X Box gets an eye toy style game


Just watching BBC World news on the new X Box offering- the new game looks like it will also add to the physical immersive experiences already offered by Eye Toy. All games that extend the ideas in this area and the possibilities for interactive physical play for people of all abilities can only be good news. While they are useful for general entertainment my main interest is in how they can be used for physiotherapeutic reasons with kids and adults with cerebral palsy, especially right or left-sided hemiplegia. This one looks like it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Whiteboard vs Television Set


On another school visit today I went to the Sheffield Springs Academy where I watched an impressive display of how integrated whiteboards can be in practice. Emmanuelle Bishton is the epitome of the 21st century classroom teacher, using her whiteboard as creative stimulus, collaborative workspace, timer, ticker-tape reminder and record keeper. She showed me the thick green folders of lesson plans that are about to be jettisoned now she’s stored her bank of lesson plan powerpoints. Each one is a slick and flexible bank of targetted resources. Some came free from the BBC and Teachers TV. Others she rated were bought in from providers such as Teachit, They can all be fine-tuned each year for different types of learners. Creating a bank of resources like this feels onerous, especially in the middle of a busy term. But it’s clear once it’s done how much time it saves year on year and how simple it is to add to.

In the lunch queue it was remarked that soon no-one would ever wheel a TV into a classroom again. I wonder how many still do?

Educational Games on mobile phones


This is a great example of a game that teaches without preaching. A Sims-style experience allows teenagers to live through the experience of moving out, renting a flat and negotiating independence. Made by Creative North with the local housing association in Kirklees.

We all carry our mobile phone all of the time. And it’s a source of solace and distraction when delayed on a journey. Teens with mobile phones are a readily harvestable audience for any games. The children I know are quite happy to play repetitive games of snake endlessly so the bar doesn’t have to be too high. Well-made games like these with a strong narrative drive provide an entertaining game with a well concealed but wise foundation that can also be shared with friends.

Showcomotion Innovation Labs


At today’s Showcomotion I had the good fortune to attend a session with Frank Boyd and Marc Goodchild. ‘Crossover Kids’ introduced me to their method for sparking off multi-platform developments amongst a random group of interactive and TV producers. Having brainstormed lists of platforms and genres we were randomly allocated two platforms and a genre and sent away to come up with something that worked for kids. I particularly enjoyed Frank’s excellent road map for creativity and ideas generation which led from ‘an opportunity’, via a widening miasma of ‘seeking perspective’ then down into a narrowing funnel of ‘editing’, to ‘a thingy’. It was reassuringly low-tech and resulted in free and easy brainstorming.