Category Archives: Social Software

Gamebased Learning 2009

From the group that has organized some very successful Handheld Learning Conferences comes:

Game Based Learning, 19-20 March, The Brewery, Barbican, London

Video Games, Social Media and Learning.

Fun, Stimulating & Provocative

And that’s just the first afternoon…

Dear Colleague

This years Game Based Learning Conference has captured the imagination.

Demand for delegate places has been greater than expected leaving less than 100 places available from our initial allocation.

Perhaps this is because the event is unique. It brings together thought leaders, innovators and practitioners from the worlds of education, software and consumer electronics into a continuous dialogue about the impact of video games and social media on the quality of learning and teaching practice across school, higher education, public and business sectors.

With leading industry figures such as British Academy Fellowship Award winning, Nolan Bushnell, Ian Livingstone and Patrice Chazerand going head to head with leading educational innovators including Derek Robertson, Alice Taylor and Graeme Duncan, the stage is set for an inspiring and thought provoking 2 days opened by UK Cabinet Office Minister, Tom Watson.

For confirmed speakers click here

To review the programme click here

To register, receive a free game and save £50 click here

Read acclaimed educational technology writer Merlin John

It’s your conference, get involved!

The programme has been developed to offer something for every delegate as well as providing essential opportunities for discussion, networking and socialising.

Do you want to present something?

Then the unconference / Pecha Kucha session hosted by Dave Green of the London Games Fringe is for you. Everybody is welcome to present their ideas, work or experiences.

Got skills? Looking for skills?

Try the informal “business speed dating” that takes place during the breaks and networking sessions. Should you wish to erect a pop-up display, distribute flyers or connect with delegates in other ways this can be arranged by contacting our sales manager, Isabel Fernandes.

Interested in real world, best practice?

Look no further than the Game Based Learning in Practice session hosted by Derek Robertson, National Adviser for Emerging Technologies and Learning, LTS who will introduce leading initiatives by practitioners including Kim Applin, Steve Bunce and Dawn Hallybone.

How does industry respond to this emerging phenomenon?

If this is the question on your mind then the Industry Forum is the place to be. With participants including ISFE Secretary General, Patrice Chazerand, ELSPA Managing Director, Michael Rawlinson, ISFE Games and Education Liaison, Catherine Geeroms, Slitherine Director, Marco Minoli, Codemasters Chairman, Chris Deering and representatives from Becta, this session promises to be electric.

All this followed by an evening social reception with the keynote conference sessions the next day!

Do not miss this opportunity to be a part of this years Game Based Learning Conference. Register today.

See you there!

The Game Based Learning 2009 Team (meet us)
The Advisory Group (meet us)

Passes are available for members of the press & media

Linked GBL Group join our group on Linkedin

facebook event page join our event page on facebook

Becta’s Emerging Technologies for Learning, Volume 3

Becta has just published the third volume in its series Emerging technologies for learning, an annual publication. This series is worth a read, and I’ve gotten a lot of good ideas from it in years past. This year’s line-up includes articles on

Given the impressive line-up of authors I have to say that I’m proud and a little humbled to have been asked to contribute to the 2008 volume of the series. Highly recommended!!

Image credit: “nptechtag”; cambodia4kidsorg’s photostream:

Social Networkers Reach Out More with Cell Phones…

… which is the title of an interesting article that appeared in USA Today a couple of days ago that discusses the market potential for mobile social networking. The piece basically reaffirmed my belief that mobile and connected are strongly related and that one reinforces and amplifies the other.  A couple of quotes that struck me:

Senior analyst Jill Aldort of the Yankee Group calls “mobile social networking a hot market with lukewarm potential.” (with regards to profitability)

Jyri Engeström, co-founder of mobile blogging site Jaiku, says, “Mobile social networking is more like ‘social peripheral vision.’ You have an idea what people who somehow matter to you are up to.”

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz says its mobile user base is growing faster than the website. … “Things that are inherently social are inherently mobile.”

But location-based networking has Big Brother implications. “It’s really cool, but it’s also possibly the creepiest thing happening,” says Facebook’s Moskovitz. Privacy controls are crucial. Buddy Beacon, for one, lets you switch to a “cloak” mode to stay under the radar.

The article also sports a sidebar with a listing of some of the more popular mobile social sites, including ComVu PocketCaster, Flickr Mobile, Groovr, JuiceCaster, JumBuck and Multiply.

Finally, there are a few interesting thoughts in the string of contents, especially those that are more critical of the whole 24/7 connectivity and feel the need to be disconnected from time to time. My favorite one is by McGarrett:

Why don’t they just wire a social networking chip in our brain? Oh yeah, our brain is already wired for social networking. So why do I need this?

Thought provoking indeed ….


Image Credit: “rickshaw-phones”, abaporu’s photostream at


Handheld Learning 2007, Day 1, Opening Session, part II


The international speakers…..

Tarek Shawki, Section Chief, ICTs in Education, Science, Culture, Information Society Division, Communication & Information Sector, UNESCO.

On ICT Utilization towards Building Global Knowledge Societies

UNESCO as a laboratory of ideas and standard-setter; also a clearing house to disseminate info to member states.


