Educational Gaming Must Move Beyond Parlor Tricks

Tom has been gracious enough to let me back in the door to blog my experience at the Gaming + Learning + Society conference this week. Have you played Passage yet?  If you have 5 minutes, it is worth downloading and playing it through once.  It will give a little context to this reflection and you will avoid all spoilers below. Passage caused a flurry of chatter a year an a half ago.  Jason Rohrer, the creator, wanted to make a simple game that simulated the span of life and illustrated how the choices we make effect that timeline.  In the game, there is no real goal.  Sure, you are collecting points for various activities and choices (trying not to spoil the experience for those of you who have not played it yet), but, in the end, the point of the game is the experience itself.  Not the score.  It has been hailed as the first video game to bring the player to tears.  The power of the play is multiplied when you look at the simple, classic design of the game. After playing through Passage a couple more times, I began to realize that this brilliant game was the direction gaming in education needs to move.  We need to move away from the perception that educational games teach the […]

05

Colleges Consider Using Human Skin Instead of Blackboard

—Another mock Chronicle article – or Chronicle mocking article. If it weren’t so easy I’d try to get it declared an Olympic sport. original article here by JEFFREY R. YOUNG footnotes, italics and a few minor deletions by me below New York Jim Groom sounded like a preacher at a religious revival when he spoke to professors and administrators at the City University of New York last month. “For the love of God, open up, CUNY,” he said, raising his voice and his arms. “It’s time!” But his topic was technology, not theology. A number of studies have correlated religious zealotry of this type with insanity and anti-social behavior. Mr. Groom is an instructional technologist1 at the University of Mary Washington, and he was the keynote speaker at an event here on how to better run CUNY’s online classrooms. The meeting’s focus was an idea that is catching on at a handful of colleges and universities around the country: Instead of using a course-management system to distribute materials and run class discussions, why not use free blogging software — the same kind that popular gadflies use for entertainment sites? I’ll answer my own question. Because it’s for gadflies and entertainment sites, damn it. Trusting your course to something so common, so un-academic would be like settling for a non-terminal degree. […]

TED Spreadsheet Exhibit Remix

This Exhibit is based of the spreadsheet found here. None of the data is mine. I found the spreadsheet via this tweet by scmorgan. If anyone knows who to give original credit to please let me know1 Clearly, I have no official or non-official affiliation with TED. I just like to watch the videos. I do want to thank David F. Huynh for making Exhibit which enabled me to make this site in about 10 minutes. Most of that time taken up by messing with the CSS2. I am an Exhibit fan which is pretty obvious if you search the site. This data just seemed to beg for Exhibit so . . . I obeyed. In the future, I may add some additional fields based on what I see as valuable to different strands of education (leadership, planning, creativity etc.). If you want to do something similar it’s really easy to get this data out and do with it what you will. 1 I did look around for about 10 minutes but no original source presented itself- popular link though. 2 Obviously, I have only the roughest ideas regarding CSS so if you have skills it’d take you no time.

02

Student Brainwashing Proves Effective

Here’s a slightly modified/mockified version of a recent Chronicle article. Some deletions. My additions in italics. College students were given the chance to ditch a traditional classroom for an online virtual world. Fourteen out of fifteen declined. The fifteenth student was required to return to K12 education to have the rest of the curiosity and spirit beaten out of her. “We’ve taken great steps to make sure all that spirit is gone by 12th grade.” Lamented Ms. Demeanor, a local principal. “I don’t know what could have happened. We failed her. There’s nothing else I can say.” When Catheryn Cheal, assistant vice president of e-learning and instructional support at Oakland University, was designing a course on learning in virtual worlds, she thought the best way to research the topic would be to immerse her class into one such world. Her thought was that the “motivating factors identified in games, such as challenge, curiosity, control, and identity presentation” would help the course along. “Of course she wasn’t thinking,” writes Ms. Demeanor. “How could they adapt to such an environment when we’ve spent so many painstaking years doing just the opposite? Where were the tests? Where were the lectures? She could have killed them.” While the interactive style could be fun, Ms. Cheal’s students worried they were having too much fun. Students […]