Thursday, April 27, 2006

Using Games in the Classroom - Resources

Here is a resource site from the EdNA Groups "games as Pedagogy" (GAP) wiki:

This resource includes research articles, games and links with the focus on games as pedagogy.

The Practicalities of Implementing Game-Based Learning

The following post by Marie Jasinski is reported here with Marie's agreement.

Marie wanted to make the point that her focus in this comment is on the issues involved in creating and utilising game-based learning. Her main point is that "the practicalities are more of a challenge than the promises - it IS a hard slog!"

Marie has made a major contribution to LearnScope and the Australian Flexible Learning Leaders Program over a number of years. Her interest is in " interactive strategies for training, research and performance improvement contexts for both face-to-face and online environments".

Marie's website is well worth a visit:

Here is her comment on the EdNA Groups 2006 Networks Community Forum - discussion on e-learning games:

" I'd like to make a comment about some practicalities of implementating digital game-based learning in the vocational education and training sector. This is from a professional development perspective and from triumphs and challenges of using digital games since 1998. These include email games, role-play simulations, and 'mini' flash games.

Implementing digital game-based learning can be a hard slog and the more complex the game type, the harder it is. This is because as you move up the scale from mini games to complex games, different stakeholders become involved and they can influence the outcomes as their perspective can be quite different.

Here are some of the complexities I have experienced and I'd be keen to hear if anyone has had similar types of experiences:

- IT services are critical allies: If there are firewalls, or access blocks placed on words like "games", or narrow mindsets regarding IT rules and regulations, there's a lot of groundwork to do to build good relationships, educate the IT gatekeepers etc. This can be time consuming and not always productive. One of biggest games can be getting access to the games in the first place!

- Cost: "How much does it cost?" is one of the first queries regarding games, especially from managers who hold purse strings. It takes a fairly enlightened manager to see game-based learning as an investment rather than a cost.
The added complexity here is that there are many games and tools available for little or no cost. They may be 'mini' games, but they are also a great introduction as these types of games can be easily integrated into existing e-learning programs.Here are a couple of examples of free or low cost games I've cobbled together for Hospitality and Bakery and Health Care.

- Competition: A great selling point for games is "engagement". With the rise of Web2 and social software and other methodologies like digital storytelling, interactive fiction etc, there are many engaging alternatives to games. It's interesting to note the rise of digital storytelling as a learning tool rather than a learning product. Have a look at Marvin which is moving ahead in leaps and bounds.

- Marketing: One of the most engaging and immersive e-learning experiences for me are web-based role play simulations. I never really understood what engagement was until I started role playing! This points to style preference. Role plays are not strictly games, but would meet all the "engagement" criteria. They are text-based so perhaps not as seductive as many of the games on show here, but the more emergent process, the "empty space design" requires high doses of imagination. The investment is in the design and facilitation - they are time rich - but they are reusable and easily adaptable. For example, one of the roleplays we designed in 2000 on sexual harrasment, has been facilitated over 20 times and every time its different. Other text based games like Game of Games on goal setting are very engaging as are Thiagi's award winning interactive storytelling. Yet these text based narrative games don't get the same press, though are excellent methodologies in a training setting. I suspect there is room for a more rounded representation of different game types.

- Complex and mini games: I've discovered the hard way that 'mini-games' are so easily dismissed (and if you promote them you can be too). Yet the starting point for many practitioners into game-based learning is through 'mini' games. I facilitate workshops on the use of mini games like powerpoint games and flash games and also digital games that can be played in the face-to-face settings, and experience first hand the benefit they have in complementing either class-based or e-learning programs. They are especially effective if they are used as learning tools rather than learning products (learners as designers). A great way to encourage learners to engage with dull but need to know content. There's a lot of promotion about complex games promoting higher order learning. No argument there. But let's not forget that a lot of learning in VTE is lower order learning. There's a lot of facts, procedures etc that people do have to come to grips with and ANYTHING that helps increase fluency must be a benefit. Just think compliance training!

