Deus Ex: GOTY Edition

So I became a victim (again) of the plethora of titles that Steam had on sale for the weekend. This time, around I purchased, what I have heard so much about – Deus Ex.

The first thing I noticed when I played Deus Ex for the first time was the graphics, it was a nostalgia trip back, to say the least, but as far as the tutorials go I was quite happy with the setup.

First off you are greeted with basic instructions and a simple task such as open the door. It is not just the simplicity of the instructions that make this tutorial well designed, but the actual level design. It is simplistic in terms of asset distribution, just enough to give you a sense of the environment, but not too much to cause a distraction and encourage exploration. This helps in maintaining your focus on your objective regardless of how simple or complex it may be. Continue reading Deus Ex: GOTY Edition

Carl Rogers

“I want to talk about learning. But not the lifeless, sterile, futile, quickly forgotten stuff that is crammed in to the mind of the poor helpless individual tied into his seat by ironclad bonds of conformity!

I am talking about LEARNING – the insatiable curiosity that drives the adolescent boy to absorb everything he can see or hear or read about gasoline engines in order to improve the efficiency and speed of his ‘cruiser’. I am talking about the student who says, “I am discovering, drawing in from the outside, and making that which is drawn in a real part of me.”

I am talking about any learning in which the experience of the learner progresses along this line: “No, no, that’s not what I want”; “Wait! This is closer to what I am interested in, what I need”; “Ah, here it is! Now I’m grasping and comprehending what I need and what I want to know!”

– Carl Rogers

A thought on “gamification” of education

Gamification of education Vs Educational Video Games

Having done some psychology in my undergrad, researching predominantly psychological learning theories in a more analytic light has made me think about my role as a game designer and the term “gamification” in gerneral.

For the moment, from my persepctive at least, there is a bold difference between “gamifying” education and creating educational video games. Continue reading A thought on “gamification” of education

Natural Critical Learning Environment

Natural critical learning environments is a concept that I have come across when it comes to getting students engaged and interested in learning and understanding content.


People tend to learn most effectively (in ways that make a sustained, substantial, and positive influence on the way they think, act, or feel) when:

  1. They are trying to solve problems (intellectual, physical, artistic, practical, abstract, etc.) or create something new that they find intriguing, beautiful, and/or important;
  2. They are able to do so in a challenging yet supportive environment in which they can feel a sense of control over their own education;
  3. They can work collaboratively with other learners to grapple with the problem;
  4. They believe that their work will be considered fairly and honestly; and
  5. They can try, fail, and receive feedback from expert learners in advance of and separate from any summative judgment of their efforts.


It appears to be a very simple framework for teachers to adopt and encourages a less anxiety driven learning experience allowing the learner to fail and learn from it in a consequence free environment. Failure is an important part of a learning process because it helps us consolidated our understanding of concepts and when failure is met by proper support and feedback it allows the students to feel more confident in tackling challenging problems.

This type of framework can be considered similar to sandbox environments in video games where it is up to the learner to create, fail and try out different ways of structuring an environment to meet a specific need and/or goal. They can try out concepts that interest them, engage with the challenges, fail at them and try again with a better understanding through trial and error. Sandbox style environments also can allow people to work collaboratively together trying to solve a particular problem allowing them to feel more confident when tackling large, unfamiliar and challenging problems.

Further reading and relevant links:

Research Academy for University Learning

Best Teachers Summer Institute

Continue reading Natural Critical Learning Environment

It’s not what you learn, it is what you understand

A thought that has transpired through reading about what makes great teachers is not that a student can learn more then what they came into the course, but rather about what they understand about the concepts being taught to them.

Learning is superficial, anyone can learn something new – one thing a day right? However how much of what we learn do we actually understand? Continue reading It’s not what you learn, it is what you understand