Last week, my colleague Dave and I gave a presentation on how we got Popcorn Maker working on the iPad. We hadn’t told anybody of our plans so I was pleasantly surprised when it was met with such a positive reaction. As a result of our efforts we’ve been allowed to continue developing for the iPad! Since it’s only Dave and me working on it we’ve been given (almost) free rein to do whatever we want. I can’t wait to start experimenting with some of the ideas I have.Read More
I’ve spent the past couple days porting over Popcorn Maker’s CSS to use LESS, a scripting language for cascading style sheets. It offers convenient features that help overcome some of the inherent limitations of CSS, particularly its lack of modularity. LESS is also a superset of CSS, so any valid CSS code is valid LESS code, reducing the learning curve to maybe an hour of playing around with it. Read More
While fixing the CSS to make Popcorn Maker look the same in all browsers, I hit a particularly nasty bug where Opera wasn’t positioning the title of the page properly. For whatever reason, Opera was rendering the superscripted text differently than in Chrome and Firefox.
This is what it looked like:
David Humphrey recently showed me this awesome project by Mozilla called Open Badges. For my gamification project, I had initially planned on implementing my own achievement module to keep track achievements. I hadn’t put too much thought into this so when Dave asked me how I planned to tackle issues like security (preventing students from unlocking achievements illegally) and authentication (proving that students have in fact completed the requirements for the achievement), I knew I had hit a roadblock. Thankfully Open Badges solves a lot of these problems. Mozilla’s provided a simple API to interface with their system that makes issuing achievements (badges) remarkably easy.
One of my school courses has given me the awesome opportunity to find a client, analyze their needs, and subsequently develop a system to satisfy those needs. Most students in my class have chosen to find clients with practical needs – a new invoicing system, a robust ticket ordering system, and so on. While these are all adequate and will undoubtedly provide the students with vital real-world experience, I’ve decided to use this course to start implementing my vision on gamifying education.
For the uninitiated, gamification is the inclusion of gaming mechanics and systems into non-gaming domains. This is usually done to increase the appeal of said domain. A common example is the rewards system tied in to many major credit cards. The SonyCard, for instance, gives you a number of points every time you purchase something, points that can then be redeemed at the Sony store for Sony products. Adding this rewards system to a credit card is a prime example of gamification. Knowing that each purchase brings the elusive reward closer motivates the consumer to spend more.
Yeah, I went there.
So where does that leave me? Confused? Greatly. Eager to dive in and start working on a project I’m actually interested in? Absolutely.