Fi er o Moment s Febr uar y2013
Are we having FUN, yet?
If not, w ait until you devour this issue of VEJ! I love this picture of the “Dancing Pandas” in W oW – and there are so many more great photos in this issue of VEJ. As editor of VEJ I have had the opportunity to read every w ord and check out every link – and I can’t begin to tell you how much I have learned from this issue. This is by far our BEST and most fun issue yet! Could it have something to do with PLAY? My greatest learning from this issue is grounded (or should I say heightened) by observing and learning about Fiero Moments . . . a term I didn’t know until w e began to plan this issue of VEJ. I actually used it with administrators at our New Leader’s Academy for the Connecticut Association of Schools a couple of weeks ago, when I asked principals to share their (rl) Fiero Moments. My favorite w as when one administrator said it happened w hen her son was able to read his first book to her! We all got goose bumps! Be sure to listen to how Jane McGonigal defines Fiero, and then make your own Fiero Moments and share them with us on the VEJ flickr page. Be sure to check out our Reader’s Choice Favorite Games, the interview with Kae Novak, aka, Kavon Zenovka (sl), the amazing MachinEVO videos, joining a guild, weekly tweetchats, and much, much more! My favorite, part of this issue, however, is being On W alkabout with Cyrus Hush. The Blake Sea is amazing! Riding the d olphin was fun. Sitting at the pool bar on the Galaxy, SL’s largest cruise ship made me forget the rl 2013 blizzard in Connecticut – at least for a little w hile. Watching the planes land and take off at the Hollywood airport made me w ant to go find an sl plane to fly. Exploring all of the little d oors at Bearskin Neck captivated me for hours. But, I had the most fun running along the country roads absorbing the Scandinavian culture at the Norway Fjord. As Roxie (sl) was running, Rosie (rl), however, w as wishing she could map this course at IFIT www.ifit.com and run right along with Roxie on her incline trainer. Now, that would be a great w ay for both of us to get our GAME ON – simultaneously in rl and sl! So will it happen? After listening to Pathfinder John Lester at the February ISTE SIGVE Speaker Series – it is probably coming sooner than we think – either with our google goggles or something even more powerful. Speaking for both of us, we (Roxie and Rosie) can’t wait! Whether you are a d iehard can’t wait for the next Fiero Moment Gamer or someone thinking about taking the plunge, the Gaming Trailblazers have given us a lot to chew on in this issue! Make sure that you take the time to visit the websites, use the url’s to check out the sl hot spots, and explore the numerous resources in this issue of VEJ and linked to VEJ. There is sooooo much here! A HUGE THANKS to all o f our contributors! And, most of all, CONGRATULATIONS to ISTE SIGVE for being named one of the top 5 BEST SOCIAL NETWORKS at the 2012 Edublog Awards. CONGRATULATIONS to our friends and colleagues w ho also were nominated and/or became finalists! Enjoy and VEJ – OUT OF THIS WORLD! Keep smiling J Rosie Vojtek, aka Roxie Neiro (sl)
VEJ Vol. 2 Issue 3 Virtual Education Journal
In This Issue • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Reflections by Lowly High Grand Poobah BJ Gearbox Kids Connecting W ith Games VWBPE 2013 – Save The Date Capturing Our Best Fiero Moments! VEJ Readers Choice Favorite Games XP with Machinima for FX in Learning Language Learning Through Machinima Play One Billion Rising SL Minecraft, Math Mage, and Mobile #gamemooc: Game Based Tweetchat Calling All Visioneers! Fairy Tales Do Come True Creating Texture Packs SIGVE Speaker Series G.A.M.E. ON! An Interview with Kavon Zenovka (sl) Introduction to a W oW Guild Peterson Schools Get Serious About Playing Games Second Life Physics Lab Lights, Camera, Nominations: SIGVE at the Eddies Educational Games for Social and Environmental Causes Virtual Pioneers 2 012 . . . It Was A Very Good Year Learning W ith Friends In Second Life Achieving Fiero Moments in Virtual Collegial Communities Walkabout – The Blake Sea! Inevitable Betrayal: An Educator’s Guild A Digital Game Based Learning MOOC The Games M.O.O.C. Now & Then
To Read VEJ online visit: http://www.virtualeducationjournal.com/ For more information about ISTE SIGVE or to join the fun, visit: http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net/ Follow us on Twitter @VEJournal or #VEJournal
