- On 11 July the London partners gave a one day seminar at the Institute of Education on the Playground project to an invited audience. Members of our sister ESE projects Etui and Nimis attended along with researchers from the areas of computer science, child development and education and members of government agencies.
- On 10 May, the London team gave a seminar entitled 'Playing with Rules designing for change' at the University of London.
After giving an overview of the project, we detailed some of our design decisions at the different levels within both the OpenLogo (Imagine) and ToonTalk Playgrounds, gave demonstrations and evaluations and raised issues for learning. Some interesting questions arose from the audience, particularly in regard to collaboration both at the computer screen and at a distance. Further discussion also took place centred on the issue of the complexity of game design particularly when games are 'designed for change' and related to different modes of expression of rules.
- Playground was a big attraction at the Millennium Maths 'Hands on Maths' event which ran on 18 and 25 March as part of the Cambridge University National Science Week Event. We had many hundreds of children and parents coming through during the two days. Some of the STIMULUS students, who are familiar with ToonTalk, having helped in the Playground Project schools, were there to assist and encourage members of the public in using the program. (STIMULUS students are Cambridge University undergraduates who volunteer to join interesting community programmes).
- We ran an international workshop for teachers from around the world at the IMECT2 conference 7 July. We presented an overview of the project followed by a hands on workshop for teachers making games in both the OpenLogo (Imagine) and ToonTalk playgrounds.
- We ran a workshop for trainee secondary IT PGCE teachers at the Institute of Education, London on 26 June.
- Our American consultant gave a course on ToonTalk and Playground for doctoral students at the University of Stockholm (Feb to April). Of the 8 students, 6 have chosen to do projects related to the Playground Project.
- We took part in a symposium on 5 July at the Institute of Education entitled Children, Young People and Digital Technologies Education or Creative Play?
- Our American consultant gave a presentation on ToonTalk and the Playground Project at Logosium in Boston.
- A seminar on the Playground Project was given in Göthenburg in May 2000 and also at Anderson consulting in the same month by a member of the Swedish team.
- Talks were given about ToonTalk and the Playground project at the MIT Media Lab in August, at the University of California San Diego in February 2000, at Stockholm University in February and at the National University of Singapore in July.
- Coverage of the Playground project was given in an interview with our American consultant in the Japanese version of Byte, September 2000.
- A presentation of the Playground Project and ToonTalk was given at the International Summit "Amigos para Sempre", Auditório da Universidade de Coimbra, Exposição-Feira Miúdos Digitais on 20 November 1999.
- A presentation of the Playground Project at an international seminar "Encontro por Cursos e Recursos, as TICs na Escola" at the Escola Superior de Educação de Setúbal on 7-9 February 2000.
- CNOTINFOR offered to teachers, students, educationalists and the general public an overview of the Playground Project and the launch of the Portuguese language version of ToonTalk at the Didáctica Fair, Porto on 18-21 May 2000.
- A workshop was held on 3 June 2000 for teachers, parents and children from Colégio Valsassina showing the Playground Project and all the work developed this year by the children.
- Two of the London team attended the M/SET conference in San Diego in February 2000, where they presented the paper 'Changing the Rules: Children, Creativity and Computer Games'.
- Project members from London and Coimbra attended the i3 conference in Athens, April 2000 and a poster exhibition was displayed.
- Keynote presentation at the First Middle East Conference on Mathematics Education in June 2000.
- The Slovakian team presented Imagine ... New generation of creative teaching environment (in Slovak Language) at the conference Poskole 2000, Lazne Sedmihorky, 26-28 April 2000. In the proceedings pp. 88-93.
- An invited lecture was given at the Hungarian national conference INFO Savaria 2000 Informatics and Communication in the School, held in Szombathely, 6-8 April 2000 entitled Imagine...construct and understand.
- A paper by the Slovakian partners entitled Imagine New Generation of logo: Programmable Pictures has been accepted for the IFIP World Congress 2000, Beijing, China.
Papers & articles
- Our American consultant published an article in the March issue of the Communications of the ACM entitled "Generalizing by Removing Detail". The Playground project and its URL are mentioned in the first paragraph.
- Leon Cych, the Playground coordinator at All Souls School, London, had an article in the i3 magazine (no. 7, March 2000, p. 20). In it he talked about the evolution of the Pong game by children working with the project, and looks forward to the future of more open-ended models of learning.
- An interview was published in the Times Educational Supplement. The article 'Games without frontiers' appeared in the colour supplement 'TES primary' on 22 October 1999.
- The Portuguese television channel RTP2 talked about the Playground Project on the Magazine, on 18 March. They showed the children of Colegio Valsassina working with ToonTalk. Secundino Correia was interviewed and talked about the aims of the project.
- Hoyles & Noss have prepared a paper, to appear in Computers and Learning entitled Rethinking the Microworld idea.
- A radio interview was given by the Swedish team on 18 January 2000 on the program "Science News" which is broadcast daily on Swedish national radio.
- An article entitled "Six year olds building their own computer games" was published on 19 January 2000 in Expressen which is a Swedish daily tabloid.
- An article appeared in "Mälarposten" a local weekly newspaper in Sweden entitled "Computer programming - childs play for the kids at Lillsjöskolan - A new project with software especially designed for children" on 27 January 2000.
- Articles appeared in a local weekly newspaper in Sweden "Upplands Bro Nyheterna". These were on 27 and 31 January 2000 and called "Kids creating their own computer games using computers" and "Playground Project: Provisional results".
8.4 Schools network
- The Playground Bulletin Board has been set up as a supporting device in the establishment of our schools network. Based on a server in Cambridge, children from four sites across three countries have used it to introduce themselves and to give feedback about the games they have uploaded onto our GamePlace web site.
- On 2 May, children in four sites across three countries took part in our first ever games workshop. After downloading games from The GamePlace (www.ioe.ac.uk/playground/gameplace/gamelist.htm), the children played and evaluated each others games and then posted feedback about those games on the Playground Bulletin Board, (http://www.actis.co.uk/cgi-bin/chrysali/notice.cgi/ CITE/Notice3). A video conferencing link was additionally set up between Sweden and England. It proved to be a great success in supporting the way the children from the two countries could collaborate and share the things they had made. In spite of language differences, there was great excitement at seeing and speaking to each other about the games they had made and were now sharing. We have more international workshops planned and video conferencing will certainly play an important role in the future in assisting these at-a-distance collaborative environments.
- On 16 June, we held our second games workshop. Children from London and Cambridge took part in the day, posting their games on the web and sending each other feedback about the games via the bulletin board.
- Video conferencing has worked extremely well, not only in terms of technicalities of the audio and video but in the way it supports children taking part in the games workshops. The video conferencing seems to be multi-purpose. Firstly it allows all the children to have a sense of presence with the others both visually and aurally. The fact that the children had different mother tongues did not seem to matter. They could hear and see the other children laughing and talking and this alone provided this sense of presence. Secondly it plays a supporting role for other asynchronous or synchronous communication. In our case this is the sending and receiving of messages and games by birds. Ideally, each double pair could have a camera and be able to give immediate visual and/or verbal feedback once something had been received. Thirdly, it facilitates more direct interchanges between the children. Many times our children rushed over to the camera/screen wanting to ask a question to the children in Sweden about a specific aspect of a game.