Gamification

Gamification can be applied to just about anything and if done properly can enhance even the most mundane activities.  Adding elements of a game to activities ranging from classwork to chores is not a new concept but in recent years has been studied and show to have some positive effects.  My experiences with gamification are limited to the classroom but the results of incorporating it were impressive.

We decided to use a map and split the children into groups, each group was responsible for mastering a math subject and then teaching it to the other groups, earning points and achievements along the way.  These game elements completely changed the way the students interacted with the material because now they had a stake in learning.  This dramatically improved their attention span when we lectured the class.

That really is the magic of gamification, it can turn anything into a fun process.  Games tap into in a persons inner competitor and change how they approach things, in sense making them think differently if there had been no game elements.  Gamification can also be used in a poor fashion.  Simply adding a point system to any task isn’t going to make people flock to cleaning bathrooms.  The process has to be engaging in a way that fosters long term attention and gets the players involved for many reasons.

Chapta 6ix

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“new media transforms all culture and cultural theory into an open source”  This quote from page 333 of chapter six really sums up what Manovich is trying to convey in this chapter.  His theories on cinema involve some previous topics covered in the book, mainly teleaction and telepresence.  Film captures reality in motion, that motion is divided into hundreds of images and played on a loop to give us what we know as cinema.  These images have quickly become digitized and encoded so that we can create these loops with computers. 

The introduction of computers into cinema is allowing directors the ability to move beyond the limitations of a traditional camera.  Entire movie scenes are created with little or no use of a traditional camera.  Manovich believes that computer based cinema has moved into a new sphere of art completely separate from traditional film.  I think the best example of this would be the movie Avatar.  This film was largely created on a computer with minimal sets, in fact the characters wore motion capture technology for the entire filming process because they were going to be enhanced digitally despite being filmed with traditional cameras.

These digital cinematic experiences are being incorporated into more and more aspects of our daily lives.  Even when we go to a theme park there are rides that use digital cinema to enhance our reality.  This chapter does a great job of tying many of Manovich’s ideas together, once again he has done an incredible job of laying out theories in 2001 that came into complete fruition in our society today. 

Imanginations Manovich style

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Chapter five has several interesting topics.  Manovich discusses the idea of data bases.  Data bases are what drive our information society.  These data bases allow computers to store and access vast amounts of information.  Data bases organize data, regardless of the type of data base all information must be organized.  This process is interesting because the organization process cannot be changed according to Manovich.

This Chapter was very easy to understand in terms of examples.  The best example in the chapter was the navigation through 3D environments, which is essentially “viewing” the organized data in the data base.  In the chapter Manovich uses two great examples of the “spatial journey” that hit very close to home for me.  Doom and Myst are games that allowed the user to explore 3D environments.  These games allowed you to explore the visual information that wasn’t possible in earlier games.

The topics discussed in this chapter are very important to understanding where our culture is headed.  We can no longer view information as out of sight out of mind.  Information is shaping our interactions on a personal level and global level.  Knowing how to navigate information through databases and 3D environments gives the user an advantage over those who take for granted how information is incorporated into every minute of their lives.

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Manovich and Illusions

Manovich and Illusions

Chapter four covered some very interesting topics. The interface on all of new media devices have become so second nature to us we often forget that our actions and messages are really just 1s and 0s being interpreted` by a machine and projected on to our screens. Some of the concepts in this chapter connect very well with the YouTube assignment we did on perception a few weeks back. Manovich believes that our computer screens are showing us things that have no foundation in reality. The computer simply creates the illusion of the actual image. These illusions are growing more and more extravagant with software such as Google street view that gives users the sensation that they are traveling the streets in the reality. I will update this post as I finish the chapter.

Duval till I die

Riverside is a very unique area and gave me a new appreciation for the city of Jacksonville. Riverside gives anyone access to 95 and the 10 in the same intersection. Anyone driving out of Florida or into it drives right by this great part of town.

The Riverside area is finding a new identity with an explosion of great places to eat and drink. All over the neighborhood new small businesses are popping up along with renovations to classic southern homes built several decades before. There is a unique blend of young and old and that is what gives the area its unique character.

My community is filled with parks and space to enjoy the breeze from the river. We are also connected to downtown by the river-walk, this connection is allowing the excitement of an urban core downtown spill over into the riverside area.

I hope my photo essay encourages at least one person to make the trip and if anything experience the non sense that is the five points intersection.

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Teleaction

Teleaction

The topics of this chapter is something that has always fascinated me. It is always interesting to watch people try to navigate the real world while trying to also exist in a digital world. The way we are interacting with interfaces is changing rapidly. Many of the changes that are happening are having profound effects on the way we interact with each other.

The relationship with screens is all around us. If you’ve ever taken the bus you will notice every single person with their heads down completely engrossed in the cell phone screen laying on their lap. The interface as we know it was pioneered by Macintosh. Rather than typing in commands and placing the burden of knowledge on its customers, software companies came up with graphical interfaces. This allowed people to point and click their way through the computer experience.

The interface has outgrown the computer screen and now lives in our pockets. This point and click graphical interface gave way to the interface we’ve all become accustomed to on cell phones and tablets. Sit back and think of how much time you spend away from a screen that you can interact with. Even paying with a debit card requires interaction with a crude screen demanding your attention.

So what are all the screens facilitating? Teleaction. Teleaction is comprised of telepressence and telecommunication. Telepressence is what drives our need to be surrounded by these screens. At any place or time we have access to an unlimited amount of information that we can interact with. This isn’t simply viewing content but actually manipulating it in real time. Telecommunication is the other half of teleaction and played an equally important role in how we ended up in an information oriented society but something that we take mostly for granted. It is the ability to be communicating with servers and people from every corner of the world that fuels our inability to venture out into the world without a cell phone.

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Breakfast, smokes, comfy chair, great view: The morning routine.

Breakfast, smokes, comfy chair, great view: The morning routine.

This is my story image. This gentleman’s name is Randy, after I took this picture I asked if I could use the photo for the project and he agreed. This photo says a lot of things about Randy’s morning. He found some breakfast in the trash can that wasn’t spoiled yet, he gave most of it to Rocko. These two are companions through and through and Rocko is always first priority when it comes to food. Randy may be homeless but he still enjoys the view of the duck pond and yesterday’s paper.