- Games designers and game users: As a games user, it can be quite daunting working with game designers with high tech everything including the language! Especially if you are not really interested in the technology, but in what it can offer! Games designers are often vendors - they want to sell their products. It can be a big investment to buy a game, so the free trial periods are so important. However, the service and the conversations and the human component is really what gives confidence. In my experience Kevin and his team have been very generous in providing an excellent service and this is much appreciated. It's OK to ask dumb questions. I think the master of generosity is Thiagi.

BTW, if anyone is trialling the business game, here is a usability template that may help you focus and would provide excellent feedback to Kevin and the team."

Reaching Younger People Who Think Differently

Nintendo Children and Twitch Speed

Marc Prensky discusses 'Twitch Speed' a phenomenon of the digital age. Prensky argues that students do not suffer from short attention spans - they actually have developed (through electronic games) the expectation of faster delivery of content.

Marc's article, titled "Reaching Younger Workers Who Think Differently", identifies 10 major cognitive style differences exhibited by those born after 1970:

  1. Twitch Speed vs Conventional Speed
  2. Parallel Processing vs Linear Processing
  3. Random Access vs Linear Thinking
  4. Graphics First vs Text First
  5. Connected vs Stand Alone
  6. Active vs Passive
  7. Play vs Work
  8. Payoff vs Patience
  9. Fantasy vs Reality
  10. Technology as Friend vs Technology as Foe

The full article can be accessed here:


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Marc Prensky on Games Based Learning - Keynote Address and Powerpoint

Marc Prensky, is the founder of Games2train, designer and builder of games, and author of the critically acclaimed Digital Game-Based Learning and Don't Bother Me, Mom - I'm Learning!

Marc was Keynote Speaker for "The Role of Digital Games in Promoting Higher Order Learning", 2-3 March 2006 Adelaide.

Marc's website is at:

Audio and video podcasts of Marc's seminar and Ms Powerpoint presentation from Marc's workshop can be found here:

Books on eLearning Games and Simulations

Sivasailam Thiagarajan (better known as Thiagi) recommended the following books on the subject of eLearning games. Thiagi has made significant contributions over a number of years to both LearnScope and the Australian Flexible Learning Leader's Program.

For an insight into Thiagi's eduational philosophy and the his own game resources visit:

Books strongly recommended by Thiagi:

* Both these books explore the concept of GBL - Games Based Learning

Engaging Learning by Clark Quinn (who has some Aussie connections)

Learning by Doing: A Comprehensive Guide to Simulations, Computer Games, ... by Clark Aldrich

* Here are two interesting books by James Paul Gee:

Why Video Games Are Good for Our Soul

What Video Games Have To Teach Us About Learning and Literacy

* Here's another book with hard data that demolishes the notion that video games will rot your brain:

Got Game? How Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever by John C. Beck

* Another intriguing book (with interesting chapters on video games):

Everything Bad Is Good for You by Steven Johnson.

Team Play Learning Dynamics

Helen Routledge, Research Manager at Team Play Learning Dynamics has extensive experience in the serious games/games based learning field.

She introduced two games based applications in her recent posting to the EdNA eLearning Discussion Forum:

"Eduteams" - aims at teaching core skills such as problem solving, working with others and communication to students aged 11-14 years.

"Infiteams" - focuses on soft skills in the workplace and is used for team building and leadership development.

These commercially produced games can be accessed through:

The site also provides a statement on the essentials of game based learning and a FAQ (frequently asked questions) on games based learning.

The Business Game - free trial

Kevin Corti recently offered access to his Business Game to the EdNA discussion forum on eLearning Games.

I contacted Kevin to see if we could have access to the Game for the PFP Network Group.

His agreement comes with one condition:
"Sure, go ahead. Can I ask one thing however? Could you try to get as many people that use it to perhaps drop us a line with their thoughts, observations etc. They can be as open and harsh as they like. We a’re planning to create a number of variations of this game to cover SME/start-up training, Intro to Finance, General business awareness (for employees in larger enterprises) and an introduction to marketing. Feedback from your network now could help us make sure that the GBL we create is as good as it possibly can be."

