Archive for the 'Game-Based Learning' Category

Apr 06 2012

uDrift: TweetDeck Mapping Assignment Demo

Tweetdeck GPS linking site, research objects/places, with assignment

This is an example of a 6-part Tweet assignment using TweetDeck’s GPS and camera app to link Tweet instructions/comments with a demonstration project that could be for disciplines such as urban planning, landscape architecture, architecture, art, and design; as well as for theoretical topics and discussions dealing with mapping layers, semiotics, graffiti, street life, and urban occupation. On the left Tweet #2 is illustrated in TweetDeck running on an Andriod handset; Center is a composited two-part screen shot illustrating a full TweetDeck message of text, image, and map; Background; the full set of Tweets collected on a laptop running TweetDeck by using the class #udrift hashtag. Additionaly, on the right, a SketchBook drawing made on the street is attached to demonstrate the use of specialized apps.

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Apr 20 2011

Game-Based Learning #19 — PacMan Started It

This started with PacMan — learning strategies on the screen of my iPhone. PacMan’s game course that looks a lot like gridded cities. First I extrapolated it to a fractal, triangulated plan of the Barcelona Botanic Garden. Working with path tactics borrowed from PacMan, I outlined a game scenario for plant ID and research based in GPS mapping and QR plant tags and I tested them by pasting the QR tags in the garden. These basic game design decisions I then transferred to Barcelona streets where the game strategy was to use GPS tagging and mapping to locate and research urban street art and squats, build data bases for sharing with other classmates and create game trails others could follow. This later evolved with my own tracking of a graffiti project involving animal rights and beautiful chalked drawings all over the city. I never implemented a scoring system and only vaguely thought about one. I was thinking more of the game as a container for class activities — how to stimulate design research and prototyping from and on the street. How students could directly access urban information. As the end of the program comes into sight the work, more detailed in the blog posts below, is growing in significance as I begin to use aspects of mapping, tracking, tagging as movement strategies for development with smartphone design, e-learning programs. That’s where PacMan has delivered me and I’m still testing GPS tracking apps and Google Earth to eventually implement a university course. PacMan is a good friend now. Gee is a classic.

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Mar 31 2011

Game-Based Learning #18 — Mobile Art

Art Gallery Van, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Finding, tracking, sharing, archiving alt-city information envisioned for playing urbanSQUAT uses GPS tracking, Tweeting, photo/video documenting, and mapping the discovery of urban art, graffiti, cycle-culture, flânerie, and squats and squat gardens. The basic outline works in any urban or rural topography. Since returning to Santa Fe from Barcelona (where urbanSQUAT was initialized) I have been testing the iPhone app, Map-My-Ride to document, record, and map my route; using that information I have made transfers to other maps and Google Earth. Today I find that the pay version of the app ($4.99) allows photos to be geo-tagged into the route (I’ll test that on my next trip). My Santa Fe route begins off-road (sand and gravel and ruts) for 1.3 miles and then continues over steep hills and mesa climbs — it’s not a long course, only 14 miles RT, but it’s a hard course. Today’s surprise was finding the mobile gallery pictured here parked and opened. I had seen Axle Contemporary, featured in The New York Times but had never come upon the mobile gallery in Santa Fe. Finding it today started me thinking of relationships between analog mobile functions and the Barcelona urbanSQUATs and the mobility and territoriality of information and chance encounter — analog and/or digital.

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Mar 28 2011

INC & Game-Based Learning #17 — Drawing with Satellites

Get Tired I. Concentric Circles GPS Drawn on Edinburgh from Drawing with Satellites

In previous posts I have discussed aspects of layering Google Earth maps with strategies from iPhone games, information production, GPS locations, and alt-cultural archiving. These are intended to advance appropriated game tactics for tracing urban graffiti and studying urban squats as ways to game-study city structure through the Benjaminesque transposition of flâneur into smartphone blogger and street-wise student. These posts have help fuse ideas from posthuman theory with ideas for urban design studios and architectural research for future e-learning classes. And so do the implications of “Drawing with Satellites.”

