Tag Archives: gls2008

GLS 2008: Lunch

I met up with Josh Diaz during lunch. I met Josh for the first time last year and had dinner with him at a really nice burger place. He’s on a diet this summer and not eating meat or cheese. :P

During lunch there was a poster session, and Josh and I went around and talked with Dave Simkins for a bit about ethical choices in role-playing games. That was totally cool, and I’m going to send him my draft of The Witcher review I’m writing which focuses on moral ambiguity. I’ll have to think about morals and ethics a bit, but I think they’re at least related if not exactly the same.

I got a chance to say hi to Lee Wilson who I met last year while waiting in the ice cream line. We caught up on our work and then basically digressed to WoW talk. :)

Finally, I met Alicia Diazgranados who demoed some of the math and other learning her kids engage in while playing DS games. We played Big Brain Academy together. She’s good and kicked my ass pretty soundly. :)

GLS 2008 Session 2: Oops

After the first session I went over to the Arcade, a whole room full of consoles and computers and a bunch of games loaded up on them. Rock Band was a popular one, but I was also able to see MGS4, Viva Pinata, No More Heroes, Halo 3, Katamari Damacy, GTA IV, Wii Fit, Golf, Portal, WoW, and Twilight Princess. Nice.

Too nice. I started playing one and lost track of time and missed the second session.

I did catch some of the Fireside chat on thoughts on Lineage, 7 years later, though. Constance and her guildies were reminiscing about Lineage. One thing they said was that in Lineage there’s a strong bond to the guild since sieging and PvP is such a guild activity. In WoW, by comparison, with its emphasis on PvE, there isn’t as much of an incentive to help each other out and form tight bonds with your guild. They also said that social norms and self-policing and stuff like Farming the Farmers days happen in Lineage more.

I dunno. I’d say it definitely depends on the guild, server, and particular social groups that you hang out with. With my social groups, for example, it is quite clear that my guild and my raid groups were pretty tightly bonded and members of those groups had strong senses of identity and creed.

GLS 2008 Session 1: Youth Programs for Games & Digital Media Literacy

Most of these sessions will be recorded and made available on the web, so I’ll just keep this really brief with my editorial comments. Also, obviously, I can only go to one session per time slot, so check out the whole GLS 2008 program when you get a chance. I’ll come back and link to the media so you can watch them and make my comments contextualized. :)  Also, I was taking photos with my cell phone but they all suck so I won’t bother posting them.  How bout I embed their portraits from the GLS site instead?  :)

Betty Hayes, discussant, gave a brief intro on how games research doesn’t focus on social aspects of gaming enough.

Globaloria: Social media networks for learning through game production with a social purpose
Idit Harel Caperton, L. Kraus, S. Sullivan, R. Reynolds

Idit CapertonIdit made available some of the papers she wrote on constructionism and games.

There are social media networks that falicitate constructionist learning. Need to get gamers to participate in the social network. Plugged the MacArthur funded book edited by Katie Salen. Cited Mimi Ito and how she looked at educational software vs. games in home contexts. Games that are in the construction genre (SimCity, etc.) is on the cusp of becoming a new trend in participatory, constructionist learning.

Globaloria is about game-making for participatory engagement by some youth in West Virginia.

Background: Katie Salen’s classification

Okay, she’s talking way too fast for me to write a summary here… But you can check out Globaloria online!

We saw a couple of videos where students talked about the games they created and what kinds of activities (blogging, wikiing, game design, collaboration) they were engaged in while creating.  It’s cool seeing how excited they were.

Idit’s Powerpoint was more like a website for her, where she kept jumping between slides rather than going through it chronologically.  Seemed kind of hectic, but she’s really good at making connections with what other people said even just moments ago, so it was kind of like having a conversation with her… One with lots of run-on sentences and diverges…  Maybe she didn’t prepare really well or maybe it was her way of dealing with only 20 minutes, but the videos were pretty cool.  :)

Lots of examples of how not all kids are “digital natives.”  They weren’t fluent in tech stuff, were not prone to programming and participating in tech tools, but this project engaged them very successfully and got them to transform themselves into participants.

Game design through mentoring & collaboration
Kevin Clark, Kimberly Sheridan

Kevin ClarkKevin described the work done at George Mason with McKinley Technology High School in DC.  They wanted to increase motivation for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) areas and careers by having them work with experts to design STEM related games.

