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"Everything I need to know I learnt from World of Warcraft": why we might need to start asking better questions about games, simulations and virtual worlds
 

"Everything I need to know I learnt from World of Warcraft": why we might need to start asking better questions about games, simulations and virtual worlds

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Ascilite 2010 keynote ...

Ascilite 2010 keynote

"Everything I need to know I learnt from World of Warcraft": why we might need to start asking better questions about games, simulations and virtual worlds

Like many areas of educational technology research, a lot of the work that focuses on games, simulations and virtual worlds consists of case studies that demonstrate proof of concept, enthusiastic position pieces or success stories. All of this is important: we need to know what sort of things we can use these technologies to do, so as to build a broader repertoire of teaching practices. However, this kind of focus neglects a range of other questions and issues that may prove more important in the longer term.

For example, educational research about games typically emphasises the way that playing motivates players; it ignores how successful games (such as massively multiplayer online games) often feel like work, and it also glosses over the way that bringing a game inside the curriculum changes the way that 'players' relate to it. There are also inconsistencies in the way games are thought about: the idea that they cause violence is often criticised as over-simplistic, yet the idea that they cause learning isn't. In virtual worlds, opportunities to create new identities is widespread, but questions about how this relates to our embodied relationships are rarely asked. In simulations, 'realism' is celebrated - but this means that simulations will always be second best to actual experiences, and it ignores how groups can disagree about whether something is realistic or not. Across this work, the complexity of learning and teaching seems hidden by the desire to promote the value of these technologies.

This talk will offer some examples of work that, in small ways, try to engage with these kinds of issue. Different priorities will be suggested, which invite a new kind of engagement with research and practice in this area.

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  • First – thank you, to ASCILITE for the invitation, and to Caroline Steel and Martin Lack & associates for all the help in getting me here.What to expect from this keynote? Not a single, visionary, transformative project, nor a well-established theoretical framework.Something more personal, and quite modest – share some problems I encounter in working with research in this area. Games, simulations and virtual worlds are the setting for talking about this but the points apply more generally too.So problems in three broad areas – 1. Problems of conceptualising what we’re doing, illustrated in relation to games.2. Problems of what it is we’re studying, explored in relation to simulations.3. Problems of how we design things, talked about in relation to virtual worlds.
  • Vote – a before-and-after thing to see if I’ve persuaded people to change their minds about how they think about this.
  • Picture courtesy of: http://www.moose-pictures.com/amazing-moose.jpgThis moose symbolises, for me, many of the problems we face with research into games and learning.Hans Jørgen Olsen, a 12-year-old Norwegian boy, saved himself and his sister from a moose attack using skills he picked up playing the online role playing game World of Warcraft.Hans and his sister got into trouble after they had trespassed the territory of the moose during a walk in the forest near their home. When the moose attacked them, Hans knew the first thing he had to do was ‘taunt’ and provoke the animal so that it would leave his sister alone and she could run to safety. ‘Taunting’ is a move one uses in World of Warcraft to get monsters off of the less-well-armored team members.Once Hans was a target, he remembered another skill he had picked up at level 30 in ‘World of Warcraft’ – he feigned death. The moose lost interest in the inanimate boy and wandered off into the woods. When he was safely alone Hans ran back home to share his tale of video game-inspired survival.Original source: http://www.nettavisen.no/innenriks/article1453635.eceIt’s a great story – and that’s the problem. It shows that there have been life-or-death consequences to learning from games. But the problem is… from this talk, the only thing you remember might be the moose. So I’ll try and fix that at the end.
  • It’s just a story. It’s not research. It fails to tell us what, as educators and researchers, we really need to know. And it’s far from an isolated incident.There’s lots of excitement about the potential of games, right up to and including things like the IBM report about the leadership skills of gamers.http://www.ibm.com/ibm/files/L668029W94664H98/ibm_gio_gaming_report.pdfThat’s getting nearer to research – but it still doesn’t really explain what’s going on, how it happened or how we could help it to happen again.It doesn’t really tell us why it’s interesting, and particularly why we as educators might need to work with games.
  • http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/oct08/10-07MSRNYUPR.mspx
  • Pelletier, C. (2009) 'Games and Learning: what's the connection', International Journal of Learning and Media 1(1), pp. 83-101. http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/ijlm.2009.0006
  • Pelletier, C. (2009) 'Games and Learning: what's the connection', International Journal of Learning and Media 1(1), pp. 83-101. http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/ijlm.2009.0006Why start from this assumption? Are we really incapable of seeing education as something inspiring in its own right? Have we forgotten what we – each of us – found that made us keep wanting to study, to learn – even to the point of becoming researchers?
