Theresa Devine - Shared Desires, Conflicting Agendas and Lessons Learned

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Any professor who develops games will inevitably be asked to work in partnership to make an educational game. As a new professor, I was very open to the idea of collaborative research because I felt …

Any professor who develops games will inevitably be asked to work in partnership to make an educational game. As a new professor, I was very open to the idea of collaborative research because I felt an affinity with my colleagues and thought that we shared desires that developing games satisfied. The requests from my colleagues to make educational games were numerous. I attempted to join forces with these professors and every one of these endeavors failed. The shared desires, conflicting agendas and lessons learned from these failures are the subject of this talk.

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  • 1. Shared Desires, Conflicting Agendas, and Lessons Learned On Collaborating to Create Educational Games Theresa Devine Assistant Professor Arizona State University tcdevine@asu.edu http://studio4gaminginnovation.com/ http://theresadevine.com/ http://zamtox.com/ July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 2. Desires July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 3. My Backstory July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 4. I am an artist. I was trained as a painter and printmaker. MFA 1994 July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 5. The enlightened one…. July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 6. No audience participation = preaching July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 7. Political and Social Art July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 8. Barrier between artist and audience. July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 9. 2 miles per hour July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 10. My Desire: What if? July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 11. 1995: I will make games and engage the fine art audience through play July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 12. Note: Day Job 1998-2010 (this is important later in the story) July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 13. Their Backstory July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 14. Their desire: beyond boredom July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 15. !!!!!!!! July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 16. Anti-Critical Thinking July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 17. *sigh* July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 18. Assembly Line Learning July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 19. First comes instruction, then practice, then work on comprehension skills July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 20. Break free July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 21. And everyone read it…. July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 22. And decided games would SAVE education July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 23. Reinforcement July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 24. Seduced July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 25. Shared Desires
  • 26. Wishing and wondering • Can the interface disappear? • Can the artist/educator become one with the audience/students? • Can our message become embedded in the delivery so as to make the communication intuitive? July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 27. Rapture July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 28. And so we set out on our journey… July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 29. Conflicting Agendas July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 30. My Agenda • To make fun, engaging, meaningful, well designed toys and games that are works of art. July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 31. Their Agenda • To make a game that will engage an audience in their research. • To enhance their teaching.
  • 32. Conflicting Agenda #1: Pedagogical Confusion July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 33. Fields I Encountered: Cases #1 and #2 July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 34. Case #1: Chemistry two pervasive pedagogical approaches Lecture to present CONTENT Learn by doing: CONTEXT July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 35. Content vs. Context Content • Students usually enjoy this type of approach • Hard to motivate non majors • Difficult for non majors to see relevance Context • Fosters a more positive attitude to school science over conventional courses • Helps students make links to their lived experiences • Seems to engage non majors July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 36. Collaborator for this game… • Unable to choose an approach • “Just use the book” • Result: a content driven pedagogical approach wrapped in a story and gameplay • Goal: give the students the same feelings of positivity and relevance that a context approach would July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 37. The Hope • To motivate students to learn an admittedly difficult subject; and • Improve retention July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 38. Fail: Motivation + July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 39. Fail: Good Game Design + July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 40. Why didn’t I push back? July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned +
  • 41. What happened when I did push back? What I said What they heard July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 42. Hmmmm... July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 43. Case #2: First Year Composition Teaching skills • Identifying, categorizing, studying, and replicating approaches to writing. • Emphasis on “Form” Covering content • Anchored in specific content but approached from multiple disciplinary perspectives July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 44. Game Design Stumbling Blocks: FYC Teaching skills • To reproduce the professor feedback loop in a game would require duplication of the human ability to discern and critique the student's writing • This type of artificial intelligence capability is beyond what is currently technically available. Covering content • Adds layer of game design as it requires that a disciplinary context be created on top of the writing lessons. • Expected degree of flexibility of discipline is difficult to achieve. July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 45. Irony • it has been found that neither methodology produces the systematic and wholesale improvements in writing skills desired July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 46. Since 1968 July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned Stumbling Block: Eliminate FYC
