :hold to block. After 3 blocks, I get a second message telling that I have done a great job and underneath there is another instruction saying: swipe to strike with an arrow. Another few instructions come up on screen that I have to execute to finally beat my first opponent. In big letters the word victory appears on the screen. I then get a bag of coins and xp points that goes to each of my inventory items.

ImageInfinity Blade 2 screenshot by Gabrielle Mizzi (CC)

What were the educational benefit to this game:

The game is taking the gamer to a new world, by immersing him into a Japanese type setting with bamboo plants, cherry blossom trees and oriental buildings. Cleverly the game introduced itself with a little explanatory cartoon, which gave me a good starting point for assuming my new character identity. In the first minute of the game I found out the context of where I was, who I was and what I was here for.

As well as setting the scene, the game was very efficient at teaching me how to play. The mini training session at the first battle is very effective in teaching how to perform the attacks by just playing the game. The training session was a rewarding activity and every time I performed the right attack I was complimented with a well done or good job. And after killing my first opponent I was rewarded with money and points. Within the first five minutes of playing the game, I learn the goal of my mission (to find the worker of secret), as well as essential fighting skills and the way to make money and gaining experience points.

Overall the game has engaged me in an active learning journey by teaching me new skills while playing, and this really motivated me to play more.

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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Minecraft for Education

Minecraft was created on the 17th of May 2009. It is a “sandbox” game that people from any age play around the world. Minecraft is a fun game where you can see and play with your friends or family on multiplayer. Many compare it to an online lego game where you get pets and you can build anything you want. Indeed in Minecraft, you can do whatever you want as it is an open-ended game which means that there is no set goal, although some would argue that by killing the Ender dragon you finish the game. The only things that limits you is your own imagination. Somehow, parents have also embraced the phenomenon some as players but mainly as providers. They see the creative value of the game and they welcome the presence of non-violence. This kind of games actually can show a lot about kids imagination when they start building complex houses or castles made of glass and learn how to spawn horses and other animals. It is also really interesting to see how kids learn from each other on Minecraft when they sometimes play in the same room on different computers they give each other tips and tricks or message abbreviations to interact with other players online. And when they play online on the multiplayer mode, they communicate with a complex set of commands that they learn along the way.

With so much popularity and the existence of studies on the positive educational effects of games. Minecraft being used in a school setting for education purposes is a reality. Minecraft has developed MinecraftEdu which is born from the collaboration of educators and programmers from the United States and Finland (MinecraftEdu.com, 2013). MinecraftEdu has been successfully used to recreate popular landmarks and civilisations. It has also been popular for learning mathematical and scientific concepts, like gravity and probabilities. Examples of how MinecraftEdu is used can be found on the MinecraftEdu wiki where teachers share lessons, activities, tutorials and more.  The game is used not only to teach computer skills, but science, maths, humanities, history, geography, language. Many schools have created their server and are using MinecraftEdu to teach their students.

The benefits of using Minecraft at school could be to enhance students’ understanding of computer graphics, to increase coordination, to give access to students that don’t have an access at home, to be part of a community of gamers who share and help each other to play the game.

MinecraftEdu (2013). Bringing Minecraft to the classroom. Retrieved from http://minecraftedu.com/page/

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Screenshot of MinecraftEdu by admin (Engaging minds, inspiring discoveries)

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Popular Culture Snapshot 2013

Untitled-5Snapshot of 2013 popular culture

This Pinterest board represents a snapshot of the popular culture for young teens in 2013. It shows a collection of new texts and artefacts as well as old texts revisited by cultural mash-up . The words I would use to describe the popular culture of 2013 is sexy, funny, violent, connected, sharing, online, adventurous, cute and cuddly, creative, video, texting… Feel free to add to this list…

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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What do kids like?

In order to find out about children interests, I have made up questions and interviewed a 10 year old boy over the holidays. Here is what he had to say:

What books or magazines do you read? K-zone, Mania, Crash, Batman comics, Andy Griffith books and Goosebumps.

What are your favorite TV show? Kids W B, The Middle, The Big Bang Theory and Adventure Time.

What kind of movies do you like? I like funny movies like Land of the Lost, the Benchwarmers. And also action movies like Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk and Batman.

Which actors do you like? Jim Carrey because he is a comedian and he is very funny. Johnny Depp because he is also funny. Will Ferrell because he is funny.

What is your favorite past-time? Playing video games like Mortal Combat vs DC universe, Sonic Generations, Marvel vs Capcom 3 (deadpool) and watch movies.

Do you think the video games you play are violent? Yes they are violent. On Mortal Kombat and DC Universe if you go to option you can turn the blood on or off. I turn the blood on because it is more action like and that is what would happen in a fight!

What websites do you go on the most? N-play, Kizi, 101, YouTube, Vines. I like Vines because it is funny things about people. The songs parody are funnier than the real songs. I like Tobuscus because he is funny, he plays games and upload them on YouTube. I would also like to upload funny stuff on YouTube but you need an account and I don’t have one.

Do you have a mobile device like an iPod or a phone? If yes what do you do on it? I have an iPod Touch. I listen to music on itube, play Clash the clown, Bouncy Ball, Infinity Blade and Minecraft pocket edition.