  • Image courtesy of Shaaron Ainsworth, who used it in a talk about the educational game Zombie Division (see http://zombiedivision.co.uk/ and Habgood, M. P. J., Ainsworth, S. E., Benford, S. (2005). Endogenous Fantasy and Learning in Digital Games. Simulation and Gaming, 36(4) 483-498. )
  • http://www.cracked.com/article_18461_5-creepy-ways-video-games-are-trying-to-get-you-addicted.htmlThese are the headings from an online piece about games design, motivation and learning. It’s a very powerful, very successful, and has nothing to do with constructivism, authenticity or any of the theories we like to talk about.Keep doing the same things over and over again.(“your brain treats items and goods in the video game world as if they are real. Because they are”. Legal precedent.)…because you never know what you’ll get.Eliminate stopping points; each move so small, just one more… and punish if you stop.
  • http://www.cracked.com/article_18461_5-creepy-ways-video-games-are-trying-to-get-you-addicted.html
  • http://stevenpoole.net/trigger-happy/working-for-the-man/Today, the most common paradigm for progress in games, for example, is the idea of “earning”. Follow the rules, achieve results, and you are rewarded with bits of symbolic currency — credits, stars, skill points, powerful glowing orbs — which you can then exchange later in the game for new gadgets, ways of moving, or access to previously denied areas. The only major difference between this paradigm and that of a real-world job is that, whereas the money earned from a job enables you to buy beer and go on holiday — that is, to do things that are extraneous to the mechanized work process — the closed videogame system rewards you with things that only makes it supposedly more fun or involving to continue doing your job, rather than letting you get outside it.
  • Gee, J. (2005) Learning by design: good video games as learning machines. E-learning, 2 (1), 5-16. http://www.wwwords.co.uk/pdf/validate.asp?j=elea&vol=2&issue=1&year=2005&article=2_Gee_ELEA_2_1_webEmpowered learners – Co-design (you act in the game, so not all “done by” the author)Customize (support styles of play; customize the experience to suit your interests)Identity (rehearse ways of being)Manipulation and distributed knowledge (fine grained action at a distance; smart tools)Problem solving –Well-ordered problems (designed to lead to hypotheses that work well, not waste time)Pleasantly frustrating (at the outer edge of, but within, personal “regimes of competence”)Cycles of expertise (learn skills until automatic, then have them fail to cause people to think again and learn anew)Information ‘on demand’ and ‘just in time’Fish tanks (create simplified systems highlighting some critical variables)Sandboxes (safe havens that look like the real thing but have no consequenes)Skills as strategies (repetition is boring; “people learn and practice skills best when they see a set of related skills as a strategy to accomplish goals they want to accomplish”)Understanding – Systems thinking (learn to ignore the representational to see games as semiotic systems)Meaning as action image (meaning abstracted from experiences and actions in the world, rather than just detached)
  • Deus Ex – a game identified by Gee as “good”; based on first-person shooter engine, complex narrative, posed moral challenges and allowed relatively open-ended interactionScreenshots copyright Eidos, included under fair use.Pelletier, C. & Oliver, M. (2006) Learning to play in digital games. Learning, Media and Technology, 31 (4), 329-342. We looked at recorded examples of play, and found that learners were learning, broadly, about three things:About the objects and spaces in the gameThe fine motor skills to perform the gameTactics and strategies for playing the game
  • In other words, here’s a game identified as a Good Game by Gee, which engages people for hours, which has a complex narrative and a moral message, and is critically well reviewed, and what’s learnt is how to play the game better, and not everyone managed that. This game took a massive amount of resource to produce. Is this really the route we want to follow?But hang on a second, this is a violent game. That’s not really what we want to emulate, is it…?
  • http://www.metro.co.uk/news/810028-video-gaming-leads-to-surge-in-ricketshttp://www.nzherald.co.nz/games/news/article.cfm?c_id=38&objectid=10681566http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/04/60minutes/main678261.shtmlAll headlines about games and violence. The claims here are really interesting. Here’s a couple of excerpts:“when a young man with a developing brain, already angry, spends hours and hours and hours rehearsing violent acts, and then, and he's put in this situation of emotional stress, there's a likelihood that he will literally go to that familiar pattern that's been wired repeatedly, perhaps thousands and thousands of times”“we think that the adults who created these games and in effect programmed Devon Moore and assisted him to kill are responsible at least civilly”So – quick poll: do you find these headlines credible?
