‘Gamification’ Is Dead, Long Live Games For Learning | TechCrunch

It was based on this philosophy of finding the game in learning: The core of the game would be the same activity as the core of the competency we were tackling. And for good measure, we took on one of the trickiest competencies shared with us by our GlassLab Teacher Network: The English Language Arts skill of Argumentation. If we were going to prove the possibility of uniting good game mechanics and learning of a common core subject, this would be it.

Source: ‘Gamification’ Is Dead, Long Live Games For Learning | TechCrunch

The Next Step…

I am going to take a step back from Unity for a few weeks. The last game that I completed took me a long time to figure out because of a few fundamental gaps in my understanding of programming languages. So, I am going to spend a few weeks playing around with the Python language. There seem to be a ton of interesting things that I can do with this language. The list I have generated so far (in no particular order):

  1. Use python to search the internet for articles related to education and technology. Use them to make posts that link to the original article.
  2. Search Google images for a list of vocabulary words and save the first 5-10 images in a directory with the keyword as the filename/foldername. I would use these images as backgrounds for Kahoot questions. This would automate one of the more annoying parts of creating Kahoot quizzes for my students.
  3. Possibly, use python to automate the entire process of creating a Kahoot quiz. I’m not sure how feasible this is, but it is a goal to work towards. If I can just streamline the process a little bit, that would be ideal.
  4. Use python to search the web for posts about teaching various objectives. Find those articles/posts/ideas and scrub them for keywords and prepare them as posts. I would then link them from this website, and use the keywords generated as tags on my post. Ultimately creating a working database of resources that can be used in planning lessons.
  5. Make daily posts from my lesson plans in CommonTeaching in a more readable format.

I have a long way to go with this, but it is nice to have a goal to start with and work from there. As I am getting into Python it seems like a very versatile language, capable of performing lots of tasks that would eliminate a lot of the mundane aspects of being a teacher.

Bouncing Vocabulary

I finished a new small game that can be used on a Promethean board to review vocabulary words that we have been covering in my Language Arts class. The game isn’t really anything special, but it was a pretty big feat for me to get the lists and the arrays all functioniong correctly so there would be a random set of questions and answers every 10 seconds. There is not really anything graphically special in the game, but I will work on using what I learned in this game to create other more visually stimulating versions of the game.

There are plenty of problems with this game (ex. the balls bounce too fast, there isn’t any signal that you have hit the correct ball other than the score) but I will adjust those things in future games.

Bouncing Vocabulary

First Blender Art

Here are some practice images from my lessons in Blender. There is still a lot to figure out in the realm of animating the movements of characters. I am also wishing that I had more formal sculpture training! Starting with a simple cube and extruding it out and shaping each piece is a very complicated process.

The next step is putting one of these characters into a game world and making them run around!

simple alien simple cat

Unity Survival Shooter

This series of videos is really fun. There is tons of information in the videos with the added benefit of the survival shooter being really fun! I am going to post just a few things that I will eventually want to return to. Link to the project contents is below…

Survival Shooter: Chapter 1

1. Environment setup – not sure how this whole environment was created. Using Unity or some other 3D rendering program?

EDIT: here is a related link I found for this. To read later.

2. Player Character – what programs were used to create the animations?

3. Camera setup – good camera setup guide. Orthographic cameras remove perspective.

4. Creating Enemy #1 – using prefabs to setup the scripts and effects associated with a character who will later be spawned repeatedly.

5. Health HUD – new UI options in Unity 4.6. Should rewatch to get an idea about how to setup a UI.

6. Player Health – scripting with C#

7. Harming Enemies – scripting with C#. Also, introduction to the Raycasting function.

8. Scoring points – scripting with C#

9. Spawning Enemies – deleting the pref and creating spawn points for different enemies. Rewatch this for a detailed explanation about instantiating prefabs at different locations.

10. Game Over – back to the UI. First use of the animation window. Good introduction to very basic uses of the animation window and how it relates to the rest of a project.

As I walked through the steps of this project it became very clear that I would need to learn how to use a program like Blender to create my own assets. I will probably spend this weekend learning what I can about creating 3D models and see if it is something that I can pursue beyond the tutorial level.

Figuring out Unity

There is a ton of stuff in Unity that I can only begin to comprehend at this point. Here are the resources that I am starting with:

Walker Boys Studio Free Unity Training

This is a pretty comprehensive guide to all of the features of Unity. At this point I have only watched the tutorials in video series 1 and have not taken any of the tests. I am waiting on that until I have some more practice actually using said features. I am getting that practice with…

Unity Tutorial Modules

Why not go right to the source? For free tutorials, these have been incredibly helpful. I have been through, and completed, the roll-a-ball and space shooter tutorials and I’m currently working on creating something based on the scripts taught in those lessons. Hopefully I will be able to post that creation soon.