The Mac Lab

Vincent and Semar’s Excellent Adventure (Week 31)

by on Apr.30, 2012, under Blog

Code is Poetry.
WordPress Motto

Imagine the first day of school next year. After finding their seats, the students are confronted with a teacher who simply smiles and points to the board.

On the board is login info and a directive to use a browser to find the Mac Lab Blog and follow the instructions found on the Week 1 post.

Once there, students are guided through the process of creating their own account on the blog. The final step involves logging in.

At login, several things happen at the same time:

  • +10 XP appears in the upper right corner of the browser
  • A progress bar/counter in the right sidebar registers the +10 XP
  • A generic Gravatar with the student’s name appears at the top of the sidebar

There’s more to it than that, but the main point is that each student will have his/her own account on the blog and the blog will keep track of his/her XP and virtual currency. No more switching to Google Docs.

But that’s not all.

When a link leading to a quest is clicked, +10 XP (or whatever amount I assign) appears in the upper right corner of the browser and the progress bar/counter registers the XP. A new page is automatically populated with a new entry for the user. Every Quest a student encounters will appear on this page. When a student accepts a quest, the +XP sequence occurs and the page designation changes to Quest Accepted. When a student completes a quest the process is repeated.

Each student has a record of his or her quest line. This should be helpful, yes?

To answer the obvious questions at this point, the XP for logging in is only available once per day but it’s available once every day. The XP for encountering, accepting, and completing quests is a one-time only event (though there may be some special repeatable quests).

The next obvious question involves XP and virtual currency. Next year students will be able to spend their XP and/or virtual currency on the blog. Purchasing resources or privileges (that aren’t available to everyone else) will be as simple as clicking a button. But this time, -XP appears in the upper right corner of the browser and the progress bar will update to reflect the deduction. If a student doesn’t have enough to cover the transaction, nothing happens. And yes, students will be able to purchase time to cover absences and/or off-tasks. (XP will not automatically be worth time.)

Several students have made good points explaining why spending XP is a bad idea. It’s looking like the virtual currency will be our virtual currency. Kind of makes sense, eh?

As for AMP, it will be earned, not given.

All students will begin at Level 1. As quests are completed, XP automatically adds up and new levels are reached. At some point, a new door will open and AMP will kick in. Harder-working students will reach AMP more quickly. These students will also have the choice to continue with quest lines if they want more structure.

The new blog will have other features like forums, groups, announcements, messaging, achievements, etc. There’s a lot more. It’s really amazing. Vincent and Semar are creating a tool that teachers have been asking for—a tool that didn’t exist before. And all of this happened because you helped test-drive the TAG Beta.

I’ll have info about adding additional XP and gold to your accounts later this week. For now, I’d like you to focus on one thing:

What else does the new blog need?

Break into groups, discuss, and post your ideas. That’s right, no Illustrator, Photoshop, Cinema 4D, or any other programs today. Just you and a browser pointed at the blog. Wander around and join other discussions. Feed off each others’ ideas!

IMPORTANT: Read all comments before posting yours.

Looking forward to reading your comments.

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0430: Thanks to Semar for his poetic PHP. Want to help? Learn PHP.

Note: The district asked me to blur that code.

••••• ••••• ••••• ••••• •••••

0501: Thanks so much for participating yesterday. Your feedback led to one major revision and several terrific additions to our TAG 1.0 plans.

XP is XP: XP will be used for leveling. Virtual currency (VC) will buy things. Dane deserves credit for explaining why this is a better idea.

Purchasing Power: Among the suggestions for what you can buy:

I was surprised that no one suggested buying the right to use cell phones for a day. (Yes, that will be an option. A very expensive one.)

Things That Won’t Cost VC: Tutorials and Apps. Tutorials will always be free and unlocking apps will be tied to leveling.

Wait for It: There were many suggestions for advanced features, and some were rock solid, but right now we need to focus on the fundamentals. (But I’m always open to all suggestions because we need to look to the future of TAG too.)

I Like It the Way It Used to Be: Oday and Nikki gave thoughtful counter-arguements as to why TAG doesn’t work for them. Fair enough, but…

If there’s been one constant since I began teaching ten years ago, it’s veterans telling me that last year was better than the current one. Both students made good points but I already answered their primary objection. And that brings us to…

AMP: I was surprised at how many students felt that AMP was a right that should come into play at the start of the year. Hey, it only took one student seven weeks to earn creative freedom this time around. Remember?

And that brings me back to Paul. As much as I’d love to see what kind of posters and graphics he might produce, I just can’t be that selfish. He’s quietly done everything I’ve asked and he’s pushed the process far beyond anyone in any class. Unlike others who want creative freedom (and want it now), he’s not complained once during the first seven weeks. He simply followed instructions, done everything I’ve asked, and is now probably uncomfortable with the attention this post will bring his way.
— from Earning Your Wings

Begin With a Strong Foundation: The first weeks in the Mac Lab are all about policies, expectations, and fundamentals. It’s when the culture of the classroom is established.

Even sports stars run the same drills as the rookies do when a new season rolls around.

AMP will follow when it’s earned.

••••• ••••• ••••• ••••• •••••

As always, I’m interested in your feedback. And it’s okay to disagree with me. I was wrong about spending XP and I’m sure I’m wrong about other things too.

But I’m not wrong about the need to try to fundamentally alter the ways schools operate. Our education system is in desperate need of new direction. It needs us to be bold and experiment with new ways to engage and motivate students. Yes, change is sometimes hard to accept but the alternative—to maintain the status quo—is to ensure our collective failure.

I’m looking forward to your continued feedback. The rest of the day is yours. Create, ideate, or add more ideas to the comments. And even if I didn’t respond directly, I appreciated your comments. (Yes, I’ve read all of them.)

••••• ••••• ••••• ••••• •••••

0502: A message from an alumni in the comments:

Everyone! Whether you like the old Mac Lab System or the new one — once you get out and go to college, you will miss whatever Mac Lab is there right now! Enjoy your time. You will never have a similar class ever again.
Diana Issa 

Okay, you’ve read enough the last two days. Have some fun creating amazing art today!

P.S. Comments are still welcomed. 😛

••••• ••••• ••••• ••••• •••••

0503: Work on your projects.

MLSS: Next Mac Lab Saturday School™ is May 12.

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0504: May the Fourth be with you.

MLSS: No Mac Lab Saturday School™ tomorrow. Next one is May 12.

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:,

317 Comments for this entry

  • Hayes

    Sounds cool. Looks like Buddypress is working out for you and you are taking it to the next level. It is nice having some motivated PHP students helping to customize Buddypress. Cool stuff.

  • Eric F.

    The blog as you describe it in the post needs more cooperation… as in group quests, or purchases that require many people to put in stock and that benefits the group as a whole, or a system of competition based on student formed groups(like guilds) that rewards the top group at the end of the month(or grading period). There should be specialized quests that work in specific programs so students can diverge from the mainstream programs(Photoshop, Illustrator) and still be rewarded by XP or virtual currency. Quests should also be graded, so students are rewarded for the level of their work; there isn’t a one size fits all XP/virtual currency reward for each quest, you get a percentage lower or higher than 100 of the base XP/virtual currency rewarded for the quest.

  • Steven A

    Another thing similar to purchasing an absence or purchasing an off task, one should be able to purchase homework passes. These homework passes would allow you to work on homework in class.

  • skocko

    Thanks, Hayes. I’m sure you have some solid ideas too. Love to hear ’em!

    We’ll be sharing the templates and plugins with anyone who wants them.

  • Luis L.

    devin, matt, and i believe that there should be like a featured artwork slideshow of some sort, and the three best artworks should be put up every week, if possible.

  • Carlos I

    @Steven A: or you could also purchase a day of playing video games or doing whatever you want!

  • Matt A

    @Luis L.: also the Class should have a “joke of the day” or something fun 😀

  • Michael R

    Could people automatically get 10 xp from just clicking the quest or would he have to complete the quest?

  • Amber L.

    I’m pretty happy with what you say it has already. if I’m understanding it correctly then i can’t think of anything else it would need. i know that if we had this when i came into the class, it would have been so much easier for me.

  • Matt A

    @Steven A: But can’t we all ready do that, But we don’t have to bye them?

  • Carlos I

    It would be cool if u could purchase more than 100 songs on iTunes

  • Vincent A

    You’re my favorite person ;]

  • MIlad J

    I think we should be able to purchase free time with our XP and you could do your homework for an amount of xp.

  • Devin C.

    Haha true i like this better !!!!!

