Saturday, October 18, 2008

Portals to Learning

Nicholas Schiller and ?? discussed what we can learn about teaching from studying the structure of video games. Nicholas presented "theory", and ?? discussed her adventures in WOW and how the principles she picked up there can be applied to BI.

From their powerpoint:
Games are complex information systems. They must teach players to evaluate information and make informmed choices. Games that don't do this successfully fail to sell.

Lessons from WOW:
Collaboration and Apprenticeship:
Principle: You're never alone
Application: team exercises, self-selection, identifying critical skills as a group.

Deemphasizing Authority Distinction/Emphasizing Peer Knowledge:
Reputation in wow is based on a player's skills and knowledge.
Principle: No single authority; peer to peer; 32 seconds later...
32 seconds is the average length of time it takes to get a response from someone in WoW
Application: Not LMS-like; wiki; knowledgebases

Parsing Out Learning/Using the Level Concept
Principle: Scaffolding; not tempted to skip; you only see the part of the world you've mastered. [I disagree with what she says here. You see where you have EXPLORED, not what you've mastered. I think this is an important distinction.]
Application: Focus on process; no right answer. She developed a teaching strategy where she focuses on 3 key things, not moving forward until students have mastered those.

Principle: "The real takeaway from a good swordfight session in World of Warcraft is its masterful community building" (econtent). Players build the resources, they are the resources; they belong to the community.
Application: Collaboration as a communtiy building tool. Core kids hang together.

Intrinsic Motivation and Rewards:
Players choose to play the game. Activities are rewarded.
Students have choices too. Students are used to choosing. Choice can be workked into a classroom curriculum. Choice of partners; choice of "quests".

Persistence in Failure
When you fail in WOW, you know what to do. When you fail in the classroom, do they know what to do? Building expertise and community allows them to understand that keeping at it will result in success.

Nic: Other gaming examples: Portal
Gating: the problem: button mashing ==> problem solving by random input.
Game designer solution: Gating. Mandatory pause in the acgtion that requires demonstration of select application.
Classroom application: Design research assignments to require identifycation and reflection on research process. Annotated bibliographies (show your work!)

Valve's corporate culture is Playtest, playtest, playtest. (Eric Wolpaw on playtest/assessment.)

Gee's book: Why doesn't Lara Croft obey Prof. Van Crey?
Telling and doing. Which approach is the surer path to student learning? Learning from how game design teach players. Application: discovery based learning. Player who eventually ignores the professor's tutorial and begins exploring for themselves finds easter eggs...

New ideas as she has leveled up:
Need for a community of scholars; ie those with greater experiences. Experienced librarians vs. reference assistants. The jargon gets confusing again at each level.

Gaming literacy = information literacy
(?) Bloom's Taxonomy-- finishing on a fairly high level when they're playing game... need to translate/apply the game playing strategies to learning...


Great session! I don't think xxx followed through on her development. She focused on the guild experience to the exclusion of the solo experience. The important distinction here is that whether the student is working with classmates or is studying alone, they have access to the same set of resources, and needs to be just as familiar with the available resources at any time.

Gating was a new term for me... but i believe I recognize the process. Playing Zelda Twilight Princess is no fun for me... I get so frustrated when I can't get past certain areas. There's no way to stop following that thread, and change pace for a while; you have to complete that step the way the game designers determine... and I don't really learn that way. In WoW, if I can't do soemthing, I can focus on a different quest for a while, complete it, and then return to the problem.

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