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 EDTECH534 I completed the Map Tour tutorial using my favorite day trip location, Salem, Massachusetts. The tutorial was pretty simple this week so I took it as an opportunity to explore using multiple screens in my app. In the last few weeks I thought about adding a game-over screen a couple of times but haven’t been brave enough to really try it (plus I was thinking a tutorial would present this to me eventually). The very first part of the tutorial, using the Activity Starter, did not work for me at all. I suspected it was due to the properties entered. Since I’ve worked on Java apps before, the paths LOOKED ok to me but in this context, I had no idea. This forced me to use the Web Viewer and pray it worked. Thankfully, it did. In the process, since I still had to use Activity Starter, I found that all I really needed was the Action and URI properties.
When the user clicks on the “Choose Your Destination” ListPicker on the first screen (Screen1), they are presented with a pre-defined list of landmarks. The user then selects the landmark they want to explore. The app then opens a new screen (Screen2) with 2 Web Viewers on it, one for the landmark web site and one for the landmark Google map. Now, I have a Samsung Galaxy s6edge+ so my screen real-estate is ample and I still felt a little cramped at this point so I added “pop-out” buttons that open each option in their respective apps. I found in my testing that the device back button kicked me out of the app altogether so I also added an in-app back button (come to find out, it kicked me out because I was using the Companion app, the device back works just fine in the finished app).
This week in EDTECH534, we continued learning about AppInventor’s abilities by building the “Ladybug Chase” tutorial. In the process of extending my app, my name and theme changed to Cheesy Chase. I ended up doing all the extensions the tutorial suggested including: adding better graphics &/or theme, stopping all movement when gameplay ends (although I left the little wiggle from the cheese and cat because I though it was cute), increasing the energy bar visibility (I had done this before I realized it was an extension, it just seemed necessary) , increased difficulty by increasing the cat speed over time, added a timer label letting the user know how long they made it, and removing the mouse if he’s eaten by the cat. I also added a game over indicator since it didn’t seem immediately obvious that the game was over.
As usual, I enjoyed creating this app and am looking forward to what we create next. I must say I am getting nervous to not have tutorials to rely on soon as the final project gets closer. While I know I’m creative, I don’t always have big ideas without inspiration.
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 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 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.
I really enjoyed week one of EDTECH502: Internet for Educators. This assignment was to create a basic web page using Dreamweaver and HTML and add some basic CSS. While I have lots of experience building web sites/applications as a profession, I still enjoyed getting back to the basics with this weeks lessons. Being able to take a step back allowed me to take a look at features I have never taken advantage of within Dreamweaver. It also reminded me that I haven’t done this stuff in several years. I found it interesting to play with the different ways Dreamweaver handles tasks such as setting properties now vs how it was done last time I lived in the program.
All in all, like I’ve said, I really enjoyed this weeks homework and look forward to playing some more next week.