Thursday, March 09, 2006

Innovate Webcasts-Social Learning

I participated in three of the Innovate's webcasts. I was surprised at the themes brought out in all three session's I attended.(Teachers' Perceptions of Video Games: MMOGs and the Future of Preservice Teacher Education;Using Games to Promote Girls' Positive Attitudes Toward Technology; and Neverwinter Nights in Alberta: Conceptions of Narrativity through Fantasy Role-Playing Games in a Graduate Classroom)

One of the themes that were brought up was the importance of getting students to play games, even college students. The first session focused on primarily using Online Multiplayer games in the elementary classroom. We discussed a survey that was given to pre-service teachers. The results displayed that many teachers had been exposed to gaming, but didn't make the link to incorporating into the classroom. The major question was why. I think the reason is that teachers are overworked, and underpaid. I don't think that with the heavy focus on standards teachers can incorporate video games into the curriculum. This is an area where the library can excel. We have more freedom with instruction than teachers (even if sometimes we have more difficult topics to teach, and less time to teach them). I would love to see a school media center incorporate video games into instruction. I know many have games installed on computers, available for any student to freely use. Let's take it one step further.

The second topic was about girls and gaming. The author of the one of the articles hypothesized that girls do not play games, and that is why they do not go into technical jobs as frequently as boys. I personally feel that just as many girls play games, as boys, they just choose diffrent games to play.

The last session focused on a graduate program, that takes graduate students through the process of creating a ten minute movie, Flash animation, then element of NeverWinter Nights. The professors that organized the program focused on the theory behind the design, not the mastery of the tools, admitting that previous skills were not related to the sucess of the creation of the projects. I was surprized to find that they had student create games individually. This seems odd, since the game industry, business world, and even library environment relies on the strengths of a group to create quality work. I asked if current teenagers would perform differently in the graduate classes, being exposed to the creation technology such as The Movies, and machinama. Their response what that even though the teens may have the skills to create movies, they most likely will not understand the theory of technology design. This is another area I think that libraries can pick up. I'll post some suggestion titles after I pick my husband's brain.

I found the conversations very interesting, and during the course of the discussion many of the participates shared links to research, blogs, and games.

Pablo Moreno-Ger is working on obtaining a Ph. D. in Madrid Spain researching electronic learning related to game-based learning and immersive environments. He publishes his research on his blog.

Game Learning is a website documenting projects created by the Computer Game Design, Programming, Multimedia and Mathematics cluster of the Australian Schools Innovation in Science, Technology and Mathematics Project.

Haileybury Edrington's computer club, started with some female participants, but after a year all had dropped out. The website displays examples of games members have created.

One participant linked to the article Playing Together Beats Playing Apart,
Especially for Girls
, written in 1995.

Another website referred to was Game Learning. Net. Designed for teachers to assist in designing curriculum around video games, it documents the author's research towards a Ph. D.

One interesting event that was brought up was a contest among elementary students for the design of a movie.

Lastly, three games that interest girls were discussed. Also, much discussion about Second Life,and the educational community on Second Life.
While I was participating in the sharing of all of this great information, it dawned on me that I was interacting the same way I participate in World of Warcraft. I was listening to the presenters' discussion, which was reacting to the participants' questions while displaying a powerpoint. On the side, a list of all participants was listed, much like my guild and friends list. On the bottom of the window there was a very active chat session going on that included private messages and messages to the presenters (much like party or guild chat). I was amazed at the similarities, as well as impressed that the same technology was being used in the business world as the gaming world.

In conclusion, I wanted to state that I was thrilled to be able to interact with the authors in this way, and hope that in the library world we may be able to use the Breeze software to have similar discussions amongst librarians. That would put a whole new meaning to "discussion group."

Here's to the future!


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