Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Can Wii learn? -Using Wiimotes in e-learning.

Hi All, I'm listening and blogging so please excuse my choppiness.

The panel opened with a brief description of the Wiimote and its components.

They moved on to talk about the 4 e-educator's challenges/needs:

The panelists discussed that in a good learning game design, those 4 behaviors are not difficult to achieve. Most game designers are able to seek those behaviors through emmersive play in a game. The went on to talk about the concept of "flow state".

"flow state"--when you enter that state you are intrinsically motivated, no external reward necessary-you are there because you want to be there. The panelists talked about how bullets on a slide in a power point with some narration just doesn't motivate students to want to be there. One of the panelists, a game designer, just stated that
"Halo designers aim for 30 minutes of flow state at a time. In e-learning, I aim for about 10 minutes, because these are adults and the learning environment is a bit different."

They discussed second life and how their companies have bought islands, but they are not yet sure if this will be successful. The talked about how the 2nd life space is flawed and results in cognitive overload. They are trying to work on some stuff and 2nd life does have lots of promise but it goes back to immersion. So they feel the highest opportunity is in using the Wiimote and that their companies should devote their resources to that.

They talked about how a Wiimote can simulate resistance and the possibilities of this is architecture, math, physics, chemistry programs.

Question from audience: should e-learning be fun?
Pittman: why not? its as simple as this: if something is fun, more people will want to do it.

"We recognize that some people just want the information and might not want such involved immersion."

Lots of people are hooking the Wiimote up to the internet and using it instead of the mouse in places like Secondlife, using it as lazer pointer.

The panelists are discussing all the amazing things you can do with a Wiimote and how all of this can be brilliantly applied to learning.

Go to wiibrew.org to see the multiple uses.

Why Wii?
1. the Wii has some cache as a game console right now, more than the other two competing consoles and ppl want to get in there cause its cool
2. theres a lot of functionality packed into it and if theres not there are ports built into the bottom
3. lot of openness, Wiimote uses blue tooth, standard infrared, the infrastructure exists for you to hack with it.
4. Relatively cheap.

PITTMAN: At first I thought and kept becoming increasingly convinced that Wiimotes had no place in math but then Nintendo invented a game called big brain academy and I'm being proven wrong.


Kerri Battles said...

Big Brain Academy has been on the DS for sometime now. Even in that instance you are using the stylus to answer the questions in the game. Not being very much into video games, I find myself really into the Nintendo in ways I never clicked with another console, and I think a lot of it has to do with the unique interface of the Wiimote.

Scott Barrus said...

Speaking of Big Brain Academy, I was searching my hometown newspaper's website and landed on a story about how the game is being used as a tool to let kids not be bored on Spring Break. Here are some excerpts:

In a classroom toward the back of the library, the children took their turns playing Big Brain Academy as their parents watched.

The game tests memory, analysis, number crunching, visual recognition and quick thinking.

Noemi Esparza brought her grandson Matthew Woodard, 8.

As children competed against each other, Esparza cheered and watched intensively as Matthew waited his turn to play.

"I think it's great," Esparza said after Matthew won a game. "It's a good learning tool."

Esparza said she was excited to see an educational element paired with a video game during a week without classes. Without the two days of Wii activities, Matthew would just be at home, she said.

"This is better than being at home," Esparza said.

Like Dee has stated in the blog, the 4 e-educator's challenges would be met because children are more attentive, motivated, more participatory, and seem to retain more of what they've learned in video games. Learning doesn't always have to be so dry. It can and should be fun as well.

AdamCLee said...

Nintendo continues to surprise me with its numerous educational games that are still fun and addictive even though you aren't killing zombies. The Wii and its remote are truly innovative and provide a new and refreshing approach to video games. With the loyalty of Wii users and word of mouth on its components, I can see the Wii remote evolving into something used in every day life. Kerri commented on how she enjoys Nintendo even though she was never into video games before. I think this is an important point as I constantly find my friends' parents purchasing the Wii for its programs and easy fun. They are attracting a new whole new demographic to video games that I thought would take much longer.

Clayton Grant said...

I've been saying for the longest time that schools need to find a better way to teach their students what they need to know in a way that makes them want to know. To me it's all about interactivity. With all the technology out today kids (and adults) are more easily bored with things that do not require some form of interactivity and excitement. Reading straight out of a textbook and hurriedly trying to take notes as the professor rushes through his/her speech (the same one that they have probably used for the last 15 years) is a thing of the past. At least it should be. Students now a days can find all the information talked about in class on the web, and trying to stay awake while your professor rambles on in a monotonous tone about the history of some country you can't even properly pronounce isn't worth the effort if you can look it up on the net after class. This probably accounts for the steady decrease in attendance each year when students learn they can understand the material better by reading it themselves and looking up any questions they may have on the internet. Something like an online interactive console, such as the Wii, could be used to ignite that flame of interest in student's hearts again into a bonfire of learning and fun. I know I took a long time in tying my comments in to the original blog post, but this is where I begin to make my point.
Creating an interactive form of education would FORCE students to learn through a hands-on experience where they had to personally interact with that software to unlock information needed for the course while at the same time giving them a visual stimulant to help them understand and retain the information better. I've always learned better by seeing and doing, not sitting still listening to someone else try to explain something that to them is easy as breathing, yet for others may be too complex to grasp from words alone.
Online courses are already becoming more prominent in schools (I recently took one myself), and I think that a way could be created where students came to the class room and learned through some Wii-like interactive educational program where student could click on things and have an interactive video or game come up that would teach everything in a detailed manner that would be fun and easy for people to understand. Teachers could meet with students on certain days and discuss what they learned etc. and give out future assignments,course guidelines, and answer any questions.
I could go on but I think I've said way to much as it is. I probably should have posted my own blog, but this is a topic I've been thinking about for a long time now and I'm very passionate about it.
We have the technology, we just need the proper resources and motivation to do something like this. I think the Wii is the first big step in allowing people to realize that, young or old, interactive systems can be made fun and easy to use for all ages. My generation seems to have less and less patience for things that don't involve the technologies they we used to, and I think it is time for our schools to try and adapt their teachings to the fast paced technological world many students immerse themselves in outside of school. I realize that it will be some time before something like this could be created, and even longer before schools would think about implementing it, but everything starts with an idea, and I believe that this particular idea is well worth the effort to turn it into a reality.

MairaLG said...

The Wii definitely has a stake in attracting younger gamers. Many of the games released for the console are through youth-oriented corporations like Nickelodeon (Viacom, technically) or Disney. Because of this, I would suggest that children feel comfortable with the technology and enjoy it. Introducing it into the classroom would be a great idea. I know I always loved getting a turn at playing Oregon Trail, which incidentally taught me a little about math as well.

The beauty of the Wiimote is its interactivity and the ability to use it with other technology. I didn't realize it had bluetooth capability, but that makes sense. Children will thank their school and teachers for finding a fun way to engage them.

Chondra P said...

I have found myself saying this over and over "if only teachers would sing their lessons", I would remember everything. The same thing with the e-education. I think that providing lessons online would be very beneficial. Children love to play and if video games were used in some part of the lesson, I think that a lot of children would benefit. I agree with Clayton that it provides "hands on experience", and I know that I prefer hands on. We are a society that spends hours on the Internet; why not learn while we do it. I think it would be beneficial for sites like myspace to offer brain teasers or quick things to stimulate your mind while you check out profiles (just an idea).