Monday, December 10, 2007

Mark and Debbie's meetings

Here is the link to Mark's Elluminate meeting about the online game Travian.

Mark presented to anyone in the class who was interested (and several were) about an online game called Travian. Mark gave us an overview of why he got interested in gaming for his students. “Their attention spans are not short for games.” Romans, Teutons and Gauls are the three armies. Mark started using a web tour but we could not see anything apart from the login. So mark then used application share which worked a treat even on dial-up.

There were several villages eg Macdonalds, General Electric etc. It is a game of resources which accumulate as it is played in real time. Each village has to be built up and they get the idea that “nothing is for free. Mark showed us something of the game and explained how it worked, and then stopped to let people ask a question. He gave us plenty of time to think of a question. The silence did not seem to perturb him.

One of the philosophies of the game is it is a collaboration and group exercise. Game and how does it relate back to learning. Aspects have relationships back to real life eg. Communication skills. It is also a game of strategy. After Mark's presentation there followed some good discussion about games and learning. Mark is intending to use more technologies and games next year. For example, games which relate to real life – Theme Park – physics of rollercoasters. I can see the potential for a game like this to build communities - doing in action and actual community building in every grain of the game.

After the presentation, I also dipped into Second Life for Debbie's event where we visited some locations used for language teaching eg Kamimo and we got to meet some of the owners or members of the communities. We also got to meet some of the language students who were working on assignments in SL. It was a surreal experience which went on quite late and people were reluctant to part. Our last experience was to fly into a waterfall and we all met in a sauna-like room with log fires and places to relax - very cool! I certainly felt like I was part of a community during this event.


Branwen Trevellion behind a waterfall in Second Life chilling out.

I have to admit to not really knowing what was going on a lot of the time. The time lag we were experiencing meant I got a bit lost and separated from the group at times. Debbie was an excellent host and it was amazing to really explore the educational potential of SL and see it in action. Some of the buttons for things such as screens for presentations did not work for us but their potential was obvious.

I really miss not having sound in SL, but apparently there are problems with time delays for audio.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Travian is really a likable game. The main goal is to gather resources, develop a village and build an army. More on game can be found Here. Travian can also deliver some educational results. Playing Travian young people can learn about the development of a community, about the process of developing a sustainable community itself. Yes I agree that playing games can also be a great and more interesting way of learning contrary to the general belief that playing games results only in a waste of time.