  • Angelo N

    Norman, Milad, and I think you should do something like when ur late too class you deduct off about 10XP. Also I think the idea off being able to buy extra time for being absent is a good idea. Another good thing will be the people who come in there own time should get like 10XP every time they reach a hour of extra time. The people that are in here on there own should be able to buy time in class to do homework with that extra time.

  • Matt A

    steven already said that……Awkward!!!

  • Harley H.

    I think the blog should sort of add the Saga to its post everyday and update the users about our school, whether it will be about upcoming events like sports or something.

  • Luis L.

    we should have stock haha

  • Nicholas V.

    Prestige Mode!! Once you max out your level you should be able to restart for glory. Maybe, a special reward for every time you prestige. A logo or a mascot would be cool.

  • Husam J

    You know how when you click on the homepage doesn’t show you all the pervious written posts? well, why don’t they try making an intro to the blog ONCE when a person wants to click on the homepage. I can personally help out on the intro as in creativity not in coding.

    Vincent, I have a good view of your computer from where I am sitting, and when ever I wander off and look at it I would think, “Wow, what this person have been doing is true art.” You guys are making the world a little better place as Skocko keeps saying on Fridays.

  • Matt A

    Can We Listen Free Previews To Songs On ITunes?

  • MIlad J

    @Steven A: No one copied you!

  • Vincent A

    That’s streaming — no

  • David H

    Instead of already getting a portion of XP for accepting the quest, I think the XP bar should extend all the way to the quests XP being added on, but be a different color indicating that it hasn’t been added on yet because you didn’t finish the quests. That different colored bar would just be there to show you and tempt you to finish that quest. It will also let you know how much XP you will have after you finish the quest(s). Kind of like in After Effects where the green bar in the timeline means that those frames are rendered for the RAM preview and the blue line means that they are somewhat rendered for it. I’m not exactly sure what the blue bar in AE means, but I thought it was a cool idea for the XP bar. And I couldn’t tell exactly what your plans are for currency, but on Google Docs right now we have copper, silver and gold. Maybe we should just have gold to “keep it simple.”

    And for AMP, it felt like when your doing a project, XP earning just slows because you are dong your project, without a given XP amount. And if you are pretty much done with it, you should be able to post it to the blog to share like a Deviant Art or YouTube type thing and others could give you feedback (but nothing mean so it doesn’t hurt feelings). That way people could browse other peoples videos and pictures and get inspiration from them. And that way, the person who has the video/picture will know what to improve on.
    A website called BlendSwap (a website that lets you share your Blender files with others to use and download some) has a program that has a little window that you can preview the 3D file before you download it. MAybe for the 3D guys, we could also have something like that.

  • Luis L.

    joke of the day here^

  • Matt A

    @Matt A: without getting in trouble, Because i like my songs and You’re songs are okay but i like my more

  • Ian T

    I’m thinking of improving the appearence of the scoresheet. Like its color scheme can be more adjacent to the blog’s main colors.

  • Ian T

    Stupid comment above. Ha, I’m only kidding!

  • Matt A

    @David H: My attention span is too short to to read but i like the idea

  • David H

    If you look at Ian’s comment above, we should also be able to remove our own comments from a page if we decide that they were stupid or had to many grammar mistakes. Maybe we could also edit a comment to be able to fix any grammar.

  • Matt A

    @Ian T: did u make-fun of you’re self? 0_o

  • Luis L.

    we should have groups and we can join them, and the groups should be categorized and work on projects within those groups and if a person doesn’t know anything in what the group does, the group can teach them how to use the programs they use

  • David H

    @David H: Like that comment right there. I accidentally put to instead of too. And my previous comment had two capitols in the word “maybe.”

  • Max M

    Maybe access to photoshop and cinema 4d should be purchased or unlocked with Mac Lab currency or exp. Everyone would start out in illustrator and, while reading the blog and following it would give exp. and currency as rewards, turning in projects and logos would give Project Points that would be required for unlocking photoshop, cinema 4d, etc. The amount of Project Points awarded would then be based on either the quality and originality of the work, or by category, i.e:

    logos= 20 Points
    posters= 50 Points
    etc.

  • Ian T

    No, I gave inspiration to David’s idea. I think.

  • Vincent A

    There is no scoresheet — a page with your points and everything yes, no scoresheet. It’s just integrated.

  • Husam J

    Maybe people should purchase tutorials if they want to watch one.

  • Vincent A

    Already Works, you can edit a comment up to 15 minutes after posting it. isn’t that great?

  • Vincent A

    Already have groups, friends, forums, so if you are working on a project you can create a group dedicated to the project, it’s easy.

  • skocko

    David: We used a forum for critiques a few years back where students could post images and set their crit threshold from cruel (be brutally honest) to kind (just tell me how to improve it).

    It worked wonderfully but, like Google Docs, it was separate from our main site so it didn’t work as well as we hoped. Next year, though, the forum is right in the blog. Bonus!

    Everyone: You’ll be able to edit your comments for X minutes. (I’m thinking 5 would be enough but I can set it anywhere from 0-15 minutes.)

  • skocko

    At the top of every page there’s a link called posts. Try clicking that.

  • Edward B.

    I’m extremely uncreative when it comes to this, I think a lot of the suggested ideas work very well though, I don’t see much fault in them.

  • Jeff B

    I think it might be cool to have separate factions or smaller guilds within TAG that when completing group tasks would achieve spoils for the entire group. An individual might also be able to level up and achieve higher rankings within their own guild or faction as well. These factions would be based off of certain abilities or specialties perhaps and by combining the multiple talents of each individual a guild could attain greater work. Another possibility would be guild rankings in how the highest ranked guild would also achieve greater benefits like you had mentioned in the blog. Your XP that you have attained from quests and logging in could possibly act as a currency within your own guild as well, where you could contribute your own XP to better your guild or obtain better privileges. These are just a few ideas. If I think of any more, than I will post them as well.

  • Dane C

    “Next year students will be able to spend their XP and/or virtual currency on the blog.”

    Having spendable XP is always a very dangerous idea in the world of gaming. Often times, it will lead to people becoming confused on what level they are or why they may or may not have gone down a level because they just spent their last XP. If I may point you to an example: “Halo: Reach” has a very similar system of XP. When you finish games, you are given credits (cR) for your victories/defeat. Your cR is an indication for what level you are but you could also buy different armor and special effects with it. In the beta, a lot of people found this very confusing and in my opinion, it should probably be avoided as much as possible.

    As an alternative, I think Illustrator, Photoshop, and C4D (depending on your class) can be unlocked with higher amounts of XP/levels, but XP should not be deducted if a main program is unlocked. Programs like Flash, iTunes, Skype (for interclass communications), etc should be bought with your gold/silver/copper.

  • Yousef F

    We should be able to subscribe to other blogs, I think it would be a fun idea.

  • Anthony N

    I think We should have XP deducted for being off task or late.

  • Neman G.

    I believe that there should be a progress bar for each class period, and to compare which class is doing better.

  • skocko

    Edward: Which ideas work very well? Why?

    Answering those questions will lead you to ideas of your own.

    Everyone is capable of creative thought.

  • Tyler R

    Skocko have you seen The Social Network? I watched it the other day and thought about how in the movie at the beginning they used the chess rating algorithm so people could vote on who, in the movie, looked better.
    Why not create something along the same lines, with the same algorithm, but with student art. Its anonymous, and it is full of constructive criticism, and it gives each student a rating on their effort, and their finished product from a panel of his or her peers.
    Higher ratings earns XP automatically, each up vote, is, oh, 3 XP for the artist? And for voting people can gain 1 XP. That way, people are motivated to help out their peers, and the artists are motivated to enhance their art to earn higher ratings.

  • Dane C

    After reading all of these comments, all I’m seeing is

    “Let’s just take World of Warcraft, and make it the Mac Lab!”

    Seriously, let’s play some other games here, people.

  • skocko

    Neman: That’s a very cool idea.

  • skocko

    Dane: Incorporating ideas from other games is fine.

  • Feras J

    Steven A’s and David H’s suggestions both strike me as the best ones proposed. Respectively, I believe we should be able to use our XP and/or Gold and rewards to “purchase” an absense or off task. I would assume this could be done by not removing the mark, but just the penalty assigned. (a.k.a. minutes) Period long or half period long homework passes also should be available for purchase at the Mac Lab Store, as Semar Y suggested on his blog. Additionally, in the case that a grammatically incorrect comment is posted, or simply one that the user would like to remove, we should ALL have the option to edit/remove a comment that we post. Also, the ability to report a comment would be nice, as we could administer comments that are either too rude, irrelevant, or controversial, etc.

  • Neman G.

