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 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 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 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.