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playARK After Dark DIY Gaming Session Guest Blog

and there goes the third instalment of playARK After Dark s gaming sessions at the WMC.

Since November playARK have been running their monthly After Dark game sessions at the WMC. We ve seen mystery phone calls, human bingo and santa dashes; last week we had spaghetti westerns and zombie-tashes! Usually I m deep in the middle of these sessions , hiding behind pillars playing characters over the phone or running around Cardiff dressed as an urban penguin chasing after Santa s helpers (typical evening out really) so it was refreshing to play some new and developing games this time around. We started off with a trio of simple to run, hard to put down games; Lemon Joust, which was a bit like an egg and spoon race but with lemons and fighting; Spaghetti Standoff1, which saw the whole group protecting strands of uncooked spaghetti in pairs in a battle to see who would be holding the last remaining unsnapped pasta strand; and Mitt Rowdy2, a head-to-head where players had to be the first to pick up a gambling chip off the floor whilst wearing an oven mitt. Sounds easy doesn t it? Well it s not, it s solid. And violent.

Health and safety nightmare. Great fun. In a slight change to the previous sessions the tables were turned and after the opening games got everyone s creative synapses firing the players became the creators of the evening s merriment. Using a complex random selection algorithm (playARK s flashcards) teams were sent around the WMC with the tools and the technologies to create their own games which we tried, tested, enjoyed and improved on throughout the evening. Given a ball of wool, some fake moustaches, party hats and a few general pointers each team bar none came back with an interesting and engaging game; even the games that needed a bit of tweaking kept us all thinking of ways to reimagine and make playing it a smoother experience..

It still surprises me makes me smile seeing how willing a groups of adult strangers are to drop the pretensions of everyday life and let themselves go a bit ballistic on a school night, usually without the aid of too much alcohol too. People usually find a drink the social lubricant that they need to allow themselves to open up and go a bit next time you go out try bringing some uncooked spaghetti and challenging someone to a showdown granted, you might get a few odd looks, but I think we re all looking for permission to let go and start with the silly, so why not be the one to get it going? The night culminated in a mass game of Tashocolips a zombie chase style game with a twist. Created that evening the game took over the WMC foyer on it s debut, looking like a real-life space invaders / dawn of the dead mash-up with facial hair. We all got so carried away with making sure there was a winner we ran over time, but still people stayed to see it through and have a natter afterward.

Really looking forward to the next week again there ll be a few new games, a guest session from Craig Quat a circus master from No Fit State, a massive game of party classic Werewolf and I ll be giving DriftMob3, for a spin around the WMC. I ve already started on the health and safety forms. Tickets for February s playARK After Dark are available from Eventbrite4 now.

See you there.

This Blog was written by a guest blogger Stephen Donnelly5.


  1. ^ Spaghetti Standoff (www.comeoutandplay.org)
  2. ^ Mitt Rowdy (joon.be)
  3. ^ DriftMob (interactionsperformance.wordpress.com)
  4. ^ Eventbrite (www.eventbrite.co.uk)
  5. ^ Stephen Donnelly (twitter.com)

Going Beyond 1:1 Devices

flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license123

The dream of many when it comes to technology in the classroom is for 1-to-1 devices (actually for some it is 1-to-many). However, for whatever reasons, this is not always the case. (See for example Bill Ferriter s attempt4 to raise funds for cheap Chromebooks for his classroom.) Therefore, sometimes we need to be resourceful and think of a different solutions. Here then are some thoughts on different activities that help rethink the use of technology to support learning. The ideal situation is having each student with a device. This provides a means for all students to be actively engaged in learning. Here are some suggestions of activities:

  • Making and Creating: There are so many different ways to publish work, whether it be typing up a story, making a slideshow, creating a digital poster, recording an audio or videoing a presentation. Maybe it is using Microsoft Office or Google Apps5, what application used depends on what device you are using and what you are trying to achieve.
  • Communicating and Collaborating: One of the greatest benefits of 1:1 situation is the potential to connect and collaborate.

    This can take many forms, whether it be openly engaging with different ideas and information within various virtual spaces, such as Edmodo6, Global27 and Google Classroom8, or collaborating via applications such as Answergarden, Google Apps and Piratepad.

  • Sharing and Reflecting: There are many ways to share and reflect. Socrative allows a mixture of predefined quizzes and on-the-fly questioning. Similar to Socrative, Kahoot!9 provides the means to create game-based quizzies. For a different way of sharing, Verso10 provides the means to engage in a safe environment anonymously. In regards to surveys and reflections, Google Forms provides for a range of options11 and a useful summary of responses when finished. While Padlet12 provides a simple way to collect and share ideas and information.