It is interesting to note that the interviewee interests, who is a 10 years old boy, revolve around fun, violence, scary, parody and games. When the interviewee shared his cinematographic tastes, most of the movies were rated M, which means that according to the Australian Classification from the Government website the content is moderate in impact and is recommended for teenagers over the age of 15. However the same titles classified by the French National Center for Movies and Animated Images (CNC) rates the exact same movies as G suitable for everyone. I wonder why there is such a disparity between the two countries. Is Australia trying too hard to protect its youth or is France more realistic about what kids like and can handle watching? On the other hand, the two countries classification on video games were more uniform in terms of audience appropriateness. However, France has more classification sections which are divided in five sections: suitable for 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18 years old. While in Australia we have General, then PG not recommended for under 15 years old because of material that could be upsetting, then M not recommended for under 15 because of violence, then M15+ unsuitable for under 15, then M18+ which is restricted to adults. It looks like our classification is not very specific and I believe this could make it hard for parents to choose what their children should watch or play unless they assess it themselves first.

What the interviewee enjoys playing: Marvel VS Capcom 3.

Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aim455kzabI

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The influence of TV shows

ImageCandy candy by figurine panini (CC)

As a kid growing up in France most of the children television show I watched were Japanese and or French/Japanese collaborations! One of my favorite show was called Candy Candy, she was a young girl being brought up in an orphanage. She was sweet and funny and one day she got adopted by the Andre family which already had two children around the same age as Candy. The two children of the family were very mean to Candy which often ended up in tears but then she would always find something to smile about. She had developed a friendship with a strange and rough boy who was living close by. This friendship evolved into love and the young boy was actually a prince but Candy did not know about it! I loved this show because the main character despite having no parents was a fighter, she had a very positive attitude to life, even though she had no family or money she made things happen and then she was a bit of a tom boy, climbing trees and behaving like a monkey. I found her funny and somehow I was identifying with this cartoon character. I myself use to climb trees and dream of prince charming. I use to imagine lots of stories in my head where I was a hero just like candy. I guess for me she was a very positive role model and to a certain extent she might have given me some of the values that have carried me through life. Because I feel that like her I always make things happen and I am always trying to be kind. As kids it is easy to identify with cartoon characters (by the way, we still do this as adults!). We often want to dress like the characters we worship because we embrace their values of freedom and their will to fight or anything that is appealing to us at the time, and we believe that by looking like them a little we will be as good as them.

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Albator by la fraise blog (CC)

Another show that influenced my childhood was Albator le corsaire de l’espace. Albator was a space pirate that navigates his pirate spaceship through outer space to defend earth from humanoids’ attacks. This show was a real popular culture phenomena back in the eighties in France. I had the action figure that was in rubber plastic and could be articulated to do the split! I also had the sticker book to collect images of the series and exchange stickers I had in double with my friends. I guess I liked Albator because he was stylish with his black and red cape, he also had a scar across his face and an eye patch which gave him a rough look but then he was slender and looked very elegant. The contradiction of his character was appealing to me and the fact that he was always battling evil monsters and managed to win, he was my hero.

TV shows I use to watch as a kid have influenced me as an adult, I believe they had some kind of  positive message. Most of the time the bad people were defeated and the heroes even though they had to battle hard to get there, well they did triumph in the end! Maybe this is my life too, battling all the time but in the end I’ll get there!

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Popular culture has changed our reading

In the past, reading was a solitary activity but new technology is changing the way we read and more importantly the way we share what we read. Darcy Moore in her blog discuss the implications of Social reading. She expressed her concerns at what she had before, a quiet reading time between her and her book; and what has now, a range of new possibilities where audio books allow her to read even while doing chores.

Indeed, the possibility to interact with like minded people on subjects that we are passionate about or to personally engage with the authors themselves are features that are available with e-readers and these might significantly enhance the reading experience.

The creation of e-readers and iPads are not just books in a digital format but they also enable the reader to interact with the text by highlighting and sharing “interesting quote via email, Facebook or Twitter” (Moore, 2012). When sharing an online bookshelf like Shelfary, readers are creating their unique community but like any digital world this community is creating important records that are used by commercial company to sell us more books or products.

At a personal level, I have been using digital tools for reading for a while. Unlike the author I have not implicitly shared information with others online or talk to an author about what I have read. But as I am becoming a librarian I strongly consider the opportunity of having these kind of interactions online with my students via an online bookshelf, where the school community will be able to write reviews, rate readings and engage in discussions about particular books. I also strongly embrace the possibilities that digital readers offer to students and people with disabilities. The possibility for a blind students to listen to an audio book and then share his/her knowledge via an online network is a very rewarding experience for the students and certainly would have been much harder to do years ago.

Overall, digital reading primary role is to enable readers to read more, even though they have more and more features prompting us to share information we are free to use these features or not. However, to have the added possibility of communicating with people that share our tastes, being able to interact with the authors of the books we love and offering a greater accessibility for people with disabilities by means of audio books, larger text display etc… Makes digital reading a powerful tool that has for me more positive points than negative.

Moore, D. (2012, July 29). Social reading: Fad or future?. Post on Darcy Moore’s Blog. http://darcymoore.net/2012/07/29/social-reading-fad-or-future/

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Quote

“Reading has always been a solitary pursuit – by definition – in my mind.”

Moore, D. (2012, July 29). Social reading: Fad or future?. Post on Darcy Moore’s Blog.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Uncategorized