Digital Debris

Embodiment, digital games & technology in Education

Filtering by Tag: location

Appropriating Location

While pervasive games, the urban dérive, parkour, urbex and flash mobs may all be strategies for subverting and experiencing public spaces in different ways, the establishment is never slow to appropriate these very same tools. 

Here's an example of site-specific guerilla advertising that is very much in tune with these ideas. It uses street theatre, triggered by a button in the same way you might change channels on your TV with the remote, and prompting the same blaze of gunfire, action, sex and drama that we are used to viewing on our screens. For a brief moment it generates a hybrid world in which onlookers, in a clear state of cognitive and emotional dissonance, become participant observers in a fictional spectacle beyond their control.


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.