Tag Archives: gls2008

Games Learning Society 4.0 webcasts available

This is probably like a week old… but I just checked and the videos of the various presentations are up.

Two very good ones to check out are Jullian Dibbel’s presentation on griefers and their benefits to society and Lisa Nakamura’s talk on how race-but-not-race matters with our hate on gold farmers.

Check out all the videos at http://hosted.mediasite.com/hosted4/Catalog/?cid=b8aa7b8a-fac1-4e7b-80cb-9551d26a414c

Blogs that covered Games Learning Society 4.0 (GLS 2008)

David Gagnon’s blog

I met David while sitting in a session and noticed he was live-blogging. He’s a student at Madison. He showed me the augmented reality game they created for the conference where people can use their phones to do a walking tour of Madison, looking for clues, etc. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to try it out, it started pouring rain… like really, really pouring rain with thunder and shit. 8o

edurealms.com – Lucas Gillispie

Good coverage of the sessions he went to. I met Lucas (and a ton of others) at the airport on the way out from Madison (I guess I should be thankful that my original flight was canceled). He’s a Dark Age of Camelot veteran and it was cool hearing about his experiences going back to that game after getting burned out with WoW. 🙂

Easily Distracted – Tim Burke

A fellow guildie who I met during the LAN party.  Turns out he had to take off early due to a family medical emergency.  Everything is good now, thankfully.  Go check out his blog.  He’s smart.

The Education Business Blog – Lee Wilson

Lee’s cool and plays WoW!  🙂

Also, check out some flickr photos tagged with gls2008

And finally, if you know of others I’ve missed, email me or leave a comment!

GLS 2008 Day 2 Session 4: Leadership and Games

Leadership & Games & Games for School Leadership
Rich Halverson, Moses Wolfenstein, Andy Phelps, Rovy Branon, Rick Blunt

Andy Phelps (though he didn’t look like Andy to me during the presentation–I arrived late and maybe it was a diff guy?) links guild leadership with academic and company leadership.

One interesting thing is he hasn’t seen a belligerent guild leader last more than 2 months.

I got in late, and missed half his talk, which he had to make short since he had to bug out early. 🙁

Rovy Branon Rovy works at the Academic Co-Lab in Madison. He described how he had a really brutal guild leader who was able to move the guild through the game very quickly. He knew his stuff but he lacked serious social skills. When a new leader took over, the guild progress went down quite a bit. Finally a balanced guy took over.

Important to get things done but also important to be able to manage people without being a jerk.

The old model of one person making all the decisions and then telling others exactly what they needed to do couldn’t work with WoW. You still need leaders but informally and everyone needs to be sort of a mini-leader. WoW is a great example of small teams breaking off with spontaneous leadership being taken on in a more micro level.

Rick Blunt then talked about a few military sims:

  • DARWARS, a PC-based multiplayer training simulator. Take on the role of the convoy lead dealing with an ambush.
  • Virtual Battle Simulator 1 and 2
  • quick talk about some strategic level games, too

He then compared the PS3 controller (40 inputs) to an F16 joystick and throttle (28 inputs) and how kids can master the controller already. I’d argue that mastering the PS3 controller depends on the game a lot.

Moses WolfensteinMoses talked about school leadership and games.  Introduced scales of human interaction.

As an aside, I find it funny that not everyone remembers to put their cell phones on vibrate.  🙂

Anyway, Moses showed us 4 games and linked them to small, medium, large, and massive human-game scale. SimCity is a single-player game. Rock Band is a medium scale in that you can have up to 4 players simultaneously. Then Team Fortress 2 and finally World of Warcraft.

One thing to note with massive games is that you lose a bit of control as a trade-off for scale.

Framework for leaderships:

  • Leithwood: setting directions, redesigning org, developing people
  • Bolman and Deal: structural, hr, political, and cultural
  • Spillane: distributed leadership

You get a lot more mileage out of distributed leadership when looking at games and schools.  If we’re trying to figure out what’s happening in games, d-leadership helps more.  This ties in really well with the stuff Andy was talking about.

Where does leadership come from?

How can we parse generic and specialized skills?

Can we leverage COTS games for leadership?

Where are we headed?

Rich HalversonRich then talked about games for school leadership some more.  Games, cell phones, Facebook, etc. are banned from schools in a lot of cases because there’s such a lack of knowledge about technology with administrators.  They view new techs as threats rather than opportunities.  What if we make games for existing leaders?

This is stuff along the lines of Virtual U.

Borrowing epistemic frames (from David Shaffer).  What are the tasks that matter?  Define exactly what activities need to be done rather than have some sort of ethereal view of leadership.  Whoever does the tasks are the leaders.  Functional definition.