    @skocko: Thank You Mr.Skocko your opinion mean alot :’)

  • Alex L

    Why not have a choose your path option? Where the students can decided what they want to have mastery in……I get what you mean by having skills, and leveling up to get new ones but it’d be better to have ALL skills available at level 1 right at the start. It’s not right to limit someone in the beginning of the year to JUST illustrator and photoshop, it’s a great option, but some kids would prefer video editing, coding, music production, or whatever. Give them that option to begin that skill at a level one. It’s like AMP where you choose, but it’s controlled because you follow through on your choice.

  • Tyler R

    Like classes, and race in WoW 😀

  • Alexander E

    Dear the vast majority of todays comments: This is a capital i = I. It is achieved by holding shift, and pressing the letter I. I say this because it would seem that this is an entity unknown to some. Try using it next time you refer to yourself. It might make you look a little bit more literate. For the few who have used I correctly, thank you.

  • Tyler R

    Skocko have you seen The Social Network? I watched it the other day and thought about how in the movie at the beginning they used the chess rating algorithm so people could vote on who, in the movie, looked better.
    Why not create something along the same lines, with the same algorithm, but with student art. Its anonymous, and it is full of constructive criticism, and it gives each student a rating on their effort, and their finished product from a panel of his or her peers.
    Higher ratings earns XP automatically, each up vote, is, oh, 3 XP for the artist? And for voting people can gain 1 XP. That way, people are motivated to help out their peers, and the artists are motivated to enhance their art to earn higher ratings.

  • Chase P

    Ben and I think the idea of applications being purchased is a great idea, but their would be many people who would go on the apps that they haven’t unlocked yet. We propose that we have some sort of cyber police that can be obtainable to veterans. This would be like bounty hunting but it would be more organized and the police wouldn’t only do it for the XP.

  • Yousef F

    Hey has anyone noticed the time on the blog is off by a few minutes

  • Shawn M.

    @Dane C: I have to agree with Dane on this one. Spendable experience seems to be a bad idea. I would hate to be level 20 and then drop 2 levels because i bought a homework pass. Make gold for spending, and XP for levels.

  • Dane C

    I would say that fits more under profession.

  • Edward B.

    Are you referring to Elo? If so I’d agree, but I do see a lot of problems with people just down voting to make others feel bad, like the whole thumbs down massacre this year. Some people just can’t hand anonymity properly, and would go corrupt with it, so there’s always problems because of people who think they should just thumbs down everything, and the exp reward would just make them just rush through pictures, not really analyzing very much. I guess a timer could be put on between vote.. Too many down ratings from one user could result in a ban on votes, I guess.

  • Alexander E

    Also, the new Blog ideas sound pretty cool. I think that the interactivity and ease of tracking will encourage a greater range of people to participate actively in the class.

  • Edward B.

    No, it’s Skocko’s first attempt at time travel. Wish him luck!

  • Anthony N

    @Yousef F: No I havent noticed, Maybe your computer clock is off.

  • Edward B.

    Agreed, but the only issue I can see with some of this is people getting to into the blog, and not into their projects.

  • Tyler R

    Heyman, people are commenting on the blog as the ideas are coming to them, if they stop to think about their spelling, they lose track of their idea, and then end up going on a completely different path. It isn’t such a big deal that people forget to capitalize the “I”, their comments are adding to the future creation that is TAG and the Mac Lab, surely you cannot think of anything better? It doesn’t help anyone to make us all feel “illiterate”, it kinda sucks.
    Constructive criticism is cool, be my guest, but adding on, “It might make you look a little bit more literate,” isn’t appropriate, nor is it respectful to your peers.

  • Edward B.

    No it is off, by about 5 minutes or so.

  • Alexander E

    Tyler, this is an idea that I have been trying to get past Skocko since the beginning of the year. Apparently it would be very difficult to institute.

  • Anthony N

    The blog should create a mobile app.

  • Dane C

    Day 36: Still searching for a clock on the blog. Supplies are running low. Hopes are gone. If you see my wife, tell her I said “Hello”.

  • Tyler R

    Thats why it wouldn’t be a thumbs down process, I see it as two pieces of art next to each other and people click on which one they believe is better and leave a reason as to why that one deserves your vote, and what the other needs to fix in order to get your vote next time. If someone fixes their problem, then they post it to the blog and ask for the old version to be removed, and the new version to be placed into the random rotation, starting its rating anew.

  • Dane C

    Baby steps, Anthony. Baby steps.

  • Edward B.

    Futurama reference. I agree.

  • Shannon K

    I have a question, does this apply to seniors?

  • Gabriel C.

    I think we should make the blog 3-D.

  • Edward B.

    That works a lot better, but one thing is I would still be in favor of a vote timer, just so that each piece does get it’s far analysis, not just a random click for exp.

  • Adam M.

    Really, Prestige Mode? Its pointless in COD (ok a little less now that you gets stuff) and would be even more pointless in the Mac Lab. In COD it is basically to keep you playing once you get all the guns, perks, airstrikes, etc. and to show off how good you are at the game. Also I don’t think Skocko will put a level cap (or at least a realistically achievable one) since we are never really done in the Mac Lab; there’s always more to learn. Prestiging would mean that you are done with the game and want to start over; you can’t unlearn something in real life. I think constant leveling with some sort of perk system will work just fine. Possibly a sub-leveling system (leveling individual skills such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Cinema to build an overall level) and a perk tree (like Skyrim) to make it more interesting and useful.

  • Oday Yousif

    I am a firm believer that the Mac Lab, as it is right now, is in the right condition and does not need to be changed or improved in THIS way. I believe the currency, XP, and all the new features are unnecessary and not the changes we need. Event though this amazing system (major compliments to Semar and Vincent) is in full force and almost ready to be delivered, it should not be put in use for students who who do not want it. I know there are many student who want to come in the the Mac Lab, read the blog, and continue on their work.
    I, along with with other, believe that the new system will distract the creative process by adding an unnecessary amount of ‘extras’ in to the blog, thus diverting focus away from a students project and directing it to the hustle and bustle of completing XP and going on quests.
    Overall, it think that people should be able to choose weather to embark on the journey of the new Mac Lab or stick to the classic ways of the Mac Lab.

  • Daniel L

    I think it would be different to have a video game interface that has all the accessibility’s of the blog exept we can walk around and interact with the environment. All quests would be interactive of some sort like the kerning game that we played in the beginning of the year, and with that we earn XP points from the game.
    Another idea would be that XP has purchasing power, some said, to buy photoshop or flash. I think that it should go beyond that to buy bathroom passes and we could also buy our way out of Saturday School. (But who would want to do that, right Skocko 😉 )
    Last idea, I think we should have some kind of PvP interface where we can duel other students in Illustrator/Photoshop facts for their XP and Gold. This would have people know their stuff and it would encourage them to watch tutorials to gain the advantage over the playing field. And if both PvP’rs are lacking in skill then they both loose XP and Gold due to inexperience and waisting time. Our Gravitars would also be incorporated to distinguish who you are facing and to increase the tension.

  • Dane C

    For the sake of the Mac Lab, just post ideas. It’s more productive than.. I don’t know.. playing cards all period long? Try to help.

  • Chase P

    The Blog should make a YouTube channel.

  • Tyler R

    It wouldn’t be that hard to execute, one separate page for submissions of finished work will be the page that will be used for the voting system, all submissions are put into a “cache”, drawn from by random, and placed into the rotation. I am interested in executing this for the blog.

  • Sam W.

    The very idea of charging for tutorials, in my opinion, is absurd. As a first year student to the Mac Lab, in the beginning, I needed all the help I could get. If I don’t know what I’m doing, then I would not earn very much XP which in turn would cause me to be unable to purchase the tutorials needed to achieve my goals. So all in all I believe that charging for tutorials is a very bad idea!

  • Alex L

    That could be integrated into Valhalla’s soon to be App.

  • Oday Yousif

    That is exactly what I think the problem with the whole system is.

  • skocko

    You’re going to start with ZERO and will have to purchase the right. There won’t be a cap.

  • Shannon K

    That is just futuristic and unreal, come on you need to think this century

  • Tyler R

    I can see that working. Instead of a random rotation, it is actually a rotation pulling from the entered group.
    Also there could be categories, Cinema 4D, Photoshop, Illustrator, and subsections within each of those, that way someone’s typography doesn’t go against some one else’s 3D structure.

  • Ben C.

    I think that the blog should have quests for making mobile apps. Also I don’t agree with the idea of having to earn AMP.

  • Maxwell F

    @Edward B.: I feel as if that problem will take care of itself. The way I read it, it seems as if a large portion of the privileges in the Mac Lab will be barred from users that lack substantial experience points and currency to spend; so that without focusing on projects, users will be unable to effectively participate. I could have misunderstood the description of the new blog, in which case, the privileges should be manipulated to create an environment that requires work and focus.

