Digital Debris

Embodiment, digital games & technology in Education

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SpyWalk is a location-based urban game designed to combine the affordances of physical setting and the interactions of participants with each other and their environment.

The aim is to provide an engaging opportunity for context-relevant, dynamic language emergence. It is played in teams with smartphones (or individual devices that collectively provide the equivalent functionality).  The first (purely analogue) play test took place in 2008 as a proof of concept and the game has evolved and scaled significantly since then to incorporate mobile technologies and location-based services as they appear. The final (for now) version of the game combines iPads, mobile phones and live GPS tracking. Oh, and a pair of special rear-view sunglasses for the paranoid. 

If you're interested in reading more about the theoretical underpinnings of this project I have written an article called ‘Pervasive Games and Mobile Technologies for Embodied Language Learning’ which has been published in the International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching (IJCALLT). I have also spoken about the project at several events and I've uploaded  some of the slides to YouTube. Either that, or just contact me and ask!


Above: some of the action from Spywalk. This more developed version of the game took place in Vila Real in November 2010 and it was lots of fun! All the footage in this clip was shot from the briefcase carried by the enemy agent.

Above: an example of a geo-tagged collaborative media map displaying some of the audio, video and photographs produced by players during one of the  games. The students upload the media they produce and this is later used in the classroom for storytelling (from multiple perspectives) and language analysis.