Tech-ED

Enhancing Education with a Touch of Technology

Archive for the category “Mobile Devices”

Day 4: Zombies, Run

Yes, I took a hiatus from writing about Zombies,Run! for a while now and there is no good reason for that other than mental health.  Zombies,Run on the 4th day ended my mission, and now I am convinced that it is a good app for exercise. I know I said I would give it 5 days for a trial, but the creators that came up with the story re incredibly clever. That is the main draw, is that I can escape my run into this world that is laid out to me in my ears.  Not many people can describe something so well that you forget about what you are doing and lose yourself in the story.

The game has become a book and I am the main character. Yes I am running, and yes it is a little cliché since it is about zombies and that phase might have passed onto something new; however, the game is fun and well funny. The story line continues and I still find myself slipping into the jungle surrounded by a city wall that protects me from the zombies. After 4 days I give this fitness app my approval for beginners.  It is fun and fantastic to take you through your run into another world where Zombies dictate your every move.  The game play is really nice since well you exercise the whole time.

The game continues after your runs too. You can use items you collect to upgrade your city.  I am not sure how much this does for you running, but it will help you and the people you meet survive the zombie assault! Get ready, run, and build you city to defeat the Zombies (if you can) and survive as long as you can! Good luck and boost your life and your miles with Zombies,Run!

Gaming: Bridging to a Better Education

For a long time games have been this separate piece of our lives, that we don’t recognize as being apart of our lives. Many people see them as something they don’t understand, but all along they have bridged into reality. As soon as we talk about them in our daily lives they become a part of our day by definition they are not compartmentalized. The play is compartmentalized, but the actuality is they have been bridged to reality since shortly after their conception.

Games are fantastic, there is a plot for players to follow or a brief introduction if the plot doesn’t matter. Most games are actually measured by gamers in hours it takes to complete the game. Much like a college course you are wanting to take and conquer.  As we all know you gain skills/experience/weapons as you face harder challenges/enemies, and there are twists and turns throughout the game that can alter your path. Many times we all try and find all of the secrets of the game that players must spend time study maps and pay attention to every detail of the game experience.

This is a great time to see education slowly embrace the concept of gaming. It is incredible that the idea behind gaming makes sense, but how can we leverage that in education.  Students are uninterested, yes they are gaining knowledge, but are they truly thinking about the concepts and not just passing tests. With the embrace of design thinking, roundtable discussions, gamification, technology integration, and everything else education is embracing students are more engaged than before. This has intrigued me to watch this happen since it makes sense thinking back to my education.

The only thing that some schools have done is taken this to the online realm, and why shouldn’t we? Students today need to learn how to parse through information that in their life will be continuously thrown at them. Here are some ideas to set your class up as a game more so than it already is:

  1. Plan you curriculum out that you acknowledge a completed unit/level of the class. Many times we do complete them, but then we move right on to the next thing. Take a class and signify this with something fun that is not a test.
  2. If you are online or have a blog/wiki for your course use badges as students get skills. Class Badges is a great starting point.
  3. Teach them the ability to find false information. Use social media to teach students what is important information, show them hash tags, talk to you librarians about internet searching.
  4. Use the things they are interested in to teach them life skills. Do you know about everything Google can do? I surely don’t (more to come on this) but there is plenty to keep us all busy for a while 🙂
  5. If you really want to go 100% gamer turn your class into a LARP. Once students enter your room they are different characters on different missions but all have to work together for a common goal.

A great quote that has resonated with me brought back from a conference. Teachers are like cavemen coming out of the cave, its scary but a necessity for survival. Our students are already using the tools of today and tomorrow, why would we shut that off to teach them about today and tomorrow?

Day 3: Zombies, RUN!

Yawn, another day to pound the pavement. Today was the mid-week struggle some of us can’t seem to shake. It was a struggle to get through the alarm, that didn’t go off and get ready for the late start on the run. I fired up Zombies, Run Chapter 2. Immediately I meet a new friend and I start to listen to his story, and I’m already through a 1/2 mile. What just happened?! I learned that there are multiple other cities in the story and different people had split up since the zombie outbreak.  It seems as if I am running through a novel for the first part of my run, which doesn’t disappoint me on a tough start.

The app has started to morph into more zombie chases in chapter 2.  The story slows down a little as you realize there might not be many people left in the world you are running through.  I venture out beyond the city walls and we find an old package through the run. It turns out there are necessities of life scattered all through out the jungle I am stuck in at this point. We are now on a race with zombies for supplies. The zombies seem smarter as well being able to predict where I am running now. It is getting harder to escape and escaping takes loner now.  They are learning my habits! I then her that I have hit 2 miles and I am right back on track for my pace.

The app on day three has me now running harder for longer and is pushing me to be a better runner. Honestly I am getting lost in the game part so I forget until I actually think about what I am doing. Every runner new or veteran knows that your mind carries you through or stops your runs, and the app really takes your mind out of the exercise.  This is fantastic if you struggle because you psych yourself out. This is where if you don’t have a running partner to get you  out and challenge you it can be tough to not think about your run. I am feeling a little faster and stronger from the zombie chases, and on my short runs it seems to be helping my endurance now.  Who would have thought an app about zombies would improve my running…

Day 2: Zombies, RUN!