    Conversely, I don’t think that your work should be limited very much. Alex L. made an interesting plea in asking for the ability to choose your program at the beginning of the year, instead of sticking to Photoshop and Illustrator. I suppose the problem with that, is that Mr. Skocko would be required to create tutorials for far more than just one or two programs.

  • Dane C

    I’ve been pushing to make an actual game for Skocko but he won’t take my idea );

  • Edward B.

    The whole point is to learn, not make some one hate some one else over something like facts about a program, anonymity would be the best option. The over all goal is good though, also, *wasting. Sorry! 😛

  • Nikki Goodrich

    Personally, I think that all this complication is really annoying. I just want to make art, all the extra stuff is just distracting. If we need a way to log time on the new Mac Lab blog then that would be great but other than that, all this buying stuff and restrictions are really annoying to me. I don’t want anyone telling me how to make my art and what I can and can’t use. If people really want to create, they will and their grade should be apparent. If people really want to compete and thats how they learn then maybe within the new blog there can be a group that has competitions or sell things, but in my opinion I think we are making it more complicated than it needs to be.

  • Alexander E

    Perhaps I wrote with more venom than I intended, I tend to inject more than a little bit of sarcasm into my writing. What I my implication was, was that leaving errors like that in a comment shows that the person did not take time with their comment, creative flow aside, rather just typed what came to their head, then threw it out with no refinement.

  • Edward B.

    If it requires progress to vote then that’s a definite fix, which would be agreeable.

  • Oday Yousif

    Tyler, i’m going to have to disagree with you. Event though many ideas are coming in pretty fast it doesn’t mean we have to stop being ‘professional’ in the way we type. If we start making mistakes here, we will start making them everywhere.

  • Daniel L

    No one likes a Grammer Nazi man.

  • Alexander E

    This is all very similar to what I tried to tell him, but he wouldn’t do it. I completely agree with you, so telling me what would work doesn’t achieve much for you, try instead making these suggestions to Skocko

  • Gabriel C.

    I don’t agree that AMP should have to be earned because some people produce their best work when they don’t have guidelines.

  • Spencer B

    How about getting rid of the gold silver and copper more people did their quest with just having the XP

  • Sam W.

    @Nikki Goodrich: I agree with Nikki, this supposed to be an Art Class not a Technology class correct?

  • Pierce O

    Well if you have to earn AMP then its not really AMP to begin with

  • Edward B.

    Completely agreeable, restrictions on art is unneeded in my opinion. It is extremely complicated, I think there should be a beta to see how it goes.

  • skocko

    Sam: I won’t be charging for tutorials. Learning should be free.

  • Shannon K

    @Pierce O: I agree with Pierce, and Pierce you need to desperately fix your gravatar

  • Oday Yousif

    But Ben, if we don’t have to earn AMP then why should we even have to come to class. The idea that we can come to class and do what we want is something unheard of in most classrooms anywhere. Even though I am against the system, the idea of earning AMP is something absolutely critical to make sure idiots (for the lac of a better word) don’t overpopulate the blog with their laziness and disregard for beauty of digital art.

  • Shawn M.

    Computers 14 & 15: “We like the general idea behind the automatic Xp and currency system, but it seems to be more focused towards the “flatliners” and trying to make them more active participants in the class. Meanwhile, it’s dragging down the engaged students who are just trying to create their own works of art and do not require motivation to achieve their set goals. We’re not saying that this is a bad idea or system, just that we feel it is effecting the veteran students in a more negative way.”

    P.S. We also feel that the majority of these ideas posted in the comments would overcomplicate the process. Things like a second XP bar, the Mac Lab “Face Mash”, and the group pooling for quests seem to be too over the top for what could be a simple, beautiful concept.

  • Alex L

    Tell that to colleges!!

  • Tyler R

    That makes sense, and I agree, partly…
    To much complication can be cumbersome, but wouldn’t it be nice to get peer-to-peer review from people you don’t know, who have no bias towards you or your art, not mean criticism, but constructive work towards a finished product that could possibly be the best thing you have ever done because one person decided to tell you to try something that you haven’t ever tried before, or even heard of before? If you don’t want any of that, then don’t ask for it, I don’t always like being told what to do either. 😛

  • Oday Yousif

    Sam, it’s about learning to make amazing art with technology.

  • Dane C

    Nikki’s comment is blowing up haha. Let’s meet in the middle and have it so once you watch the beginning videos Skocko always throws at us, you have just enough XP to use Photoshop or illustrator. From there, you can be a hermit like Nikki (not an insult, I’m a hermit myself usually) and stick with photoshop/illustrator and not do quests, while other people can chose to delve into the depths of all the quests and gain money/xp/whatever they want.

  • Pierce O

    I feel like the gold, silver, and copper give people more motivation. As an ex MMO RPG player, this form of currency kind of brings me back.

  • Daniel L

    Just an observation, the majority of Mac Lab students need to upgrade their Gravatars and use different colors besides blue and gray.

  • skocko

    Dane: That’s a good point. Will think on just spending VC.

  • TerrenceTanner

    I think we should have a little event every month, when we spend our time on Photoshop, illustrator, or cinema trying to create something amazing. Mr skocko would give us a month to work on our projects . By the end of the month, Mr skocko would pick the one he likes and the winner gets to print it out free ,and take it home.

  • skocko

    Everyone: Two things…

    1. I agree that the Google Docs added a serious complexity to life as a digital artist. The new blog will take care of the scoring for you. All you do is click links. This will NOT get in the way of being an artist and it provides accountability for both of us. There’s a trail of breadcrumbs each of us can follow.

    2. AMP is a privilege, not a right.

  • Bryson M.

    I am extremely exited about the direction that the Mac Lab is headed in. I like that the idea is to make students engaged, and not just force information upon them that they will deem pointless. The concept of a point system, like currency and a reward system, is a step in the right direction(in my opinion at least). Next year is gonna be awesome.

  • Jesus A.

    I think the Mac Lab should have a check-up day once every two weeks just to make sure that everyone is caught up and not left behind. It will help those who are still trying to get the hang of the Mac Lab.

  • Chris M.

    I think it would be pretty awesome if we could get badges from completing a certain number of quests, or completing a big project; and you could equip the badge to your name in the comments so people could see it.2

  • Natalie F.

    Im totally going to be in the Mac Lab next year. I think I’m going to benifit from being in the Mac Lab :) I agree with everyone its all such a good idea :)

  • TerrenceTanner

    So you mean that we should spend more time on working on our creations, and i agree. I also feel that the mac lab should have a choice of what path you want to take ,the choice of continue to work and find creative things in mind ,or work on blog . Really i like the whole blog thing that we do on this class, but i don’t like to skip my projects and my work. So i agree.

  • Emilio B.

    I agree with Bryson on what he is saying i think the Mac Lab is going to be fun next year.

  • Chris M.

    That was a mistake, fine, I wish we could have badges that could be seen on our comments next to our name on the blog…..as I said above.

  • Zach A

    It would be cool if we could have group quest.

  • Moshi Stevan

    I think we should have more tutorials about new applications !!!

  • George Scott

    Ideas for the mac lab.

    At the top of the blog we have the under students quest, have a quest page, in the quest page have different topics, under the topics have different subtopics.

    Ex.

    -Photo topic
    cinema 4d, photoshop, illustrator.

    -movies/music topic
    I Movie
    garage band

    -code topic
    xcode
    PHP
    python
    html

    Then for the new maclabbers:
    -Try 6 different applications for week each
    -Don’t use xp only use coins
    – have challenges in the mac lab for different applications.

  • Joshua Phillips

    I’m getting a new job this summer. It’s going to be at LifeCare Solutions as a Customer Service Representative. I’m going to be paid $14.00/hr. I’m excited about that.

    On remarks to the Mac Lab, I believe it’s a very useful derivative for people who can’t help themselves. So the more the guidelines, the better it’ll be for people who need it. A class like this needs direction. If you didn’t need direction, you wouldn’t need to be in this class.

  • Dominic R.

    I believe the Mac Lab stock images should, when purchased, give a percentage of the currency to the uploader of said image. Also, in the Stock, have a picture preview that is so small people can’t use it to make anything without it becoming insanely pixellated.

  • Bryan D.

    One thing not asked is what about projects for other classes? I use the Mac Lab so I can create something I can be proud of. And Illustrator by itself is not all that great you need photoshop to turn it into a better piece of art. To enhance all your colors and other details I can’t think of right now. Try creating a better class not a class that will turn students away.

