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 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)
This week in EDTECH564 Gamified Augmented Reality and Mobile we looked at VR headsets and available apps. Back in the spring I cleared a bunch of generic headsets on clearance from a local store’s shelf so I had a headset available. I have found that since the headset is generic, it didn’t have any selection mechanism in it. After tinkering unsuccessfully for a bit I ended up caving and buying a separate hand controller which went a LONG way in enhancing the experience. The apps I chose to review for the weeks assignment covered games as well as educational content. I was most impressed with Discovery VR in experience quality. I think that there are lots of ways an app like this can be incorporated into existing lessons. After looking at the educational stuff, I really wanted to see what the games are like. I ended up spending a bit of time playing Pac Man VR and found it quite entertaining. Since looking at the PacMan app, I have shown it to students, friends, & family and they all have loved it. In fact, at a picnic, I gave a viewer away to an enamored friend who ended up spending the night downloading games himself.
This week in EDTECH 534 Mobile Apps Design for Teaching and Learning we completed a basic tutorial building a simple app in App Inventor. This was my first real experience using the tool but not my first go at programming, thankfully. I thought it was really cool that we start this journey with a kitty app when I wickid love kitties. I felt a little pressed for time so I didn’t explore as much as I would have liked but I feel like I got the jist of the program. Since I completed it, I’ve shared it with people like the proud student I am. Even though all I did was follow directions, the promise of building more is exciting.
The app is simple, you pet the kitty. The app responds by vibrating and playing a meow sound. If you shake the device, it meows but doesn’t “purr.” If you wanna take a look, you can check it out here.