SIGVE Lowly High Grand Poobah BJ Gearbox (sl), Bob Vojtek (rl) The cover story on the March 2013 issue of Atlantic Monthly is titled "The Robot Will See You Now." In it, Jonathan Cohn explains, "IBM's Watson—the same machine that beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy—is now churning through case histories at Memorial Sloan-‐Kettering, learning to make diagnoses and treatment recommendations. This is one in a series of developments suggesting that technology may be about to disrupt health care in the same way it has disrupted so many other industries. Are doctors necessary? Just how far might the automation of medicine go?" I admit that this is my bias, however our insatiable drive to implement STEM education is missing a critical element, maybe two. One that I have been ranting about since I heard the term... That is, it is missing the letter, "A," for the Arts – creating STEAM. If we blindly pursue STEM, without the arts and the creativity and innovation inherent in the arts, we have a strong tendency to do the “easy” version of STEM. Meaning, that we concentrate on only the knowledge and skills that are rote, easily memorized, and fall within the realm of tasks that IBM's Watson excels doing. The second element, one that I can't append the acronym easily to accommodate, is gaming, which is the focus of this issue of VEJ. I can't simply add a "G" to STEAM creating STEAMG – that doesn't work! So, the point isn't creating the perfect acronym, the point is, that the benefits gained by game play are missing.
Gamers say that there are significant benefits to playing games. As you read the articles in this issue of VEJ, consider the underlying elements that can inform teaching and learning, guide participants, draw them in to an immersive experience, and teach skills not easily replicated in the traditional classroom. As we continue to describe the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the 21st century worker (that would be us for the last 13 years) I hear parallel voices… those of business and industry and what they consider to be necessary abilities for employees of the future and the descriptions of the learning that takes place in online gaming. For example, employers of the future are going to need people to be able to work as a high performing team rather than a group of individuals working on a task. Gaming offers that! Plus the online team of gamers could as easily be sitting around a large table in Second Life as they could be dispersed across the globe. Where can you replicate that in the typical classroom today? When I think about embracing gaming as a legitimate exercise in learning, I wonder how long it may take… and why. I harken back to old phrases describing the inclusion of other technologies for the classroom. One often quoted statement, “It took 20 years to get the overhead projector out of the bowling alleys and into the classroom.” I came across other zinger phrases that may or may not have equal validity. Such as, “there hasn't been a significant change in how we teach since 1455.” A reference to that Gutenberg thing, I presume. As a final anecdote, I had a student in one of my classes that, as a junior in high school, seldom if ever, completed homework. I just couldn’t seem to find a “hook” to get him interested. Then, he was absent for three days. Even though he seldom participated in class, he was rarely absent. When he returned, I asked him, “How are you doing?” He replied, “I’m feeling better, I just had to rest.” “Oh?” I said.
“Yeah, Civilization [new version of the game] came out, and I played for 26 hours straight.” So when a student, not engaged in school can spend 26 hours straight advancing through a game, what is it that the game developers know that we don’t? What do we, as educators need to learn? How can teachers engage students in the same way that game developers engage students? Can it be as simple as bringing the games into the classrooms? Or, is there more? Read through this issue of VEJ and help us have a dialogue about how we can leverage games in education. Join us at ISTE SIGVE Office Hours every Tuesday night at 5:00 pm slt at ISTE Headquarters to continue this discussion. Hope to see you there!
Kids Connecting with Games and Virtual Environments By GridJumper (SL), Tanya Martin (RL)
Connected Hour attendees in the SIGVE Diner at ISTE-SIGVE Island on Second Life watching, listening and discussing as the Kids presented some of their favorite games.