The game, titled "The Business", was designed to help teachers in the UK to deliver enterprise education to, in the main, 14-16 year olds.

The game is available from:

To access the game simply visit the site and click on "user login' and then, when the login page loads, enter the following access code:

The only tech requirement is that your PC has the Macromedia Flash player 7 at minimum. The site will detect if this is not the case and, if not, send you off to Macromedia to download it.

The web site carries a walk through, overview etc and you can download the 40-page Teachers Guide.

Kevin Corti can be contacted for feedback at:

His other contact details are as follows:

PIXELearning Limited,
The Innovation Centre,

Coventry University Technology Park
Puma Way, Coventry, CV1 2TT

TEL: +44 (0)24 7623 6971
FAX: +44 (0)24 7623 6024
MOB: +44 (0)784 114 3972


Power-Point presentation : Serious Games Implementation

Kevin Corti, UK games-based learning expert, provides the following MS Powerpoint presentation (6Mb) that discusses the nature of games-based learning, why it is important and how to implement it.

This entertaining and informative presentation is well worth viewing:

Game Based Learning - International Speaker - Kevin Corti

The EdNA Groups 2006 Networks Community Forum recently engaged Kevin Corti, a Game Based Learning expert from the UK to act as a catalyst for the discussion on E-learning games.

Kevin co-founded the UK-based PIXELearning, a games-based eLearning tools developer.

Kevin's paper introduces games based learning issues and gives examples of how e-Learning games are used in business. His paper, titled, " Games-based learning: a serious business application", can be found here:

In the paper he showcases 7 games currently being used by industry bodies.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Invitation: Elearning Industry Evening - Educational Games

Learning is all Fun and Games, Seriously

Wednesday, 12 April 2006 5.15 - 8pm AEST [presentation 5.30 - 7pm AEST]

AIMIA SA and ElNet are proud to present an e-learning webinar discussing educational games. Moderated by Michael Coghlan using Live Classroom, speakers will include Adelaide's Marie Jasinski from Design Planet and Brisbane based expert Naomi Waldron.

Marie Jasinski uses game-based approaches for training, research and performance improvement contexts in both face-to-face and online environments. She enjoys her role as a crash test dummy for games developers who have figured out that if she can use a game, anyone can. Her particular interest is in low cost, reusable templates that can easily be adapted to a range of contexts. She will explore the challenge of finding affordable games tools, which trainers can personalise and plug into their program design, using examples of what works for her clients. Marie will argue that it is not the game, but how you use it that is a key to success. She is current writing a book on this topic with her colleague Sivasailam Thiagarajan and invites you to take part.

Naomi Waldron is an Instructional Designer at TodayCorp, and has a professional interest in educational and serious games. She will present a session on scoping, designing, and assessing the impact of serious games. She will talk about current developments in the field around the world, draw on her experiences of using and evaluating serious games, and discuss her recent experiences in designing educational games.

Join us for a stimulating discussion, followed by a chance to meet and mingle with other industry professionals at the city venue locations (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide), refreshments provided.

Visit the ElNet website for further information and venue details. Click here to register now.

Ebook Compiler - free download

The Active Ebook compiler enables you to create ebooks as .exe files.

This free version allows you to create as many ebooks as you wish as long as you do not sell them.

If you wish to sell your ebooks, you need to register your copy of the Active Ebook Compiler.

Download the free version here:

The software is a powerful professional quality tool, that makes it simple for anybody to get started in E-Book Publishing.
  • If you can create web pages - then you can create and publish E-Books.
    (and even if you can't, modern word processors usually include a "Save As HTML" feature).

  • Simply create a set HTML files containing the information you want to sell, and then run Activ E-Book Compiler - and you'll have a self-contained Windows Program (".EXE") which users can download and run, to view your E-Book. You can even restrict access to parts of your E-Book with passwords, include links to relevant web sites, or sell advertising space in your E-Book.

