In the last few weeks in EDTECH564 we have been working on a final portfolio for the class. The process had me looking back through the materials from the course and reflecting on what we have done. The website I created moves through our time analyzing and synthesizing augmented reality, virtual reality, and mobile apps. It then moves into the apps we created in App Inventor. Finally you can see my unit proposal and final thoughts as well. Overall, the project was fun to do and felt good reviewing what we have done. Check out the web site…
This week in EDTECH 564 we created a mole-mash game. Since I created the original Mole Mash in EDTECH 534, I created a second different version this week. This version takes a different approach to displaying the holes and mole. I found it easier to determine what exactly was touched from the screen allowing me to more easily use the data for not only keeping track of successful whacks but unsuccessful ones as well. This is something I couldn’t figure out in the first version. I changed it up a bit from the tutorial by adding more holes, adding a missed count, updating the UI and adding a background. I definitly like the UI better in this version as well, but I attribute that to working a few more weeks with App Inventor.
This week in EDTECH 534 we created a quiz app with AppInventor. I feel like this is an easy match for educational apps being a quiz n’all. I built the app as the tutorial designed and ended up struggling with ways to make this app better. I mean, aside from UI stuff. This week, I wish there were more people in my course so I had more takes on what could be done with it.. but I don’t so.. I ended up choosing to do an HTML Quiz app as I am currently teaching the subject at my job. There are about a dozen questions that cycle through as the user answers. For my customizations, I added the functionality to disable the next button until the user guesses the correct answer. I also tweaked the UI a bit. I don’t care for the app being static and would like the ability to add questions, maybe push questions out to a group of students. There is a tutorial a few chapters past where we stop in the book that looks like it addresses this. I hope I have a chance to build it.
This week for EDTECH564 we completed a Magic 8-Ball tutorial. This was a fun easy tutorial to complete. I enjoyed using lists as I haven’t yet been able to play with them. It bothered me that the answers showed up in a label below the imagery of the toy so I spent the bulk of my time figuring out how to get the text to display approximately where it should. What I ended up doing was putting the image as a background to a 300×300 horizontal container and center/middle aligned a button whose text I replaced with the answer. I also added a simple radial gradient background to add some flair.
As far as functionality, I removed the tap for an answer because my new setup didn’t allow for the whole ball to be clicked. Plus it seemed more true to the toy to shake it anyway. The noises for this tutorial annoyed me a bit so instead I opted to have the app read the predictions out loud after the user shakes for an answer.
This week in EDTECH564 we started to build mobile apps using AppInventor. Since I am taking EDTECH534 at the same time and have been using the tool for a few weeks now, I completed this alternate assignment “Ball Bounce” instead of repeating Hello Purr. The original tutorial has a ball on screen that you fling with your finger to bounce off the walls. I extended the app with a colorful background, purposefully overly colorful to try and add some difficulty to the game. I also added a good guy and a bad guy. If you fling the ball into a good guy, you add to the score and the bad guy takes from your score. Additionally, in order to increase difficulty with game play, I increase the speed of the ball with every bounce off a wall. There are also buttons to stop the ball while keeping game play alive and reset the game. The “Score” and ” Speed” labels allow you to keep track of your game play on the fly.
This week in EDTECH534 we created an app that auto-responds text messages while the app is open. I got off to a quick start on the app after feeling so successful last week. I worked the tutorial as it was written. The tutorials are getting a little more difficult as it expects you to build on skills from previous weeks. After I figured out the new format, I was able to get all the parts to work. I was surprised at the functionality available to me via AppInventor. With the app open, and a text comes in, the app reads the senders phone number and the text. Then it sends a response text back letting the sender know whatever the user has programmed. Finally, the app also appends the users location to the auto-response. For my extension, I added some pre-canned responses as well as the ability for the user to turn off the location functionality. I also played around with some more layout do-dads.
This week in EDTECH 564 we took a look at mobile games and their place in the classroom. I ended up evaluating Brain It On! and I Love Hue as educational games. Both of these games provided challenging puzzles that were quickly addictive. For games on the non-educational variety, I evaluated Bejewled Blitz! and Dots. Like the educational games, these games were addictive and are the puzzle variety. One of my peers had mentioned our class discussion my tendency to see puzzle games more educational. While I obviously would agree based on this weeks assignment but upon reflection, I would say this is true mostly for mobile games. I feel like the digital divide is still wide enough to not be able to effectively and reliably use mobile apps in the classroom. Now, I understand there are places where schools have devices, or have great wifi, or perhaps have students who all have current devices, but at my school, we’re not there yet. Therefore, using any mobile app, educational or not, is very difficult. That said, if I lived in an area where using mobile apps in the classroom was realistic, I’m not sure I would use them for anything more than time filler for several reasons. Most importantly, unless the app is trackable, how would I assess how students do with the app? Assuming that wasn’t an issues, wouldn’t it be neat to be able to analyze these games as a class. I would love Brain It On! in my Video Game Design course when discussing physics in video games. I feel like the physics in the game were spot on and it really challenges the user to use physics to their advantage.
