WEB207: Ass 3

The Pitch

The Initial Concept

I want to create a website dedicated to teaching technological terms to the general public. I intend to do this by creating a page that explains the term “technological convergence” using text and games. The website will consist of two main pages: the Home page and a Credits page.

The Home Page will display the “Word of the Month” which will be ‘technological convergence’. This allows for further expansion of the site, if needed, into a ‘quasi-dictionary of Technological Terms’ at a later stage. Beneath a ‘dictionary’ definition will be a short, description suitable for uninformed people who wish to understand complex concepts relating to the digital world. Further beneath this will be a Hidden Object Game, where the web-surfer can search for different types of technology that are enhanced by computers. E.g.: mobile phone, CCTV etc. This game will cement the concepts behind Convergence for the viewer as they learn what technologies are often improved by the integration of a computer. Below this will be another short introduction to the changes in society due to this convergence followed by a ‘linking’ game. The linking game will allow viewers to link different technologies to different societal ramifications. E.g.: ‘Digital Cameras’ would link to ‘capture every moment, every day’. This will explain convergence in ways that everyone can understand and emphasise the importance of the changes to society due to the significance of convergence.

The Credits page is a dedicated area to put copyright and source information for the site. It is appropriate for a website to display this information and a credits page is a discreet way to manage it. The site will be located at geekgoblin.com as this is a fitting name for a site as described and the ‘tag line’ will be “Tech Talk Made Easy”. This clearly identifies the purpose of the site and uses alliteration to capture viewer’s attention. The website will have a modern feel to it, with bright colours and graphics that show different kinds of technologies. It will also incorporate Search Engine Optimisation and sharing capabilities to enhance spreadability. Following Nielsen’s rules of Usability (Jakob Nielsen, 1999; J Nielsen & Loranger, 2006), my site will use large fonts and contrasting colour. Images (except those within the game) will be tagged to suit the vision impaired.

All of these features are designed to give a set uniform feel and look to the site to enforce the sense of fun and interest while learning (Pazzani & Billsus, 1997).

The “Why”

The web media we have discussed in WEB207 focuses on convergence and digitisation. While these terms are often used together, it is important to have an understanding of both. On the discussion board for WEB207, there was some confusion about these terms and they were erroneously considered interchangeable. Convergence, particularly, is a complicated concept to understand as it not only involves a definition but also an altered outcome on society (Jenkins, 2004). Given that convergence is tricky for a generalist audience to understand, this subject seemed a good project to explain in simplistic terms. It also allows me to explore the nature of interactivity, gaming and spreadability, all elements that are covered in the unit. If the site was to expand at a later stage, it would permit further explanations of Digitisation that could also be explained in a compelling manner.

By creating it in a game style, this will facilitate learning. People learn more effectively when they actively participate in their learning. Bransford, Brown and Cocking (2000) explain how “… new technologies can also help people visualise difficult-to-understand concepts”. Games also encourage interactivity and are engaging, which is in keeping with the tone and feel of the project.

I will be drawing on insights illustrated and described by Jenkins (2006) regarding convergence, but simplifying the ideas into bite-size understandable chunks. I will do this by utilising works by Bernard & Jones (1996) and Gordon (2003) who explain the concept in real-world terms. Creating games that use real world experiences will make the idea of convergence easier for a generalist public to digest.

Because convergence encompasses all web media to some extent, this website will reflect upon the term students have learned, and struggled with, during the unit, with the aim to be able to teach others to understand this complex notion. The focus will highlight different technologies as these are tangible ideas that are easier to grasp for the uninitiated.

By using a website, I am able to present this in a single page, ensuring the site can be viewed in its entirety and the games played in less than three minutes. As the attention span for many viewers these days is limited (Krug, 2005), it is important that I am able to express my ideas succinctly and effectively.

While there are many advantages to hosting my games on a blog – namely the capability to have built-in sharing buttons and SEO options, a blog is more traditionally associated with thoughts and opinions as a dialogue (Blood, 2000) so I have therefore eliminated this option.

The “How”

I have chosen to display my two games in a website for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the games are easily embedded into a website. Secondly, a web-page gives me the option to add further content, like credits and copyright info, as hyperlinks which can be very discreet and yet remain user-friendly. Further, a web-page is something generalist audiences are already familiar with for retrieving information (Krug, 2005). We use web-pages to access search engines and if seeking an explanation of a technological term, you are more likely to search for a website; rather than a blog, video site or a gaming site (Bruce, Jones, & Dumais, 2004). A website also affords me the opportunity for spreadability with sharing buttons for social media and via search engine optimisation.

