Plymouth Enhanced Learning Conference (PELeCON) 2012

Hi, it has been a few days since the 2012 Plymouth Enhanced Learning Conference kinect-pr-top-1(PELeCON), just enough time for all of that information to sink in a properly reflect the goings on for the day that I attended and presented on my KINECT Generations project.

I was lucky enough to attend this event last year and was even luckier this year to present at the conference. The conference was open by Steve Wheeler who welcomed everyonepeleconand introduced Alec Couros who gave a fascinating talk on a project where his students created all of the resources for. I also liked his “Learning Project” this is where his students decided to just pick something they could not do and learn how to do it. It seems really simple but very effective; it got me wondering about how often we as teachers over complicate something when a simple solution can be found.

After the break it was my turn to present! A few months back I was on a train returning home from the 2012 BETT show after presenting on the Microsoft stand showing off the KINECT and KODU. Whilst on the train I was talking to my good friend Dan Roberts about how I should present at PELeCON if my pKinect Generations Projectaper got accepted, I decided that if my paper did get accepted I would present only using the KINECT and not touching the laptop. This didn’t seem to be so much of a risk at the time until I was actually in the lecture theatre setting up. The idea was to use hand gesture to navigate the presentation. Thankfully it worked and was very well received. A copy of my presentation can be found below; I have had to take out the videos as they were too big for slide share to handle.

Another highlight for me was to attend Helen Keegan’s talk on how she used an Alternate Reality Game to run a module at her University. The game was totally immersive and was based around a character called Rufi Franzen. Rufi would contact students via YouTube and leave them clues by remixing Steve Jobs speeches. The students where very unsure at first but then decided to answer Rufi back using similar responses. Eventually the students where directed to the town centre of Manchester. The students believed that they would find out who Rufi Franzen was what they found was their work displayed on the big screen. They loved it, and couldn’t believe that they had been part of a game for the entire module. It was all very clever and the students really enjoyed taking part.

I had an excellent time at the conference and was very pleased that my presentation was very well received. If you get chance to go to next year conference I would whole heartedly recommend it.

As I am finishing writing this I am expecting a Skype call about a webinar I will be conducting very soon on the use of “Skype in the classroom” so watch this space for an update and details of how you can tune in.

Till next time.

Microsoft Easter Camp

As promised, I said I would be doing a post on the Microsoft Easter Camp I attended to help train other teachers to use Kodu in the classroom. Kodu is a very easy 3D game developer software that is free to download. I have in the past had year 5 students from our partner Primary Schools create interactive games. It is that easy and quick to create something in this software. This was a very fun and successful event; I met lots of other like-minded teachers who had some fantastic ideas about using ICT in the classroom.

We were also shown lots of “FREE” software, now like most teimagesachers I love that word as our department’s budget is not huge and anything that costs nothing definitely catches our eye. Although I was aware of some of the software that was available, I was surprised at how teachers were not aware of any of this software. I have decided that I will be doing a blog post series on each of these free and readily available software solutions. So please look out for these posts in the up and coming future.

Whilst at the Easter camp we were tasked with making a Kodu resource to help aid other teachers in producing something using the KODU software. I decided to make an Innovid on how to create a 2 player Kodu football game where users just use one X-Box 360 controller. In case you didn’t realise you can plug an X-Box 360 controller into your PC or Laptop and it will work with Kodu. If you ever want to see how quickly a 3D game can be made just download Kodu, plug in an X-Box 360 controller and give it to an 11 year old, fast is not the word for it. A copy of my Innovid can be seen below.

2 player Kodu game

All of the software can be found at www.pil-network.com. If you ever get chance to attend one of these events take the opportunity you will not be disappointed. Please look out for future posts on my experience at the 7th Plymouth International Enhanced Learning Conference where I will be presenting about how I use the KINECT in the classroom and my work with the K-Team on the 19/04/12. I will be also doing a blog post on a new project I am launching with a colleague Jen Dunkey @arcticdunks called the .COMmunity Project. If you are not following Jen please do as she has some amazing ideas on how to engage students.

Thanks for reading.