Monthly Archives: October 2013

Research Questions, Methods and Breeding Horses….

To understand the game of Minecraft, (a virtual world game, which I have chosen for my latest research project ), I decided to give in to resistance and to immerse myself in this game, (I have resisted for a while……when I like a game I become addicted)!!  I have I have currently been experimenting with constructing buildings in Minecraft, however I have become a little sidetracked as my son showed me all the other wonderfully distracting features of Minecraft!  This week I have mostly been distracted by breeding horses, housing them etc and also making sure they don’t escape, instead of figuring out how to make La Sagrada Familia, (my chosen iconic building)!!  However in making some problem solving planning decisions about where my horses live, I realise I am doing a little Urban Planning of very rudimentary sorts as well as some construction, (note the handy torch devices on the fence to stop the horses escaping)!!  However I seem to have had a horse population explosion over night, (or the foals just grew…….)! Oh noooooooooo, I must make some bigger paddocks………please click on image below:

What I dhoulsd be doing

Last week we covered: Research Questions – Hypotheses – Interdisciplinary Research. Which brings me to ask what exactly is my Research Question about Minecraft? In the lecture we were told we should be able to formulate our research question so that we can describe our research question in about 5 minutes or so to a stranger in a pub. So in the next part of the paragraph I am aiming to do that. However to start talking to a stranger in a pub I would realistically had several pints or more of cider before I spoke to a stranger, so this would probably more likely lead to a very hazy rambling conversation at best!  I am not currently not in a pub so will try my best without fizzy fermented apple influences so here it is:

I am increasingly fascinated by the amazing creative architectural structures that people have built in Minecraft, which in turn has made me start to research and think about the future of the architecture and the urban planning industries through games and other virtual environments such as Minecraft.  I want to investigate the future possibilities of virtual world based games such as Minecraft and similar technologies being the start of a revolutionary building/gaming tool and would like to find out what the consequences are for these industries as Minecraft is so inexpensively available and also easy/fun to master and create with. Over the years I have used 3DS Max, (and more recently Maya), to recreate Interior and Exterior structures which requires a lot of study to achieve construction, environment, lighting, textures etc.  Minecraft is like a virtual Lego box with all the building structures ready prepared and waiting, all you need to do is have some imagination, (I hear if you love Lego this helps too).  So anybody can have a go at building without prior study, unleashing creative talent from those who may not have gone down the 3D program route, (on Friday I discovered my 7 year old son had made a hotel complete with a floor for housing sheep).  I have found a very interesting article called Game Over For Architects.  I have to ask myself after reading this, is this new technology good or bad for architectural and urban planning industries? Or should they be embracing them as some architectural practices are, (eg Architecture firm holds competition in Minecraft).

As I have to get down to the business of actually building something in Minecraft, I have discovered there are channels on YouTube which actually help you become a Minecraft Architect.  I shall be watching these to get some good tips, I have also decided for my first building I will be trying something a little less complicated than La Sagrada Familia!

Maybe I should try building my dream house………

Research, Science 2.0, Danger Pubs and The Unbearable Task of Homework, (not mine, my son’s, I like mine)!

St Peters House Library
St Peters House Library

Brighton Uni

The wealth of information on the Internet never ceases to amaze me!  I remember a time when the only place to get information was the building that is called, ‘The Library’, (see above image)! Because I decided on going to University in the wonderful, historical and quirky Brighton, the main library was of course in a lovely converted Regency building not connected to the main university campus. So it involved a very brisk walk down the road and in Autumn/Winter when those sea breezes were rather erm….’challenging,’ it didn’t help there was a lovely pub next door to the main University Building that was all to easy to enter, making the library a less attractive proposition…..(Danger Pub 1 see above image)!  Actually now I’ve just looked at a Google Map there are actually two pubs en-route, (one I had forgotten about = Double Danger Pub 2 see above image), I wonder does this have a statistical impact on students making it to the library? (In my case yes, I do I love a good pint of cider in a good pub)!  I am sure there could be some pertinent scientific research done on this!

Nowadays we have the internet with all it’s amazing resources and networking sites, which are enabling a rich cauldron of information to be shared.  The internet and it’s networking capabilities certainly enables information to reach those who may not have found it easily or if at all before.  Which brings me to research and Science 2.0.  Tonight I decided to search and see if I could find anything on Scientific research and Minecraft which is my project topic for the Research Module.  I was looking for informative scientific surveys that have been carried out.  At first I was getting a bit frustrated as I wanted statistical analysis,  I then read back through the lecture documents on Blackboard and realised what I was actually looking at were documents/blogs/web pages that encompassed the concept of the open science movement, (Science 2.0). I will reference these findings in the next paragraph.

I am currently looking at the game Minecraft, in regards to architecture and urban planning, however I am also very interested in games and education, (in the current module due to the timescale studying children is not possible, but I am also now very interested in games for educating adults, from an article I read earlier, however this is digressing and I will talk about this later)!  During my search for Minecraft and scientific research I have unexpectedly come across a lot of really interesting information regarding Minecraft and education.  Although as unexpected this is, it rather an epiphany for me!  I have been saying for a long time, “I wish education could work with games, (eg Minecraft or similar), it would make homework so much easier.” I have a young son and the last thing he wants to do after school is more schoolwork, I have often thought that I wish there was an alternative platform for learning.  So during my searches for, ‘Science,’ and, ‘Minecraft,’ I found the following article by Dr Dan Short: Teaching Scientific Concepts Using a Virtual World – Minecraft.   This next YouTube video I find amazing, it’s a Minecraft Scientific Calculator…….wow!!