My proposal is to create a website experience that utilises games to facilitate learning and understanding of convergence. Despite having no experience at game-making and limited skills with web design, I am confident Web 2.0 tools will provide me with the facilities to do so. Using game-makers found on the web, I will endeavour to create two games that are both engaging and interesting: a hidden object game and a linking game.

I did struggle to find suitable game engines on the Internet, however with perseverance I believe I have created games that showcase convergence within the many limitations of the game engines found. While it may prove to be easier to highlight aspects of convergence using alternate game engines, it was important to use the tools available to me in the best manner possible.

The “When”

I expect I will be able to create this project with limited assistance from others. I have already propagated the domain name and purchased host space which allows me to concentrate on the web design. One day is needed for finding and testing Game Making software and a further day will be needed to create the games ready for upload. Altering the web template is complicated and time consuming as this requires skills I have yet to master. Tweaking the HTML may take up to ten days, but may take less time as I have already begun this work in order to complete this particular assessment.
Testing and debugging any issues is the next logical step. I will ask for proofing assistance from others to ensure it is readable, logical and suitable for a range of skill-sets. Testing should only take a day. Further to feedback from my Tutor, I envisage making last minute changes in the final days before submission.

The “Fine Print”

It is important that credit and attribution be correctly acknowledged where required. Not only is this a self-protective measure to ensure no legal action is taken against me, it is also one of moral obligation. When investigating format options for this project, this was an important factor to consider.

One game-maker does not contain any terms and conditions nor is it covered by creative commons. The other game engine uses advertising around the game itself to ensure attribution and potential income. However, to protect myself, I will be crediting them both on the website.

A webpage template will be chosen from one of the numerous sites that provide free CSS templates. This will mean I don’t need to focus on HTML coding or correct use of CSS but rather on ensuring the message is effectively presented. Most templates require a link back on the bottom of the website; however credit will be added to the dedicated credit page as further thanks for their assistance.

An image is required for the hidden object game that will be sourced from Flickr’s Creative Commons to ensure no copyright infringement when the game is distributed to the general population. I have chosen an image that allows derivative works while only giving attribution and this will be added to the credits page. The logo for the website has been created entirely by me using a combination of freehand drawing, Fonts and Photoshop. Because this logo may be used commercially in the future, I have decided to maintain full copyright on this item.

Conclusion

This website, though small to meet the criteria of the assignment, should represent an engaging and interactive introduction to Technological Convergence, allowing people of all walks of life to be both entertained and informed.

 

References & Bibliography

 

Bernard, A., & Jones, C. (1996). Technology and convergence. The Economic Journal, 106(437), 1037-1044.

Blood, R. (2000, 7 September). Weblogs: A History and Perspective. Blog Post Retrieved from http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html

Bogost, I., & Montfort, N. (2009). Platform Studies: Frequently Questioned Answers.

Bransford, J., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. (2000). How people learn: National Academy Press Washington, DC.

Bruce, H., Jones, W., & Dumais, S. (2004). Keeping and re finding information on the web: What do people do and what do they need? Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 41(1), 129-137.

Gordon, R. (2003). The meanings and implications of convergence. Digital journalism: Emerging media and the changing horizons of journalism, 57-73.

Jenkins, H. (2004). The cultural logic of media convergence. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(1), 33.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide: NYU Press.

Kiili, K. (2005). Digital game-based learning: Towards an experiential gaming model. The Internet and higher education, 8(1), 13-24.

Krug, S. (2005). Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to the Web: New Riders Publishing Thousand Oaks, CA, USA.

Lind, J. (2005). Ubiquitous Convergence: market redefinitions generated by technological change and the Industry Life Cycle. Paper for the DRUID Academy Winter, 27-29.

Nielsen, J. (1999). Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity: New Riders Publishing.

Nielsen, J., & Loranger, H. (2006). Prioritizing web usability: New Riders Publishing Thousand Oaks, CA, USA.

Pazzani, M., & Billsus, D. (1997). Learning and revising user profiles: The identification of interesting web sites. Machine learning, 27(3), 313-331.

Pivec, M., & Dziabenko, O. (2004). Game-Based Learning in Universities and Lifelong Learning:“UniGame: Social Skills and KnowledgeTraining” Game Concept. Journal of Universal Computer Science, 10(1), 14-26.

Prensky, M. (2003). Digital game-based learning. Computers in Entertainment (CIE), 1(1), 21.

Wall, K., Higgins, S., & Smith, H. (2005). ‘The visual helps me understand the complicated things’: pupil views of teaching and learning with interactive whiteboards. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(5), 851-867.

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