Not every activity necessarily needs 1:1 devices. There are often benefits to sharing devices, especially when working collaboratively. Whether it be Sigatra Mitra s 1:413 or Donald Clark s suggestion of 1:314 or simply 1:2 as the YVeLC pushed. Here are some suggestions:

  • Collaborative Presentation: Although presentations can be done individually, they can also be created with others.

    For example, students can use Audacity15 to record and edit a podcast, use Google Apps to work collaboratively, work together to create a blog on a topic or add commentary and feedback to a presentation.

  • Research: Providing groups with a device allows them to find information. Sharing forces students to work together to clearly define what they are actually searching for16. This can be useful as each person takes a role17, whether it be as leading, questioning, taking notes or searching.
  • Rotations: The BaM Video Delay18 iOS app allows students to record themselves and then watch back in range of ways. In Physical Education, this can be used to provide students with regular feedback when there are multiple stations running.
  • QR Codes: Using a tablet, QR Codes19 provide a range of possibilities, whether it be tabloid sports where students watch a short video and then complete the task or a scavenger hunt activity which involves using codes that provide clues to the next code. QR Codes can be a great way of getting students moving around.

Whether it be a desktop computer or a solitary iPad, there are many ways that we can use just one device to help drive learning. Some ideas include:

  • Research Computer: So often after students have finished using computers to research they have those odd queries that arise that they just need to look up quickly. One solution is to set up one computer and limit students to a couple of minutes to find their information. To maximise this time, make it an imperative that students have a clear question when coming to the computer, as well as a plan as to how they search for the information.
  • Class Creation: Technology does not have to be (nor should it be) the main focus of a lesson, but can be means of giving voice to it. Even with one iPad in the classroom, apps like Adobe Voice20 and Book Creator allow you to quickly and easily create whole class presentations.

    This can be an alternative to having every student stand in front of the class and present, while it also offers the possibility for the user to gain instant feedback and make improvements.

  • Documentation: There are so many ways to use technology to collect documentation. Gary Stager suggests that video and photography21 offer the easiest means of capturing learning in the classroom. However, there are other useful applications that allow you to build on and organise these, whether it be Seesaw22 or a class blog. These artefacts provide a way of extending, clarifying and modifying ideas.
  • Measuring the Pulse: Although the easiest way of gaining feedback is in a 1-to-1 environment, there are different things that you can do with an iPad, such as using Plickers23, which allows you to easily gauge student feedback by holding up cards, while Post-It Notes24 and iBrainstorm25 provide different means to gain information using sticky notes.

In the end, there are so many potentials when it comes to technology, sometimes we just need to think differently. Whether it be a camera, Chromebook, an iPad, a netbook or a desktop computer, each device offers something unique. What needs to be remembered at the end of the day is that first and fore-mostly, no matter what devices you have, it should all start with learning. So what about you?

What are some of the ways you go beyond one to one devices in the classroom in order to create different learning possibilites?

As always, comments welcome.

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Going Beyond 1:1 Devices26 by Aaron Davis27 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License28.


  1. ^ Resourcefulness (flickr.com)
  2. ^ mrkrndvs (flickr.com)
  3. ^ Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license (creativecommons.org)
  4. ^ Bill Ferriter s attempt (blog.williamferriter.com)
  5. ^ Google Apps (readwriterespond.com)
  6. ^ Edmodo (readwriterespond.com)
  7. ^ Global2 (readwriterespond.com)
  8. ^ Google Classroom (readwriterespond.com)
  9. ^ Kahoot! (ebox.global2.vic.edu.au)
  10. ^ Verso (readwriterespond.com)
  11. ^ range of options (docs.google.com)
  12. ^ Padlet (versoapp.com)
  13. ^ Sigatra Mitra s 1:4 (whatedsaid.wordpress.com)
  14. ^ Donald Clark s suggestion of 1:3 (donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.co.uk)
  15. ^ Audacity (readwriterespond.com)
  16. ^ searching for (richlambert.edublogs.org)
  17. ^ takes a role (www.readwritethink.org)
  18. ^ BaM Video Delay (itunes.apple.com)
  19. ^ QR Codes (www.schrockguide.net)
  20. ^ Adobe Voice (readwriterespond.com)
  21. ^ suggests that video and photography (stager.tv)
  22. ^ Seesaw (larryferlazzo.edublogs.org)
  23. ^ Plickers (www.plickers.com)
  24. ^ Post-It Notes (9to5mac.com)
  25. ^ iBrainstorm (www.appolearning.com)
  26. ^ Permalink to Going Beyond 1:1 Devices (readwriterespond.com)
  27. ^ Aaron Davis (readwriterespond.com)
  28. ^ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (creativecommons.org)