Might be a bit advanced for Primary but this could be great for teenage/adult learning and definitely could be adapted for Primary learning too.  Here are some further Minecraft Science experiments: Top 5 Minecraft Science Experiments.  I have also found that papers which are pertinent to my research are written and being shared on sites such as the Social Science Research Network: User-Generated Content & Virtual Worlds.

The more I research into this game the more fascinated I become.  I have also found that Minecraft now has a dedicated educational website, Minecraft Edu Homepage and also the person the developer that makes it possible for them: Aleksi Postari, (I’m following him on Twitter and Tumblr).  Some schools have already implemented Minecraft into their curriculum: Swedish school makes Minecraft a must.  I’ve found a lot more links from all around the world, and have found out that Minecraft is a growing feature in schools and education, (there would be a large smiley emoticon here if I could work out how to do one without messing my blog up)!!  I must get round to fiddling about with the handy CSS editor!

So I have now downloaded and have started playing Minecraft, (Minecraft), on my PC.  I shall become addicted this is inevitable………………more updates soon I am in the process of constructing……….

CVs for Creative Industries Which, (Hopefully), Warm Employers Hearts

curriculum_vitae_by_iTudorVinyl_Record-Themed_Resume

It’s Tuesday and I have been doing some searches for local part time jobs, and already at the back of my mind I can see the grimtastic document that is my CV waving and niggling away at me with a wheedling little voice!  So I started thinking why should the task of updating a CV have to be arduous experience filled with dread, (well it is for me I would much rather be doing something else, in fact anything else, however not the ironing that is a step to far).  

A while ago on Facebook someone posted a link to 45 Resumes to Seize Attention and I also found CV’s and Profiles Archive.  So I had a look at both links and found some really interesting and innovative new ways to present the CV.  Why can it not be part of the creative process, the creators of these CVs looked liked they had a fascinating and enjoyable time making these designs!  There are some really nice graphic ideas, I particularly like the booklet/fan idea I think the format it’s presented in is really clever and completely different, it lends itself to encouraging the recipient want to open it and flick through.  I think a CV from a creative industry could be completely unique and so maybe, ‘off the wall,’ works best?  Or does it?  As much as I like the ideas in the links, are they too much?  Should a creative CV have elements of creativity without overloading the document with the design?  Some of the CVs from the link are maybe hiding/confusing the information they are trying to convey, amongst all the interesting graphics.  

However I don’t think there is a right answer to this, I do think that the appropriate design of the CV really depends on the ethos of the potential employers company, (brand, philosophies and outlook etc).   I also found an interesting article, Creative Resumes How Much Is Too Much, which also discusses some of the reactions and observations I have made regarding the Creative CVs and also discusses further insights and information from a professional point of view.  I particularly like the advice to always have a plain back up copy of your CV!  

HayleyWellsCreativeCVResume-the-Creative-Dork-by

The above also started me thinking more about CV’s appropriate to the industries we are trying to make impressions on.  Why can’t a CV be animated/contain film and also audio, if the person is working within the animation, audio, video or film industries?  So I decided to search and see what I could find, below are a few examples of my search:

Animated CV 1 my favourite I liked the humour! – Animated CV 2 – Animated CV/Portfolio 3 scroll down on website – Animated CV 4 – Animated CV 5

After watching a few of them I came to the conclusion I enjoyed watching the humorous ones most and also the quicker the animation/filming the more it kept my attention from the start.  As much as I’ve enjoyed the above do they work in a job application situation and are they appropriate?  Also I began to think is it acceptable to just send a link to a potential employer, how would the video CV be introduced?  Maybe the link/button should be embedded on an electronic static CV so that the potential employer has both options?  An eye-catching static CV with all the appropriate information and a very obvious link to the video CV maybe? The Video/Audio/Animated CV could be a like a teaser trailer maybe, a bonus addition, a mini showcase of work and skills, with a longer comprehensive animated portfolio to follow……..

There are lots of questions in the above paragraphs and I would be very interested in opinions, especially anyone has had good/bad experiences with using a creative CV? It’s something I’ve just started exploring so I’ll carry on researching and will update if I find more examples and evidence.  I would like to find some certain evidence that this kind of creative CV will work before spend time and launch it at prospective employers!! However it had been very interesting to find and enjoy some innovative design and inspiring work.

Carloslecrab and Other Bits and Bobs……

This blog is named after the sadly lost and greatly mourned Carloslecrab, he was last seen travelling off into the night in a taxi outside Reading. He was the best clubbing companion and will not to be forgotten!  He particularly liked Ministry of Sound and may have dodged sideways back there at some point!  If anyone ever found a small towelling type crab with a love of dance music please me know!  Please see banner above for indication as to what he may look like now, e.g, a bit more bedraggled and manic then when I last saw him! (he should be bright orange).

However this blog is not all about Carlos, so I have popped some info into the About section of this blog,  just so I could try making new pages!!