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Join us at the new Play + Learn conference

I delighted to announce a brand new initiative focussing on play and learning in the UK. The inaugural Play+Learn conference will take place on 17-19 June 2015 at the University of Bradford. Play is our most elemental vehicle for learning, and new digital tools like games provide whole new worlds for exploration and interaction. Together we’ll explore how we can make learning and training more engaging […]

Kids, Social Media & Computer Games – A Guide for Grown Ups

As the parent of two young children, I’m often in conversation with other adults about the ways kids use technology.  We sometimes feel a bit out of our depth and almost intimated by the boundless confidence our children exhibit when engaging with games, apps and social media. However daunted we might feel, we can’t sit […]

Game Mechanics

Recently I’ve talked a number of groups about making experiences more playful. Instrumental in those discussions has been a consideration of the elements at our disposal.  Here is my combination of the various definitions of game mechanics offered by Wikipedia, SCVNGR & Gamification.org. Achievements – Achievements are a virtual or physical representation of having accomplished something. Action points […]

Who’s winning with game-based learning?

This week the UK’s National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) released a study examining the latest research about game-based learning. The main findings in the NFER report were: The literature was split on the extent to which video games can impact upon overall academic performance. The studies consistently found that video games can impact positively on […]

Playing with online privacy

Being aware of the information we share is an increasingly important consideration in our connected lives.  Many of us don’t really think about the digital footprints we leave or what organisations might do with the apparently trivial details they gather when we sign up for new products or services.  Many “free” offers are contingent on […]

What type of social gamer are you?

The folk over at NakedPlay and Playnomics have just released this infographic describing 8 gamer archetypes and their motivations to play. The 8 they define are: Scientists – who try new things and apply learnings Politicians – who getting ahead by adapting to people Socialites – who connect to others at all costs Habitualists – who seek repetitive pleasure […]

Let the children play, it’s good for them

I read this fascinating article by Alison Gopnik on Smithsonian.com and I wanted to share the main thrust of it because I think it reiterates the importance of play. “Walk into any preschool and you’ll find toddling superheroes battling imaginary monsters. We take it for granted that young children play and, especially, pretend. Why do […]

Social Learning and Games

In this final look at how each of the major learning theories relate to games, we explore the ideas behind social learning.  In the social and contextual approach to learning, the outcome is for the learner to become socially accepted and to be an effective member within a community.  This is what is commonly referred […]

Constructivism and Games

Continuing my series on the relationship between the various learning theories and games, this post explores the idea of constructivism. From the constructivist perspective, learning is not a stimulus-response phenomenon as described by Behaviourism, rather it requires self-regulation and the building of conceptual structures through reflection and abstraction[1]. In constructivist theory, the learner takes an […]