  • Screenshots copyright Blizzard Entertainment, Ltd. Used under fair use; no permission is given to further re-use.
  • …it’s here, down in the text chat box.
  • Goldstein, J. (2005) Violent video games. In Raessens, J. & Goldstein, J. (Eds), Handbook of Computer Game Studies, 341-357. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.What counts as violence (and which kinds of violence are acceptable) is culturally specific - “When there are few clues to their unreality, bloody images lose their appeal.”People are more aware of games as ‘just play’ than (say) the unreality of TV violence because of their role in directing the actionResearch on video game effects tends to rely on…Correlations (e.g. male purchasers, above average aggression, poor school performance, etc), not causationLab study, not play (a problem since “playing” reframes the activity in a way that probably cannot be captured in a lab)A misunderstanding of violence: no distinguishing between fantasy and reality; also, only able to measure aggressive play not aggressive behaviourInconsistent results, with small effect sizesPoor proxy measures (reaction time to negative words, listing aggressive thoughts and feelings, ‘noise blasts’ against competitors, negative responses to questions, free play with aggressive toys, reported verbal aggression, but no noted effect on interpersonal aggression)
  • Goldstein, J. (2005) Violent video games. In Raessens, J. & Goldstein, J. (Eds), Handbook of Computer Game Studies, 341-357. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • They’re learning to play, not to kill orc Death Knights.
  • Goldstein, J. (2005) Violent video games. In Raessens, J. & Goldstein, J. (Eds), Handbook of Computer Game Studies, 341-357. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Carr, D. (2011 in press) „Interpretation, Conflict and Instruction in Online Multiplayer Games: Lessons from Warsong Gulch‟ in Computer Games / Players / Game Cultures: A Handbook on the State and Perspectives of Digital Game Studies, edited by J Fromme and A Unger. Publ: Springer. When you engage in PVP combat, you are taking part in a rule-based exchange of game resources […] You have volunteered to take part and – providing that you are familiar with the game’s rules – it is reason-ably clear what it is that you are consenting to. What happens in the chat-window, on the other hand, is much less rule-bound, and less predictable. […] Consent is less informed. If the chat-fighting is less consenting and less voluntary.
  • Carr, D. (2011 in press) “Interpretation, Conflict and Instruction in Online Multiplayer Games: Lessons from Warsong Gulch‟ in Computer Games / Players / Game Cultures: A Handbook on the State and Perspectives of Digital Game Studies, edited by J Fromme and A Unger. Publ: Springer.
  • http://www.metro.co.uk/news/810028-video-gaming-leads-to-surge-in-ricketshttp://www.nzherald.co.nz/games/news/article.cfm?c_id=38&objectid=10681566http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/04/60minutes/main678261.shtml“when a young man with a developing brain, already angry, spends hours and hours and hours rehearsing violent acts, and then, and he's put in this situation of emotional stress, there's a likelihood that he will literally go to that familiar pattern that's been wired repeatedly, perhaps thousands and thousands of times”“we think that the adults who created these games and in effect programmed Devon Moore and assisted him to kill are responsible at least civilly”
  • http://www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/Stage%202%20Learning%20Models%20(Version%201).pdfMayes & de FreitasAt a theoretical level it is probably true to say that never before has there been such agreement about the psychological fundamentals (Jonassen & Land, 2000). Here, we follow the approach of Greeno, Collins & Resnick (1996) in identifying three clusters or broad perspectives, which make fundamentally different assumptions about what is crucial for understanding learning. These are: Theassociationist/empiricist perspective (learning as activity)The cognitive perspective (learning as achieving understanding)The situative perspective (learning as social practice) Jonassen and Land, 2000, illustrate this convergence by contrasting conference programmes in 1989, where there were a large range of theoretical orientations, with those in 1999, where the constructivist/situated learning assumptions were dominant. 
  • Friesen, N. (2008) Rethinking e-learning research.
  • http://yamsanchee.home.nie.edu.sg/NIEprojects/Alkhimia/alkhimia2.htmSee also: https://portal.ioe.ac.uk/http/gli.lsl.nie.edu.sg/Yam San Chee’s project – an engaging story, a playful game to engage with, and some serious attempts to engage in educationally meaningful activities. You can’t progress without learning about chemistry. Some of the areas still don’t work as an educator might hope – like documenting reflections in a notebook – but you can’t play without understanding procedures and principles from chemistry. It’s a game that doesn’t just get people to play, it makes them disciplined – and that sense of academic discipline is rare in educational games.See, e.g. Chee, Y. S. (2007). Embodiment, embeddedness, and experience: Game-based learning and the construction of identity. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 2 (1), 3–30.
  • Johnson, E., (2008 September) ‘Simulating Medical Patients and Practices: Bodies and the Construction of Valid Medical Simulators’ Body and Society 14(3):105-128See also: Johnson, E., and BoelBerner (eds.) (2010) Technology and medical practices. Blood, Guts and Machines. Farnhamn: Ashgate
  • Johnson, E., and Berner, B. (eds.) (2010) Technology and medical practices. Blood, Guts and Machines. Farnhamn: Ashgate
  • Lee, Delgarno & Gregor’s symposium, earlier today.
  • Mol, A. (2002)The Body Multiple: ontology in medical practice, Durham, NC, Duke University Press.
  • Carr, D. Oliver, M., Burn, A. (in press 2010) ’Learning, Teaching and Ambiguity in Virtual Worlds’, in Researching Learning in Virtual Worlds. Peachey, A, Gillen, J, Livingstone, D, Smith-Robbins, S. (eds) UK : Springer  http://learningfromsocialworlds.wordpress.com/paper-for-relive-08-at-the-ou/The ability to read the design is important – cf. symposium on virtual worlds and the familiar lecture buildings reducing cognitive dissonance of participants
  • Design as something enacted – performed, provisional, repaired, not entirely specified in code, and not necessarily a formal representation. Nothing against the formal stuff, but arguably, this part is important and we don’t really have a good way of encoding it yet.I’m interested in the idea of designs as a reification of practice, to be interpreted within new contexts, rather than seeing it as a command and control problem.The risk of losing sight of anything beyond the coded representation.Oliver, M., Vogel, M., Carr, D (2009) Representing Pedagogy. In iPED Research Network (Eds), Academic Futures: Inquiries into Higher Education and Pedagogy, 144-159. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

"Everything I need to know I learnt from World of Warcraft": why we might need to start asking better questions about games, simulations and virtual worlds "Everything I need to know I learnt from World of Warcraft": why we might need to start asking better questions about games, simulations and virtual worlds Presentation Transcript

  • "Everything I need to know I learnt from World of Warcraft”Why we might need to start asking better questions about games, simulations and virtual worlds
    Martin Oliver
  • Interactive poll!
    “Do people learn better from games than in a conventional classroom?”
    1. Great question! I’ll go with that.
    2. Meh, it’s ok, but could do better.
    3. That question just doesn’t work.
  • So what’s the problem?
    Good stories don’t necessarily make good research
    Yes, we need to know this stuff can happen, but… who cares? What does this let us do?
    Let’s just step back a second… How are games supposed to make a difference?
  • “Technology has the potential to help reinvent the education process, and excite and inspire young learners to embrace science, math and technology,” Mundie said. “The Games for Learning Institute at NYU is a great example of how technology can change how students learn, making it far more natural and intuitive.” […] Video games, with their popularity and singular ability to engage young people, are showing promise as a way to excite and prepare the Net generation.
  • One of the ideological premises of much research on digital games and learning is the belief that education institutions are failing - failing to adequately prepare students for the demands of the digital age, failing to engage students in the curriculum, and failing to make best use of the digital technologies now available. […] In the education and games debate, the presupposition of failure has tended to frame games as a kind of remedy, which can be brought into either education institutions themselves or the domain of educational theory to help understand and address the shortcomings of current educational practice.
  • A consequence of this is that games and game play tend to be treated as “out there,” beyond the school gate, in some better, more authentic, more democratic, more meaningful place, other than the current and failing educational regime. By bringing games into educational practice and theory, the hope is, it often seems, that the diseased, geriatric body of education can be treated through the rejuvenating, botox-like effect of educational game play.
  • Cracked article: 5 creepy ways video games are trying to get you addicted
    Putting you in a Skinner Box
    Creating virtual food pellets for you to eat
    Making you press the lever
    Keep you pressing it… forever
    Getting you to call the Skinner box home
  • As shocking as this sounds, a whole lot of the "guy who failed all of his classes because he was playing WoW all the time" horror stories are really just about a dude who simply didn't like his classes very much. This was never some dystopian mind control scheme by Blizzard. The games just filled a void. Why do so many of us have that void? Because according to everything expert Malcolm Gladwell, to be satisfied with your job you need three things, and I bet most of you don't even have two of them: Autonomy (that is, you have some say in what you do day to day); Complexity (so it's not mind-numbing repetition); Connection Between Effort and Reward (i.e. you actually see the awesome results of your hard work).
