07 May, 2009

Students Hooked on Screens, Hooked on Reality

Ori Inbar who writes on the Games Alfresco blog has released an engaging version of his 'Augmented Reality Now' presentation.

Ori talks about something relevant to educators, asking how we can use augmented reality, i.e. taking the power of digital technologies and layering them on top of the real world, to get students to engage with reality when it seems that some are more engaged with fantasy (TV, games, etc).

Augmented Reality Today: WARM '09 from Ori Inbar on Vimeo.

I'd argue that much time spent online is already augmenting reality, as it is building on existing face-to-face relationships by playing games or talking together. Ori puts forward the idea that augmented reality, could be used to draw a 'digital native' generation out into the sunlight again. Students who are hooked on screens, now seeing reality better through the screens, out in the real world. Not sure how true that idea is, but while watching the video it feels like an inspiring vision.

Ori also touches on how games designers have, through decades of trial and error, developed a deep understanding of what motivates people and makes them happy. Mark LeBlanc's '8 Kinds of Fun' is mentioned. How could these be applied to education, to motivate learners? Not forgetting that ultimate device to motivate gamers - Rewards. As Bill Fawcett mentions in 'The Battle for Azeroth', World of Warcraft players have the opportunity for constant rewards in the game, most of which mean something important to your character's powers, and which encourage you to just play a little longer. Again, and again.

But while games can bring about learning, learning isn't a game. An obvious difference between these games and education is that education is a much deeper and more complex undertaking. You wrestle with deep learning, and it changes you as you wrestle with it. Therefore giving 'experience points', for say, reading books would be silly and damaging to students' understanding of learning. Giving students formative feedback on quizzes, and scores as personal motivation might go a certain way towards them being able to regularly think about and track their development.

[Image by antjeverena]

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This work (but not the video) is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

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