• Film,  Games,  higher ed

    Games & education – a contrarian view

    These are not scripts or courses in waiting… <image by Thomas Durka> It is almost a truism to say that games represent a bold new future for education. The Chancellor of the OU, and one of the wisest people around, Lord Puttnam, has often said as much: "The video game is probably the most powerful learning tool that's ever been created, and if we can only get the software right, as it were 'connect up the pieces', we could create something utterly remarkable."  And the linkages seem irresistible – games create a structured environment where the player has to learn certain procedures to progress. They are given tips, have the opportunity…

  • Dad,  Games

    Girls hooked on DS

    Tech Digest (via Ewan McIntosh) carries a report that 7 year old girls are ‘addicted to’ (ie prefer) Nintendo DSs over traditional toys such as Barbie. My (5 year old) daughter has one and this certainly rings true for her. Games such as Pet Hotel, Ponyz, Dogz and Absolutely Anything to do With Animalz (okay I made that last one up), are great fun, and as I’ve blogged before, they keep her entertained at restaurants. But I’ve noticed something else recently, and that is since having a DS, she plays with her physical toys much more. She has never been that keen on playing with toys, but now spends hours…

  • Dad,  Games

    My own leisure snobbery

    Over the weekend I was forced to confront my own snobbery about what is a good use of leisure time. As I mentioned, we have a Nintendo Wii, and given the adverse weather at the weekend (overseas readers – it snowed in the UK, causing national hysteria), we stayed in quite a bit. My daughter played with the Wii for a while, and then I asked her to stop and switch to board games (which she did happily enough). It made me think about why I have a mental equation which goes something like ‘computer games = mildly bad, board games = good’. Why did I feel that the computer…

  • Games

    I afford a Wii

    We bought a Nintendo Wii last weekend. I’ve not been in to games that much before – my gaming days ended around the time of Doom/Duke Nuke ’em (now those were some games). My main problem with games is that they just take so much time to get any return on. I really don’t have 50 hours to give over to battling aliens, and if I did then I experience a form of leisure angst – there are those unread volumes of Proust on my bookshelf that I really should get around to, or there is a five mile run I need to do today, or some craft activity I…