A few days ago I received a publication I ordered and had forgotten about. And, it has further lessons for ways of plotting and experiencing urban space. It’s a handsome little book documenting a project run by Chris Speed, Esther Polak, Ross Cruickshanks, and Karlyn Sutherland for second year architecture students at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. “Drawing with Satellites” is, in its quiet, minimal, and beautiful design, a technological transfer of urban routes into cartographic lines. Drawings, not sketches, these GPS tracked city walks oscillate between minimalist fine-line plots and abstract, yet expressive, portraits of urban movement overwiring living, functioning city spaces.

Student’s worked in groups and accompany their GPS maps with brief descriptions of their conceptual strategies for generating routes they would (mostly) walk as satellites tracked their steps. To various degrees, groups developed strategies with algorithmic-like rules. The group drawing “New Town Old Town Spiral” wrote, “Start from the Missoni Hotel. Walk to the first junction, turn right, walk two junctions, turn right, walk three . . . and so on.” While their algorithm did not produce a spiral, it did produce an interesting portrait of urban movement with a lesson non-linear dynamics; something involving precision formula meets non-linear city. Luckily, the students were flexible adapting their rules and their drawing illustrates a long urban meander across, around, and through Edinburgh. Another group drew concentric circles on a map and then walked their line as best they could through Edinburgh’s decidedly non-concentric spaces. The finished drawing is beautiful with strange over-trackings that seem to translate to dead-end streets as cartographic loops, forcing the rewriting, retracking of routes to complete a the circle-inspired but actually zig-zaggy concentric non-circles — a kind of city space line narrative and movement.

These drawings pack a lot of information, only you the reader has to revisualize and manifest it. They embed and encode information, sequential movement, alternative cartographies, digital flâneries, game strategies — they are moments in time precisely documented in space with instruments in the student’s hands communicating with multiple satellite stations miles above the earth. The clarity of their CAD-and-plotter line is an historic tag to their 21st-century gestation. Nevertheless they join thousands of years of mapping traditions and stories about cities. They are hybridized between students and devices, post-cyborgian, they are telling us there is a view of the city from smartphones and handheld GPS devices that have never been possible before. They are cognitive extensions of architectural thinking, place, time, and movement. And, as noted several times, they are beautiful.

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Mar 18 2011

INC & Game-Based Learning #16 — Game of Life Screens

iPhone Screen Shots — Game of Life

As territorial colonization the Game of Life seems a way to study 2D pattern and border situations from generative space since it activates spatial occupation and randomly closes it down again. In the process Life articulates spaces with binary conditions of alive or dead. I think this usefully links with, and is relevance to, both game design space development and to patterns of people / traffic movements within cities. I’m wondering if the digital-flâneur can be hypothetically tracked through such visualization.

These eight iPhone screen shots illustrate:
Screen 1: my drawing of an “X marks the spot”
Screen 3: cells almost dying
Screen 5: recovering population
Screen 8: temporary population success and colonization

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Mar 14 2011

Game-Based Learning #15 — GraffitiTRAX / urbanSQUAT

Viewing protest graffiti. Barcelona, 14 March 2011

UrbanSQUAT — GraffitiTRAX
On Sunday 14 March 2011 — a city-wide group of urban animal rights protestors registered their opposition to the abuse of animals for food and clothing on the streets of Barcelona. Their demonstration was manifested with chalked sidewalk drawing surrounded by policelike, yellow and black tape barricades with a photocopied text attached. The barricades resembled the those used by the police at crime sites where a victims’ body is outlined by a chalk white like before the body is removed.

The Play: Locate an Animal-Rights street graffiti site. Document. Situate on Google Maps or Google Earth. Document reactions of pedestrians. Find next. Assemble all locations on one map and then coordinate the maps as overlays with the class map. Blog and Tweet in terms of urban flânerie and posthuman theory. During the play document clues or strategies used to arrive from one site to the next.