I could probably use this definition to look at my WoW raid groups and track spontaneous or emergent leadership in raids.

Rich then showed us a screenshot of the Teacher Evaluation Game that he and Moses worked on.  Unfortunately, they ran out of funding to continue the project.

Then we saw some tips for making games for professional learning.  Cut the graphics since you have a captive audience.  Make the content compelling instead.  Make them authentic.  Teach for adaptive expertise and emergent situations.

Design templates so that the specific contents can be tweaked for different settings.  Task specific modules.  Low-fi.  Messy ill-defined solutions.

Semantic Templates fit between too abstract and too concrete.

GLS 2008 Day 2 Session 3: Games & Incivility

Sympathy for the Griefer: MOOrape, Lulz Cubes, & Other Lessons From the First 2 Decades of Online Sociopathy
Jullian Dibbell

Jullian Dibbel

Jullian Dibbel gave a warning that his talk about griefers is NSFW. But he did say that he toned it down right before the presentation.  “Griefer” goes back to “spoil-sport,” someone who shatters the “magic circle” (AKA the bounded game world), whereas a cheater is someone who is still within the magic circle.

He then described Mr._Bungles in LambdaMOO, moving on to organized griefing in Habbo Hotel, Second Life, etc. that are anti-furry or whatever. Watch his videos when available… really hard to explain by text. LULZ.

There an insanely hyper-developed culture of memes on sites like Something Awful, 4chan, 7chan, and Encyclopedia Dramatica. Embedded in these memes is a kind of ideology which a sociopath doesn’t have, so calling griefers sociopaths is slightly wrong. They do it for the LULZ and to remind us that the Internet is not all serious business.

The magic circle is porous and ever-changing and can’t really be drawn to exclude griefers since they deliberately play with the magic circle.

But are griefers always bad? Actually, they can do some really important work, like go after the Scientologists or generally keep society in check.

Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft
Lisa Nakamura

Lisa Nakamura

Lisa (a Reedie!) first played a clip from the WoW South Park episode. In it they denigrate Koreans. Koreans don’t count as people to socialize with. So, WoW is a transnational game but not really a transnational game.

She then described how racial profiling happens in WoW, where players figure out whether other players are Chinese gold farmers from broken English or repetitive killing of mobs.

Lisa then played for us the Ni Hao video.

Holy crap. There is so much stuff in Lisa’s talk. Players are discriminating against others who “act” Chinese, not people who actually are Chinese. Those people are those who haven’t properly assimilated to WoW culture. It’s ironic that selling gold, acting Chinese, is bad, but being American–many, many of whom buy gold–is perfectly fine. (and of course, neo-liberal stances hide behind cultural non-assimilation arguments to say they aren’t racist)

While it is possible to hide your offscreen race while playing WoW, lots of effort goes into outing Chinese farmers.

Avatarial capital. More research needs to be done with avatarial capital. Avatars are much more than a few bytes of data. But most research focuses on leisure players, not farmers who may not value their avatars the same way.

Part of the problem with player-workers is that they are not allowed to possess their own avatars.

If we’re going to argue that MMOs are important; we have to be accountable for the bad stuff, too–the racialization and profiling that can occur (that will occur in any medium).

The Temptation of Virtual Misanthropy: User Exploration in Virtual Environments
Edd Schneider, D. Hu

Edd Schneider

What if you put someone in GTA 3 and told them that they were a police officer or a medic or something. How long could a player be in the GTA 3 environment (without the idea that they are meant to be bad) before going down the path of evil?

Technical difficulties…. 🙂

Do you let people just play with a new world or do you give them some instruction first?

Edd described a study where they put users in GTA 3 for the first time, calling it a fire fighting game.

They recorded first vehicular homicides, first murders with a hand weapon, etc. How long it took before players started doing these transgressive acts. Whether they actually fought fires, etc.

Awesome graphs. People who read instructions tended to not kill very much, whereas those who don’t read instructions couldn’t go a minute without shooting someone. Men killed more than women, were not on task. Gamers killed more and were also not on task.

Takeaway: know your audience. Allow people the option to follow tutorials.

GLS 2008 Day 2 Session 2: the WoW roundtables!

I was part of the World of Warcraft roundtable session this morning. It went really well, and the paper figures were a hit.

I caught up with Adam Hyland who used to be an engineer and managing engineer on a NAVY boat, and it was really cool hearing about how much parallel he saw with WoW raiding and the way a NAVY boat works. We talked a bit about Hutchins and it was great to hear that the description in Cognition in the Wild is pretty close to Adam’s experiences.

