Ender’s Game Goes to Hollywood

14 03 2012

On Feb 27, 2012, on ARVEL sig Ning, I blogged that while watching the Oscars, the news of Ender’s Game being given the big screen treatment was ongoing. Expected release date is mid 2013:

“I don’t know what you did last night, but my family and I were watching the Oscars and the On The Red Carpet after-Oscar programming…..during which some gossip came about Ender’s Game the movie coming to theaters in 2013 (starring Harrison Ford!). How exciting is that!!!!”

IMDb has the movie listed: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1731141/
and Deadline New York has a short piece on it: http://www.deadline.com/2011/04/franchise-hungry-summit-plays-enders-game-with-filmmaker-gavin-hood/

Fandom did not take too long to catch the bug and created some interesting unofficial trailers, such as this one:

Conversation threads: on the original blog, and at the Prophets of Science Fiction group space.

Repost of my comment on Prophets of SF: ” Ender’s Game is an interesting piece of literature for several reasons: It’s been used in classroom to illustrate and analyze different subjects: communication arts in high school, English class in Grade 9, cyberbullying in middle school, in psychology 101 in college, etc. As a prophet of science fiction, Orson Scott Card visualized a battle room (the anti-gravity CAVE), a personal desktop (similar to an iPad), a flash suit ( flash suits exists but they are thermal-protective garment made of heavy weight NOMEX, PBI or other flame-retardant material, that protect from temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. However in the sf novel, the flash suit seems closer to a smart textile suit than a fireman protection gear), and Free Play (or The Mind Game, a data-driven game system). The novel explores the use of simulation and technology to train critical and creative thinking and decision-making (the military have been interested in training in virtual reality for quite some times; as well as medicine, surgery, architecture, etc.)

Today, I noticed that Amazon has started to drum up some interests again in the Ender’s Game novel. So if you do not have your copy yet, go get it, or start hanging out at your local library shop for the fifty-cent deal. I know my library shop has a couple copies for sale last time I checked.

Now, you tell me what you think of Ender’s Game. Have you read it? Have you used it in class?

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NMC Horizon Connect Webinar

14 03 2012

Message from Samantha Adams, Director of Communications (3/14/2012)

“We’re launching a new series of free webinars, the Horizon Connect series, featuring thought leaders, game changers, and innovators who are making a difference right now in the world of educational technology. Who better to kick off that new series than educator/author extraordinaire Howard Rheingold? Join us for this live event on Thursday, March 22 at 10:30 am CST / 8:30 am PST.

In Howard’s newest book, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, he discusses the use of digital and social media as a source of empowerment. There is a difference between using it actively and passively, and Howard shows us how to bridge that gap.
“Mindful use of digital media means thinking about what we are doing, cultivating an ongoing inner inquiry into how we want to spend our time,” Howard shares. “I outline five fundamental digital literacies, online skills that will help us do this.”
In this Horizon Connect webinar, he will be helping you think more strategically about digital media and answering your questions live.
Learn more about the event and watch a trailer for Net Smart
And, as always, feel free to forward this invitation to your colleagues and peers. The more the merrier! …”
Tweet and retweet this announcement! Thanks




Simulations: Ten Cool Things People are Doing

9 03 2012

Last week on http://www.presterafx.com/wordpress, Gus Prestera blogged about simulations and posted a very useful list that summarizes well argument points we want to bring to your next PTA or whoever you are trying to get onboard. Here is the list:

#1: Sims get legit
#2: Sims go to class
#3: Sims creep into page turners
#4: Sims get visibility
#5: Sims go cloning
#6: Sims invade virtual worlds
#7: Sims go back to basics
Read the details of #1 to 7 at Part 1
#8: Sims go 3D
#9: Sims get game!
#10: Sims go mobile
Read the details of #8 to 10 at Part 2

Picture credit: Jonathon Richter at the Tulane Center for Advanced Medical Simulation, New Orleans, 2011





Floody Hell, an app/serious game

9 03 2012

Yesterday, Ruben iJpelaar posted a free 2D water game for the iPhone and iPad called Floody Hell.