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Mar 14 2011

INC — Posthuman & Animal Rights Barcelona Protest

Animal Rights. 13 March 2011, Barcelona

Arriving back in Barcelona today from Edinburgh, where I had read “Is ‘The Posthuman’ Educable? On the Convergence of Educational Philosophy, Animal Studies, and Posthhuman Theory,” the first thing I came upon, at the corner near my flat, was fresh (chalked on the sidewalk) animal rights graffiti. Helena Pedersen’s essay had a strong impact on me over the weekend (thank you Sian), and Saturday I had spent several hours downloading references from her paper to better understand and situate the long evolving (and ongoing) battles to recognize animals as planetary co-intelligences with safeguards and rights correspondent with cognition demonstrated in recognition, fear, affection, logic, and memory. The issue of animal rights struck me so forcefully because I’ve been thinking about urban reforestation as well as extended cognition, and Systems Theory in relation to synthetic biologies, AI, and hybrid systems for architectural and urban environments as bridging cellular life forms embedded in urban features and structures. And, here was a demonstration (literally on the streets where I live), embodying several generations of protest and theory. The graffiti on my corner, I found repeated a block away, and a friend caught the graffiti in a section of the city several miles away. The idea that graffiti was well within the bounds of the flânerie had earlier been an easy jump, though I had never considered the course of a protest imprinting the urban flâneur in this way. Nor I had considered that via historic cyborg and posthuman theory, current movements were continuing the fight that shall ultimately articulate sentient, neo-prosthetic environments tracing back to feminism and animal rights.

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Mar 04 2011

Game-Based Learning #14 — Dokobots Info

I just emailed the Dokobots office in San Francisco hoping to make a contact for some questions involving ways the game could be played as an e-learning host in the sense of class narrative assignments being driven through a location that students know or visit. Or on a more rigorous scale, for students to use Dokobots in an asynchronous class situation where they are dispersed around the globe and Dokobots becomes part of their app suites.

Here is a description from the developer’s website describing Dokobots:

“Combining a scavenger hunt with traveling characters and collaborative storytelling marks a departure from traditional location-based games based on check-ins. “We love apps like Gowalla and Foursquare, but we wanted to make a game that was about more than just check ins,” says Dokogeo co-founder Zach Saul, “You can still play every time you’re out and about, but Dokobots encourages the players to share their experiences in addition to the places they go.”

“Sharing fun entries is easy as the app seamlessly integrates with social networks, email, and the web. “People have these robot pen-pals that keep them up-to-date as they travel,” adds Dokogeo co-founder Dan Walton, “and the game becomes a network of people sharing stories surrounding the Dokobots’ experiences.”

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Mar 03 2011

INC & Gamb-Based Learning #13 — Shape Grammars

Generative Patterns for Emergency Planning

Working to develop the section text on shape grammars I decide to revisit a project I did a few years ago that used generative branching with small cubes as leaves to create patterns to suggest village planning. The 3D branching can conform to landscape contours while keeping an overall pattern intact — maintaining social spaces gathered from traditional villages and thus avoiding militarylike planning that often follows a natural disaster. This was intended as the beginning of a study to be carried out almost immediately after natural disasters (following rescue, first-aid, and water and food distribution). The idea was to develop e-Learning programs for rapid implementation by local citizens using Google Earth to quickly design temporary village sites with schools, elder/child care, and emergency routes while maintaining traditional village or town circulation patterns and thus elements of pre-disaster social structure.

The graphic here, top, illustrates generative forms based on tree growth but where the cubes represent a settlement site; center, the patterns superimposed on a landscape; and bottom a selected shape grammar developed with schools, pathways, community center, and individual shelter locations.

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Mar 01 2011

Game-Based Learning #12 — GeoGame Dokobots

YouTube Preview Image

I started playing Dokobots at the beginning of the semester and today started spending more time getting them ready to land in Edinburgh. What’s interesting is the use of Google for augmented overlays of the game’s simple plot with global locations and the fact that the bots can carry messages and pictures. It’s a geogame that seeds ideas for using Google and other free apps to develop a game entirely base in free or inexpensive apps. Attached are some screen shots of my game this evening in a Barcelona café. The minute-plus video gives the game outline.

Dokobots augmented map game — Barcelona

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