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December 14, 2006



For what it's worth Derek, I think quite often we have to stand back and look at what we can achieve. When too high a standard is set, then many will immediately switch off. That said, for the small number who are able, then not trying to move forward leaves them in the cold.
Pehaps it's a question of one step back to take two forwards - creative things can be done with PowerPoint, and if this wets the appetite, then there is motivation to learn new things?


I have 2 questions for you Derek: Is the skill in manipulating a pencil sufficient to write a story? Is the skill in using game design software sufficient to create a computer game?

PowerPoint is a good example. To often teachers (people) believe that by typing text and choosing clip art and following a wizard you can create a good/effective presentation. That by learning to use the features of the software makes us expert in creating a high standard of presentation. The truth is there is knowledge and understanding about presentations that is needed along with the skills of using PowerPoint to do a good job.

Think of it like a pupil learning to cut a piece of wood. They may have gained the skill but they are a long way from being able to create a piece of furniture. Or a child can write his name on a bit of paper but is a long way from being able to write a novel.

In response to the question in the title of your posting: no & yes.

No, if you only expect those teachers with an interest to develop the skills. Yes, if you expect all teachers to develop the skills in game design.

Kim Pericles

Very thought provoking ...I'm definitely not a nerdy guy, probably more a techno-moron, but I put in the hours (and it is hours - it don't come easily or quickly! ;) ) into exploring new technology applications because of the educational possibilities. It's the educational possibilities of games and Web 2.0 that pushes me into spending the time to find out more.
Don't forgt tho, there are many paths to the one goal - some will travel the low threshold path (PowerPoint) whilst others jump into games based programs and some will take a middle path. Maybe we need to get people moving, having a go and seeing new possibilities along the way.
Just as games allow for different user levels/skills/and abilities shouldn't our expectations allow for these as well?


I share your point of view. I made that post because of a discussion I had with a colleague about a particular games design application. He felt the skill threshold was too high for the vast majority of teachers within that particuklar framework. I think there may be something in that but it would not stop me from targeting more challengin games design applications in the direction of teachers who will run with it. Anyway, are you coming to BETT in January? If so, I hope that we can meet up.

Neil Winton

Sometimes the simplest ideas can be as powerful as the most difficult. I have a challenging 3rd year class, and as coincidence would have it, we are working on our own very basic 'Fighting Fantasy' a la Jackson and Livingstone. To keep it simple, we are using a wiki to provide the tech end... each 'Chapter' is a separate wiii page, with each pupil being responsible for one page...

It is shaping up well, but (due to the nature of the class) is a bit like pulling teeth. I will send you a link when it is either completed or is as finished as it is ever going to be!

The point I'm trying to make here, is that there are technology/tools available now that are actually very straight-forward to use. When you say "There will also be a very keen and committed minority of teachers who will, out of their own interest in many ways, take the time to engage with new ideas, news approaches and new technologies." I think you are failing to appreciate just how easy and straightforward some of the tools are. As you note, it is the content that matters (actually, I might argue that point later!), and if there are simple tools that allow pupils to express themselves in new and appropriate ways, then why not use them?

This is a cracking set of questions you've asked us! I'll need to think more on them and will reply more fully later!



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