Gaming, digital futures and Curtis Bonk! | Day 2 at #DEANZ14 Conference

Last week, I managed to attend a day of the DEANZ conference, a great opportunity to catch up with those involved in research and practice related to e-learning and distance education in the schooling and tertiary sectors.

While one day couldn’t really capture the conference as a whole, there were a few takeaways for me that made me wish I’d managed all three days!

2014-05-01 09.18.58Keynote:  David Gibson – Games and Simulations

Associate Professor at Curtin University, David’s focus is in supporting university departments to further e-learning design as part of their programmes.

His keynote made some exciting (and mentally stretching!) points about the way gaming structures can enhance learning pathways. For example:

  • He suggested that MOOCs be reimagined as MOOLEs – shift from the notion of a massive course to a massive learning experience, with the starting being a “grand emotional raision d’etre”, evolving open learning design from ‘outcomes’ towards how learners will feel/what they’ll experience.
  • Heuristic and haptic knowledge, grown through incidental learning and fuzzy feedback, gets developed during games. He asked how can we build habits that are transferable but also how do we become more aware of this kind of knowledge, the kind that is often developed through the hidden curriculum and invisible culture of a school?2014-05-01 10.01.37 He suggested some e-principles for learning design [see image right].
  • The value of challenges, quests and projects was explored: Can a hero quest, with freedom, expression, flexibility at the heart of learning, motivate learners? I have had similar conversations with @ChristianLong on this, too. Two resources related to this: “Save the world on your way to college” and MIT’s Global Challenge, working with UNESCO to find scalable solutions to UN Millennium Goal Challenges.
  • Open Badges  – “a signification of work we already know how to do” are open and transportable objects. Badges inside an internal game act as a motivator –a transparent path towards the goal. Outside, there needs to be clear branded certification, they become hard to earn. The context of use of badges here is key.  The value of the badge is our reputation.

Other highlights

2014-05-01 10.39.08Surprise Book Launch! A hero of mine, Curtis Bonk (@travelinedman), VC-d into the conference to launch his free online e-book, co-written with Elaine Khoo, University of Waikato: Adding Some TEC-VARIETY.

  • A panel on digital futures, chaired by Professor Niki Davies (Canterbury), with Barry Brooker (TEFANZ Exec), Steve Leichtweis (Uni of Auckland) and Peter Twining (Open Uni UK), in which they explored ideas from that week’s SITE conference, including Dorothy Burt’s keynote.
  • …and finally, my own session, presenting ideas and challenges that surfaced in my Master’s thesis related to social networking and teacher professional learning in the VLN Groups network.




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