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Conference Quest is back for #NCTIES16

Where gaming and education converge.
Invoice #26666185.
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It is also the perfect place to unleash my inner mad scientist for some fun social experiments.
Conference Quest is back for #NCTIES16.
There are even new quests contributed by and.
Want to play.
It’s easy.
You can play by yourself or with a group of friends.
All you need to do is download and print a set of cards for each player.
You can follow along with the #CQ and #NCTIES16 hashtags.
Will you be bold and challenge a featured speaker to an arm wrestling match or will you be the one who starts a zombie flashmob.
Update:  If you’d like your own set of blank cards to use with students or your own events,.
Just please give attribution.
March 29.

2015 | Posted in:

, | Tags: , , , | The 2015 NCTIES is coming up next week.
I’m excited that there’s a fantastic team of educators going from Surry County Schools.
For many, this will be there first time.
I’ve gotten lots of questions about what to expect, so, I put together a pretty detailed “First-Timer’s Guide” to NCTIES.
It’s pretty detailed, so here’s a link to the Google Doc: February 27, 2015 | Posted in: , | Tags: , , , | Three weeks ago, .

I launched the SCS EPIC Academy pilot with a group of educators in Surry County Schools

In case you missed my last post on EPIC Academy, it’s a fully-online, game-inspired, approach to professional development.
Through a quest-based learning approach, teachers and administrators can select challenges that interest them, complete them in at a pace that’s right for them, and explore these topics to a depth of their choosing.
Follow a quest chain to its culminating “Epic Quest” and you’ll unlock an official SCS Badge.
That’s the elevator speech version, anyway.
So, what else is going on.
I am encouraging players to set personal goals for themselves this week and gave them some examples:  “I’m going to reach 300XP by week’s end.”  “I’m going to unlock my first badge this week.”  “I’m going to write a new blog post tonight.”  I’ve also challenged them to explore ways that we can use 3DGameLab’s newest feature, Teams.
Personally, I keep going back to Hogwarts, there.
I just need a sorting hat.
February 16, 2015 | Posted in: , , , | Tags: , , , , , | So, what is EPIC.
It’s really the result of some conversations and observations over the past several years in my primary role as a provider of teacher professional development.
The catalyst was a conversation two years ago at EdCamp Raleigh.
There, a group of educators from across the state including Bill Ferriter (), Bethany Smith (), and many others talked about what we, as educators dislike about professional development and what we really want in  our PD.
It was an incredible conversation, as most are at.
EPIC Teaching Academy is program I’m developing, using as a platform, that will offer players (yes, players) the opportunity to explore professional development topics of their choice to a depth of their choice.
These learning quests will increase in complexity and commitment as players progress through successive quests as they progress toward unlocking an official badge showing their mastery of a particular topic.
These badges can be shared through the educator’s website, social media, and/or badging system like.
Of course, my ultimate goal is to move beyond simple gamification toward truly game-like experiences.
Perhaps a hidden Easter Egg (a la ).

Perhaps we’ll divide schools into teams like a local Hogwarts to host some fun

competitive learning experiences.
Likewise, a hope is that our educators, through this experience, will gain a greater understanding of the merits of an approach like this, ultimately paving the way for student badging.
Here, my friend, Dr.
Bron Stuckey (), has offered some great starters and inspiration.
January 6, 2015 | Posted in: , | Tags: , , , , , | Transitions!.
I’m embarassed that it’s taken me this long to update my blog.
As some of you know, I’ve experienced some pretty major life changes of the past several months.
In August I took a position as Director of Academic and Digital Learning (Cool title, huh?) with Surry County Schools, the school district in the home town where I grew up.
This change also resulted in I and my awesome (and supportive) family moving across the state.
We’ve finally settled into a home and have truly hit the ground running.
God has opened some incredible doors, is providing awesome opportunities, and is forging new relationships for us.
It’s pretty incredible.
| Posted in: | No Comments » For over a year, now, I’ve been following the development of and talking to educators about a piece of technology, that, in my view, could have a huge impact on learning experiences for our students.
It’s the.

The Oculus Rift is a head-mounted virtual reality display that provides a stereoscopic

110 degree field of view with responsive head-tracking.
In other words, you put this thing on, and you’re looking around inside a digital world.
Of course, virtual reality has been the promise of science fiction for years, from Star Trek’s holodecks to.
Despite previous efforts in years past, the technology simply couldn’t deliver on science fiction’s vision for virtual reality.
All that’s changing, today, though, as technological advances in display capabilities, coupled with motion sensing, and of course, faster computers with better graphics, are making the dream of immersive digital experiences a reality.
Though marketed primarily as a gaming device (and what an awesome gaming peripheral!), .

