In this assignment, I evaluated educational technologies to enhance the Fundamentals of Game Design and Development course, a core component of the Interactive Game Design program offered at Red River College, that I taught back in 1999.
My evaluation led me to propose using WordPress.com for learners to develop and share blog posts and share digital artifacts as part of their ePortfolios. This satisfies these learning outcomes:
- Design within the framework of an overall narrative structure to create plots, subplots and gameplay for an area or level;
- Evaluate and develop game design environments and area or level design;
- Evaluate user choice, engagement and experience.
I also propose using Trello for learners for management of their group projects and design prototypes (i.e. builds) and as part of developing Community of Practice (CoP). This satisfies these learning outcomes:
- Collaborative development of an area of level design from initial design to working demo;
- Manage the production of a level design, allocating resources and developing an effective and efficient schedule and milestone plan;
- Employ professional skills and techniques used in the design, development and documentation of computer games.
I have used SECTIONS framework (Bates 2015) to evaluate WordPress.com and CMAS framework (Power 2013) to evaluate Trello.
WordPress for Building and Sharing Blogs and ePortfolios
Learners will use WordPress.com, a free, online, cloud based, open source Content Management System (CMS). WordPress isustainable. It was released in 2003 and is supported by web development corporation Automattic as well as a world-wide open source development community. WordPress provides an environment where learners can develop and share blog posts and and publish their digital artifacts.
Ease of Use
WordPress is available as an online, cloud based service edited using a web browser. It is also natively supported with OS apps for iOS, Android and others. WordPress offers a quick setup, provides built in tools for content creation and sharing, provides a customizable environment and offers a Twitter feed and Social Media sharing. WordPress offers an Export tool for backing up text in blogs and comments as XML data, but lacks the ability to export other media. WordPress offers a premium service to copy all content to another site.
WordPress.com is offered for free with Personal and Premium plan upgrades available for a monthly fee. Premium tools, such as themes and plugins, are available for a fee with the free plan.
Teaching and Learning
Learners will use WordPress.com for blogging their reflections on course work and discussions, as well as an ePortfolio for sharing and organizing the digital artifacts they have created during the course using their WordPress sister as their Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) built and shared using other media.
Blog posts can be shared through Social Media, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. WordPress allows for peer review through the use of comments on blog posts (this can be restricted to registered users and comment moderation). WordPress also overs polls, feedback, likes from the public or registered followers. Learners can search and follow each other’s sites through the WordPress admin panel.
WordPress allows for collaborative authoring of blog posts and pages if required, by allowing for the management of users.
Site owners can share their blog posts and digital artifacts and invite peers and their instructor to comment and provide feedback. Alternatively, while working in groups, peers can co-author blog posts and share their digital artifacts on the same site.
WordPress.com is an online, cloud based service external to the college’s enterprise system infrastructure. The college does not support WordPress.
Learners can share blog posts and digital artifacts to Social Media, including Twitter and LinkedIn. A Twitter feed can be added to a learner’s site using a widget. In turn, site visitors can comment on blog posts and share them to Social Media.
Security and Privacy
WordPress sites can either be made public or private, accessible only to approved users. Site users can be restricted to Team members in the following roles: follower, contributor, author, editor, administrator. Comments on blog posts can open to the public or restricted to registered users and comments can be moderated by the site owner.
Trello for Project Management and Developing Community of Practice
Learners will develop a Community of Practice (CoP) in groups while using a suite cloud based tools and apps the support authentic learning using real world tools to build projects and prototypes. Trello, a visual collaboration and project management application, is one of these tools.
Collaborative conceptualization, communication and sharing ideas in the development of group projects can be facilitated using Trello. Trello offers a a shared, overall perspective of projects. It uses the Kanban paradigm for managing projects, allowing for the sharing of content on boards using lists composed of cards organized in user defined categories. Boards can either be built for personal use or for collaborative work. Learners working in teams can build and share their boards.
Trello offers peer commenting, collaborative card creation and sharing. It allows learners to create a variety of lists to to track tasks and projects: agendas, to do, in box, in progress, ready, live. Cards can organized and and flagged by priority.
Trello offers project management and tracking tools such as a progress meter and deadlines as well as tools for conceptualization. Trello can be used as easily by learners situated in the classroom and remotely.
Trello allows teams of learners to create and share boards and boards to manage group projects from conceptualization, though to planning, and to construction. Cards can accept comments, attachments, votes, labels, due dates, to do lists, in boxes and checklist.
Trello is accessible online via a web browser and provides native apps for iOS and Android mobile devices. Trello syncs across all of a user’s devices. Trello offers integration with other communications and project management apps such as Evernote, Slack, Zapbook and Smart Sheet. Trello provides a detailed tutorial within mobile apps following account creation.
Bates, A.W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Retrieved from: https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/
Power, R. (2013), Collaborative situated active mobile (CSAM) learning strategies: A new perspective on effective mobile learning. Retrieved from: http://lthe.zu.ac.ae/index.php/lthehome/article/view/137