INTERACTIVE ICT TOOLS LINKING MATHEMATICS, SCIENCE AND ROBOTICS – GETTING THE MOST FROM GAME MAKER. Michael Fenton Scientist Diploma/Degree level ICT tutor / researcher High School Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computing, Electronics Creator/author of commercial interactive eLearning resources
Programme Outline • Introduction • eLearning…why/what… • The problem • Game Maker solution? • Examples; linking eLearning, ICT & maths • Your first program! • eLearning tips • Bonus – free stuff & sneak peek at RIGEL
A look at the tip of the iceberg • Michael is a researcher, programmer, author, public speaker and educator. As an Academic Leader at WITT he assisted schools with the use of ICT. He is an experienced Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics teacher with first-hand knowledge and advice regarding the issues surrounding gifted students. • His website includes original practical experiments & resources for science, mathematics, computing, and robotics as well as crime scene investigation, constructing a Dalek and TARDIS, and reviews of NCEA assessment tasks.
Introduction Nexus Research Group1997-2004. Scientists: Michael & Christine Fenton New Zealand's only school based research organisation Dedicated to providing students of all ages and abilities with enough detailed "how-to" secrets of research to allow ambitious amateurs to make original discoveries. The team of students engaged with a number of communities; science fair, conferences, Royal Society, fashion, inter-school, international…
“No matter what subject is being taught, attempt to create practical, hands-on, real-world, problem solving tasks for students…” Careers Expo 2005 You should try finding a car park for these…
A room with a view Our classrooms reflect our view of what should be taking place for learning to occur… Does a curriculum focused system ready students for working in the community…or is it a system of convenience?
Why e-learning? Driving forces for e-learning initiatives • Pedagogical benefits • Improved administration • Political aspects Impact on schools • teaching, research and administration • roles and functions (eg, eLearning resource creator in each school/cluster?) • support and administration processes (eg, more PD time?)
What is eLearning? “e-learning covers a wide set of applications and processes; Web-based and computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. It includes the delivery of content via Internet, intranet/extranet audio- and videotape, satellite broadcast, interactive TV, and CD-ROM.” e-learning is interactive, or rather, provides instructional interactivity. While you can learn from many things in this world, it’s the interactivity that differentiates learning from mere e-publishing.
Learning by doing Constructivism Social learning Through experience Through dialogue In the company of others Through reflection Socially situated Cognition Communities of practice
The holy grail of eLearning Smart, adaptable, personalised New forms of learning Learning anywhere anytime Pedagogical re-engineering A global connected society Rich multimedia representation ICT enables eLearning solutions…notice the community focus!
Are we provided with the right tools and support to do our job? The problem…
ICT in schools • The investment in ICT hardware in schools by the • government has not been matched with funds • for software resources or funds for ICT support • and training. • ‘Pick it up as you go’ philosophy; inadequate funding to train teachers • To much/not enough “good” software for your students/topic • Students can’t use software at home (licensing/copyright) • Curriculum focus rather than Community focus
Game Maker • Build your own tools • Build your own support community • model, explore, analyse and refine ideas and reasoning. • Students can use tools at home More than just games…mathematics, science, robotics…
The Amazing Human Mind I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulacity uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnirg to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the Itteers in a wrod are; the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht thefrist and Isat Itteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitllraed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh? And I awlyas toguhht slpeling was ipmorantt! GM can convert text to this format for a fun look at language, codes and ciphers.
Game Maker – eLearning and ICT • Curriculum focus • Community focus • Primary, Secondary, Tertiary • SMARTboard/IWB tools How does it help learning?