So after the shortcomings of Day 1 with Zombies, Run!, I set up my online profile, and made sure that the GPS signal was good. I stretch, and as I start the morning of to recoup from the days previous run, it begins to mist, and the cool air sinks in as if the weather knew I was about to immerse myself into another round of the epic story. This time when I start-up the App I continue from the day before.

I am in a hospital, and I just had gathered some incredibly important documents, or so I think…Shortly after, I hear groaning and my “eyes in the sky” come in over the radio and let me know that there are zombies after me. I immediately begin to pick up my pace to out run the quick and agile zombies catching up to me. My radar is beeping lie crazy signaling me that they are getting closer and closer, and as they are 1 meter out I hear groaning, knives, and other zombie noises I don’t dare explain! At this point in real life I have left my running partner in the dust picking up my pace and never looking back.  If you know me, well I don’t like to lose at video games, or physical competitions so this app really began to push me. Earlier I turned on the split marker and I all of a sudden hear 1 mile, time 6:35. I looked to my marker and yes a 6:35 mile. How, wait, what, thanks Zombies, Run! So, after that shock wore off I hear more zombies and I am back in the game!

I keep running and they aren’t gaining as quickly now, and I would hope not for fear of not finishing the run. Soon the mission is complete and I can put Chapter 1 of the story down. I keep running at the same pace and I hear great job mission complete. Well, it would have been nice to immediately start Mission 2; however, the app took me into their version of the towns radio. It was actually like listening to a radio station in the village, what a novel idea! Personally, I don’t like to continually hear music because songs tend to blend together and this weird thing happens where songs blend together and time slows down. It was great after ever song or two I would be updated with life and meet new characters in the story.  I also was running around the camp to look for items and I picked up quite a few things that might be helpful later on in my journey.

Over all the app went from questionable to amazing in day 2. I would now begin to recommend the app to people, but make sure to do everything on the website first! I ended up running the loop in one of my fastest times and it was due to the timing of the zombies which seemed to coincide with the harder spots in my run. What a turn around! Now for dreaded day 3…..

Wunderful, Wunderlist

One of the best Apps I have seen for FREE for group organization is Wunderlist.  What is Wunderlist? Well, it is a simple to-do list (version 1.0) that you can share with anyone you would like, and set due dates and add notes.  Ever since the upgrade to 2.0 you can have checklists for your checklists coupled with a notes section to meet most of our organizational needs.

Why is this app so great? First, it works on almost every major platform available from mobile devices, applications, or web apps.  Furthermore, if you are managing a number of projects, or people with projects you can see and/or create a timeline with your team. Lastly, I personally love the fact that if someone is out sick before a deadline you can see how far along they have reached for their specific goals. The only bad part is if the lists have not saved/synced, which happens periodically on the apps, you will not have current information.

Personally the app has made me much more organized and I am working with my team to keep us all organized. There is the occasion that there needs to be a third layer nested for the to-do list, or a way to organize your lists without creating a lis for every piece of a larger list.  However, it works with notes, just not something you can check off and have disappear. Maybe we will see an upgrade with version 3 that every sub list item will have its own note section?

Regardless of 2 minute shortcomings of the service it works incredibly well.  I use it to plan out my blogs and keep the different topics organized for each day I write.  It also sends me reminders when things need to be done, just make sure to set them before the time it is due! Do you use any type of organizational apps, and are they free?

Do Exercise Apps Help You?

fitnessAs we all know, mobile devices are getting close to out numbering people in the world.  This lends itself to the obvious rise of mobile apps in the marketplace, and the rise has had a secondary effect on many businesses, but specifically for this article fitness. THere are some apps I have used to keep track of my workouts from weightlifting, stretching, running and even diet.  With these apps all within a seconds grasp, why do we need a gym membership or personal trainer any more?

You might think that I don’t have a gym membership, but I do.  I am a true believer in still having a gym membership even though there might be an app for that.  Why you may ask? Well there are certain things that I do that require a gym, for instance a pool, spinning bikes, and workout equipment I don’t have to fix. Even from time to time I will pay a personal trainer to help me with certain goals I would like to accomplish. The human and social factor is something that is not prevalent in the apps that are being built today, at least not in the way people want them.

Some of my friends have apps that have a social aspect and they love them, but that app doesn’t have everything they need.  For instance, the Nike App keeps track of all of my runs, and my friends runs, but they took away the challenge aspect, and I cannot communicate with them about their run.  Map My Run does keep track of work outs, diet, and they will even work with you on a workout plan.  All of this and we still want to talk smack to our friends, challenge them with different goals, and hold each other accountable in any way we see fit (pun intended). Fitness apps are even taking popular topics such as zombies and making it fun to run as you immerse yourself into a game where zombies are chasing you and you must run to escape (Zombies, run!).  Reminds of a live version of Temple Run only with a plot line. I am going to be using this App this week to test it out so check back for my review!

All of this to say that we as humans by nature are social people and for me going to the gym, seeing others work out alongside you, and talking to a person about fitness can’t be replaced by an app…yet? Regardless of your opinion on Apps replacing the gym, stay fit, walk a mile today, set goals and be healthy!

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