Here’s the info for my session:

World of Warcraft: Modeling the Ladder to Success in the Classroom
Paul Bielema

The Complexity of Dialogues in Interactive Role-Playing Videogames
Ellen Bielema

Leet Noobs: Expert World of Warcraft Players Relearning & Adapting Expertise in New Contexts
Mark Chen

World of Warcraft Lessons Learned & Applied: Models & Professions
Kenneth Hay

Women & “Passing” in Online Games
Shawna Kelly

Finding Governance in Synthetic Worlds
Krista-Lee Malone

“N00b” Rhetorics, Learning, & Identity in Online Gaming
Lee Sherlock

A Topology of Literacy Practices in World of Warcraft
Constance Steinkuehler

Much like I would with a poster session, I lament the fact that we didn’t get to go around and talk to each other.  It seems ironic since we would’ve benefited the most.  (I just had a quick chat with Lee and Shawna who feel the same way.)

Here’s a photo of my papercraft. 🙂

GLS 2008 Day 2: late start…

I just woke up about 30 min ago and am waiting in my hotel lobby for a shuttle to Monona Terrace. The first session starts right now, so it looks like I’m missing it… Was going to go to the session on ethics and politics:

Moral Economies of Play: Learning and Citizenship in MMO Games
Doug Thomas

Power From the People: How Videogames Foster Participatory Democracy
Lisa Galarneau

Ethics at Play: Youth Perspectives on the Ethical Dimensions of Gaming
Sam Gilbert

Since Lisa’s one of the people, maybe I can just ask her how it went… :/

GLS 2008: Dinner for reals and LAN party!

Okay, turns out we just waited 30 minutes and then all bussed over to Tenney Park.  The rain did a pretty number on the park, though, and we were pretty much standing in a watery lawn the whole time.

But it was pretty cool.  I talked with Debbie Fields about our respective research.  I met someone working on a project for native american youth in Washington.  I talked with Shawna Kelly and Lisa Galarneau (ironic 🙂 ) a bit.  Met up with Brett Shelton (who was also at ICLS).

Dinner was catered by a local taco place.  It was pretty good.  The queso was good, as was the fish taco and tamale.  I thought the beans and rice tasted funny but it was probably some spice I’m not used to.  Seemed middle-eastern a bit, though…

After dinner we wished Kurt Squire a happy birthday with cake!

Then there was a karaoke band but I had to take off on the first bus with a bunch of TrN folk to meet up with Thomas Malaby, and Eric Ellis and Linda Polin (from Pepperdine).  They were our rides over to the Union Building (not sure that’s the right url for it) for hella fun LAN raiding.  We went to AQ20 and blasted through those bosses like they were queso succumbing to our crunchy tortilla chips.

GLS 2008: Dinner

OMG, the rain is coming down hard!  The food from the park is being moved to over here at Monona Terrace, and I don’t think the TrN (sort of) folk are going to be strolling down State St. any time soon.

GLS 2008 Session 4: skipped…

I met up with Josh Diaz (new to me blog!) earlier and we started talking about DnD 4th Edition. He mentioned he was starting a campaign with the MIT crowd he hangs out with (and that profs had signed up to play!) which coincides with me joining a campaign some of my friends down in the Bay Area are running. So I asked him character advice and lo and behold! he had the books with him in his backpack.

Long story short, I spent a bit of time looking at the Player’s Handbook. Considering either a Cleric or a Warlock. 🙂

Now the session is over and I’m sitting in the Arcade writing this. There’s a conference dinner thing at a local park but some Terror Nova folks want to get dinner on State St. somewhere and I’ll probably tag along for that.

But guess what? There’s some crazy ass storm headed our way! Hopefully I don’t get too drenched!

Later tonight is the TrN LAN party! Looking forward to that!

GLS 2008 Session 3: Games for Science Learning

Online Games and Science: The Role of Gaming Technologies in the Development of Dispositions Towards Learning
Melissa Gresalfi . Anna Arici
Melissa GresalfiAnna Arici

Cool stuff on Quest Atlantis. 🙂 Caught the tail end of it.

Resilient Planet: A Partnership of Games and Curriculum
Bill Jewell, Dan White, Dan Norton, Marjee Chmiel
Marjee ChmielDan WhiteDan Norton

A presentation about the work that Filament Games has done with the Jason Project!  Cool!  OMSI used to host Jason Project days for schools to come and watch the live feed from the oceanographic research.

Filament created a full-on multimedia, 3D ocean exploration game with authentic problems that students need to explore solutions for.

Is Our gaMerz L3arning? (Evaluating Games As Shared Experiences)
Jay Laird, Ann McDonald
Jay LairdAnn McDonald

They had this cool activity for participants (48 of us anyway) to play to demonstrate the idea of shared experience. They also had a cool hand-drawn cartoony portrait of themselves to start off their slideshow. I should totally do that.

Check out Jay Laird’s website with tons of links to games that he’s worked on!