Playing like a kid

pop 1Easter Sunday provided a perfect opportunity to learn a new game.  As I was walking out of my car on Sunday, I was worried that I still had not blogged about playing a new game.  I was pleasantly surprised when I saw “Pop the Pig” sitting in the living room.  Before lunch I was able to play this game a few times.  I was immediately interested at this large plastic pig.  Based on looks alone, I would give this game high marks on visual appeal.   According to Goliath, the creator or this game, it is the #2 best-selling new kids game of the last five years.  That statistic really had me interested in what this game had to offer.

The basis of the game is to smash burgers into a pig’s mouth until his cloths burst open.  The player rolls the dice and selects a hamburger based on the color rolled.  Then, his head is “pumped” a few times.  Eventually his shirt breaks open.  The burgers were a reasonable size and I think it wouldn’t be difficult for very young children to play this game.  A child could learn colors (4 different ones), numbers, and basic wait your turn/ social skills.  The game play was geared towards 4-8 year old.  It was straight forward and there was no need for any instructions.

pop 2Kids would find this silly and fun, but as an adult it is sort of teaching children a bad message.  I am all for fun kid’s games but the thought of a pig eating a burger to me is a bit cannibalistic to me. Pop the Pig is a silly game that to me that models an actual problem in America.  Eat until you bust.  I am not trying to be the stick in the mud here but these game makers barely even tried to be creative.

I did read some reviews of this game and an Occupational Therapist recommended this for a child who had attention and learning difficulties.  In specific scenarios such as this, maybe there would be more relevance.  In a formal setting where a parent or teacher was walking a child through the steps, this could have positive applications.  In informal settings, I do not think this is as valuable.  The wow factor of the pig’s clothes breaking open does seem to be engaging to children.

pop 3As a parent, maybe opt for a game that teaches more than counting to 4 while over feeding a pig.   This game would not be my first choice at the store, I rate this one as a pass. This game is portable and the cleanup is a breeze for parents as all the burgers (game pieces) can be stored in the game itself.  There are not enough positives to this, to warrant a purchase.  Coming with a steep $22 price tag, I do not feel this game is worth it.  I would get far more use out of “Guess Who”, or “Monopoly”. Challenge your kids, don’t settle for a hamburger eating pig who can’t count past 4.


Pondering higher ed and the future

Scholarly Critique #6

sc 6

       According to Rani Kanthan and Jenna-Lynn Senger, “the ultimate success of digital games as a medium for learning will depend on their adoption and implementation by teachers. (p. 141 2011)”

sc 5The article I selected this week was based on my desire to read about how games and learning ties into higher education.  While participating in #MinecraftEdu chats on a weekly basis, I am constantly wondering how this type of learning translates to older individuals.

sc 4This morning I watched President Bruce Benson of the University of Colorado (CU) talk about the future of this institution.  -If anyone is interested in watching it, it was live on Facebook this morning.  The discussion, in regards to new programs, included the introduction and expansion of MOOC’s.   Soon, they will be used as credit granting classes, more than just the certificate programs that they are now.  The hope is to increase revenue (isn’t it always?).  I am all for it, but how do games and the use of technology fit into “our” future?

sc 2This study, although small in scale, analyzed midterm and final grades with first and second year under-graduate medical students in Canada.  Supplemental optional games were provided in addition to their course work.  A satisfaction survey immediately went out to determine their engagement and their feeling about the digital games after both the midterm and final exams.  What made these games unique was they were for both individual and group learning.  This would engage an even wider group of students than just choosing one or the other.  By capturing the interest of students working alone and in groups, there was more likely reliable data.

sc 1The authors of this article, succeeded at finding positive results when using games to learn. They also were able to find improved student satisfaction (based on the self-evaluation questioner).  This topic has been widely studied but pin pointing why these results occurred is more difficult to conclude.  It cannot be determined that the gaming was responsible for the improved academic performance.  There are external factors that could have been prevalent.  Also, when it comes to completing yes/no questioners, there is a certain degree of fuzzy area.  People’s opinions are subjective and at the end of the study, this is still just one piece of the puzzle.

