Current Readings

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This week I've been preparing for the Games, Learning, Society 5 conference coming up in a few weeks -- which, embarrassingly, means going through all the flyers, papers, and postcards that I picked up last year.  So this week's reading is GLS + links.

Beyond the jump: academics, academic papers, and transmedia.
  • Giving Products a Good Backstory - Jeff Gomez is doing some really interesting work in creating narratives to help fans identify with a product.  I have mixed feelings about his work, sometimes, with my academic snobbery.  What he does is to carefully craft brands to be more appealing to me, like chocolate coating an olive (I don't like olives).  On the other hand, when done on something that I *do* like, it feels like taking something thin and making it three-dimensional.  So I think my occasional distaste is really just prejudicial snobbery-- when it works in my favor, I think it's awesome.

  • IGDA Curriculum Framework - initially started to create a template for creating lectures, courses, and degree programs in game-related fields, this changed to a "curriculum framework" with the goal of delineating all the topics related to games in an educational context - in other words, all the skills, topics, and material, but with the presentation left to the reader.  The result of the shift is that on reading it, I can't, for instance, say "this, this, this, and that are going to make up my course."  What I could do is take my existing course on a topic and look through the curriculum framework to see whether I've covered the bases, whether there are other elements that are "low-hanging fruit" which I could cover, and find some alternative contexts to bring up in class to tie in other topics that students find interesting. 

  • Operation: Resilient Planet - the Game - part of National Geographic's JASON Project.  I haven't played this yet, and so don't have much to write, but I'm curious to see whether it stands on its own without teacher interventions.  Many 'games' like this don't, or at least aren't fun without them.  Its developers, Filament Games, spoke at GLS.

  • "Engage Learning Using Simulations and Games" - a pamphlet put out by the Engage project introducing some basics of simulations and games and calling for grant proposals.

  • investiGaming - a gateway (portal) for research on gender and games.  It's a bit more than a blog ... interestingly, it's a lot like what I originally intended for textuality.org.  Each entry in the system is categorized and has a bunch of searchable metadata, as well as appearing somewhat like a blog and having entries that aren't just its subjects.  And that's not saying anything about its actual content, which could be quite interesting.

  • RezEd - "the hub for learning and virtual worlds," provides practitioners like educators, slibrarians, parents, and others with access to high quality resources and research in the field to establish a strong network amongst those using virtual worlds for learning."  These guys actually get it.  I found them through Barry Joseph of Global Kids, which produces RezEd, and I'm continually impressed by how thoroughly and authentically they get it. They run a lot of student-led projects where the students actually get to lead, and major parts of the project like the twitter feed and podcasts are written by students.  If you're interested in how education could be around games and virtual worlds, you should watch these guys.

  • Balancing an Open-Ended Game for Learning - an interesting paper from GLS, this focuses on assessing learning in a game that has many possible solutions or end-points.  How do you guarantee learning, or assess what was learned, if the game doesn't offer a single win condition as a sort of 'final exam'?  The game itself reminded me a *lot* of Plantasia, but apparently it was a bit richer in its biology and a bit thinner in the game design.

  • "Press Play to Grow! How Video Games Could be Designed to Facilitate Personal and Spiritual Growth Education" - a paper presented at GLS 2008, which seems to have gone on to become the basis of a full website including a blog.  The author brings a very carefully grounded approach to the issue. 

  • Selene - A Lunar Formation GaME - there's a lot about this online; the thing that caught me at the conference was the discussion of the hoops that they had to jump through to get a game-like project funded.  They couldn't call it a game, it had to be, at most, a Game-based, Metaphor-Enhanced (GaME) method.  However, in the course of jumping through all those hoops, they became very good at articulating why games game-like approaches work so well for education... and their methodology for "ensuring that your instructional game makes learning intuitive for players" is quite promising.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Scott Price published on May 20, 2009 6:16 PM.

ICON 28: Game Design Workshop was the previous entry in this blog.

Liveblogging the GLS Conference: Wednesday is the next entry in this blog.

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