  • Anybody with Windows 95 or better, and Internet Explorer 4 or later, which is of course the vast majority of web surfers, can use your E-Books.

  • The software includes an amazing range of features that allow you to easily create great E-Books.

  • Download a fully working version of the software for free.

Refer the Joint Venture Marketing posting for an example of an ebook I created recently.

I developed the ebook/report in Ms Word with each chapter as a separate document. I then saved each document as a html file (via MsWord) and stored them in a "source folder".

Then I opened the ebook compiler and told it where the source files were and it created the ebook/report in 30 seconds.

Ebooks are excellent marketing and educational tools as they can have hotlinks, images, and colour and are created with a computer generated table of contents and internally linked pages.

You can get your free copy here:

Joint Venture (JV) Marketing with a viral ebook or report

Joint Venture Marketing has become a major tool for internet marketers to obtain leads and prospects for their products and services.

The basic elements are:

* someone who has a high internet profile hosts a JV giveaway
* they invite other internet marketers to participate in the JV giveaway
* the JV partners offer gifts (ebooks, software, etc) to people who visit the JV Giveway website
* visitors can acess any gift provided they subscribe to the mailing list of the relevant contributing, JV partner

This is a fast way to build your mailing list of prospects who in turn become subscribers to your autoresponder (e.g. weekly ezine or newsletter).

The JV partners promote the Giveaway event and people visit the site and subscribe. Visitors, in turn, promote to their own lists and friends.

An example:

* I wrote a viral ebook/report on the 30th and 31st March (using an ebook compiler)
* I uploaded it to the Easter JV Giveaway website on 1 April
* Visitors to the JV website subscribed to my mailing list and downloaded my report

The Easter JV Giveaway involves over 1200 partners and over 300 gifts.

The link for the relevant Easter JV Giveaway (hundreds of ebooks and software) is:

Every hour of every day since I April I have been getting messages like this:
  • Autoresponse Plus Subscription Thursday, 7 April 2006 5.55am
  • Autoresponse Plus Subscription Thursday, 7 April 2006 5.53am
  • Autoresponse Plus Subscription Thursday, 7 April 2006 5.38am
  • Autoresponse Plus Subscription Thursday, 7 April 2006 5.13am
As I worked in Adelaide over the past four days, my mailing list was automatically filling with new propects from around the world who were downloading my ebook/report. This is also occurring as I write now.

This demonstrates how you can get almost instant global distribution of information and at the same time build your prospect mailing list. My autoresponder is taking over now and sending the new prospects my weekly ezine automatically. Additionally some of the prospects will be sending my report to people on their mailing list and so it goes on....

You can get a copy of my report, The Blog Report: How to Make Money from Your Blog at:

(This is a zipped, EXE file that works like a pdf file. It contains links to ebooks and software as well as tips and articles on the creation and marketing of blogs.)

2006 VET Symposium Series - Workplace Learning (No.1)

2006 VET Symposium Series


The VETCONNECT 2006 Symposium Series has been designed to provide opportunities for VET workers to engage with contemporary themes in teaching and learning including those arising from reform associated with the release by the Department of Employment and Training of Queensland Skills Plan: A White Paper.

The first symposium in the 2006 VET-CONNECT series will focus on workplace learning and is open to everyone interested in reshaping how learning occurs in the workplace – teachers, trainers and assessors; managers and policy makers; employers and industry advocates.

The symposium is designed to provide you with opportunities to hear about the latest research and innovative approaches in workplace learning and to discuss and debate issues around the future of workplace learning including:

* Developing effective workplace learning partnerships
* Creating effective workplace learning environments and designing innovative delivery strategies
* Tailoring learning products for use in the workplace
* Developing and using effective and meaningful assessment approaches
* Recognising and certifying workplace learning

A full report on the symposium (including outcomes and recommendations) will be prepared and provided to every participant.

When? Friday 5 May 2006

Where? Conference Facility, Ground Floor, 111 George Street, BRISBANE

How much? $100

How do I register?

Download a registration form from the Symposium website:


contact Matthew Patten on 07 3368 2644