I believe the Rift holds some pretty awesome potential in the classroom

For several months, now, I’ve been talking about the technology and the ways I think it could impact learning.
For example, imagine taking students in a virtual time machine back to ancient Egypt at the height of its glory.
As you walk with them through busy streets and markets, filled with the sights and sounds of the time, imagine that your tour is interrupted by characters (played by others in this multiplayer experience) who sweep you and your students up in a playable (and educational) mystery adventure.
Remember the 60’s flick, , in which a team of doctors enter a spaceship and are shrunk to microscopic scale and explore a man’s body.
Wouldn’t it be great to take your Anatomy class inside the eye or the brain.
Better yet, imagine a set of tools that would allow your students to easily build and prototype models and concepts and to experience (and share) them in an immersive 3D world.
As described in.

Some developers are already looking at the Rift’s potential in education

and that’s exciting.
The technology is on our doorstep and I suspect will be mainstream within five years.

Rumors are flying regarding when the Oculus Rift will be released in a consumer model

but it’s already possible to purchase a developer kit.
After riding the fence for months wondering whether to wait for the consumer version or buy a developer kit, I finally decided to take the plunge and it arrived this week.
Within minutes I was exploring a cozy home in Tuscany and moments later, flying through the solar system in the demo.
I even explored one of our Minecraft servers with a version of Minecraft (called, ) and walked amongst our students’ creations.
The technology is amazing.
But, I’m a fan-boy and a geek, so I had to see if my non-gamer co-workers would react the way I did.
I fired up Titans of Space and called them down to my office.
The response was unanimous, “Oh….
This is amazing!!”  The next day I took it out to one of our schools and let a science teacher try the same demo.
“My students need to have this experience.
This is incredible!” So, how long until we have these in the classroom.
Let’s look at some barriers.
The better your graphics card and processor, the better experience you’ll have.

Most of our classroom computers aren’t powerful enough to support the Rift

at least not with fluid frame rates.
For a classroom implementation in the next year or so, I’d suggest a station-based approach in which three or four Rifts are paired with powerful desktops or perhaps a strong gaming laptop.
(Our Alienwares could handle some of the low-end demos fine.)  Another issue, though one that the developers are likely to overcome in the consumer version, relates to the seemingly imperceptible differences in the time it takes between your head’s movement and the display’s updated image response.
With prolonged use this can cause what’s been dubbed VR sickness, a queasy, dizziness akin to motion sickness.
As one of my co-workers, who rode one of the virtual roller coasters can attest, it’s very real.
March 1.

2014 | Posted in:

| Tags: , , , , , , | This year, we’ve re-launched our district’s survival Minecraft server with an emphasis on building community among our student-players.
If the first few weeks is any indication, they have embraced that call.
They designed our starting area, the town of SpringHaven, the great Diamond Castle that overshadows it, and are working to create a unique world, all their own.
Another goal of this year’s project is to increasingly hand over the leadership and ownership of this community to the learners.
We’ve instituted a challenge/rank system, offering players the ability to “level up” by actively contributing to the design of the world and participating in the community-building projects and contests that we will be rolling out.
We’ve also incorporating some exciting new plugins, including which allows players to level up skills like Mining and Archery.
Just last night, we just launched our first event, a community build (a collaborative, server-wide building project), called “The Town of Deadwood!”  In the spirit of the Halloween season, players are invited to build a deserted, and haunted town, each choosing a different component to be responsible for, and working to add it to the town’s deserted streets.
By participating, they earn community participation points and can advance their “status” on the server as a contributor.
Want to see our event flyer.
You can find it here:.
October 2.

2013 | Posted in:

| Tags: , , , , , | I listened closely to the vocals, with no idea what the lyrics were about, but began to think about some recent conversations Elizabeth and I have had about Randy Alcorn’s book.
As the the sounds of the singers filled my little car with passionate and moving words, I thought of the verse in Revelation that describes this scene: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” () I hit pause and let that simmer for a mile or so.
How awesome.
And then, I wondered… “I wonder what that song is really about?”  So, I looked it up on and found the lyrics in Swahili and English.
Again, I’ve heard this song countless times, but today was the first time I ever investigated the words.
Look for yourself: September 16, 2013 | Posted in: , | Tags: , , | Games in Education 2013 Is Here!.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
The Games in Education Symposium, held annually in the Albany, New York area is one of the best games and education conferences out there for K-12 educators.
It’s pure awesome.
They bring out great people to speak and lead hands-on workshops and offer it at no cost to area educators.
I’ll be sharing some crazy stuff that’s been percolating in my head lately, sharing the work we’ve been doing in our school district, and of course networking with all of the awesome educators who’ll be attending.
If you’re looking for resources from my presentations, they’re under… you guessed it.
Presentation Resources, above.
August 4, 2013 | Posted in: | No Comments » Older Entries Newer Entries.
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