Academic Technology Expo 2017

Friday, January 13th was the sixth annual Academic Technology Expo (ATE) at the University of Oklahoma. ATE is one of my favorite local conferences because there’s an emphasis on instructors presenting the tools they are using in their classrooms. This helps me gage and pursue various technologies and use cases that interest faculty. Not to mention, ATE keeps me informed about many of the technology initiatives throughout OU classrooms.

This year’s ATE was especially notable between a day (Jan 12th) focused on OU’s new Innovation HUB followed by a day (Jan 13th) filled with phenomenal presentations and the wonderful Keynote speaker, Gardner Campbell!

Telling ATE Stories Through Twitter

The tweets that follow are intended to represent a snapshot of my experience at ATE. They have been curated from the #OUTechExpo stream and will include various individuals. In other words, this post also acts as a “recommended to follow these awesome people” post. Anyways, I’ll try to limit myself to ~5 tweets per session—here we go:

Drupal as a Collaborative Classroom Tool
Students Creating and Sharing Online Annotations through Hypothesis
Wiki EDU - Wikipedia Articles as Course Assignments
Keynote: An Insite-Oriented Education
Making Games for the Classroom with Twine
Students as Makers of Educational Games

Keynote

Reflection

My favorite part of ATE was presenting alongside Lauren and Julie on some of the curriculum they’ve implemented/are developing for their courses. Lauren built a text-based game with her students around the choices immigrants and asylum seekers face. This activity intended to engage Lauren’s students in both research and creative writing that could be showcased outside of the classroom. I love this project because Lauren had her students reflect on every choice they made while developing the game, Sanctuary. What an opportunity for her students to see the world through another individuals point of view and empathize with people immigrating to the United States.

Julie also has a terrific choose-your-own adventure game development activity she intends to implement in her Fall 2017 course around Spanish literature. For Julie’s students, they will practice their language skills while writing plausible, alternative ending to pieces of literature. Checkout the example Julie developed for her students, Las medias rojas, during her participation in eXperience Play. My favorite quote Julie said about why she’s pursuing this activity is that she had “fun” developing her own text-based game and wants her students to have a similar experience in her class.

Sanctuary Cover
Las medias rojas Cover

I felt spoiled at ATE since it was my second time to hear Gardner Campbell speak in the last three months (shoutout to #OpenEd16!) He was phenomenal. What resonated with me from his talk is his portrayal of the internet as a network where everyone is connected, but no one entity is in control, as well as his call to action that we should always be intentional when implementing technologies into the classroom. To me, these are two ideas that drive some of the curriculum and professional development I design. Honestly, it’s hard to put into words much of the inspiration Gardner propagates, so I will differ to the soon-to-be-released video of his talk. I highly encourage you to listen to his encouragement (when it’s posted). Thank you Gardner Campbell!

PS. Gardner Campbell invited us to his Open Learning Connectivist MOOC that starts this week. I wanted to extend the same invitation to you. 🙂

Finally, due to the threat of inclement weather, ATE possessed a high concentration of passionate educators willing to brave the potential of freezing rain. Thus, from learning about Drupal to facilitate collaborate research in the classroom, to engaging students in discussion using group annotations with Hypothes.is, and scaffolding the writing of academic papers with Wikipedia articles, ATE was comprised of some fantastic sessions. I love seeing the results of passionate instructors and the technologies they utilize. Here’s to another great year of learning alongside them.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Riley McCullough via Unsplash.

Gamifying The Writing Process With Habitica

One of the (many) side-projects that John and I have been working on is gamifying the writing process. In particular, we’re interested in gamification that seeks to reinforce and build good habits that yield efficient writing, research, and revision.

This semester, the Writing Center on our campus engaged us in brainstorming the logistics, pedagogical implications, etc. of such a writing program. From conversations with them, John and I have pursued various tools and solutions. At the moment, we’re prototyping two different applications of gamifying the writing process. John has already written about one of these ideas—using automated word-counts to engage individuals in competing against themselves to encourage writing. Now I want to address the other prototype we’re developing.

