A screen shot from Dow Day, a situated documentary created by Jim Mathews.

“The buzz around games and learning has mostly focused on how educators can learn from game structure to create engaging learning experiences. Or else, educators are experimenting with video games meant to help students practice academic skills. Less attention has been paid to a niche of mobile gaming seeking to bridge the gap between the screen and the real world — pervasive gaming.”

 

See the full post at:

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/09/how-virtual-reality-meets-real-life-learning-with-mobile-games/

Google has announced that support for the Maps api for Flash will be discontinued as of September 2nd, 2014. This means that the main screen of the ARIS editor will stop functioning in it’s current form. While it was our original goal to have ARIS 2.0 available by this date, we want ARIS 2.0 to be our best release ever. To ensure that happens, we need additional time to finish some features and perform additional testing.

To bridge between the time Google disables the Map in ARIS 1.x and the release of ARIS 2.0, we have created a transitional version of the editor that does not rely on the map to make and modify games. This should give us all the time we need to make sure 2.0 is just right. It also will allow authors with big games to spend time testing their content in 2.0 before having to commit to the new version. Everyone will be able to continue working on their games in the 1.x transitional version until they are confident that 2.0 is a better choice.

Launch the Transitional Editor Now

http://arisgames.org/transitionaleditor

 

ARIS Transitional Editor

ARIS Transitional Editor

In the transitional version, the main screen is a table that fills most of the screen. Each row represents one location, a placement of a game object into the game via a GPS location or a QR code. All the information that was originally available within the individual map call-out annotations can be seen at a glance.

To set a location, you will click on the “Edit” button in the location column for the location they want to change. A new browser tag will launch that allows you to drag and drop the map pin to set that objects location. Every movement is saved back to the game. When you are done, close the map tab in your browser to return to the editor.

ARIS Transitional editor

ARIS Transitional Editor Map Editor

We hope that this transitionary version provides some stability while we continue putting all of our momentum into the next generation of ARIS.

Teaching Biology using ARIS

September 4th, 2013

Mate if You Can
It’s called “Mate if you can!” and it’s a game where groups of four students play the role of a male spider trying to find a mate.

While they are wandering around campus in search of mates, they encounter resources they need to gather (in the form of flies and crickets) and predators they need to avoid (although the predators remain hidden).

What this game teaches students is that the right survival and mating strategy is strongly linked to the context in which an individual finds themselves and the earlier developmental decisions they are forced to make; an understanding that is guided by my evolutionary research.

This requires students to think about their strengths and weaknesses and how they interact with their environment.

More at http://theevolvedgamer.com/how-im-trying-to-make-learning-fun/

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Jewish Time Jump:  New York is a Situated Documentary produced in ARIS that was recently nominated under the “Most Innovative” category of the Games for Change festival, an event dedicated to celebrating the “positive social impact of games.”

See the announcement at http://www.gamesforchange.org/2013/05/2013-games-for-change-award-nominees/

Learn more about Jewish Time Jump: New York at http://www.converjent.org/ 

 

Girl-on-tablet-Featured

A dozen museum educators stand nervously and watch a class of elementary school kids pour into the Minnesota History Center, iPods in hand. After a 10-minute orientation from their teachers, they stream into the exhibit about life on the American frontier. They’re using a program on the iPods called ARIS to read QR codes attached to objects in the exhibit. Each QR code tells ARIS that the student has fulfilled a step of their selected ARIS quest, and the museum educators are nervous because they designed and prototyped these quests just an hour ago. (Check out a video demo of ARIS here.)

After their visit, the kids evaluate the quests. Did they learn anything? Yes. Was it fun? Yes! Was it fun because just because they got to use iPods? No. It’s hard to ask for more out of an hour’s worth of work creating a mobile educational game (granted, this was a highly unscientific survey).

More at: http://gettingsmart.com/2013/04/extending-museum-learning-with-aris/

Finding Waterman

In which good folks from the  create an ARIS activity for Carmen Petrick Smith’s undergraduate educational technology course. Here’s an excerpt from their Storify piece of what they did:

ARIS is a mobile tablet-based gaming environment, based on the idea of augmenting scavenger hunts with more information about a related story or lesson plan. For instance, if you were teaching the Narnia books, you could have students move around the school as if they were moving through Narnia. You could have them talk to Aslan (in the form of a playground sculpture) and shoot through the halls on quests to save the world beyond the wardrobe.

Anyway, that’s not what we did.

What we did was take the story of John Pearl Gifford, 19th century physician, social activist, founder of the Gifford Medical Center and grave robber, and develop a mini-game around the historical context that allowed Gifford to be both a doctor and a felon.

This morning, we gave the students a first crack at working through the initial two levels of the game: locating the Librarian in Waterman and scanning QR codes to get hold of teeth to sell.

and what they learned about playtesting:

I learned a huge amount this morning not just about the mechanics of game-play but also how players interact with — and EXPECT TO interact with a game. A huge takeaway from this morning is just how much of the text in plaques I should convert to videos. It’s one thing to have a photo of Igor and a list of background text underneath, but a very different thing to take your Igor doll out on campus and shoot a video of him with narration in the background.

…Not that I have an Igor doll at all.

And as a group who are excited about the possibility of getting ARIS into classrooms where students can use it to construct their own narratives about a lesson plan, and interact with each other in a challenging, knowledge-share, this exercise was priceless.

Read more here. Dig on Vermont!

Untitled 6The article is actually called 30 Surprising (And Controversial) Ways Students Learn, and includes a lot of things that readers of this blog probably already know, like:1. Playing scary and violent video games help children master their fears in real life.

2. Video games can lessen disruptive behaviors and enhance positive development in ADHD children
5. Gardening improves children’s desire to learn and boosts their confidence
8. Music and movement augment children’s language capabilities during the preschool years
9. Green spaces or natural backyards elevate children’s learning through discovery

Then there was #11.

11. Children who construct their own video games experience increased cognitive and social growth

In a primitive society, children learned necessary survival skills by mimicking their elders. It was essentially, learning in action. In modern times, academics are often taught rather than “shown”- removing this type of opportunity from the educational process.

However, research outlined in the Lookstein Online Journal indicates that children show cognitive growth when they are given the task of creating their own video game. In order to develop such a game, students must use prior knowledge, create links between scenes, and take control of their learning through trial and error.

In essence, it is another way to create and active learning environment similar to ancient history. Children must use logic, survival skills, and generate new ideas and solutions in order to complete the game.

And it went on:

19. Play-based learning increases children’s attention span

… etc.

Read the rest, then go plan and make and play an ARIS game!

ARIS game proposal

April 19th, 2013

One of our users just uploaded a trailer for an ARIS game designed to change the world for the better by being more than just entertaining. The goal is to create a game that will encourage kids to get outside, exercise, and go out into their environment more.

To accompany his excellent blog post on Transmedia Storytelling, ARIS Game Tool, and K12 Education, John Patten makes a short 2 minute video argument on using ARIS to help improve writing and communication skills in students. Embedded here:

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ARIS in PE

April 19th, 2013

Jarrod Robinson created a cool 15 minute screencast demonstrating how ARIS could be used for physical education. Embedded here: