Liberal arts campuses and computer gaming

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Presentation to CNI, Dec 2009. Updated and expanded.

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Liberal arts campuses and computer gaming

  1. 1. Small Colleges and Digital Gaming: Collaboration and the State of Play Coalition for Networked Information, fall 2009 Bryan Alexander, NITLE
  2. 2. Plan of the session <ul><li>For the next hour, we control the horizontal and the vertical: </li></ul><ul><li>Gaming, teaching, liberal education: a 2009 snapshot </li></ul><ul><li>A taxonomy of practices, with selected examples </li></ul><ul><li>The role of NITLE </li></ul><ul><li>Futures, next steps, discussion, and futures: into 2010 </li></ul>
  3. 3. Making the audience work already <ul><li>Quick note-taking: what are the two most salient uses of computer gaming in your institution? </li></ul>
  4. 4. I. Gaming and cultures, late 2009 <ul><li>Three key takeaways, for today: </li></ul><ul><li>Gaming as art and industry continues to develop and grow </li></ul><ul><li>Pedagogical uses unfolding </li></ul><ul><li>Liberal arts campus cases are now available, and practitioners are networking </li></ul>
  5. 5. Gaming’s pedagogical functions <ul><li>James Paul Gee </li></ul><ul><li>Claims games offer pedagogical experiences (2003ff) </li></ul><ul><li>Other experts follow suit: </li></ul><ul><li>Marc Presnsky </li></ul><ul><li>Henry Jenkins </li></ul><ul><li>John Seely Brown </li></ul><ul><li>Mia Consalvo </li></ul><ul><li>Constance Steinkuehler </li></ul><ul><li>Kurt Squire </li></ul><ul><li>Hippasus </li></ul><ul><li>Sample pedagogical principles: </li></ul><ul><li>Semiotic domains; transference </li></ul><ul><li>Embodied action and feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Projective identity </li></ul><ul><li>Edging the regime of competence (Vygotsky) </li></ul><ul><li>Probe-reprobe cycle </li></ul><ul><li>Social learning (roles; consumption-production) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Fish tank” tutorial </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic self-assessment </li></ul>
  6. 6. Another summary <ul><li>Jason Mittell, Middlebury </li></ul><ul><li>College: games are platforms </li></ul><ul><li>for learning… </li></ul><ul><li>Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Simulations </li></ul><ul><li>Media studies (psych, cultural studies, media) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NITLE brownbag, January 2008 </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. How is gaming used now? <ul><li>Classroom and courses </li></ul><ul><li>Curriculum content </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery mechanism </li></ul><ul><li>Creating games </li></ul>Peacemaker, Impact Games Revolution (via Jason Mittell)
  8. 8. <ul><li>Oiligarchy, Molle Industries </li></ul><ul><li>DimensionM, Tabula Digita </li></ul><ul><li>Jetset, Persuasive Games </li></ul><ul><li>The Great Shakeout, California </li></ul>
  9. 9. Gaming as part of mainstream culture <ul><li>Median age of gamers shoots past 30 </li></ul><ul><li>Industry size comparable to music </li></ul><ul><li>Impacts on hardware, software, interfaces, other industries </li></ul><ul><li>Large and growing diversity of platforms, topics, genres, niches, players </li></ul>
  10. 10. Gaming as part of mainstream culture <ul><li>Anecdata: Number of Facebook FarmVille players: 27,539,610 ( http://statistics.allfacebook.com/applications/leaderboard/ , as of December 2009) </li></ul>(Casual games are more mainstream than most heavy-duty games)
  11. 11. Diversity of game genres American teenagers, Pew Internet, 2008
  12. 12. Game studies as academic field <ul><li>Joost Raessens and Jeffrey Goldstein, eds, Handbook of Computer Game Studies (MIT, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Frans Mayra, An Introduction to Game Studies (Sage, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin, eds. Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives (MIT, 2009) </li></ul>
  13. 13. How is gaming used now? <ul><li>Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Collections </li></ul><ul><li>Game night </li></ul><ul><li>Creating games </li></ul>Defense of Hidgeon, Games Archive: University of Michigan
  14. 14. <ul><li>Maturing professional venues </li></ul>
  15. 15. Making the audience work some more <ul><li>Return to your earlier note-taking, and compare notes with people near you: where on campus are you seeing this? </li></ul><ul><li>And where might you see more in ‘10? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Gaming and liberal education <ul><li>What are the intersections? </li></ul><ul><li>Shared: classic academic concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Pedagogical uses </li></ul><ul><li>Support </li></ul><ul><li>Tenure/promotion </li></ul><ul><li>Fears </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Image: Bryn Mawr College, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Michael Toler </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Gaming and liberal education <ul><li>And what is liberal education, again? </li></ul><ul><li>Learning for learning's sake </li></ul><ul><li>Pedagogy (active learning, faculty/student collab. etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Democratic, engaged citizenship/leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Specific institutional type </li></ul><ul><li>-Jo Ellen Parker, 2008 </li></ul>Scripps College library
  18. 18. II. A taxonomy of practices <ul><li>Liberal arts uses </li></ul><ul><li>Gettysburg, Hope, Depauw </li></ul>
  19. 19. II. A taxonomy of current practices <ul><li>Faculty research </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty/staff game creation </li></ul><ul><li>Classes and learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional games delivering learning content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ “ “ objects of study </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students creating game content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ “ games </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. 1. Faculty research <ul><li>Harry Brown, Depauw University </li></ul><ul><li>(M.E. Sharpe, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Part I: Poetics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 1: Videogames and Storytelling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 2: Videogame Aesthetics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 3: Videogames and Film </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Part II: Rhetoric </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 4: Politics, Persuasion, and Propaganda in Videogames </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 5: The Ethics of Videogames </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 6: Religion and Myth in Videogames </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Part III: Pedagogy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 7: Videogames, History, and Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 8: Identity and Community in Virtual Worlds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 9: Modding, Education, and Art </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. 2. Faculty/staff game creation <ul><li>Valley Sim, Christian Spielvogel (Hope College): MMOG </li></ul><ul><li>American Civil War simulation </li></ul><ul><li>based on primary documents already in digital archive (Valley of the Shadow) </li></ul><ul><li>MMOG: Players experience and debate the war’s epochal events as avatars based on the lives of residents from two wartime communities </li></ul>
  22. 22. 2. Faculty/staff game creation <ul><li>Trinity University library: ARG </li></ul>
  23. 23. 2. Faculty/staff game creation <ul><li>Dickinson College, class on empires: game modding </li></ul>
  24. 24. 3A: Games as learning content <ul><li>Shalom Staub, Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs, Dickinson College: Conflict Resolution course </li></ul>Peacemaker: “ integrate and apply the concepts and strategies that you will encounter elsewhere in the course.”
  25. 25. 3A: Games as learning content <ul><li>Todd Bryant, Dickinson College: teaching German with World of Warcraft </li></ul>http://www.academiccommons.org/commons/essay/bryant-MMORPGs-for-SLA “ If the game provides authentic language content and requires communication in order to progress through the game—and our students are willing to spend hours of their time immersed in this environment—we can greatly increase not only their overall exposure to the language but their motivation to learn as well.”
  26. 26. 3B: Games as objects of study <ul><li>Aaron Delwiche, Trinity University: COMM 3344, interactive multimedia (Spring 2006) </li></ul>
  27. 27. 3C: Students creating game content <ul><li>Chris Fee, Gettysburg: Interactive Fiction (2007-) </li></ul>http://let.blog.nitle.org/2008/05/09/teaching_with_games_medieval_culture_and/
  28. 28. 3D: Students creating games <ul><li>Venatio Creo, Ursinus College </li></ul>
  29. 29. III. The role of NITLE <ul><li>Nonprofit, working to advance technology in liberal education </li></ul>
  30. 30. NITLE programs <ul><li>Professional development (workshops, videoconferencing) </li></ul><ul><li>NITLE Network </li></ul><ul><li>Several venues (NITLE-IT, Summit) </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Exploration of field </li></ul><ul><li>Publications </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging </li></ul><ul><li>Network facilitation </li></ul><ul><li>Game co-creation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ARG (ELI 2009) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web game (futures market) </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. The gaming initiative <ul><li>Web 2.0 networking </li></ul><ul><li>Conference (Dickinson, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Workshop (Bryn Mawr, 2008) </li></ul>
  32. 32. The gaming initiative <ul><li>And: </li></ul><ul><li>MIV sessions (starting 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Presentations (CNI, Educause, NITLE Summit, NMC 2008-9) </li></ul><ul><li>Publications ( Alvarado, Alexander, Bryant) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Overcoming the Fear of Gaming: A Strategy for Incorporating Games into Teaching and Learning.” EDUCAUSE Quarterly Magazine , Volume 31, Number 3. 2008. </li></ul>
  33. 33. The gaming network <ul><li>Faculty involved from: </li></ul><ul><li>Albion College </li></ul><ul><li>Austin College </li></ul><ul><li>Depauw University </li></ul><ul><li>Dickinson College </li></ul><ul><li>Gettysburg College </li></ul><ul><li>Hope College </li></ul><ul><li>Middlebury College </li></ul><ul><li>Swarthmore College </li></ul><ul><li>Trinity University (Texas) </li></ul><ul><li>Ursinus College </li></ul><ul><li>Vassar College </li></ul>
  34. 34. The gaming network <ul><li>Disciplines include: </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>English </li></ul><ul><li>History </li></ul><ul><li>International relations </li></ul><ul><li>Languages </li></ul><ul><li>Media studies </li></ul><ul><li>NB: strong emphasis on humanities and non-quantitative social sciences, so far </li></ul>
  35. 35. We launch one game <ul><li>NITLE prediction markets ( http://markets.nitle.org/ ) </li></ul>
  36. 36. More social media strategies <ul><li>Diigo group ( http://groups.diigo.com/group/gaming-and-the-liberal-arts ) </li></ul>
  37. 37. More social media strategies <ul><li>NITLE blogging, http://blogs.nitle.org/let/ </li></ul>
  38. 38. Lessons learned? <ul><li>What supports intercampus collaboration for educational gaming? </li></ul><ul><li>Strength in diversity (disciplines, regions, projects, sectors) </li></ul><ul><li>Supernodes make the network workshop (the Dickinson movement) </li></ul><ul><li>Low barriers to entry are crucial </li></ul><ul><li>Educational examples are essential </li></ul>
  39. 39. IV. What next? <ul><li>What else is possible for teaching and learning with games, based on practice outside of the classroom? </li></ul>“ Computer games as liberal arts? Educators who teach kids to make their own video games are on education's cutting edge.” (CNN, 2008) http://money.cnn.com/2008/06/06/technology/games_change.fortune/?postversion=2008060606
  40. 40. More current options <ul><li>Already in use in other .edu sectors: </li></ul><ul><li>Machinima for video production </li></ul><ul><li>Information/media fluency curricula </li></ul><ul><li>More modding (ex: Civ IV mod) </li></ul>
  41. 41. <ul><li>Exploring no- and low-cost games further </li></ul>“ Nanw’s Adventure”, National Library of Wales ( http://dysgle.llgc.org.uk/gemnanw/ )
  42. 42. What next in liberal arts gaming? <ul><li>Looking into 2010: </li></ul><ul><li>Diigo group continues (68 items so far) </li></ul><ul><li>Ruthless blogging </li></ul><ul><li>NITLE prediction market trades, grows </li></ul><ul><li>Reaching out to more schools and organizations </li></ul>
  43. 43. What next in liberal arts gaming? <ul><li>Looking into 2010: </li></ul><ul><li>Iterations and new projects for spring classes </li></ul><ul><li>Reacting to the Past interest (Pearson) </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile gaming pilots (Vassar) </li></ul><ul><li>Repurposing gaming tools for visualization (machinima), computing power, presentation (Wii remote) </li></ul><ul><li>Involvement from sciences </li></ul>
  44. 44. <ul><li>Liberal Education Tomorrow blog </li></ul><ul><li>http://blogs.nitle.org/let </li></ul><ul><li>Prediction Markets game </li></ul><ul><li>http://markets.nitle.org/ </li></ul><ul><li>Diigo group http://groups.diigo.com/groups/gaming-and-the-liberal-arts </li></ul><ul><li>NITLE </li></ul><ul><li>http://nitle.org </li></ul>

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