We’ve been researching and using Habitica as a platform to facilitate a gamified writing program (learn more about Habitica here and here). In fact, writing this blog post fulfills a “daily” task for me in the very Habitica system we are prototyping!

Keegan's Habitca website daily todo list that highlights "writing for 10 minutes" and "write a blog post"
Keegan’s Habitica Writing Tasks

Anyways, yesterday I met with Annemarie Mulkey, an instructor in the english department who has participated in both GOBLIN and eXperience Play. I reached out to Annemarie because she has experience with Habitca, a background in English, and is a blast to work with! Since Annemarie uses Habitica to motivate her own productivity (even more broadly than writing), her perspective was phenomenal.

Eventually, we wound up brainstorming how to setup Habitica to gamify writing an undergraduate research paper. We decided the research paper was only going to be ~5 pages and be completed over 7 days. With these parameters set, here’s what we developed using Habitica in half an hour:

Whiteboard Brainstorming

Research Paper Challenge outlined on whiteboard

Resultant Habitica Challenge

Research Paper Challenge in Habitica includes many tasks to complete

Since Habitica possesses a feature called Challenges that allows users to add custom sets of tasks to their account, we used this mechanism as the means to facilitate the gamification of writing a research paper. The Habitica To-Do list we envisioned includes tasks like outlining, researching, and drafting the paper to serve as a set of goals for students working on their research paper.

Taking this a step further to encourage the practices that produce good writing and researching, Annemarie and I used the Habits and Dailies of Habitica to reward students for tasks like 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading/writing, exploring the citations of sources, and writing 1 page for the paper everyday. Together, these three components of our Habitica Challenge (To-Dos, Habits, and Dailies) divide up the process of writing a research paper into manageable pieces for undergraduate students, and award students who complete these tasks regularly with experience points and gold in Habitica.

If you want to dive deeper into the specifics of Habitica or our Challenge, either reach out to me with questions or signup for Habitica, send me your Habitica UserID so I can invite you to Annemarie and I’s party, and then join the custom Challenge we built.

Finally, we recognize that at face value, this prototype appears very systematic and would yield standardized writing. Therefore, using this in the classroom would require more explanation and emphasizing to students the flexibility of their writing process in conjunction with the framework we developed using a Habitica Challenge.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Olu Eletu via Unsplash.

eXperience Publish

If you are interested in participating in eXperience Play (XP) remotely, I am going to provide a to-do list of items each week. These to-do lists will include a variety of tasks such as playing games, reflecting, blogging, and portions of game development. If you complete all five to-do lists, you will produce an educational text-based game in five weeks. For more information on this professional development, read this blog post, visit the eXperience Play website, or contact me via Twitter or email.

This post corresponds with the final session of XP.

Part 1 – Game Development

1. Finish your game.

As you finish, we recommend adding a credits and citation passage to your game. Credit any collaborators and cite all resources you used to build your game (pictures, etc.).

Additionally, consider the copyright you want associated with your Twine game. This Creative Commons page can help you determine what license might be right for you. At the bottom of that Creative Commons page is an HTML code you copy directly into a Twine passage after you decide what license you want associated with your content. This decision is important because copyright information tells others how they can use your materials without asking for your permission.

2. Publish your game!

Once your game is finished, you need to access your Twine game and “Publish to File:”

Showing where to "Publish to File" in Twine software

This will generate a .html file you can upload to the “Dropittome” box on the Publish Page. (The upload password is “cte” without quotations.) Once I receive your file, I can put your game on the eXperience Play website.

(Note: If you used any media files, you will have to put them in a folder with your .html file and compress the whole folder to a .zip file before you upload to the “Dropittome” box. You can download this game to see an example of a .zip file. If you have questions about this, please ask us.)

Also, you are welcome to publish your game at the following locations:

3. Celebrate completing your Twine project!

I’d do two things to celebrate: (1) send your game to your family, friends, colleagues, and/or students, etc. (2) play the games made by other XP faculty:

Anne Boleyn Cover
Biochem Adventures Cover
Contain-Gen Cover
Election Simulator 2016 Cover
Las medias rojas Cover
Lingu Cover
Units Cover

Part 2 – Professional Development

4. Write a blog post about your participation in eXperience Play using the following prompt:

Blog Prompt
  • Give an overview of your game. I encourage you to include a screenshot of your final product.
  • Research and define “Digital Literacy” in your own words.
  • Reflect and write about what skills you practiced during your participation in eXperience Play. Which of these would you classify as Digital Literacy skills?