  • Are games really fun, anyhow?
    The professional chess player competing in a tournament game does not have the carefree, leisurely attitude sometimes implied by the term “playing”: she is performing massive amounts of cognitive work. […] Because it has rules, a game is never just a game but also a system of coercion, freely entered into. […] But videogames seem more and more to resemble work in a different sense: working for the Man. They hire us for imaginary, meaningless jobs that replicate the structures of real-world employment.
  • “When we think of games, we think of fun. When we think of learning we think of work. Games show us this is wrong. They trigger deep learning that is itself part and parcel of the fun. It is what makes good games deep.”
    …so what is it people learn when playing games?
  • Here’s what people are learning
  • 1. Move through the space until something happens.
    2. Stay behind cover until you shoot.
    3. If in combat, fall back to find cover.
    4. If progress fails, explore earlier areas to find more resources.
    5. If you see an enemy, hide until they have passed.
    6. If you see a body, search it.
    7. After a noisy combat, check and see if anyone else is coming.
    8. If no one around, then run.
    9. If challenge too difficult, try another route.
    10. If stealth approach fails, try shooting from cover.
    11. If guards running away, shoot them (later this changed to letting guards run away)
    12. When you have got past something difficult, save the game.
  • What didn’t they learn?
    It took 35 minutes before the player realised their avatar could pick things up
    They never learnt to crouch (vital for a stealth game)
    They tried to pick up ammunition by walking on crates (a convention in other games), not breaking them open, and so always ran out
    They forgot stuff (e.g. how to perform certain tasks)
  • Interactive poll!
    “Video game, TV violence ‘causes aggression’”
    NZ Herald, 19th Oct, 2010
    “Video gaming leads to surge in rickets”
    Metro newspaper, 22nd Jan, 2010
    “Can a video game lead to murder?”
    60 Minutes, CBS News, 2005
  • What’s the most violent place in Azeroth?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55s60uvPMrE (6.30)
  • Violence?
    Dill & Dill (1998) “While in real life, murder is a crime, in a violent video game, murder is the reinforced behaviour.”
    Goldstein (2005) “There is neither an intent to injure nor a living victim in a video game” (but many scholars seem unable to draw this distinction…)
  • Is violence an effect of video games?
    “The clear consensus is that there is no consensus” (Goldstein, 2005)
  • The belief that games teach the skills that they represent or simulate (such as managing a theme park) equates the appearance of games with their symbolic meaning. However, when enemies are killed or theme parks managed in a game, it is dubious whether the player’s identification is with the act of killing or managing theme parks, but rather, for example, with gaining points and beating a friend’s score. (Pelletier, 2009)
  • Why don’t violent video games increase aggression amongst the researchers who study them? Because they have a higher purpose – understanding violent video games – that transcends the contents of the game. The focus is on something other than the mock aggression taking place on the screen. Young people may also have other goals in mind when they play violent video games, including trying to improve their score, distraction, emotional and physiological self-regulation, and to have common experiences to share with friends.
  • Back to the Gulch
    Aggression takes two main forms. There is the clubbing, axing, freezing, stabbing, exploding, trapping and poisoning that takes place on the field between opposing teams. These are the actions on screen that look like violence. Then there is the arguing and name-calling that happens within teams using chat. […] For the sake of this discussion what I want to look at is the idea that consent is a key constituent of play as a voluntary activity […] and that violence as a concept does not co-exist easily with consent.
  • ffs if all u do is def [defend] how the hell do u expect to win?
    dude, where are you running?
    goddamit, rogue you‟ve got !@%$ stuns…use them on the healer
    Don‟t sheep him you noob mother%$£&£!
  • Does this mean that the chat-based aggression could be considered as “more violent” than the graphically rendered combat? Does this mean, in turn, that there might be more violence on the game’s forums than in its battlegrounds – or that virtual worlds such as Second Life could be experienced as more violent than games like World of Warcraft?
  • “Video game, TV violence ‘causes aggression’”
    NZ Herald, 19th Oct, 2010
    “Video gaming leads to surge in rickets”
    Metro newspaper, 22nd Jan, 2010
    “Can a video game lead to murder?”
    60 Minutes, CBS News, 2005
  • “Video game, TV education ‘causes learning’”
    “Video gaming leads to surge in exam performance”
    “Can a video game lead to career advancement?”
