Digital Debris

Embodiment, digital games & technology in Education

Filtering by Tag: embodiment

Dewey 1916

I've just been re-reading Democracy and Education, one of the books that first inspired me to start thinking about pervasive games as a possible approach to second language development. This section, which is essentially a criticism of mind/body dualism, stood out to me. It's from chapter 11 entitled "Experience and Thinking".


"…In schools, those under instruction are too customarily looked upon as acquiring knowledge as theoretical spectators, minds which appropriate knowledge by direct energy of intellect. The very word pupil has almost come to mean one who is engaged not in having fruitful experiences but in absorbing knowledge directly. Something which is called mind or consciousness is severed from the physical organs of activity. The former is then thought to be purely intellectual and cognitive; the latter to be an irrelevant and intruding physical factor. The intimate union of activity and undergoing its consequences which leads to recognition of meaning is broken; instead we have two fragments: mere bodily action on one side, and meaning directly grasped by "spiritual" activity on the other."

IATEFL Conference Slides Glasgow 2012

Slides from my presentation on pervasive games and mobile technologies.



Every space is a learning space. Thanks to the rapidly increasing adoption of mobile communications and wireless technologies, language educators are now empowered to sculpt interactions and design learning experiences using the real world as their canvas. City streets, shopping centres, cafés and cemeteries can be augmented with new layers of meaning and narrative as learner/players use their language skills to navigate the chaotic and unpredictable environment of everyday life and achieve their objectives.

Spatially expanded games provide a natural way to situate language production in context-rich, authentic settings, in contrast to the comparatively sterile confines of the traditional classroom. They are multimodal, multi-sensory and highly immersive experiences. In this session I intend to explore the learning potential of technology-enhanced urban games and the pedagogic and philosophical foundations upon which I base these ideas. I will also critique current trends in gamification and propose a more ethical way forward. To illustrate this, I will provide an example of an ongoing research project that spans two cities in the north of Portugal, sharing my experience of several cycles of organising the game and my role as a participant observer.  At this juncture I will play and display some of the audio, video, text and photographs  that were generated through gameplay. To conclude, I will suggest ways in which easily available, off-the-shelf technologies can be combined to provide the scaffolding for their development and the potential pitfalls that a teacher-as-game-designer might encounter.