Week 7: Digital Blurring

Digital blurring‘ is a term used to describe the blurring of boundaries between the physical and digital world. The common theme often referenced in digital blurring is the concept of storytelling, which often ensues two-way communication between the physical (the human participant) and the digital content (game, movies or videos). For example, gamers strategize ways to unlock stages according to the narrative story of an online game or children singing along and mimicking dance moves of a Sesame Street episode. In a simple and effective way, Stackhouse (2013) explained the power of storytelling in a digital world through games and social media and how this affects us in our physical world. Check out his video below:

This week’s task involves creating a game using Sploder, a free online gaming software that allows your to create your own game using five pre-existing themes. These themes are Retro Arcade, Platform Creator, Physics Puzzle Maker, Classic Shooter and the Algorithm Crew. Each theme contains elements that allows game-makers to create multiple stages by increasing difficulty of the game. Sploder also has a YouTube channel containing video tutorials and examples.

Here is the link to my game: http://www.sploder.com/?s=d004blk6 

I spend approximately two hours creating my game and only reached Level 2 within that space of time. The majority of this time was spent on understanding what the features and functions are for each element. I believe that the more time I spend on practising, the easier and quicker it would be to create my game. However, I do have some reservations when considering the appropriateness in introducing arcade-like game activities in a classroom environment.

I fully support the use of blogs, pinterest, videos and presentation tools in the classroom environment and that these resources have been tried and tested by educators around the world. However,  I may have a biased opinion about the use of computer games such as Sploder in education. I personally do not find computer games fun at all and I spent most of my childhood playing outdoors, toys and reading books. I do enjoy playing Wii as it involved more physicality than just using a console. Howell (2012) suggest that Wii games help promote sporting skills and techniques but selection of games require careful consideration to ensure that the desired learning outcomes are achieved.

In saying that, some of the features in Sploder does promote critical thinking in building the game such as understanding physics, gravity, springs, direction, friction and material types. I also used skills like drag and drop, resize, and customising. In two separate TedTalk videos, MacGonigal (2010) and Chatfield (2010) conveyed strong messages on why computer games should be implemented in education. Both speakers emphasised the pleasurable feeling of being rewarded encourages continued participation and team efforts. This concept of reward and encouragement is equally applied in non-technological teaching environment.

By the end of this week, I felt that I should reconsider my initial uncertainty of introducing computer games in the classroom environment. The amount of time spent in understanding elements within Sploder and designing my game led me to feel slightly frustrated and afraid of using this game. Therefore, I will continue to research further on the use of Sploder or other emerging games and consider incorporation of games into my digital pedagogy.

References

Chatfield, T. (2010, July). Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward the brain [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/tom_chatfield_7_ways_games_reward_the_brain

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Australia : Oxford University Press.

MacGonigal, J. (2010, February). Jane MacGonigal: Gaming can make a better world [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world

Adam Stakhouse (2013, May 21). Blurring the Lines: Storytelling in a Digital World [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c0bEZS1jC4

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