Ruben: “Pick up your boots and get ready for action. A major flood is ahead. The water rises fast and the lives of your citizens are in danger. YOU have to save them!
Plunge into this adventure and get the feeling of PAC-MAN and SimCity. Beside simple but elegant fun, this is also ‘serious gaming’. Experience the dilemmas of rescue workers and find out the most efficient way to transport people and sandbags before and during the big flood.
Enjoy 4 levels of flooding action now. More levels will become available in future (free) updates.

THIS IS THE FIRST 2D FLOODING GAME. BOOST YOUR DEVICE WITH FLOODY HELL!

Visit my website for more information and game instructions! This game is totally free without commercials or other annoyances. Be so kind to ‘rate’ this game at the App Store. Your feed-back enables me to improve the game and develop new games to promote hydrology and water management.

Go to http://www.water4all.info
Ruben IJpelaar, Hydrologist / Apple Developer”

I recommend that you watch the demo in Ruben’s website to get it quickly. I wish that Ruben had added an audio commentary instead of the text gloss to his video tutorial. The download from iTunes was fast, but controlling the vehicles without a mouse (like in the demo) took a few minutes of adjustment. You can’t regulate the speed of the vehicles so you really are at the mercy of the advancing waters. Interesting game to get kids understand the urgency and decision making by First Responders during flood emergencies. Comment here to share your experience with the app.





NMC Larry Johnson asks…

9 03 2012

“If I Only Had $1…..”

Listen to some early responses:

one dollar video

Dr. Larry Johnson was at the CoSN Conference 2012 in Washington, DC on March 5 to 7, 2012. Get the whole story here: http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/video/cosn-if-i-only-had-1

What would YOU answer to Larry’s question?





How To Make Recordings in Second Life

27 02 2012

Colleagues have asked me how I create inworld recordings. I had already posted my early trials and tribulations on my first virtual blog (http://educedge.edublogs.org/category/how-to/page/2/) but I have not used that blog space in several years, and in re-reading what I posted, I realize that many things have evolved making the process a bit easier. I have not produced a film with a creative storyline or staged any cinema scenes in a long time. What I can offer here, though, is my experience with recording and archiving a live talk show, hosted on CAVE Island in Second Life. I suspect that since the software I use is web-based, this technique would work with any virtual platforms (video games, virtual worlds, …). I work on a PC, so this post would have to be adapted to anyone using a Mac.
Here are my steps:
1) Create an account on Livestream (free): http://new.livestream.com
2) Download Procaster
3) Watch what this kid does. His tutorial is quick (less than 3mns) and clear.

4) Click on Preferences to make sure that you are recording your desktop screen and not from your webcam.
5) Before I click “Broadcast”, I open my SL client.
6) I resize my SL screen so that the Procaster window is on the right side of my desktop screen, and not in my SL screen.
7) Click on “Broadcast”. Now you are broadcasting live your screen and your audio.
8) A Procaster UserInterface bar will appear at the bottom of my screen. So I resize my SL screen so that only the SL screen shows up in the broadcasting brackets.
7) When I am done broadcasting, I click “stop” on the bottom UI bar. Procaster will then ask me to delete or record the broadcast. I type in the name of the show, and click on “Save Recording”. Go slow because there is no recovering a show if you click on delete.
8) Then click on the Livestream logo (which directs you to your livestream account, click on My Account > My Channels > Studio > Video On-Demand. There you can select your latest recording, listen to it and make sure that it is alright. From there you can also choose the embed code or download.
9) Click on your account name, and this will get you to your public channel page. There you’ll have the url to the latest recording.

Here is the ARVEL Channel on Livestream that I’ve been managing for the ARVEL SIG: http://www.livestream.com/arvelsig
You can also embed the Channel on your Ning: http://arvelsig.ning.com/page/livestream