curriculum vs community(content vs creativity ) • Constructivism/ Social Learning: • Design contests • Sharing expertise • Cross-curriculum simulators / games • Graphic design • Art • Music editing/composing • Ideas outside the square • Entrepreneurship • FUN! • Curriculum content: • Cartesian coordinates • negative number • position, speed, acceleration • algebraic variables • relative & absolute value • estimation • chance • a programming language similar to Visual Basic • metacognitive skills • structured thinking • logical thinking inc. Boolean operations • planning and top-down design • team planning and development • ability to represent operations as systems of sequence/selection/iteration. • re-usability of code and parameterisation • representational structures and metalanguages • program proving • simple physics of gravity, collisions, kinematics • outcome matrices • file handling • efficient data structures and code and possibly network issues, security, database design, graphics, etc • New unidentified skills for a digital age? “You never run out of time to meet deadlines when you have a TARDIS”
A few of Mikes GM tools… • 3D interactive astronomy game (Interactive TARDIS) • Multimedia database for organising and collecting eLearning media (MATRIX) • DNA fingerprinting and sequencing simulator (GeneE) • Graphs and equations display toolfor maths & physics (Graph-X graph explorer) • Data logger and games unit (Real-world Interactive Games and Electronics Link – RIGEL )
Share /build Personalise – skin with own colours and background image Collect and organise files Inexpensive Not MS Access; standalone 3Mb program Students can take home Media rich Music, movies, photos, web pages, games, documents MATRIX – multimedia database
Interactive problem solving Random element Encourages re-use Assessment tasks Real data imported DNA from GenBank Assessment tasks Graphic Design example “Good” IWB solution Pen/board inadequate Cheaper than using electrophoresis Time-lapse effect saves time GeneE – DNA Fingerprinting
Prepare to meet your Maker… Game Maker was created by Professor Mark Overmars, a lecturer in computer games programming at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Based on Object Oriented Programming (OOP), games can be created by dragging and dropping items from a set of standard toolbars - great for novices. However, it also includes a powerful built-in programming language, called GML, for intermediate and advanced students. Game Maker is free to download and use. For a small license fee you can get some very useful add-ons and contribute to the continued development of the software.
How GM works… In brief, the following things (often called resources) play a crucial role: objects: which are the true entities in the game rooms: the places (levels) in which the objects live sprites: (animated) images that are used to represent the objects sounds: these an be used in games, either as background music or as effects backgrounds: the images used as background for the rooms People need sprites to play a game… we think of the pictures as real things. Computers understand only objects… a sprite is stuck on top so humans can see what the computer is doing with the objects.
My first game • Start Game Maker • Follow instruction sheet • Ask for help when you need to Mikaela gets a little help from a fiend…
eLearning Myths e-learning is expensive. Instead, it is poor e-learning that is expensive.
eLearning Myths You need to start with the simplest concepts and tasks. Instead, learners prefer jumping into interesting tasks, then breaking them down into their components as it becomes understandably necessary.
eLearning Myths The “tell-and-test” paradigm: convey a block of content through slides, animations, etc, then give a quiz. Instead, learners enjoy a challenge. If learners can meet the challenge, you won’t have bored them by telling them things they already know. If learners can’t meet the challenge, they can ask for help. In asking for help, learners will value the information you give them and see its relevance immediately.
eLearning Myths You should give learners immediate feedback. Instead, delaying feedback as learners work through multi-step tasks is often much more effective. It entices learners to monitor their work more closely and make corrections without relying on external assessment and guidance.
Design tips • “Question bank” or other random element encourages multi-use, eg, GeneE fingerprints • Good quality graphic design • Intuitive controls that follow normal “unwritten” conventions, eg, left-click, F1, etc • IWB/ SmartBoard ready design • Performance feedback (high score table?)
Multi-discipline learning is possible between, but not limited to, any of Biology Chemistry Physics Astronomy Earth Science Forensics Mathematics Physical Education Robotics/Electronics Game design Geography. RIGEL data logger system Multipurpose system invented by Michael Fenton for Primary Secondary Tertiary students (~$15) • remotely monitor or activate equipment or machinery. • monitor alarms and act as a security system • monitor respiration and heartbeat • link a player remotely to games on a computer or 3D games projected into a room • encourage exercise when used to play Laser Tag outside the classroom See The Education Weekly, June 18th 2007
ypods Orphaned Networked Wire or wireless Burst mode Polling mode Inexpensive and flexible Easy to reprogramme Robust Multi-purpose A ypod per student! RIGEL data logger system
RIGEL data logger system • 2-way system between PC and external remote devices • Process control eg monitoring and remote control of oil drilling platform • Record to disk for import to Excel • Sensors: Visible light, infra-red, temperature, pressure, magnetic field, • digital on/off, static electricity
RIGEL data logger system Detecting firing of a spark plug…
RIGEL data logger system Year 13 Calculus internal assessment Level 3 NCEA Modelling using trigonometric equations
RIGEL reads CentaMeter! • The Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Project (EnviroPower) is a New Zealand first for 2007/2008 at Inglewood High School in Taranaki… • A fantastic opportunity to collect data and generate statistics about energy use at school! • seasonal trends • daily trends • contrast term and holiday usage (identify waste/inefficiencies)