  • Access to networks and high quality content
  • Dealing with cost of access; capacity building
  • Content development
  • Freedom of expression
  • Media development
  • Knowledge preservation

E-knowledge requires a lot of (different) players

Mr. Shawki then continued to talk about organizational structures and partnerships, which I won’t try to describe here, but which is important in that it shows how ICT developments are happening globally.

Final comment: UNESCO is working on a report comparing all of the different mobile devices for individual governments who are confused with regards to what’s out there.

Next up, Francesc Pedro from OECD’s CERI. His presentation is pretty much the same thing he did at NECC, which I blogged here. He did show some interesting MacArthur-Foundation-made videos.

Francesc’s key point I think is that there is a real need for solid, research-based information in the area of ICT for learning, especially on an international  level, and a need to focus on the changes that learners are bringing.

Not a lot of talk about mobile learning in these two presentations, but more big-picture issues to think about …

NECC, Day 5, ‘With Power Comes Responsibility: Online Awareness, Ethics, and Safety’


 Got to this session late, very well attended, so this is an important issue for many (a detailed outline of the presentation and links can be found here. Mark Wagner is talking about inappropriate content, inappropriate sharing, and threats and cyberbullying (MY COMMENTS IN ALL CAPS).   


  • Citizen journalism

  • Citizen police work

  • Threats, suicides, and risky behavior are often reported.

  • Sting operations online

  • “MySpace is safer for teens than predators”

Students do have 1st Amendment rights. Parody is protected. We cannot control students, we can educate them.

Lack of understanding:

  • Fear of the unknown

  • Vilification of technologies by adults who don’t know the technologies

  • DOPA did nothing for adults or kids, but put more work on schools and libraries ( (MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT THIS E.G. HERE AND HERE)

  • Potential for rebellion and destruction of trust

  • Potential

 Legal protections:

Safety tips for students:

  • Don’t share identifying or personal information (privacy for kids is different than it was for us).

  • Do not share provocative images (according to Wagner this is getting better because kids knows parents and schools are looking)

  • Beware of grooming.

  • Consider the consequences and the future.

  • Talk with parents, teachers, or other trusted adults.

Tips for educators:

  • Move computer into shared spaces

  • Watch for alt+tab and alt+F4

  • Check history (is it suspiciously blank?)

  • Beware of reluctance to be candid

Educate yourself:

  • Your kids know more than the news

  • Ask your kids if they’ve been harrassed

  • Ask if they use more than one social network site
    (from Magid and Collier’s MySpace Unraveled)

  • Kids will react strongly to canceled accounts

  • Read the MySpace Terms of Use and Safety Tips

  • Report violations

  • Know the people in your child’s lists

  • View their friends’ profiles

  • Monitor and filter if necessary

Bottom line:

  • communicate with students, parents, other educators, IT, the police

  • confront students who are behaving in irresponsible, inappropriate, or unsafe ways. Do not look the other way.

Take aways:

  • We cannot control students, we can educate them.

  • “Wouldn’t you rather know?”

  • This was a nicely balanced, straight-up presentation, intended to educate, not scare people. It was good to see so many people attended. Wagner also provided a link to a wiki with lots of resources

Tag=n07s707 Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS

Why communication is important…


Found this story via Darren Kuropatwa’s blog. It’s called “Safety v. Panic“, a powerful, personal experience about what can go wrong with the use of technology for teaching and learning when people don’t communicate. I fully agree with Darren’s comments that

Maybe if everybody tried talking to each other before they started pointing fingers they might learn from each other, understand each other better, figure out a way to meet everyone’s needs better and maybe, just maybe, the kids would have really learned something … and it would have stuck.

This is exactly the stuff I wrote about in my recent Innovate article (free registration required) on building relationships with technology and kids, but on a much broader scale. It’s easy to point fingers, ban, sue, and punish. This type of attitude also takes up a lot of valuable resources (time, money….) that would be better spent on, say … educating?

Read the original post and the comments, read Darren’s comments, and let me know what you think …

Image Credit: “Purpura”, Danella manera’s photostream:

4-16-2007 continued


Just a couple of additional sources that shed additional light on the role of new media sources in the coverage of major news events, and the ways in which news reporting is changing. Paul Bradshaw writes in a short but interesting post in his Online Journalism Blog that

Unlike previous user generated content milestones like 9/11 and the Asian tsunami, this story took place in the heart of the new media generation, and the resulting coverage is more comprehensive, more accessible, and takes in more new media forms, including social networking.

Via this same blog, I came across this post on Poynter Online, which provides an interesting collection of “user-generated content” of the Virginia Tech tragedy, from a journalistic point of view. Lots of interesting stuff; and like Bradshaw says in his post, roles are changing:

1) the need to develop the awareness of, and skills to find, this material; 2) in the face of such comprehensive and accessible first-person reporting, the need to develop new roles, perhaps as gatewatchers, facilitators and filters rather than reporters.

And by the way, this doesn’t hold true just for journalists ….

Image credit: “One Day Blog Silence”, David Leggett’s photostream: