Sunday, August 24, 2008

Commoncraft: Explanations in Plain English

Commoncraft create short and simple videos that make "complex ideas easy to understand". They use a whiteboard and paper cut-outs to demonstrate how things work. The site includes a guide to the US presidential elections, surviving a zombie attack and how to use Twitter.

The guide to wikis (Wikis for dummies) is very useful. See it here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

War on Terror board game

So much to analyze, so little time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Zombie Survival Guide

This has got to be one of the BEST book websites I've ever come across. Go and have a look because..

1. Zombies are way cool! 2. The site is brilliant. 3. Did i mention that zombies are cool?

The book is The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete protection from the undead by Max Brooks and it has spawned a range of fan creativity and merchandising.

Well played Random House!

Red the Robot

This article in The Guardian directed me to Red the Robot.

I grew up with the fantasy of robots who would become an integral part of our daily lives: The Jetsons, Astro Boy (aka Tetsuwan Atomu), the robot in 'Lost in Space'. I remember reading 'I, Robot' when i was a teenager.

In none of my fantasies did the robot sit down and teach me phonics. Robots were making lives safer, guiding young adventurers through the galaxy, forcing me to reconsider the moral code of my culture.

...i'm just saying...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I've been following the work of Genevieve Bell of late. Brilliant stuff. Genevieve is a cultural anthropologist working for Intel. I've been particularly interested to hear about her research across 100 households in 19 cities in seven countries in Asia and the Pacific focused on how people in these diverse geographic and cultural locations use technology. Emerging technologies allow both greater connection to a broader community and an increased localization across distances - an interesting complexity that has implications for rapidly diversifying nations and communities.

If you're working with digital technologies, new literacies/media and haven't already checked out her work, you should have a look. My favorite podcast with her is located here. Links to further Genevieve Bell resources can be found here and if you're in New York in mid-September you can hear her speak here.

Digital Futures: The internet in Australia

The ARC Centre for Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation has released a new report on the use of the internet in Australia. The report captures a snapshot of how the internet is being used, where and by whom. Important reading.

Download it here.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Schooling and virtual worlds

An interesting story unfolded on Paul Verhoeven's blog last week, which he also related on Triple J's breakfast show (the story starts two thirds of the way through the mp3).

Basically, a secondary school student playing World of Warcraft stole an item from his 'guild' (a group of players who work together within the game). Many of the players in the guild were adults that play the game very seriously, and they took exception to the theft of the rare and valuable 'Warglaive of Azzinoth' (pictured). So much so, in fact, that one of the guild members wrote a letter to the principal of the student's school, asking that the student be held to account for his actions. The letter drew analogies to the action that would be taken if the student, as representative of the school, were caught stealing in the 'real' world. Allegedly, the principal took action, the parents of the student were contacted, and the item was returned.

To my mind, this is an interesting response from the school: in this instance virtual worlds were considered to be a legitimate space of social interaction, with which the school should be concerned, and not 'just a game'. While student behaviour in virtual worlds may already be a subject of curricular and pedagogical focus in some places (especially in terms of online safety), this seems like a different kind of 'whole school' recognition, which frames these worlds not just as spaces in which students are vulnerable, but ones in which they must also be responsible and accountable.