Tag Archives: icls2008

Sunday in Amsterdam

So, I got lots of sleep last night. About 12 hours!

Got up to find that I missed breakfast and the cool pastry shop nearby was closed on Sundays! πŸ™

Went across the street down a ways to a cafe and had a Dutch pancake with apple and a coffee. Quite nice, actually.



Thought of these while eating/waiting for the check:

  • The Netherlands will start to ban smoking in cafes and bars starting July 1… that’s like two days from now! I wonder what the people will do while waiting for their checks. It takes forever to get your check here. No more smoking… they’ll have to order more coffee…
  • The Dutch probably have really well-conditioned butts since they sit on bicycle saddles all the time.
  • The prostitutes and owners of the booths they rent could do a much better job at marketing their wares (whares?). For example, instead of plain tile, why not do some fancy mosaics in those booths? What about themed booths of some sort? Catholic school girl booth, nurse booth, etc. How about a free Dutch pancake with each trick?

See what you can come up with if you have lots of free time to let the mind wander while waiting for your bill?




Then went shopping in the museum plaza. Horrible photo above of the plaza. I’m trying to get copies of photos from others here who actually have their cameras with them and why there are so few photos of buildings so far.Β  Cool tulip vases at the Museum Shop.



Latest update from The Netherlands

On Friday I went to a couple of the morning sessions at ICLS.



It seemed odd to me that there was a lot of experimental or quantitative designs being presented. Or small comparison studies using quantitative measures to compare the two cases, I guess I mean. For example, one was comparing the use of computer mediated tools versus non-digital tools in a set of classrooms, studied using test scores as measures of success. Does that seem right to you? Not entirely to me.

(more on ICLS and photos of Utrecht/Amsterdam after the jump)

Continue reading Latest update from The Netherlands

Some photos from Thursday in Amsterdam

As I said in the last post, I went with ESTG (the Everyday Science and Technology Group–Phil Bell’s group pretty much) to Amsterdam. We broke up into three parties after visiting Puccini, a chocolate store (apparently, quite famous), and the Bloemenmarkt (flower market) together.







Some people went off the Anne Frank house, some to the Van Gogh Museum, and others who had been to those places before checked out the Red Light District. Then we all met back at the central plaza at 6:30. Turns out the Anne Frank house was closed for some special reason that day, and the Van Gogh folk decided to shop instead since there was so little time before the museum closed (and since we found a cool shop called Hanazuki apparently run by an artists’ collective by the same name). πŸ™‚

Then Giovanna and I stayed to try to find a cool shop we found on Tuesday and catch dinner in Amsterdam. The rest of them went back to Utrecht and got dinner over there.

The shop we found was open! Lots of cool little figurines and action figures designed by (street, urban, hip-hop, manga, skater culture) artists. Not sure how to describe it, but they’re pretty popular in magazines like Giant Robot.







Afterwards, Giovanna and I ate a hole-in-the-wall Chinese place, called Wing Kee, that was really quite good! [Edit: Looking it up on the web (now that I’m back in the States), one reviewer claims it’s the best Chinese restaurant in Amsterdam!]

OMG lots of stuff

but I’ll have to write about it in more detail later. Here’s a real quick summary:

  • I went with another student to Amsterdam on Tuesday while pre-conference workshops were going on. We mostly walked around the shopping district and downtown. We ended with the Red Light District and an Irish pub. It was pretty fun. The Red Light District was underwhelming, imho, but I think we went too early to see anything and it was broad daylight.
  • On Wed, attended the conference and then skipped out of the late afternoon stuff to sleep. Damn that jetlag. Went to dinner with a bunch of CoE folk including a few alums.
  • On Thursday, I was part of a presentation/poster session on expertise development in everyday contexts. I think it went well and I got lots of helpful feedback on my poster and ideas. Here’s a copy of the poster I used. Later, I’ll make a page on this site detailing the drafts and the eventual paper I’m writing based off the poster.

Chen Leet Noobs poster


  • Then the ESTG group went to Amsterdam again. πŸ™‚

no more free access from my hotel…

So, I got stuck in a smoking room which was causing me problems breathing while I was sleeping. I was able to get switched to a non-smoking room (with no view, no remote control, and 2 broken light bulbs). Unfortunately, the free hotspot I was able to get from my old room isn’t reachable. πŸ™

So, updates sporadically.

Sitting in the opening presentation now… Normally, I’d try live blogging, but screw it.

The Netherlands

So I’m sitting in my room at the NH Centre Utrecht hotel writing this post. It’s a little after midnight, local time, which I guess means it’s like 4pm Pacific and still Monday…

I’m here for a conference called ICLS 2008, the International Conference for the Learning Sciences, run by ISLS (replace “Conference” with “Society”). It’s held every two years, and this year it’s at the Utrecht University in The Netherlands. My first time in Europe! Wow!

Continue reading The Netherlands

ICLS poster session

Phil Bell‘s crew, the Everyday Science and Technology Group (a research group at UW composed of Phil’s PhD students and a post-doc), and some other people also associated with the LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments) submitted a poster session idea about everyday expertise to the International Conference of the Learning Sciences 2008 (Netherlands, June 24-28).

One of the posters features my work with World of Warcraft raid groups. Anyway, the session was accepted and a final version of the session description, including abstracts for the various posters, is being edited right now. The updated abstract I turned in to the group for editing is below:

Leet noobs: Expert World of Warcraft players relearning and adapting expertise in new contexts

World of Warcraft (WoW), like many other massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), can actually be seen as two different games. The first is the journey of exploring the game world and advancing the abilities of one’s character or avatar either through solo play or in groups of up to five players. This acts as a proving grounds or gateway for the second stage of WoWβ€”joining a raid group of up to 40 players to kill all the monsters in “high-end” or “endgame” dungeons for the treasures they guard. Within a larger online games ethnography (Chen, in review) similar to others that describe player practice and learning (Steinkuehler, 2007, and Taylor, 2006), I have found that invitation to join an end-game group is contingent on a player’s reputation as an expert of WoW‘s underlying mechanics and rules. It is also necessary, however, to have proven oneself as someone who works well with others and understands his or her particular role in a team. Upon joining a raid group, players soon find that the conditions that determine expertise have changed because the activities and player practices have changed to fit the local context, which includes raid-specific tactics and new communication norms. It becomes clear that expertise is specialized for individual roles, depending on character type, and that to succeed as a raid group, players need to draw on their distributed expertise and knowledge (Hutchins, 1995), each doing their part while trusting others to do the same, so that collectively they act as a coordinated whole. Yet the actual skills and abilities an individual player uses are reassessed for how well they complement other players’ resources. Thus, once-expert players become novices or “noobs” to relearn expert or “leet” gameplay, yet they are not true novices because they already have a good understanding of the game system. Rather, they are leet noobs who must realign and adapt their expertise for new social structures and norms that emerge above the underlying game through joint venture. This poster highlights examples of learning individual expertise as well as new distributed expertise needed for raid group success.

Chen, M. (in review). Communication, coordination, and camaraderie in World of Warcraft. Games and Culture.
Hutchins, E. (1995). Cognition in the wild. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Steinkuehler, C. (2007). Massively multiplayer online gaming as a constellation of literacy practices. eLearning, 4(3), 297-318.
Taylor, T. L. (2006). Play between worlds: Exploring online game culture. The MIT Press.