  • 47. Writing Lab as Game? + July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 48. What FYC is to English Departments July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 49. Hmmmm... July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 50. Conflicting Agenda #2: Technology Wars July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 51. The Battles Technology Battle #1: Purchase “out of the box” solution Technology Battle #2: Choose a digital environment based solely on novelty July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 52. Seduced at a Conference July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 53. Tech Battle #1: Purchase an “out of the box” solution July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 54. Age Old Software Question… Build or Buy? July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 55. “No Silver Bullet” – Fred Brooks July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 56. Level One Assessment Criteria 1. What does the software do? 2. Does the software fill the need of the project? 3. Does the software do what it does well? 4. Who are the competitors? 5. What are the differences and similarities of the competitors’ products with the software being assessed? July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 57. Level Two Assessment Criteria: Total Cost of Ownership (TOC) • initial license fees, • hardware, • developers, • time, • training, • maintenance, • and feature development July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 58. Level Three Assessment: What is the best value? • The least expensive isn't necessarily the best value. • The best value is determined by the long term plan of the software. • Clear requirements that explain how the software is going to support the research are needed to determine the long term plan. July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 59. If • There are clear requirements • And a long term plan July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 60. Then this is the point at which the – build, – buy, – or build and buy decision can be made July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 61. But… • The assessment process was never allowed by my collaborators. • It was seen as “extra work” and “a waste of time.” July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 62. Hmmmm... July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 63. Tech Battle #2: Choose a digital environment based solely on novelty July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 64. Why? • Collaborator thought – It was cool and cutting edge. – The NSF would fund the project because of the choice of technology. – The students would respond to this technology. – It was a readily available consumer product (one that every student already owned). July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 65. Problems • Inaccessible to people with limited mobility. • Financial burden to students. – my students struggle to buy their books. • Caters to a kinesthetic learning style. July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 66. July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 67. Hmmmm... July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 68. Conflicting Agenda #3: Bait and Switch July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 69. I thought I was wiser… Contract establishing roles Stakeholder Requirements Document Game Design Document Agreement to make Board Game to transfer research information Agreement to make Board Game as a prototype Agreement to create Video Game July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 70. Dead End Contract establishing roles Stakeholder Requirements Document Game Design Document Agreement to make Board Game to transfer research information Agreement to make Board Game as a prototype Agreement to create Video Game July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 71. Board Game to transfer research information • Was used to alpha test collaborator’s research • Had some success and some interesting data was collected July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 72. Bait and Switch • Once the transfer of research was complete and the collaborator saw a “working” game • And had some data collected • The project was ended by the collaborator because he/she had what was needed for his/her own research • Did not care if I had what I needed for my research July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 73. What happened when I pushed back? What I said What they heard July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 74. Hmmmm... July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 75. Conflicting Agenda #4: Disappearing Act July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 76. #1: Unwillingness to share research data July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 77. Why? • Your guess is as good as mine. • Fear? July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 78. #2: Orphan Textbook Syndrome July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 79. I took the class…. July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 80. What these Disappearing Acts have in common. • Lack of commitment from collaborator (manifested in their failure to show up for meetings) • Unspoken: “Do my research for me.” • Unspoken: “My time has more value than yours.” July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 81. Hmmmm... July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 82. Lessons Learned July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 83. Know Your Limits and Have a Plan
  • 84. Phase 1: Inception • Pre-meeting research for game developer – Ask for teaching philosophy – Research pedagogy - look for opposing camps and assess degree of emotional involvement in your collaborator and in your director. • Meeting with collaborator: – Introduce process – Explain the difference between work for hire and collaborative research – Collaborative research agreement – Collaborator homework: Stakeholder Questionnaire • research data for game July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 85. Phase 2: Expectations • Meeting with Collaborator: – Contract establishing roles – Technology Lead Agreement – Stakeholder Definition Document • Collaborator homework – Stakeholder Requirements Document • Meeting with Collaborator to discuss Stakeholder Requirements July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 86. Phase 3: Collaborative Elaboration • Collaborator homework: First Board Game – The point is to transfer research and data needed for the game – It is not a prototype • No field testing or data collection allowed July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 87. Phase 4: Elaboration • Developer homework – Initial Game Design Document • Set limitations on the project – Project Plan Overview • Make it simple • Meeting with Collaborator July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 88. Phase 5: Prototype • IRB – Homework for Collaborator and Developer • Developer Homework: – Board Game 2 • Actual game design begins • Field testing and Data collection allowed July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 89. Phase 6: Construction • Developer Homework – Video Game • Promise only one game mechanic July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned
  • 90. More information • http://studio4gaminginnovation.com/projects .aspx July 22-24 2014 2014 Serious Play Conference @Studio4Games #LessonsLearned