An Interview with Naace ICT Impact Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Dr Christina Preston

Christina Preston was one of two people given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Conference of Naace, the subject association for ICT. I interviewed her to find out about her and her work.

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Games-Based Learning: 3 Things You Need To Know About

If Games-Based Learning is something you’re interested in, or something you don’t know much about but would like to explore, you’ll be interested in these 3 events.

The Games-Based Learning Conference 2010

The first one I’d like to mention is the Games-Based Learning Conference in London. This takes place on the 29th and 30th March, and I would say it’s essential to attend, for the following reasons.

  • I think – and have always thought – that games have tremendous potential for education, as you can see from my case study. It’s great to have a conference dedicated to this subject.
  • I attended the conference last year, and found it extremely stimulating. I met or attended sessions by people who are not on my radar at all.

    For example, I attended a short presentation by someone developing a so-called ‘serious game’ (I thought all games were serious; but what’s wrong with having fun anyway?) for a particular organisation at the time. As I had already arranged a visit by a group of teachers to the company to look at their IT systems, I was able to ask our host for a special detour to find out more about the simulations it had commissioned.

    I also attended one or two talks by academics, some of whom came from abroad. These talks brought an extra dimension to my understanding and knowledge of games-based learning.
  • Like the Handheld Learning Conference, which is also organised by Graham Brown-Martin, the GBL Conference has a very vibrant, upbeat, celebratory atmosphere. At the end of the Handheld Learning Conference in October 2009 I scribbled one word on my notepad: ‘exhilarating’. The GBL Conference is similar.
  • The organisers have been sensible enough to invite Derek Robertson of Scotland to give one of the talks. They’re doing brilliant things in Scotland – so much so that, having attended a Scotland-centred session at the Handheld Learning Conference, half of us were ready to emigrate there and then!

There’s an early bird discount if you book by the 31st January. The cost will be £345 + VAT, a saving of around £250. In addition to a fully inclusive 2 day conference, there is a social networking evening with drinks and the choice of an additional workshop hosted during 2010 in London by Playgen. Also, every ‘early bird’ will receive a FREE digital camcorder so that they can record parts of the conference that interest them. Hopefully this will encourage some video blogging and uploads to YouTube, etc, which should make an interesting addition to the usual Twitter stream and the more official Blip TV videos of the keynotes. There are also two newsletters available at:



To find out more about the conference programme and to register, go to the conference’s home page. And don’t forget: Early Bird registration ends on the 31st January.

Computer games, learning and the curriculum: uneasy bedfellows?

Another, very different, event you might like to attend is the Mirandamod event on the 9th March at the Institute of Education. Run under the auspices of Mirandanet, an academic group founded by Christina Preston, these typically take the form of a seminar at which two or three guest speakers give a presentation and the rest of us chip in, followed by a debate. What makes the experience quite rewarding is the following:

  • Unlike a conference, the atmosphere is a bit more intimate. I’m not talking about candlelit dinners intimate, but with a smallish number (around 20 or so) it’s easy to get to talk to most people there.
  • The event is live-streamed, so we receive comments and questions via Twitter and through the FlashMeeting videoconferencing system.
  • There’s a nice variety of speakers and attendees. This time, for example, Handheld Learning Award winner Dawn Halleybone will speak, as will Colin Harrison, Professor of Literacy Studies at the University of Nottingham, and Dominic Preston (Christina Preston’s son), who will talk about marketing issues.

I will be chairing this event, and look forward to meeting you in person or seeing you online. To find out more about it, read the details, and register, online.

Computers in Classrooms Games in Education Special Edition

The final ‘event’ is the publication of a special Games-Based Learning edition of Computers in Classrooms, my free e-newsletter. I have invited a number of guest writers to give their perspectives on games in education, and there will be reviews as well a prize draw for an award-winning game. Only subscribers will be entered into the draw, and as a subscription doesn’t cost any money, what are you waiting for?

If you have experience of using educational games, or of games in an educational setting, or views, why not share them with your fellow travellers on this road to enlightenment? I can accept articles ranging from ultra short (140 characters), to almost ultra short (50 words) to average (600 words) to rather detailed (1500 words). But get in touch to pitch me your idea first!

If discursive writing isn’t your thing, do have a look at my 50 Ways To Contribute To A Website. There’s sure to be something there to appeal to you!

That edition will be coming out in April, after the Easter break. There are some other great issues planned as well, including a post-BETT special. If you’d like to look at past issues and sign up (did I mention that it’s free?), just go straight here: