ia play

the good life in a digital age

Archive for the ‘play’ Category

Media and Everyday Life – David Gauntlett

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DG’s video of Media & Everyday Life represents big media with pictures of the ecclesiastical Broadcasting House. Not sure what David would think of our BBC building, the Broadcast Centre. It looks more like a warehouse than a church. And White City building looks a bit like it should be in Gotham City.

Lego features, of course, in the form of Lego gardens (combining two of my favourite things!) to show the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.

And towards the end David talks about Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman and his theory that craftsmanship gives a sense of well-being. The Craftsman has been on my wishlist for a while and I’m having to fight the urge to go on a book buying splurge.

Written by Karen

March 29th, 2008 at 2:10 pm

LEGO turbines

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Lego wind turbines

“The public’s imagination will be captured by participating in the construction of over 3,500 LEGO bricks to form a fully functioning three-metre tall wind turbine!”

Might help us meet our new EU targets for renewable energy.

Written by Karen

January 18th, 2008 at 1:08 am

Posted in lego

beer vendor trading cards

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More trading cards, this time celebrating the beer vendors of Wrigley Field baseball stadium.

The attributes are:

  • vendor since
  • height
  • nickname
  • location (i.e. lower right)

‘Sun Trick’ seems to be YouTube-famous for his beer opening.

Written by Karen

January 17th, 2008 at 12:48 am

Posted in cards

war in rio

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Fabio Lopez has created a version of Risk, War in Rio , where the world is replaced with Rio de Janeiro, and the armies are police squads and gangs.

The goal of the project is to generate serious discussion through “cynical entertainment”. It is gorgeously executed, in-spite of the subject matter.

via Bruno

Written by Karen

January 12th, 2008 at 2:47 am

Posted in cards,games

games violence study is launched – yawn

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There’s a story this morning that the government has asked for a study into the impact of ‘violent’ video games on children. I’m a little bit dubious about the decision to have Tanya Byron to head up the study. As the news coverage (but not the DCMS press releases) make clear Bryon is best known to the public as the resident expert on The House of Tiny Tearaways. Is it necessary to have a recognised TV presenter lead this sort of study?

Oddly it appears the same story was covered in September but with the focus more on the impact of the internet and porn.

Part of the study will “commission a literature review and analysis of current evidence on the effects of exposure to such material on children’s wellbeing and behaviour” but mostly the study will look at the effectiveness of regulations, parents concerns and childrens opinions so I’m not expecting any new evidence. Instead we can probably expect press releases in March that will pick which of conflicting existing research conclusions to focus on and use anedoctal evidence from parents to ‘give colour’ to the story.

(I’m also curious what they really mean by violence. Are they worried by my childhood destruction of robot after robot in Sonic the Hedgehog? Is this the same as picking up a prostitute in Grand Theft Auto, having (off-screen) sex with the her, and then beating her up and stealing her money? Actually, I don’t know the answer to this. Does it matter how ‘abstract’ the violence is?)

Written by Karen

October 9th, 2007 at 12:13 am

Posted in games

cardsorting – IA game No#1

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Today the lovely Jane Murison, our in-house expert on card-sorting amongst many other things, ran peer trainng for us on card-sorting.

One of the things Jane mentioned was how much more enjoyable and less stressful participants find card-sorting than research like task-based testing. She felt this was partly due to a (British?) reticence to criticise a seemingly finished product but we also discussed the game-like properties of card-sorting versus the test/assessment properties of task-based testing.

There are comfortable and familiar echoes in card-sorting of Snap and more so of Happy Families, and even formal card games like Bridge that on one level rely on grouping ‘like with like’ e.g Hearts with Hearts or Kings with Kings.

I guess this a theme explored by Rashmi Sinha’s research and her work with game-like elicitation methods (GEMs) and particularly OpenSort.

With the MindCanvas GEMs I kind of feel that some of the game resonance is lost (and more of the test resonance introduced) by removing the physical/tactile cards. Maybe that’s just my obsession with trading cards and a sign of not enough time spend playing Solitaire on my PC.

(related card-sorting thought –  looking forward to Donna Maurer’s book dedicated to card sorting)

Written by Karen

October 3rd, 2007 at 6:16 am

Posted in games,work

energy saving top trumps

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These came in the post yesterday from British Gas. They were part of a ‘Green Survival Pack’ which contained two energy saving light bulbs, the top trumps, some ‘helpful’ stickers to remind you to switch stuff off and some other bumph.

Energy saving top trumps

I like the attention to detail. These aren’t just a set of cards about the topics but genuine Top Trumps so you could conceivably have a game. I can just imagine the despair when you’ve got ‘install solar panels’ and you have to pray your opponent choses CO2 Savings because you’ll lose on practically every other comparison. Loft insulation looks like a pretty safe bet though.

I’ve already learnt that a draught excluder will save more energy than unplugging my mobile charger or not overfilling the kettle. More support for my theory that you can teach most things with Top Trumps.

You can get a pack at www.toptrumpstrust.com

Written by Karen

July 3rd, 2007 at 11:41 pm

Posted in cards

you’re not playful

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A colleague expressed surprise today at the name of this blog since “I don’t think of you as playful… you’re very sensible”. It would seem that the arrival on my desk of a pink boggly eyed flamingo from Las Vegas and various FatDUX ducks can’t dispel years of building a reputation for pragmatism. And apparently keeping pet chickens in Tottenham is a rubbish way to be “a little bit crazy” as the little egg producers are probably the most practical pet you can get.

But I’m interested in the creation of this new antonym pair, playful-sensible. I mean, I understand what they are getting at. We have a tendency to associate play with time wasting, task avoidance, and just generally not getting the job done. It is what children do instead of doing jobs, isn’t it?

At this point I defer to John Thorn, sports historian and author of Total Baseball, someone a little outside my usual reading matter:

“Why we play as children is not because it is our work or because it is how we learn, though both statements are true; we play because we are wired for joy, it is imperative as human beings.”

Which makes it a very sensible thing to do, surely?

Written by Karen

July 2nd, 2007 at 11:13 am

Posted in play,work

new baby in the family

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I’m no longer the youngest in my family. My place has been usurped by a new arrival, who will be getting the last roast potato from now on (well, technically not from right now, but soon enough).

I’m wondering how the family will have to learn to play again when pretty much the last 20 years haven’t involved much more than Trivial Pursuits and Bridge, and the occasional radical game of Eye Toy.

I’m looking forward to being re-taught things I’ve forgotten and an excuse to buy some pretty cool toys.

Written by Karen

June 28th, 2007 at 1:28 pm

Posted in toys

Lego Serious Play

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Lego we are hopefully all familiar with.

But Lego Serious Play? Sounds a bit contrary but as The Science of Lego Serious Play says “play is usually fun, it is seldom, if ever, frivolous”.

Lego Serious Play is a consultancy method from the Lego group that gets participants to build metaphors of their organisational identities and experiences using Lego bricks and then work through imaginary scenarios.

It is based on the concept that when we “think with objects” or “think through our fingers” we tap into ways of thinking that most adults have not used since childhood.

The method builds on theories of constructivist learning and the idea that when people construct things out in the world, they simultaneously construct theories and knowledge in their minds. By building Lego metaphors participants can make abstract ideas and relationships more more tangible, and therefore more readily understandable.

Would love to give it a go…

Written by Karen

June 19th, 2007 at 12:14 pm

Posted in lego,work