  • skocko

    Dane: Enlighten me. I’ll always listen to new ideas.

  • Riley P.

    People with higher XP should have the ability to get colored text to show their status.

  • Nick H.

    If your getting ideas from C.O.D. why don’t you have students form groups and work together like Clans.

  • Alonso M.

    Mr.Skocko, how about a background swapper for a student’s individual page. Let’s say Student X finishes a great project, and they want to present it on their blog. It would be cool to be able to load up an image and have it as your background, and it would add a lot of customization and individuality. Not sure if it would ruin other aspects of the new blog, but it would be rather easy to code in Javascript. (I did it in Javascript, not sure if it can be done in PHP or CSS)

  • Josue G.

    That would be a good idea to make clans were you can work in groups on projects and earn group points

  • Antonio

    The blog is great way for students in and out of the mac lab to interact with other students that don’t have the mac lab as a corse selected class.

  • Kris C.

    i agree with josue and nick

  • Lawrance I

    I think a new application should be added to keep students interested in the class.

  • Romel G.

    Dominic that is a knock out idea, i think you really have good idea going their was it something you thought of when you where sleeping? or just out of the blue.

  • Kevin G

    i agree with lawrence or even more none mandatory projects like the self portrait because that will start them off and will eventually lead to better quality work/better skills

  • Carter Zachow

    I think that before leveling up you should not only need XP, but also attain certain achievements or show proficiency at applications which could be monitored by the MacLab Police suggested by @Chase P and @Ben C

  • Matt M

    A good idea would be to if you obtain enough XP you can play WoW during class once a month but if someone plays with less XP then you get “XP Vaporized”(Still thinking of a title) and you lose a XP,gold,privileges and possibly get a referral and Sat.School.

  • Justin B

    I think the amount of likes a persons comment has or gets should be a small amount of XP added to their blog or account.

  • Kris C.

    clans/groups in the mac lab is a good idea because it allows people to collaborate on projects and use skills to feed off of each other

  • Zach B

    I am motivated by the fact that I like to know what I’m doing when I open program, so however the blog is changed I will still do everything it says because it is a learning tool that I use to increase my knowledge in any program I wish to learn. I honestly don’t mind either way. But I will recognize the hard work and accomplishments of Vincent and Semar.

  • skocko

    Badges and Achievements are definitely part of the plan.

  • Kris C.

    i think videos or background images should be unlocked as soon as the group/ clan gets to a certain total of xp

  • Miles J

    I think you should bring the quest back because it can give the students competition and see who can get the most quest points.

  • Josue G.

    We should have our own galleries to put in work.

  • Nick H.

    One other thing you should add more art work to the galleries (its been a while since you added one) or let students make their own on their websites.

  • Connor J

    We need Mac Lab memes!

  • Kevin G

    You should have where each periods XP earned is kept track of and posted on the blog in like a progress bars and who ever earns the most by the end of every 2 months gets something special like an extra 100 songs on iTunes or something cool along those lines! :]

  • Kyle P.

    I am personally discouraged because as a Senior I wont be able to take part in this new Lab next year but from what I read, all the ideas and concepts are very good and I am very interested in the finished product, and how it will change the Lab.
    I believe in a “simple elegance” approach, people here are talking about spendable XP along with currency as a means of dictating your level and “profession” (Photoshop, Cinema). I think it should start simply with XP being gained as quests are completed therefore climbing the ranks(levels) to unlock other programs and their quests. The only currency should be the copper/silver/gold earned along with XP for quests completed. Starting that way will be an easier and more understandable approach. Of course it will expand like all other games out there but in time though.
    A Big thanks is deserved for Vince and Semar though, without them none of this would be happening.

  • Jake Jejjoni

    Sounds like a good amount of ideas are coming out. I’m not too positive that I can say anything that hasn’t already been said!

  • Josue G.

    that would be a great idea

  • Kevin G

    when are you going to update the galleries for this year?

  • Jaime H.

    I agree with Josue G. and Nick H. ; we need more fun in The Mac Lab.

  • Michael

    To be honest I rather enjoy the current curriculum, but I would like to see how this new idea will end up. I think we’ve made too many changes as it is from the beginning of the year to now, but hopefully this is the idea that really works takes off.

  • Adrian A

    I agree with Zach B. , as a first year student, I wish to enhance my skills in the programs that I’m working on.

  • Naveen Raja

    We should be able to collaborate and have group projects. So we can gain more experience from others. :)

  • Michael

    Oh I also give credit to Semar and Vincet for their extraordinary contribution.

  • Eric M

    For next year, I think there should be more quests offered for us so there can be more ways that we can earn XP. The quests should be time consuming and should be challenging so that way we learn new things from the quests. Also we should be earn XP for the projects that we work on because it takes up our time and effort.

  • Yousif S.

    We should be able to produce search queries and return pages on the blog and its student blogs – an indexed blog is a faster blog – a faster blog is a more productive blog. I will play with python…

    I happened to have finished a class on this a couple of weeks ago and now I’d like to apply that knowledge.

  • skocko

    Yousif: An improved search would be priceless. I can’t count the number of minutes I’ve wasted searching for something specific on the blog. WP’s default search leaves a lot to be desired. Go for it!

  • Marissa D.

    I agree with Kyle P., I am a senior as well and all of these ideas being posted are going to make me jealous because I will not be in this class I will be starting my life going to college. But i do have this idea, Skocko you should make a timeline of all the years and all of your students work to show the transition on their progress, that would give everyone a chance to be on the blog. :)

  • Deontay H

    I agree with the idea that each class gets an summed up XP score and the class with the highest score gets an award, Big B recommends pizza. I also think that should be a student of the month and he gets a award.

  • Ben K

    I think the blog is fine as is; any modifications towards the blog I think would be great.

  • Ian E.

    I think that there should not be restrictions on what you can use you should let the artist flow which is easy when you have artistic freedom.

  • David Y.

    I believe we should gain unlimited access to the printer! We would be able to print our work out for free, or if there must be some sort of exchange, we can use XP to buy printing rights.

  • Gilberto Q

    I honestly have no idea what could be changed, so i’m going be neutral and just post this comment for those in my position.

  • Jissette M.

    Gaaaaah! That was a lot of comments to read. But I agree with the idea of getting badges, losing XP if you’re late to class, buying pictures from the Student Stock, and working in groups. But I also think that IF (emphasis on the if) we have to work for AMP than it shouldn’t have to take a lot of projects, because honestly a lot of great work comes from AMP.

  • Mohamad A

    I think that the blog should have a tab where the more creative students can contribute to the work ethic of less creative students, by writing down ideas that any student can use, while putting their own creative perspective into the art, so that although the ideas are universal, they’re all unique works.

    I’m pretty sure that this idea is original, and I’ve vouched for this by reading all of the comments above.

  • skocko

    Due to limited funding, unlimited access to the printer is not a possibility. However, buying prints with virtual currency is a great idea!

  • Dallas S.

    More than a few people have already weighed in on the idea of using XP or virtual currency to purchase access to certain applications, but I want to say that I’m strongly against this idea.

    I feel that beginning in only one application (say, Illustrator) and having to earn the privilege to use others (Photoshop, Cinema 4D, whatever) would inherently limit creativity, and breed contempt of the beginning program. Program A might come to be seen as inferior to Program B and C because it was ‘free.’

    It’s my opinion that all programs should be available at the beginning of the year, no purchase neccesary. Instead, have students prove that they can do certain tasks in certain programs (creating a logotype in Illustrator, properly adjusting colors and composition of a picture in Photoshop, etc) before being allowed to tackle more difficult projects. Furthermore, let them choose what program they want to start with.

    In this way students will be able to choose their own path according to their interests, with the understanding that they’ll still need to become adept at other programs. Everyone would become proficient in what they want to use because it’s what they want to use, not because it’s what they see as loot to be bought.

    So, Halo rather than Call of Duty.

  • Leana F.

    I disagree with you, because it is going to feel like we are back in elementary school. I think you should just receive points (currency), which you can use to purchase privileges such as AMP. The points one accumulates should reflect the quantity and quality of the work produced.

  • Kevin B.

    A lot to read here so prepare for this:
    1. XP shouldn’t be the spending currency because it complicates the students ability to track their level and let’s say I was level 10, I don’t know, and there was something I was planning on buying for a large sum of XP, and let’s also go with the assumption that there are perks and such you earn as you level. So I buy something for a lot of XP and suddenly I find myself deprived of certain elements I had at level 10. The idea of de-leveling is annoying and shouldn’t be included in this system. Just stick with currency and restrict XP to the thing that tracks your level progress.