My Tips:
1) Because I do not want to do any post-editing, i click on “Broadcast” only when I am ready to screencast to the world. Everything that happens from then on is broadcasted and will be recorded and published as is.
2) I always use a headset to limit environmental noises outside the computer, so that the software records only what comes from inworld. This also means that I mute my mic once I am done introducing the guest speaker.
3) I manage the broadcast on livestream and the hosting inworld simultaneously, which means that I also login in SL with my admin avatar on my laptop, also with a headset plugged in (thanks Liz Dorland/Chimera Cosmos), to mute all external sound. Now I can have one avatar doing the hosting, and the other busy with the recording. This allows for a freedom of camera view when necessary from the admin avatar (security and other land permissions), and from the hosting avatar (changing camera view for a more interesting broadcast and recording).
4) You can also encourage your online listeners to type in their comments in the chat room on Livestream, that you can forward inworld to your discussion table. It makes for an outstanding mixed media experience.
5) Finally, know that because this is a free account, there is an ad starting at the beginning of every recording that you’ll make. You’ll have no choice over that.
6) Finally, Finally, I noticed that I must move very often the avatar on the computer I use to livestream otherwise the video gets recording in several short ones. There is no loss of video or audio, but it’s a bit annoying to start a new video to get to the next segment of your talk show recording…i’ll let you know if or when i find a solution to that.

I do not suggest that this is the best way to record live shows, but this is the way that works for me. I would be very pleased if you want to share your preferred tips, tricks and software to create recordings inworlds.

This movie camera icon is yours when you share your tips here in the comments! Thanks.





Daden release results of its Authoring Tools for Immersive Training Survey

16 02 2012

posted 8 days ago by Soulla Stylianou, reposted here:

“The results of an Authoring Tools for Immersive Training survey have been released by Daden Limited (Daden). The survey indicated that educators want to be able to easily create 3D training exercises themselves without needing the help of technologists nor expert knowledge of how to build the “sets” in their chosen virtual world. The survey asked questions about current uses of immersive worlds for learning, experiences of PIVOTE (Daden’s existing system) and users’ requirements for the future development of authoring tools.

Nearly 47% of the respondents were from education, 15% from the health professional training sector and interestingly 19% were from the corporate sector – especially as there’s little sign of a significant uptake of immersive training in that area. Second Life, OpenSim and Unity were the top three platforms and Second Life, despite the removal of the educational discount, dominates still with 39% respondents using it.

Of those using immersive worlds for learning, 44% were using them at least monthly with about 17% regularly using them on a daily or weekly basis and over 58% on a quarterly basis. Encouragingly most sessions were between half an hour and two hours – matching typical lesson durations. This all suggests that tutors are really using them, not just dabbling or doing proofs-of-concept.

Existing PIVOTE users generally valued the product and thought it was heading in the right direction and liked the “ability to create learning exercises with little scripting”. Top of respondent’s wish list for improvements to PIVOTE included making it even easier to use, improved user interfaces, and smoother incorporation of media. Daden are currently developing a Second Generation Immersive Learning Authoring Tool, known as OPAL. The requirements for the future section of the survey was to gauge opinions on functionality and features for this.

The top four functions rated as “vital” importance for an authoring tool for virtual worlds were the ability to “set up rules/logic for actions” (48%), “allow multiple choice questions” (40%), “can choose from a library of objects for an exercise” (39%) and be “object orientated” (select an object to set a behaviour) (38%) – all of which will be available in OPAL. Users felt it was also vital, in terms of “deploy and play functions” that the authoring tool has the flexibility to support multiple virtual worlds and that exercises can be played and tested in 2D on the web. PIVOTE already has this, and OPAL will further improve on this functionality.

The ability to log all student/group actions was rated the most important reporting and integration feature of an authoring tool. Being able to pass student results back to Virtual Learning Environments (VLE’s) and Learning Management Systems (LMS) were also high on the agenda. Both features will be present in the first release of OPAL.

David Burden, Daden’s Managing Director says “We hope that OPAL will give educators and trainers working in immersive environments (and those new to such environments) a powerful tool with which to create immersive experiences in a cost-effective way.”

The survey results confirmed that OPAL will address most if not all the requirements expressed by the respondents in its first release – planned for March 2012. Users want a good, easy to use and flexible authoring tool for the standard delivery of immersive learning exercises to PC’s on their chosen platform.

The survey can be downloaded from Daden’s website at
http://www.daden.co.uk/tools/download_files.html

Read the original press release: http://www.daden.co.uk/press_releases/daden_release_results_of_its_a.html

Also make sure to browse Daden’s White Papers ; they are full of very interesting implementation ideas for classrooms.

So much to read. Here is a badge for your efforts! Let me know in comments that you’ve checked this out! Thank you!