  • But we know what learning is… don’t we?
    It is possible to view these differing perspectives as analysing learning at different levels of aggregation. A behaviourist analysis analyses the overt activities […]. A cognitive analysis […] describes the detailed structures and processes that underlie individual performance. The situative perspective aggregates at the level of groups of learners, describing activity systems in which individuals participate as members of communities. (Mayes & de Freitas)
    …and so on.
  • …and there’s evidence about learning, right…?
    • Tom’s keynote and the comment about media comparisons
    http://www.nosignificantdifference.org/
    • From print-based correspondence to courses taught via radio, television, and the Web, the use of new media in each case was not found to result in a statistically significant improvement in educational efficiency.
  • Now, a brief detour into simulations…
    Cf. Ron’ skiing example
    An excursion in to clinical education
    Patient safety concerns
    “See one, do one, teach one”
    Simulations as a site for learning
    Conversations about fidelity, realism, validity, authenticity (and some about context and transfer)
    So what’s the problem here? Surely, that’s all good, right?
  • Why and how can a gynaecological simulator that has been ‘validated’ in one context, that is, accepted by experts as a functional and realistic model of the body on which to teach gynaecological exams, not be considered functional when it changes contexts and is used in another country?
  • How do people come to know the body that needs to be represented?
    From freezing, slicing and photographing actual bodies
    Enacting procedures on a patient
    Being a patient and having this procedure performed on you
    Knowledge as constructed through practice
  • “The authenticity of the environment is not the same as the authenticity of the task”
    Yes, but …
    How do we get to know the environment without carrying out ‘tasks’…?
  • When knowledge about the body that has been gleaned through practice is reified into a simulator, that specific phenomenon of knowing the body is simulated, not the ontologically independent body as such.
  • Undermining the idea of the view from nowhere
    Partial perspectives: who is in a position to see everything?
    Coordination of practices of knowing
    The need to study and understand the practice we’re representing
    Evaluating the experience: is this what it’s like to do it for real?
  • Anyhow, is it always such a good thing to emulate conventional experience…?
  • And finally, to virtual worlds…
    41
  • Making sense of virtual environments
    The ‘pain barrier’
    I hated it! […] All I saw was walls! I had no idea what was where, it was totally disorientating! […] I just couldn’t get used to it. It was only when one of the guys I came here to be with from the old chat [room] asked me to come in for another’s birthday that I did and it just clicked, it was then, in March, I felt ‘right’, it all came together.
  • This ambiguity should not be assumed to be a problem in a teaching context. On the contrary […] ambiguity has the potential to unsettle or de-naturalise aspects of our roles (as teacher, learner or researcher) – which could be considered one of the most interesting aspects of a virtual world for educators.
  • But if it’s so hard to make sense of, how can we represent something like a learning design in Second Life?
  • So how did they/we learn to participate?
    45
  • ‘Affordance’ is problematic
    Highly ambiguous (thanks, Don Norman etc)
    Arguably inappropriate outside of ecological psychology
    Theory fails to explain learning or culture
    Technically, it’s relational, but usually used as, “what technology permits or constraints”
    …and usually unnecessary
    They used the affordances of technology to…
    They used technology to…
    46
  • So what are we supposed say…?
    Do rugs cause/permit/afford structured conversation?
    Do virtual rugs afford structured conversation?
    Do red virtual rugs afford structured conversation?
    Does Second Life afford structured conversation?
    Do virtual worlds afford structured conversation?
    Do soft furnishings afford structured conversation?
    And what about talking sticks, lecterns, putting your hand up…? Or – in fact – anything we can agree some turn-taking rules about?
    47
  • Technology as a site for structuring practices
    Not ‘found’ or ‘natural’, but created for a purpose
    A negotiated, meaningful resource
    An invitation to behave in particular ways (not a cause)
    Something that people can mis-read, ignore, walk over…
    A very tentative, performed account of learning design
  • Some parting thoughts
    Stories are great, but we need to move beyond hearsay
    Study the things you want to intervene in
    We can’t just focus on uses of new toys tools
    Focus on practices rather than technology
    Cf. Tom Reeve’s “common lies we tell about technology”
    Recognise the partiality of every viewpoint
  • So back to the question:
    “Do people learn better from games than in a conventional classroom?”
    1. Great question! I’ll go with that.
    2. Meh, it’s ok, but could do better.
    3. That question just doesn’t work.
  • Moose
    Bad