5. Consider running your own eXperience Play session or integrate text-based game development into your curriculum. If you had fun participating in XP, I expect your students would too!

Since XP is licensed as CC-BY-NC-SA, you don’t have to ask for permission to modify, use, or share our materials for any purpose as long as you are within the bounds of the license.

To get you stated, this page outlines each part of XP.


We had a lot of fun making games with you! 🙂 Let us know if you have any questions about running XP, using parts of XP, or participating in XP. You can reached out via Twitter or email.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Alejandro Scaff via Unsplash.

eXperience Polish

If you are interested in participating in eXperience Play (XP) remotely, I am going to provide a to-do list of items each week. These to-do lists will include a variety of tasks such as playing games, reflecting, blogging, and portions of game development. If you complete all five to-do lists, you will produce an educational text-based game in five weeks. For more information on this professional development, read this blog post, visit the eXperience Play website, or contact me via Twitter or email.

This post corresponds with the fourth session of XP.

Part 1 – Game Development

1. Review the following Twine Syntaxes and guides:

Add Media (Etc.) With These Twine Syntaxes
Change Your Twine Game's Appearance with CSS
Free Images, Additional Guides, & Resources

2. Using the above syntaxes, guides, and everything you have learned in the past few weeks, continue working on your game until it’s complete.

For reference, here’s an example Twine game from a participant of XP:

Example Twine Game, units, made by an XP participant

3. Find someone to play your completed game and give you feedback. Use this opportunity to make more revisions. Again, I’d recommend getting reviews from individuals in your vicinity since your game is stored locally on your computer for now.

Part 2 – Professional Development

4. Write a blog post about your experience building your game using the following prompt:

Blog Prompt
  • Document how your game has changed from last week. I encourage you to include a screenshot of your final product.
  • Reflect and write about how peer-review and feedback has impacted your game’s design.
  • Research and define “Peer-Peer Learning” in your own words.

Get your Twine game as closed to complete as possible by October 3rd.  Share screenshots of your progress with me via Twitter or email or reach out with any questions.

The featured image is provided CC0 by John Hult via Unsplash.

eXperience Produce

If you are interested in participating in eXperience Play (XP) remotely, I am going to provide a to-do list of items each week. These to-do lists will include a variety of tasks such as playing games, reflecting, blogging, and portions of game development. If you complete all five to-do lists, you will produce an educational text-based game in five weeks. For more information on this professional development, read this blog post, visit the eXperience Play website, or contact me via Twitter or email.

This post corresponds with the third session of XP.

Part 1 – Game Development

1. Install Twine 2.0 on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.

2. View this video introduction of Twine 2.0:

3. Review these two Twine Syntaxes we’ll use to build games this week (from the Harlowe story format):

Basic Twine Syntax

Link 2 Twine Passages

Add Text Within A Twine Passage

4. Start building your game using your outline and storyboard from last week and the two Twine Syntaxes presented above.

Experiment with Twine as you are building, and realize your game will morph as you learn more. Plan on adding as much content as possible using the two outlined Twine Syntaxes. Next week, we will continue developing our games using more syntax tools, media, etc.

Here’s an example of an in-progress Twine game from XP:

 

5. Find someone to play your in-progress game and give you feedback. I’d recommend an individual in your vicinity since your game is stored locally on your computer for now.

Part 2 – Professional Development

6. Write a blog post about your experience building your game using the following prompt:

Blog Prompt
  • Document how your game looks and functions as you are building it in Twine.
  • Write about what students are creating in your courses. (Ex: projects, papers, data analysis, etc.) How are these opportunities intended to engage students creatively?
  • Reflect and write about where game design might fit into your courses? What would you want students to learn from a game design project?

Please start building your text-based game using the outlined Twine Syntaxes.  Share screenshots of your progress with me via Twitter or email or reach out with any questions.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Sven Scheuermeier via Unsplash.