This week we created a whack-a-mole type game. The Mole Mash tutorial we completed introduced us to the ImageSprite, Canvas, Clock , and Sound components. We created Procedures to implement repeated behavior, such as moving the mole & bee and practiced using Math blocks. I really enjoyed working through this tutorial and am feeling more and more comfortable in the AppInventor environment. I’ve found myself wanting to explore just a bit farther each week and sometimes have to hold myself back. Not a bad problem to have 😉
For my customizations, I enhanced the imagery and tried to use good layout design practice by organizing data and function logically. I added a slider to control the speed of the mole and a label to let the user know what speed they were playing at. I also had to work the speed into the reset button.
This week we were tasked with evaluating the popular augmented reality game Pokemon Go using Shute & Ke’s “seven core elements of well-designed games” as the criteria. There is no doubt that Go is a great game. It captured the imagination and engagement of the masses almost instantly. While initially there were bugs and issues to resolve, there have been strides in the app since it’s initial release. I’ll admit that I wasn’t thrilled to download and test the game and I had a bit of a biased chip on my shoulder during the process. I’m just not into the game itself, I’ve never really understood the Pokemon craze. That said, I love the functionality of the game. I love how it gets people up and out. And I love the potential for other games based on the same ideas. For example, imagine a game where real live creatures are found and collected (or tagged, for the conservationists) that are native to the region the player is currently in. Shoot, why stop at creatures, why not plants and trees or types of rocks.
Shute, V. J., & Ke, F. (2012). Games, Learning, and Assessment. In D. Ifenthaler, D. Eseryel, & X. Ge (Eds.), Assessment in Game-Based Learning (pp. 43–58). New York, NY: Springer New York. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-1-4614-3546-4_4
This week in EDTECH 534 we continued getting familiar with AppInventor by completing the PaintPot tutorial. I really enjoyed the tutorial and learned quite a bit. I ended up deviating from my normal homework routine and started this assignment very early in the week. This allowed me to finish the tutorial with enough time to play with the tool. Admittedly, there were some things I just couldn’t figure out and gave up on but on the flip side, there was still plenty that I managed, notably the new blank canvas buttons. I had difficulty getting the slider to operate the stroke width but was able to work it out with a solution from a fellow classmate. I am hoping to explore more with AppInventor’s ability to control the interface, I suppose I am a UX designer through and through 😉 (a nostalgic reference to a past career)
Oh how I do so love Typography. I would consider myself a bit of a type snob. I notice subtleties of type that most do not. Things like kerning, leading, and tracking are all big blaring overlooked settings IMO. In fact, if you’re into it like I am, check out this kerning game, I can spend hours kerning mindlessly.
For this assignment, we are tasked with creating typographic images to represent lessons/objectives of a unit of instruction. For my unit, I will be creating materials for lessons on Google Slides. I chose to go with a typogram theme and tried to create literal examples of the type.
The first image is to represent “Presentation“. The main objective of this lesson is to review the big picture rules of creating a presentation. I chose to use the words to outline the shape and the Google Slides “GS” as the content. For the second image, the lesson is about adding and manipulating shapes to your presentation. Therefore the words “Using Shapes” are displayed using shapes. The third lesson focuses on formatting text and images. For this image, I’ve used words to express formatting text and I created a “picture” to indicated formatting an image. For the fourth lesson on collaboration, I have created the outline of a document using the word “collaborate” and added bits of input being added from various directions.
All of the images, since they will be used for the same unit, have commonalities to tie them together, most notably they use the same typeface (Lohr, 2008, p.215). The typeface itself, Fingerling Tall would be considered a decorative typeface which makes it best for titles and headings. A paragraph with this typeface would be difficult to read (Lohr, 2008, p.224). I feel it works well here because it is boxy enough to create the shapes I needed as well as being readable enough to use for the art itself.
My very simple test consisted of showing the images to my two teenage daughters and my husband. Their opinions are likely biased but they all seemed to understand the overall message. Of course, the act of showing my stuff makes me see the flaws, there are some funky things happening in the last shape, the word collaboration is bent in weird spots.
Lohr, L.L. Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson, 2008.
This week we are tasked with exploring universal design and visual literacy. Universal design is defined as “a usable design of products and environment, accessible to all people” (Lohr, 2008, p. 5). The concept of universal design is broad and covers all design. For the scope of this assignment, I am discussing universal design in relation to visual literacy; or the ability to interpret a message or task based on its visual design elements.
As I reviewed the materials this week, I spent a bit of time thinking about what type of imagery I would use. My intention was to find what I thought was the most obvious imagery that tells a story. My mind always circled back to the bathroom people.
This representative visual tells the user quickly what privacy room to use. While the feminist in me cringes at the dress definition for my gender, I cannot argue the ease people have in reading these signs. The uses of these gender figures is what could be considered a standard, like the international no symbol, to visually represent gender. The example below is the most common use, a restroom sign. I chose this sign to represent the use of these symbols because of the layout used. I feel like the layout itself is another standard followed. Designing using already defined standards and practices makes it easier for the viewer to comprehend the message and therefore increases a persons visual literacy.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.