BILETA paper

by Paul Maharg on 14/05/2007

Presented a set of slides at the BILETA 2007 conference on the SIMPLE project last month.  The slot was a milestone experience in a lot of ways.  Michael Hughes and Gavin Maxwell, our applications developers, have been hard at work for the past six months and more, putting together specs for the platform and tools, defining functionality and coding up.  Recently the core team saw the results.  Michael led us through the platform, which hasn’t been dollied up (tech term) with a proper interface, and we had lots of comment.  It’s way more powerful than either staff or students have at present in the GGSL.  In the afternoon we got to play with the tools we’ll be using to create the simulations, and I have to say it was a strangely emotional event for me. 

For the past seven years I’ve used the version that we knocked together literally on the hoof.  Seeing it all come to together in one set of tools I began to be excited again about the power of the simulation concept — kind of like Christmas morning and you’re six again type of feeling.  But also sad in that I could see ideas now concrete as functionality — though there’s no reason why I should be sad about that.  And hugely interested to see what others will make of the tools.  I guess that apart from functionality, I now see the tools as a sort of shorthand for ideas and educational culture I’ve been working with for the past seven years.  Or it’s like a creole, with all the shortcuts & ellipses of the language, and a rich polyglot culture lying behind it. 

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