    2. The idea of a perk system strikes me as interesting. What if we had something similar to Fallout or the Elder Scrolls where as you level you select a perk out of a list of perks. If this was incorporated we could also have something in which students can spend currency to reassign perks.

    3. Students shouldn’t receive XP until the Quest is completed. Upon completion students would automatically receive the XP.

    4. Currency should be earned in addition to quest completion and a small amount of currency should be rewarded with each level up.

    5. Finally, XP and Currency should increase as levels increase. So it’s harder to level from 1 to 2, but you earn slightly more XP between these levels, this could be automatic or because when you reach higher levels you participate in harder quests with better rewards. And the currency should increase because as you level up more items should become available in the shop. These items could include more perks or some such. These items would cost more, so as you level up you should receive higher currency bonuses from quests and from the level ups themselves.

  • Shivam M.

    I think all the new modifications are great. I greatly agree with all the comments that have been posted and I am very excited for the new blog.

  • Brandon Hanna

    Leana, what a great idea! This is what AMP is all about!

  • Yousif S.

    //
    //main.m
    //comment_demonstration
    //
    // created by
    // copyright Yousif S.
    //

    #import
    #import
    int main (int argc, const char * argv[]) {

    @autoreleasepool{

    //lol

    NSLog(@’Would you mind if I started right now?’);

    //lol

    }
    @end

    }

    I love this book.

  • Jissette M.

    Whoever said that the computers are like time traveling, I think they’re right! :O
    But anyways, I think it’s a great idea for students to vote on their favorite work of art and maybe we should do “Student of the Month?”

  • Mark L

    I have come to the conclusion that I am terrible at group discussions. Despite that, my own opinion on this is that the changes that are being made to the blog are good, there’s nothing I see that can be improved to them. The only issue I have is with gold and silver, I do not see what good it does for the class as a whole, really. Is it just supposed to add to the game experience? Because it honestly just feels unnecessary.

    (tl;dr The changes are good nothing to improve on with them, but gold and silver feel unnecessary.)

  • Holden R

    The blog could use more quests so that way people are able to build up XP faster. Users should be able to log onto the blog at any time they want and find a page of quests they can do to build up their XP.

  • Sarah Mikhael

    I think people should be able to like other students artwork posted on the blog, and students may get XP for each like. But people can’t like the piece of art just to get XP, they will have to state a legit reason of why they liked it in order for that student to get the XP that they earned.

  • Yousif S.

    @mark_L{

    //Why do you posit that change in the way students interact
    //is unnecessary? I don’t see how one can say that these student
    //generated projects are unnecessary… especially when they foster
    //further productivity.

    }

  • Ian C.

    We’re not supposed to.

  • Stephen A.

    Are you referring to an almost “guild” like scenario?

  • Ian C.

    Nothing like a gamer to know what games need.

  • Maykil N

    I did read this posts and the blog post like 3 times and i didn’t know what aim going to do now because nobody gives an idea or what are we going to do right now. Are we going to just make a comment in here and thats set or what aim really confused.

  • savio palander

    I think the idea of using XP to be able to purchase stuff is a great idea and will be very useful next year!

  • Ian C.

    That’s a good one. Gotta admit it hadn’t occurred to me, but I quite like it. Of course, you’d set up a guild name and logo and stuff, and you’d get XP for that.

  • Ian C.

    Agreed. Experience and wealth are completely different, and connecting them that closely makes no sense.

  • Anne W.

    The main idea that I’m getting from above is that people want spendable digital money, but not spendable XP. Also open access to any program at the beginning but the INABILITY to switch to another if they want to a large trend. Personally I like the idea of instant tracker, myhogwarts is a social network based on Facebook that opened it’s beta recently I am a part of. One big thing I noticed about it is that it uses a sidebar to look and your friend and items, while leaving the middle uncluttered and open with a plan theme, just yellow edging on black. I would like to see a similar layout in the new blog, i only because it fells easy to navigate, rather then the pages of white text we have now and the inability to find old videos.

  • Colton B.

    That would be even worse than making the blog 1-D and all that would be is a single indecipherable pixel

  • Anne W.

    I also wish we could edit old posts like that one^. I didn’t reread before posting so sorry.

  • Stephen A.

    Although prestigeing has devolved into keeping people interested in the game, it was originally meant as a sign of “online honor.” If we are to have the ability to prestige in the MacLab it should be based on the skill of your work not your level. For example 5 “excellent” ranked pieces of work will gain you one prestige.

  • Mustafa S.

    I think the blog should show a weekly top 10 art work page that shows the students art and their own personal blog. The judge of the art work to choose the top piece should be the students. NOT SKOCKO!!! But the top 10 could be chosen by Skocko since he’s the teacher but i feel like the students should choose the top art piece from the top 10.

  • Stephen A.

    If I’m not mistaken, Max, that’s the idea.

  • Anne W.

    Another thing that I would really like would be a way to get feedback on works in progress, like a self portrait type project show with the picture asking for ways to improve. Lord knows this would be a God send for someone like me, I can’t pick a picture to use let alone think it’s good.

  • Colton B.

    @Matt M:
    The main problem with that idea is that playing WoW is a permission granted by the district, not by Skocko. That means if anyone plays WoW in class, not only will they get in trouble with Skocko, but they will end up getting Scocko in trouble with the district.

  • Andrew P.

    This is gonna be awesome.
    I’m really looking forward to all of this.
    But yeah, XP =/= currency.
    Its a bad idea.
    😀

  • Fady R

    I want to see more than one artwork on the blog because seeing the art makes me want to make a better art than other people.

  • Ian C.

    I definitely like the ideas that I’ve been seeing for how people can get XP for their artwork. What might be cool is if we had a Reddit-like system for submitting artwork and upvoting and downvoting. Admittedly, that could have a problem with trolls and stuff, but maybe the actual voting could take place with the system Tyler R. and Edward B. were talking about up there and the front page could be arranged by some sort of complex set of algorithms to balance a submission’s age, number of appearances, and relative frequency of selection. And then XP could be brought into it somehow, maybe the same way Reddit does karma, maybe similar, maybe completely different.

  • Colton B.

    “The new blog will have other features like forums, groups, announcements, messaging, achievements, etc. There’s a lot more.”

    That seems like a ton of stuff already. Aren’t you the one who’s always telling us to simplify?

    “What else does the new blog need?”

    I think a better question would be “What else does the new blog not need?”

  • Anne W.

    Me should get points for commenting, because we do give a lot of help when we actually try…

  • Stephen A.

    Hmmm…well it seems that some people didn’t read all the comments.

  • Ian C.

    Really, you don’t want a legit environment? You want to stay with the current, completely inadequate version? I mean, we can still make cool stuff this way, but the new stuff looks like it would be far more effective.

  • Michael Z.

    The ideas that have been put forth by the students and Mr. Skocko for the purpose of the class mostly seem very plausible and beneficial. I can’t see much objections, an improvement to the class is exactly that, an improvement.

    However, I think one flaw that deserves some attention is the lack of new student support. Almost all the above students offering ideas seem to be veterans or experienced users so there is bias. What about the freshman who comes into this class and has never opened illustrator, photoshop, etc, or maybe even has never even been on a Mac. I think making the class very accessible for the newer students, making sure the quests, or maybe some special quests, can be accomplished by the newer students, and making the entire system meant for all levels of experience is something to be considered and not overlooked.
    Why? Because obviously they will become overwhelmed and when you are overwhelmed you stress and get nothing done, nothing means no learning, and this should be a education class with video game aspects, not a video game with educational aspects.
    Of course there is the videos and internet available for learning. Also all of the above ideas and this new Mac Lab can be learned and understood even if you are a new student (Perhaps a guide for explaining everything.) The current state of the Mac Lab (and perhaps this future one) are perfectly fine in terms of allowing the new students to adapt and accomplish.
    However, with new improvements and more and more features, comes more things to be understood.

    This class seems to be heading in a very interesting and unique direction, but be careful about the veteran elitism/catering, don’t forget there is always a new cycle of students and learners.

  • Colton B.

    @Harley H.:
    I disagree. If we wanted to look at the Saga, we would be on the Saga website. Too many features will distract from the whole point of TAG because everyone will want to explore the new features instead of work on art.

  • Nickolas S

    First off I would like to say that you all made an effort in improving the blog. Now, many have also complained about the fact about having to buy privlidges or you do not want student of the month or some even believe that AMP is a right not a privilege. Well let me assure you that this class should not only be intended in helping us currently but also in the future. The process of having to buy certain privileges through handwork is what the ” Real World” is like. Your future Boss will not grant you Amp when you want. You earn it! Student of the month must be made possible for “Employee of the month” is what the “Real World” asks for. Skocko, all these “Real World” ideas that you have posted in the blog will help each student achieve something remarkable. If they ever realize it now or later, they will sure have you on their mind.

