Midlands lead the way… Games for Health Conference 2016 #G4HUK2016

Who’d have thought I’d ever write that. After leaving the cosy bubble of Bristol, we were “sent to Cov” a couple of years back. It must have been something naughty we’d done…

But last week I attended a conference that is just another example of how Coventry and the Midlands is thinking now. The Games for Health UK Conference  run by Dr Pam Kato and Coventry University was truly outstanding (http://www.seriousgamesinstitute.co.uk/events/pages.aspx?section=29&item=241). When you’ve been to a lot of conferences, it’s easy to spot a good one, this was one and I only was able to make the afternoon which was packed with content.

My afternoon started off with Earnst, talking us through some very practical changes we can all make to our games. Talking through Visual edits and previews with viz. Then moving onto how actually journals in games help people with Mental disabilities to remember and piece together the game they’ve been through already.

Then after such a practical chat, we were blessed with a talk from @alacon who took us through a very cognitive session on Women in Games.

There was some great research which shows how our “work environment” in which we spend most of our time effects men and women differently.

Focus Games were next up @focusgames and they offered a new perspective on the digital games we produce by showing us how they produce their very “low tech” board games for health care learning. Apparently, Agile has no place in board games!

Who’s heard of GTA? You know, Grand Theft Auto One, that game where you steal, punch and make money being super naughty! Well, my friend and I bonded over that game massively and one of the lead producers came to talk to us at the Games for Health Conference.

This man, Jamie King was filled with practical thoughts and books with theory he cares for and was so happy to share it all. He was an absolute highlight to the whole event. I only wish I had time to write more.

Can’t wait for the next one!

New Job, new year!

Guess who’s gone and got himself his first Full time job?

ME!

I’m now proudly an “E-learning Developer” in Warwick Manufacturing Group, a part of Warwick University.

Roughly that’ll mean I’m a one man digital solution team. Scoping digital projects, running Agile Project management and coding the Delivery of projects to support WMG’s blended E-learning courses.

I’m very excited, I’ll be working in a very exciting building with robots, a mini submarine and loads of big machines.

So, all blog posts are my own nonsense and no expression of UoW or anyone else but me.

DPC out

How to celebrate St George’s Day

Type into Facebook or Twitter, “Happy St George’s Day!”.

We have now completed the minimum acceptable celebration. Now if you’re unsure of what else to do, you could copy me and appreciate…

  • the journey back into England after visiting a foreign country and looking at its luscious green endless fields.
  • some of the most heterogeneous History ever! Even if I don’t like all of it, there’s a lot to learn from it.
  • how if I hurt myself, I go to the doctors and I get helped. Breaking Bad would be a short series here
  • it’s lucky we were born here and not somewhere dangerous, in mass poverty, famine  or at war
  • that we build ourselves up every world cup for the football and it never happens

Who knows, next year, we may write something on Facebook AND splash out on a little on a cool England tee shirt . The day is whatever we want to make of it.

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The super meetup of digital and government thought leaders, CITIZEN2013

 

Can citizens really be customers? Can public bodies really ‘engage’ with citizens? Can the public sector achieve the same ease of doing business online as achieved by the big online brands? On June 13, 2013 the second CITIZEN conference will take place to try to answer these questions.

Now this is exciting, I’ve got a ticket to go to CITIZEN2013, albeit it’s to help out and get some Voxpops, however I’m still going and couldn’t be more chuffed.

This year it’s on June 13th at the Park Plaza Westminister Bridge Hotel and my word are there going to be some outstanding speakers. It’s worth noting too the number of top women speakers, thank goodness; A view on democracy and politics from what is a very male dominated workforce. (146 women out of 504 people, House of Commons, 2012)

So, first up on the list to tell you about is Elizabeth Linder, who is currently Facebook’s Political and Government specialist. She’s not shy of all the big digital wigs and has worked at Google and Youtube already with similarly huge roles.

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Second, and even more Government is Martha Lane Fox who co-founded lastmintue.com and is now the “UK’s Digital Champion and chair of Go On UK” whatever that is 😛

Martha Lane Fox
Martha Lane Fox

Maybe the next post, I’ll attempt to shut my gaping mouth and talk a little about what’s being discussed at CITIZEN2013 this year and it’s relevance to the other Governement Digital meetups I’ve attended.

Bristol Young Student of the Year Awards

 

Developing young peoples’ employability skills by giving them real business experience and the confidence to achieve

I’m excited to be invited to attend the the BYT awards next week at the Mall, Bristol. It’s a brilliant competition in the second year of running. Here’s a mug shot of all the entrants this year,

Bristol Young Talent Awards
Bristol Young Talent Awards

Last year I made time to mentor a group of 16yr olds lads, their challenge was to make a smartphone app for the Bloodhound project which was fun for learning. Their solution was great, a little racing game where the more questions you answered correctly, the faster the bloodhound went.

This year, we’re all expecting bigger things, I promise to report back on Bristol’s young talent showcase after the event.

http://bristolyoungtalent-eorg.eventbrite.co.uk/

Hacking apart the environment – the write up

The event has been going all weekend, people are so tired they, wolfed down the pizza and fizzy drinks in 10 minutes after serving and they should be looking sugar-rush nervous.

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But there’s a jolly tone in the air, and even with the judges stalking between the teams checking out everyone’s new creative ideas. The probing, “I’m sorry, it does what again?” intersperse a brave developer’s sleepy pitch.

The environment hack weekend is a great idea. The up-beat tone is testament to the progress people have made on behalf of themselves and the environment agency.

What is it?
Here is a good value solution for government agencies looking to start digital projects ‘right’. There is an opportunity for crowd wisdom, creative flair, silly ideas and it won’t break the bank!

There are limits to these events, its use is better for discovering a new brief, not finishing a product. It’s for ideas and concepts not working on an old product. It’s best used as a pre-cursor for new products and available budget spend. Also, the haphazard team that had the creative idea may not be the best to make it a reality.

However, more government projects and agencies should try this model (ill be creating a template in another post) attempting to find the great ideas with all their data, using the skilled public at a small scale to look for and probe for successful services in the digital revolution.

The presentations
I saw all the presentations luckily, at the expense of nearly missing the train, here’s my favourites.

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River watch, identifying the points on a canal where the biggest drop is, which identifies good places for a hydroelectric station.

Air pollution, a map app that links asthma prescriptions data to air pollution data, letting you see high and low affected spots of those two data sets.

Many penguins might die, a silly and very shareable city environment quality app which tells you how many penguins might die if you dumped them in your city. Their predicted death toll is based on water, air and food quality. Lower penguin death count indicates better living quality… Obviously!

I can see satellites, a calm app thats clearly from someone who’s done time as at the pmstudio. The app quietly reports how many satellites it can see above at any point.

Finished the first Open University Assignement, hurrah!

Finally, I’m sure the other Open University peeps feel the same. The feeling of, wow, that wasn’t as easy as it sounded!

The first assignment got handed in a-ok on Sunday night, wow. For such a short essay, you realise how much work goes into prepping up something to actually be “near” good.

How did everyone else’s go?

One does not simply leave TMA01 until the weekend before
One does not simply leave TMA01 until the weekend before