The high school students were also trained to be mentors with middle school students.  That’s pretty cool.

They also focused on collaboration and create a studio environment.  They also focused on fostering metacognition during the design process (what makes a game fun and how do you teach a concept?).

Turns out they were successful in getting students motivated in going to college, etc., but they still didn’t know how to apply!  So they ran a STEM summit to introduce parents and kids on the application and SAT taking process of applying to colleges and universities.

Not just teach them how to make games, but have them own the tools and products and have it reflect who they are and their community.

Kevin kept his fingers on the arrow keys of his Mac so he was able to go through his slides without having to look at his computer.  It seemed to work really well; all his attention was on delivery.

He highlighted how much kids lives are complex and stuff outside of the classroom happens.  One student was pregnant; one student had to go prom shopping ( :) ).

Check out their project online!

Centers of expertise
Kurt Squire, Shree Durga

Kurt Squire

(Kurt’s hair is much crazier than his photo, btw. :p)

Described his Civilization work in after-school contexts with middle and high school kids.  One problem is that often the typical lesson plan is 20 hours long but a single game of Civ can take 20 hours.

Systems thinking is needed in a world where global food shortages and other complex systemic problems exist.  Civ helps players learn a system.

Framework: Grounded cognition–comprehension is grounded in perceptual simulations.  So when you think about how something works, you run a simulation in your brain.

Shree Durga

How does this theory look with Civ and how does expertise develop?

They showed pre-intervention measures (low efficacy, etc.), interview data while kids were playing and figuring out how the game worked, and finally the kind of talk kids used after playing.  It’s clear that they are more expert in that they can assess textbooks for info by comparing it with their practiced knowledge.

The experience is not bounded by just game/player interaction but includes external resources (other people, books, etc.)

Deepens understanding of the simulation.

But grounded cognition doesn’t model external resources well.  Maybe need to think about role taking and identity posing more.

Also, how do you argue for model simulations in a field (history) where expert practitioners don’t necessarily use models?

Question: Transfer?
Starting to see some evidence of better grades. Possibly it’s thru getting the kids more engaged? Idit argues that transfer evidence won’t come in for another few years. Betty asks whether we should turn the idea of transfer around and rethink schools. Is traditional school knowledge what we really should be concentrating on or should the schools goals change to reflect 21st century skills?

Often learners are more expert than the teachers with some of these game tools. It seems like that stuff should be valued.

Chicago O’Hare and arriving in Madison

I was all set to hop onto the net and post a photo of the glorious Chicago style hotdog I just ate at Gold Coast (intersection of H and G gates in O’Hare, and gets a bad rep on Yelp). Unfortunately, the wifi that is advertised all over the place and hawked through the PA system is not as free as they lead you to believe… Ah well…

I was lured into false hope because I was able to find a free hotspot in SeaTac at the Tully’s down my gateway. I was surprised to see that it was free, at first, but then figured, it was only a matter of time. So in Chicago, I just figured they were further along than Seattle. In retrospect, I guess that seems contrary to commmon sense, what with all the high-tech business in Seattle…

So, I’m writing this post while in O’Hare but I won’t be able to upload it until I get on a hotspot in Madison. I am not sure if my hotel has free wifi, so it might have to wait til tomorrow when the conference starts…

Awesome; my hotel has free wifi! Here’s photos of the hot dog:





I already met a bunch of people at the airport terminal waiting for the 30 min flight to Madison:

  • Judy Perry–who I think I also met at ICLS but maybe I’m misremembering
  • Eric Klopfer–who I’ve seen before but haven’t really met and still haven’t really met since he was busy with some crazy-ass small computer when I went to say to them all
  • Alex Chisholm–who maybe I met at the Education Arcade 2004
  • Andy? or maybe Dan? (I’ll double check the name and update this tomorrow)–who recently graduated and works with Alex

Then I sat next to Steve Atlas, another GLS participant, on the plane (which was an hour late). Talked a little about our respective research. :)

The shuttle ride from the airport the hotel was pretty cool, too. I sat up front since it was just me, and talked with Louis the driver about restaurants, World of Warcraft, shuttle drivers, etc.

Pretty nice hotel room at the Doubletree was waiting for me. The king size bed has 5 pillows! :)





Up early tomorrow for registration and conference. More later!