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* Thursday, June 23, 2005

GLS04: Games, Learning, & Identity

David Squire: Learning Game Design: Creating Links – RPG, Identity, Characterisation and Learning

noted there’s no entry for “avatar” in Wikipedia (I’m counting down how long it takes before someone adds it)

Gee’s 3 forms of identity:
– virtual
– real
– projective


showed pix to illustrate the evolution of avatars from Pong and Pac-Man to the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2005)

need a safe place to play and be in control of “self”; evading the commands – RPGs provide this

predefined or prerendered characters don’t impact on player’s identification
role playing is a natural way to learn
is fantasy more interesting than fact?

interesting question to him is what happens when you strip out fantasy

doesn’t think you get attached to the character if you don’t see it (eg, FPS where you don’t see the shooter)

Diner Dash game where you’re a waitress

Betty Hayes: Gendered Identities at Play

issues now circle around what kinds of games women want now that we know women do play games

girls are horizontal competitors; boys are hierarchical competitors
problems with this perspective (the stereotypes) include presenting attributes as intrinsic, static, & immutable; social context is treated as irrelevant; differences are rendered invisible or deviant

her research starts with the assumption that we’re affected by gender belief systems

did a case study of two women learning to play the game Morrowind: The Elder Scrolls III
both were in a class where they were required to play a video game; chose this one; neither was a gamer
Hayes interviewed them and observed their game play

in Morrowind, you enter the game not knowing your role; a lot of exploration; find out you’re the saviour of this world

both women spent a considerable amount of time creating their avatar/character

ended up enjoying the fighting; both were successful and enjoyed the experience, although both experiences were very different

one wanted to be a healer, but there just weren’t that many opportunities to heal
one started out as a potion maker, but it was too much like “cooking” so she changed roles

women gamers want:
to be forgiven
to benefit others

men gamers want:
expository explanation
to be punished
to win

gendered play is situated in personal histories and social context
women “play gender” differently
can gaming serve as a site for new understandings of gender and identity?

Lisa Galarneau: The Power of Perspective: Games and Simulations for Transformative Learning

has been closet gaming for 20 years; is the daughter of a closet gamer
is also a former dot-commer

can motivate Millennials to learn using gaming, but it’s only one thing games are good for; it’s not the main thing

the sweet spot for games and learning:
– flexible environments that allow for infinite possibilities and points-of-view (“going meta”)
– allow learners to form connections by experimenting with knowledge in context
– learners learn by doing, discovering and through failure
– allow learning designers to foster authentic learning experiences
– facilitate transformative learning

why learning must be transformative:
– no longer sufficient to know stuff or do stuff, learning is about being/becoming different

modernism, postmodernism, and identity play:
– hyperidentities
– digital media allows us to manipulate our “selves” and multiply them indefinitely
– “narrative of the self”

transformation is the natural by-product of experience:
– transformations can be positive; reflection becomes key (classrooms?)
– without guidance, experiences without reflection can result in unconscious judgment (stereotypes, etc.) – Gladwell’s “Blink”
- they are often abrupt shifts in perspective enabled by “disorienting dilemmas”

“point of view gun”

“September 12th” game about terrorism
shooting the terrorists just creates more of them

MIT’s Replicate game that helps you understand the human body, in this case the immune system, from the perspective of a virus

The Oregon Trail – player takes on the role of a pioneer

MIT’s Revolution game – what if you could change history?
replaying history shifts one’s perspective (Civilization 3)

SimSchool - professional development training for teachers (“FPS for teachers without the gun!”)
what if you could turn this around and be the student, too?

BT’s Better Business Game - what if you were CEO? would you make environmentally and socially responsible decisions?

Magellan’s Understanding Diversity - how does experience contribute to our sympathy for others? a CYOA type of model
explore a situtation and have to decide what to do

Simulearn’s Virtual Leader – how do we learn to handle the complexities of business relationships?

– consider using games and simulations to allow a point-of-view that is unexpected; don’t tow the party line
– allow learners to play at being - encourage them to try on different identities
– remember that simulations are well-suited to practice that is impossible or impractical in tthe physical world
- don’t forget to add fun, challenge, and stickiness
– keep in mind that transformatioin is the goal, but it only comes iwth experience; design authentic learning experiences, not just materials or resoruces
– don’t forget the importance of guidance and reflection


how do you measure transformation?
Lisa: focus on short-term assessment is prevalent, but you can’t measure this short-term; need to use profoundly qualitative and very subjective measures; no good answer yet
audience member: lets other learning happen, will lead to other things
Lisa: one of the things transformative learners become is better learners, better collaborators; means future problems are solved more easily; could do more formative assessments in other areas

design implies a controlled, intended response; what about the unintended transformation?

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Tracked on June 24, 2005 12:24 AM