If I were to design this game, I would attempt the make the self-evaluation questioner more robust.  Answering yes/no questions can only give you black and white answers.  I would encourage more open feedback.  I am surprised with such a small population surveyed, that the questions did not contain more options.  Expanding the survey could provide a clearer picture of the student’s perceived learning.

sc 3Based on the article highlighting the potential of supplementary game additions, I still wonder how CU plans to use technology (and specifically games) into the classroom.  I appreciate the mention of MOOC’s but I want to see a more concrete idea of its plans at the student level.  For an insider’s perspective, I know that CU has been trying to find ways to expand its online program to coincide with higher education trends.  I have not aside from the talk about MOOC’s recently, heard much about this push.  Time will tell where the University of Colorado will take us.

Works Cited


The Impact of Specially Designed Digital Games-Based Learning in Undergraduate Pathology and Medical Education  Rani Kanthan and Jenna-Lynn Senger; Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine 2011 135:1, 135-142

Say goodbye to static print materials

Flying pigs

As the weeks fly by, I am finally feeling like I am settling into my affinity space.  I cannot believe how much my opinion of Minecraft/MinecraftEdu has changed over the course of a few months.  At this point, my main interactions have been attending my weekly #MinecraftEdu chats and the occasional #games4ed involvement.  Also, the resources that I get from these provide plenty of information for me to soak up.

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 6.25.02 PMI attended a #MinecraftEdu Tweetchat last week about Youtube Creation for Education.  I was correct in assuming this chat would talk about how to best use Youtube to leverage resources and to build your collaborative network.  Finally, I felt like I was doing something right (instead of someone directing me down the correct path several weeks later).  I have been using Youtube video’s to figure out all the Minecraft intricacies such as what to feed dogs to make them like you – raw porkchops, in case you are wondering.

The chat last week provided me a link once the Twitterchat began.  At first glance the critic in me thought it was advertising or spam.  I was surprised to see it took me to a website-  I included a screenshot below if anyone reading this is interested in what it looks like.  Here was more of a chat friendly version of Tweetdeck.  This was MUCH easier to use than Tweetdeck when responding to people.
Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 6.08.08 PM

I also participated in a chat yesterday that had to do with how Minecraft can visually represent ideas.  Although the concept of this seems obvious, there is so much that Minecraft has to offer that other games are not capable of.  There are physical limitations on Earth that can only be “perceived” by the use of technology.  A great example of this is traveling to space by use of virtual reality (or even in Minecraft).  The idea of a completely malleable world with pretty limited rules, can expand a student’s thought process beyond what they may have thought was possible.

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 6.49.43 PMNot only was the chat yesterday easier to engage in because I was able to use Participate, I also found a great new place to store resources.  There was even a side bar that track notifications.  Anytime someone tweeted me or reposted something I said, it would show up on the side.  This for me cut down on the hassle of trying to keep up with who responded to who.  Why, oh why, did I not discover this little gem weeks ago?!

I thought Tweetdeck was great, until I discovered Participate.  I learned by asking my fellow Tweeter’s how they track resources and they suggested getting a transcript of the conversation (clearly that have thought of everything).  You can even pick a certain time frame in which to track to chat.  All of these resources are living breathing documents.  I have come to appreciate the constant evolution of information out there.  It is a refreshing change to my current work environment where people are scared and resistant to change.

Mine 1Also, I was told I can get the options mentioned earlier (Participate) on my phone as well.  It would be even easier for me to participate on my cell phone in the future.  Previous to this, I have been using my Mac only.  While it has been difficult for me to learn so many different programs, it seems like each time I find one, it builds on another one I use and it is completely integrated.  Ah, the sweet ease of technology!

I am excited to be able to present this to the class in a week!