Game session notes (editable version). Static below:
- Voluntary entry
Existing examples of game discussion in education
- Jason Jones: chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/gamifying-homewor/28407
- Anastasia Salter: chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/how-to-gamify-your-class-website/31332 (CubePoints in BuddyPress)
- Julie Meloni: chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/location-based-gaming-for/26720 (Gowalla)
- SOCL social-media devices for Social Psychology class: socl.tntlab.org (discussed in the Jones piece linked above)
- Civilization “modding” etc.
- Mixed results in use of games in new media studies teaching actor network theory — board game (TransAmerica). To teach game design, it’s important to get away from bells & whistles (part of railroad game genre), to teach concept of network externalities through game mechanics (unlike Hollywood Stock Exchange, which didn’t work for Ted; too much division between students who caught on quickly & those who didn’t)
- One issue is the question of numbers — what’s the right size of a group
- Werewolf used in similar class to focus on role-playing (mechanics are simple)
- Discussion of SOCL — there were prize incentives that brought in 28% of “voluntary” participants in quizzes.
- Is voluntary entry inconsistent with game structure in classes, where it might be required?
- Aspects of fun is one thing that appears to fail in libraries that try to create game mechanics as part of library instruction.
- Arden was wonderfully designed but declared a failure
- Bibliobouts… a Zotero add-on (www.bibliobouts.org/) and discussion of whether anyone would find bibliographic entries fun
- Brian Croxall describes a “study break” game that wasn’t specifically about libraries but engaged students (donut prize!) — not about classes but more positive in general
- Putting policy learning into a quiz-show format worked for Emory writing center
- If we need to (or want to) make failure fun, does that require changes to how we grade students?
- In the context of a game, would students be more willing to be wrong?
- Jason — skeptical of the “digital native” assumption that videogames would help students be more willing to fail and be persistent through failure (to “level up”)
- Is ETS’s E-Grader development something that is a sufficient game gesture for students to revise (and thus be persistent through failure in) essays.
Can we build a game in the session?
- Getting out of grad school and a job
- Satire/dark humor
- Game mechanic idea — horrible things that really do happen in job searches?
- Game mechanic idea — point system/badges (out of Academic Jobs wiki?)
- Resources — what do you need to collect to move forward? (Monopoly has money, which is both a score and a resource.)
- Suppose the score is “cultural capital” — can you spend that for other items?
- Deviance credits — do enough scutwork for your institution and you can mouth off, become a union activist, etc.
- Soul credits — how much of your soul are you spending? (Lots of laughter instantly.)
- Is the point of the game to get a job before your soul is gone?
- Need to figure out the right tradeoffs — e.g., “work enough for an abusive professor and you lose soul points but gain prestige points.”
- Multiple win conditions? Would it be possible to get a non-academic or alt-ac job?
- (Randomness for some win conditions?)
- Competitive or cooperative game?
- Is this an Alternative Reality Game (ARG) or a short-term game?
- There already exist game gestures (such as mock job interviews, practice job talks, etc.)
- “Survival of the Witless” from Avalanche Press. Out of print, described in www.avalanchepress.com/valhalla.php
What happens to the magic circle if the game has any consequences outside of itself? If there are grades attached, or if it’s an ARG tied to a very high-stakes circumstance? (Salen & Zimmerman’s concept of the “magic circle”)
Some discussion of the magic-circle concept — gambling is the negative side of spillover, McGonigal’s “SuperBetter” something designed for the reverse. More to the point about THATCamp, the humanities ARE supposed to be a space that give students and other scholars the ability to play with ideas.
Some discussion of less “points-like” structures in classes — Operation Nudge (Sherman), debates over Whitman’s position on the war, … maybe just breaking that up is game enough. Brian: “Maybe we don’t have to be as structured in our game [to have the benefit]. Maybe we need to play Calvinball, where we don’t do the same thing twice.” Jason: “it takes the subject material and applies minimal almost-rules to the information they [are supposed to] have.” In-situ debates are more common in history classes.
Some discussion of how to modify some of the game gestures discussed above.
Discussion of TEI — teaching encoding: could there be a game structure to it? Or programming… the assumption behind Alice would enable young girls to become more interested in programming. Could interest in narrative become a method/means for teaching programming.
Not all courses on game design are effective — what’s necessary to teach better game design (in part as prof. development for teachers)?
Some discussion of different types of feedback. Progress bars, etc.