  • Colton B.

    @Michael R:
    It’s common sense that no matter how hard you try to stop them, cheaters will still find a way to cheat. As Skocko once said, they aren’t cheating anyone but themselves.

  • skocko

    Excellent point, Colton. Will think on it.

    Not all features will fit all students but… (that’s the thinking part) 😉

  • Stephen A.

    It seems to me that the idea behind this is not to have the best art class ever, but to create a template for other classes that will (hopefully) usher in a new way of teaching. Remember that the original idea (the idea that Skocko tells us and posts every friday) is to make the world A BETTER PLACE. This new blog will hopefully be a small step in making the broken teaching system at least somewhat better.

  • skocko

    Good points, Michael. The initial quests will be focused on the fundamentals and purposely crafted to be easy to guide the beginner and ensure success. I get about 200 first-timers every year so I’m sensitive to their needs.

    To be perfectly honest, I have more trouble with some of the I-think-I-know-it-all veterans than the rookies. You might be surprised at how many of the best comments today have come from rookies.

  • skocko

    I’m really hoping we can do both. But in a way, you’re right. We’ll sacrifice a bit by being the trailblazers. We’ll discover lots of things that work. And even more that don’t.

    It’s like this year. We’ve learned a lot of things NOT to do. Don’t underestimate the value of those lessons.

  • Vincent A

    Hey You guys, It’s hard for me to read all of these so if at any time you cannot properly get in touch with me, feel free to click my name and go to my contact page on my website. Fill it out and Ill get back to you asap.

  • skocko

    Vincent: It’s not hard for you to read all of the comments. Most of the kids in 6th and 7th read them. You can too.

  • Ian T

    Maybe Skocko explains that somewhere in the blog…

  • skocko

    We were asked to blur the image as a precaution. Something about not letting hackers see the actual code.

    But you’re right. It was a beautiful image.

  • Dane C

    If you think a blurred image will stop “hackers”… well I don’t know what to tell you. Firefox + Firebug Add-On = Full access to any information you want.

  • skocko

    It’s not a matter of stopping hackers. I was asked to do it as a precaution.

    The district is very generous in providing bandwidth and storage for our classroom. I simply complied with their request.

  • Nikki Goodrich

    I think Vincent did a great job on the new blog by the way. 😛 I didn’t mean that I still wanted this blog, the new one is a lot more simple than this one. Thanks Vincent x) and yes I don’t ever want to use google docs for a scoresheet ever again. Just like a few years ago when we stopped using indesign for making our websites… oh god.

  • Neman G.

    @Romel G.: Dominic I believe with your little ideas, you can slap on some new ideas for the blog, but watch out for those tough blows and put downs from others

  • Dane C

    If we give people the ability to text in class for a day, wouldn’t that be harmful to other classes because then the kids in the Mac Lab will be texting people in other classes?

  • skocko

    With great power comes great responsibility.

  • Alex A

    Skocko If I may I have a suggestion called purchasing the unlock on computer yes that means we could go on any website that we want[knowing it should be expensive] but yeah that would be a great one.

  • Noor S.

    Hey Mr. Skocko, I think that every person should be aloud to comment on the blog only once a day, unless someone replies to them. I am saying this, because to many people comment each day.

  • Alex A

    Skocko here is my second idea called premium member of the maclab say for instance you have alot of VC left over well you can purchase this membership which allows you acces to extra features to the mac lab and a certain discount on all purchases you make depending on the amount but alas you must pay A HUGE Amount of VC every month to keep this acces.

  • Alex A

    SO this is what Skocko should put wanna excel Amp farther then Purchase this subscription for a number of VC every month.

  • Noor S.

    Skocko, all I have to say is just be careful that people might get too competitive with their xp.

  • Alex A

    I am surprised no one put the option for free acces to youtube and others yes that will be a very expensive.

  • Zach A

    It would be cool if there were optional group quest for bonus xp

  • Alex A

    I have one last Idea when a Student comes to his maximum level cap or certain level cap he or she should be granted any one of all power privlages and shall be granted a huge VC or Xp quest of his Choice.

  • Alex A

    Another Idea I am on a roll STudents should be able to compete or gamble their VC or Xp by competing both students should put both their gambles on together while Skocko names the competition or their could be a link to what challenges you want how much you wannna gamble and then it will choose your competiter new challenges come and you can only do a challenge twice a day.

  • Alex A

    One more idea there should be 4 groups of quests Easy Normal Hard and Veteran the harder the bigger.

  • skocko

    Hey Noor, I think that every person should be allowed to choose their homophones more carefully so they don’t cause confusion more than once a day.

    And I’m not afraid to say that aloud, too. 😛

  • Matt M

    @Colton B.: Thank you for the constructive criticism.

  • Nick H.

    Thats an idea but you what schools think of when they hear students gambling fake or not. Though if they don’t have a problem I say do it

  • Daniel B.

    Honestly, the four different levels of quest isn’t really necessary because everyone starts at same level and since the veterans know most of mac lab already its actually quite unfair that the non veterans will have no idea what there doing.

  • Kevin G

    Some of these comments/ideas sound to much like competition its a class meant for learning not WOW . Sometimes kids with the lower amount of knowledge in class do way better than the more knowledgeable kids or experienced kids. So if kids raced to get the most XP they wouldn’t take there time and think things through they would focus to much on how much XP they can earn not necicarely the outcome of the quality of there work. Im not saying all kids will be like this but some may. Art is not a competition. Although recognition and a job well done every once in a while is nice so i really am not 100% sure were i stand with the idea of XP and rewards

  • Daniel B.

    Well creativity is awarded when you make work not when you get XP and VC. The flat liners need to realize that this class is a creativity class not a free easy A. This class teaches you life lessons weither you learn them or not. As Kevin G stated ” Art is not a competition.” He’s completely correct its not a competition. When somebody creates something magnificent it awards itself. The VC and XP is pretty much a bribe to get the slackers to do something, but reality is once a slacker…always a slacker. It’s a way of life and there will always be those type of people. Nobody can change that.

  • skocko

    The difference between quality and quantity will be factored in and the former will trump the latter.

    In other words…

    Quality > Quantity

  • skocko

    The competition is always with oneself.

    As a reformed slacker, I have to disagree. If I may use a favorite quote:

    Your past is not your potential.
    Marilyn Ferguson

  • Mark L

    Hey yo what? Back that train up. I’m not saying that at all. I just said that I’m bad at group discussions and that I can’t really think of anything to offer.

  • Andrew H

    I think in my opinion that we should be able to buy Bathroom passes!

  • skocko

    Good idea, Andrew.

    I have to admit, though, that I’m having fun trying to image how you could think in anyone else’s opinion.

  • Colton B.

    @Alex A:
    I’ll say the same thing to you as I did to the person who suggested WoW in class: That is against the district’s rules not Skocko’s. He couldn’t give you that if he wanted to.

  • Colton B.

    @Alex A:
    A discount on purchases would be pointless if you could simply use the VC from paying for the premium membership to purchase the stuff. And extra features? The new blog is overly complicated as it is. Do you really think that making it even more complex by adding premium content is going to help anyone?

  • Colton B.

    @Alex A:
    That is against district rules. The firewalls put up to block inappropriate websites are there for a reason.

  • Veronica A.

    I think that some kids may never get to do AMP if they have to reach a certain number of XP because not everyone is skilled with digital arts and their best may still look bad. If you end up grading the quests then it will make it even more impossible for those kids to get to do AMP. I don’t think grading quests would be a good idea and if the student is working really hard to reach AMP but their best isn’t good enough they should get the opportunity to do AMP the last two months of school.

  • skocko

    Veronica: Are you forgetting my rubric? Quality is a relative term.

    I know how hard you try. Like I said at 12:28 today: The competition is always with oneself.

    The World’s Simplest Rubric™

    A: You Gave it Your All
    You tried your best.

    B: Great, but…
    You tried, but not hard enough.

    C: No Second Effort
    You really didn’t try very hard.

    D: Are You Kidding Me?
    You are wasting your time.

    F: Who are You?
    You stopped coming to class.

    —–

    I know you always give it your all.

  • Colton B.

    @skocko:
    Maybe at the beginning of the year you should give students a chance to try the overly complicated, feature-filled version and a more beautiful simple version that only has the bare necessities and then let all the students have a vote on which one should be used?

  • Stephen A.

    Oh my god, Skocko, did you posted that last comment from the future? O_o

  • skocko

    Colton: I like your “Fair and Balanced” method of framing the choice.

