Back to NMC 2011 and to get some actual game playing in, Jason Rosenblum of St Edward’s University presented a hands-on workshop in serious games. St Edwards maintains an excellent site that offers annotated examples of simulations, exploratory games, casual games, and games that promote real play. My favorite: download the demo, try “PeaceKeeper”, and see if you can untangle peace in the Middle East. Enjoy.
Another highlight of GLS was Constance Steinkeuhler and her PopCosmo grad students’ hands-on workshop in Mixed Methods to Study Games and Learning. Her workshop offered exposure to a range of analytic tools by which to evaluate the kinds of learning phenomena that can take place in games. Participants were challenged to come up with a research question their group wanted to investigate then sample 2 different data analysis techniques and report back to the workshop group. More tools for the learning research toolbox.
Individual constructs of meaning
Ideology and identity
Use and navigation of resources
In-game vs out-of-game reasoning, and
Suggested data collection techniques included
In-game chat files
Video data of player at computer
Surveys and observational data.
Data Analysis techniques then included
Quantifying qualitative codes
Matched sample comparisons, and
Building on from John Seely Brown’s address in 2010, the 2011 Summer NMC Conference offered a track in games and learning simulations and was co-offered with the Games+Learning+Society conference 12 miles across Madison town. The NMC Conference program, materials, and links are available here. Or, click on the Games+Learning+Society Conference program. A highlight from GLS was attending a packed “fireside chat” with James Gee which he titled “The Invective-Filled Tirade I Would Like to Give if I Wasn’t So Nice”. Gee echoed JSB’s remarks that the learning component of games is primarily in the communities and constructs beyond the game mechanics.
NMC 2011 and Games+Learning+Society
Last year’s 2010 New Media Center Summer Conference closed with John Seely Brown framing the learning component of games as occurring not so much in the mechanics of game play as in the connections and social relationships established at the edge of the game, a region he labeled the Knowledge Economy. Videos, wikis, blogs, forums, FAQs, documentation, user communities – these are the areas to look to for finding the intersection between games and learning. Favorite graphic: 21st Century Study Groups – as if together
To set the context for this category of Games and Learning Simulations (GaLS), here is Rachel Smith’s brilliant graphic representation of John Seely Brown’s closing keynote speech for the NMC 2010 Summer Conference. Both JSB’s keynote video and the presentation slides can be found on the Conference page.
This gallery contains 4 photos.
Summer 2011 Conferences -New Media Center, Games+Learning+Society Here I’m paying fierce attention as Ruben Puentedura of Hippasus presents some analytic tools for crafting visual representations of data- (presentation slides). Favorite graphic: Anscombe’s Quartet. Since the best fit line can appear the … Continue reading
In Calling Transformative Learning into Question: Some Mutinous Thoughts, Michael Newman thoughtfully declines the notion of a ‘transformative learning’ that differs from other kinds of learning, not just by degree but as an entirely new category. Learning may be good, he claims, may even be profoundly good. The current literature, however, presents insufficient evidence of teaching interventions which actually cause transformations at the level of personhood, bringing learners to entirely new realms of self-efficacy and power. His review finds instead mostly anecdotes and self-reporting. Stories don’t prove anything, he claims, including invention along with the recording. From that viewpoint, one might wonder what Mr. Newman would make of the coming ‘Singularity’, that mother of all transformations, where the intelligence of our machines will exceed all human intelligence on Earth. Futurists such as Ray Kurzweil predict this event no more than one more human generation out, 30 years or so, and have labeled it as the endpoint of the human era – 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal. Yikes.
Such projections imply that students in school now can expect to compete worldwide for jobs and a niche in the global exchange. Their children, however, will have to contend with robot-kind as well for their rightful place on Earth and a future worth living in. If even partially predictive, how are we doing at preparing for such massively disruptive changes? What role does “education” have to play in the coming contestation: man versus machine? With exponentially rising machine intelligence, how is human intelligence supposed to keep up? If Mr. Newman is correct and we have no solid foundation (yet) for transforming our current educational system, how big o’ trouble are we in, really? Certainly Kurzweils’ Law of Accelerating Returns graphs inspire a rising sense of urgency to it all.
But imagine if you will a kind of learning that could map to exponential gains in understanding, accelerating the learner’s journey from novice to wise mastery. What might such a learning path look like? The remainder of this post will sketch out a first pass at such a description.
Subtitled: “The shape of natural and man-made things – why they came to be the way they are and how they change.” This is one of my favorite inspirations for thinking about deep structure. Beautifully illustrative, Williams ponders on form as a response to stress:
Structure is the way to achieve the most strength from the least material, through the most appropriate arrangement of elements within the best form for the intended use, and constructed from the material most suited to the kind of stress placed upon it. Structure is focused in one direction: getting the very most from the very least
Much good design shares this economy of form in the design solution to human problems. Favorite illustration, highlighting similarities between the animal world and the forms that people create:
HINT: You may click through the book shelf stack at upper right and hover over the DIY U cover to see the online review I posted on my Shelfari book site.
Some additional highlights from the book:
Most interesting reference to Kamenetz: Michael Feldstein’s post on Kamenetz as, amongst other things, keynote speaker for the Sakai 2010 conference in July:
Most interesting reference by Kamenetz: Barbara Means, (2010) Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, US Dept of Education