  • Jacob W.

    I think if you’re going to do the XP bar for the blog, that at the end of the year the student with the most XP is each class should get a prize, and that also the student with the most XP over all of the classes, should get a prize also that is better than the individual class prizes.

  • Kevin G

    @Jacob W.: That’s an excellent idea sir!

  • Jacob W.

    Thank you.

  • Vincent A

    Ohh, But I’m working on a custom theme right now… Details to come ;]

  • Vincent A

    Nikki, I have something for you tomorrow

  • Vincent A

    Good Argument,

    –Just wait til next year though when kids with no gold and tons of Experience wish they could buy things. Just my opinion though, I may be wrong.

  • Diana I.

    Hi Skocko!
    Check my latest blog posts. New drawings! :) Let me know what you think.

    Also, can I borrow a camera this weekend? will bring it back on Monday.

  • Philip Behnam

    http://asana.com/

    ^Maybe something groups should consider before the new blog launches. Works on the iPhone as well!

  • Diana I.

    Everyone! Whether you like the old Mac Lab System or the new one — once you get out and go to college, you will miss whatever Mac Lab is there right now! Enjoy your time. You will never have a similar class ever again.

    P.S: What I said above might not be related to anything because I didn’t have enough time to read every comment and the whole post. But just sharing some thoughts…

  • Luis L.

    skocko you should download and play the logo game in the app store for apple its really fun, I’m sure you would enjoy it.

  • skocko

    Wow! Surprising and beautiful.

    And yes, so long as we get copies for next year’s stock library.

  • skocko

    Is it called Logo Quiz?

  • skocko

    Yep. That goes in the To Do list.

  • Devin C.

    Yes sir!!! :)

  • skocko

    I signed up and will play with it. Thanks for the lead!

  • skocko

    10/15 the first time through. Lots of unfamiliar graphics but fun. Thanks!

  • Ian T

    Can we earn Platinum VC? 1 Platinum = around 10 Gold + a bump to 1st place. Like, say you have signifficantly less VC than the average student and you want to be even with the rest of the class. Could you somehow complete a quest which raises your VC to the highest amount? Right now this doesn’t make much sense (NO CHEESY PUN INTENDED) so ask for me to clarify.

    Maybe for those who put substantial effort in their projects, which look great, although they just don’t quite get to finishing them, need this. They deserve an XP boost as well. Look, I know someone probably suggested this idea, but I’m not open for discussion outside the Mac Lab.

    We should also prohibit trade of our earnings. I mean, to me, that kinda ruins the whole point Skocko emphasizes nearly every day. CREATIVITY & ORIGINALITY.

  • Diana I.

    I will bring whatever I have (new photographs) with me at the end of the week when I borrow a camera…and I will keep bringing more if I take new ones.

    By the way, I love the “like” gadget you added to the blog. How can I make my blog as interesting as yours? 😛

  • Yousif S.

    Ok… In considering all the choices for Currency Configurations[Cube_Gold.php] in the classroom, I’ve come by a simple little philosophy: Practicality. The only reason we created the system was for the management of personal productivity and how you choose to spend it. Let’s be clear, there’s no reason for making a system like this unless we wanted to engage students in a microeconomy, because that, unlike many things at school, is VERY ENGAGING. Look at the modern MMORPG and you’ll realize that this is common knowledge.

    The point is to get more people working – adding an extra dimension of interaction with our work is what is going to make us work more…

    @Ian_T :
    (Platinum would deflate the Value of everything else… Why would we want that unless Skocko suddenly gets super-charitable with his gold?) – An unreasonable move by any standards.

  • skocko

    Well said, Yousif.

    Ian, I have 20 to 30k gold on WoW. (Others have far more.) The currency is earned via various strategies and comes in very handy. It took a lot of hard work (play) to build the stash. The point is, if the folks at Blizzard didn’t see a reason to add platinum, neither should we. If we handle VC correctly, it should, as Yousif said, add an extra dimension to the classroom experience.

    I do, however appreciate your suggestion. The conversation is helpful in shaping and reshaping the framework for the kids next fall.

    Everyone: Keep those suggestions coming! TAG, you’re it.

  • Kevin G

    @Jacob W.: Your welcome(thank you for saying thank you)

  • Ian T

    Yeah, I didn’t realize how the currency worked. I guess I wasn’t thinking when I made the suggestion, but thanks for clearing that up, for me and others in case they didn’t know. It WOULD be pretty useless indeed.

  • skocko

    Spoken like a true gentleman. You’re wise beyond your years, Ian.

  • Dane C

    What sites do you want? YouTube is blocked for inappropriate content and it takes up a large amount of bandwidth, Facebook/Twitter are inappropriate and they cause you to just talk to other people, etc.

  • Muhammad A.

    To summarize from the above comments and add on to all the points:

    1. The idea of spendable XP is dangerous. Forget it. No game has ever done or will do such a thing.

    2. Keep currency simple. use Gold only. It will be too complicated. having it simple is better. Also, make VC equal. For example, a quest earns you 10 gold and each item is around 1000. This would be unequal and hard to get through the game. nor should it be the other way around.

    3. Bounty hunting. When someone is hunted, they lose XP. But the hunter gets only gold. This way, slackers learn their lesson and the hunter doesn’t feed off people.

    4. PVP. The person who loses is not supposed to lose anything such as gold or XP when being against another person. If it is against Mr. Skocko, then that is a different story.

    5. Collaboration but not guilds. Guilds should’t be allowed in the same class as this will cause problems inside and outside the Maclab and be unfair. For example, I am an expert at Photoshop (not really) and I take a guy who is a master Cinema 4D and Another person who is an expert in some other program. This create a monopoly in the class and no one will be able to oppose us. Collaboration on the other hand is just fine. Competition against other Maclab periods should be fine.

    6. When new people make a new account, they should be asked two questions. Why they chose the Maclab as an elective and what do they want to achieve in the Maclab. This way, we know the people who will be engaged and who will be off task all the time. Another benefit from these two questions are we can group people in a correct seating arrangement. All Cinema 4D users together, all Photoshop together and so on and this way people can see what others are doing and can get help quickly. Also, give the choice of what program people want at the beggining.

    7. Expertise. This will be very useful. For example, I just finished a Cinema 4D project and imported it to Photoshop, but I’m terrible at Photoshop. I can go to the TAG blog section and look up see the people’s names. There is a sub-section of programs. I click on Photoshop and see. One guy is an expert, The other is a journeyman. And so I know who too look for and what computer number.

    8. sub-leveling. This is a complicated but necessary subject. There is the main level up which is progressed from all XP that earns AMP, Blog changes, etc. But sub-leveling for each program. I work on Cinema 4D and I reach adept level. But I’m still a beginner at Photoshop. This contributes to the above subject.

  • Nick H.

    Has there ever been 300 comments on a post in the maclab?

  • Josue G.

    everyone lets go to 300 comments

  • Daniel B.

    Well said Muhammad A. very well spoken 😛

  • Josh K.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOUSIF!

  • Philip Behnam

    http://www.digitalrebellion.com/posthaste/

    ^Maybe something that students want to use when they start a new project. Best part, it’s FREE!

  • Natalie F.

    Skocko my friend in the mac lab made me something and i want to set it as my background in there is that ok and i asked him?

  • Diana I.

    I think you will love my new post, Skocko 😉

    I am coming tomorrow morning. See you then!

  • skocko

    Absolutely beautiful, Diana. Your photography dazzles!

  • skocko

    Yes, so long as it’s appropriate.

  • David H

    May the fourth be with you. Always.

    Happy Star Wars day from the biggest nerd here 😛

  • Daniel L

    @David H: The forth is strong with this one.

  • Pierce O

    I sense a disturbance in the fourth…

  • Pierce O

    Checking gravatar….dont mind this post

  • skocko

    Why didn’t dont mind?

  • Chris M.

    Star Wars for life!!!!!!

  • Alex A

    Star wars Day is awesome except the video games never the video games just the show and movie the video games are a copy off of WoW

  • Zach A

    It would be cool if you can put your own tutorial videos on your blog.

  • Muhammad A.

    2 new ideas. Allow people to carry on their previous account from the year before. And the second idea is to to be able to buy a day of Facebook. It may be possible if it is in the hands of Mr. Skocko

  • Alex A

    One idea allow us pc users to bring our own games to the mac lab.

  • Yousif S.

    http://bit.ly/IQGgTL
    ^Another bit on how to foster interest in students

    Maybe a little young an example, but the point is there. Freedom is the key…

  • skocko

    Epic read!

    Play, passion, and purpose = AMP

Learn it all.