Using Google Hangout, Second LIfe, YouTube, and a sampling of five kid friendly games, educators met in Second Life at the SIGVE Diner as well as on the GameMooc YouTube channel to watch the live stream (recorded on December 11, 2012) and to chat and forward questions to the presenters, six boys and girls aged 8 to 17. Each child selected an online game and took turns showing and explaining the game selected. The digital literacy the youngsters displayed was a demonstration of what they have been taught and have learned independently. Parents were present, but the hour was for the children to tell their story and they did so eloquently, without a script, and with enthusiasm.
Educators asked questions and the children had no problem answering and continuing with the demonstration. Each child had one remote practice session to ensure that the technology was working on each home computer. The ease in simultaneously using the game of choice and Google Hangout as well as audio technology (headphones or speakers) was evident. Parents were present, but for the most part silent and we later learned that they were learning about their children and about the games that other children played. I’ll discuss what happened behind the scenes, as you can see the unedited version of the broadcast for yourself on the Game MOOC YouTube channel. The youngsters in the broadcast represented: 4 families, both genders, 5 age groups, 3 states, and 2 time zones. They did not know each other, with exception of two sets of siblings. Each child selected the game they wanted to share, with some changes to a second choice because of technical issues with the first. Each child expressed excitement in sharing with no request of “what do I get for doing this?” During the event each child patiently waited and internal chat reflected the fact that either the kids and/or their parents were being attentive to the speaker. After the event I received feedback mostly from the parents. Parents reported that their children had fun and expressed positive thoughts about the event. The kids all had some sort of comment about the other presentations; “I play that game too, I’m on level ___”, “I want to try that”, “He sure is smart.” Parents noted not only on the content but the manner in which the kids presented. They commented on public speaking and the varying abilities of the children to be articulate. Each parent expressed that they learned something about their children. The overwhelming idea expressed was that it was fun! This broadcast made it clear that the child viewpoint is an important one. They will tell you what they like and why as well as what they don’t like and why not. Only one of the games First in Math, was a game used as an extension to school. The rest of the games Club Penguin, Poptropica, Wizard 101, and Kerbal Space Program are
games these children access at home for fun. As you listen to the enthusiasm in the child voices it becomes obvious that learning while playing is fun. [ISTE’s SIGVE (third Connected Hour was conducted in December and was co-‐hosted by G.A.M.E. (Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education). You can view the entire unedited broadcast on Youtube. Connected Educator Team: Tanya Martin, Kae Novak, Andrew Wheelock, Chris Luchs and Vasili Giannoutsos] ******************************************
Save The Date!
Virtual Worlds – Best Practices in Education VWBPE 2013: Beyond The Stage July 24 – 27, 2013
As noted by Anderson (1933), “we perceive life as drama, and our major issues involve the definition of personal roles and the fabrication of stories that give purpose and shape to social existence. Public happenings have the quality of scenes created for public consumption”. This year’s theme, “Beyond the Stage”, challenges educators to look at education as performance art. A tapestry of who we are, those we connect with, and education as a social narrative that defines our ability to create knowledge through innovation. The virtual frontier provides new tools and techniques to redefine not just those traditional narratives for a new age, but to change the relationship between the stage and the audience. There are many stories we want to hear about. Diversification in use of technologies; the psychology of presence and how it impacts on learning; engagement of students as both a creative part of the learning process and consumer. There are a thousand and one stories. Bring them all – share them all – beyond the stage. Call for proposals coming soon – watch this space for more details.
What is Fiero? Gaming expert, Jane McGonigal, shouts enthusiastically waving her hands and jumping up and down screaming FIERO to describe a Fiero Moment in a 10 second YouTube clip. When Kae Novak was presenting at a Teaching with Technology conference, she asked this same question. One of the instructors who speaks Italian, stood up from her seat and raised her arm fist clinched and said, “Pride!” Yes, fiero is Italian for pride. At this point you may have images of when a soccer team scores a goal or a football team makes a touchdown, but it is more than winning. Kae Novak describes Fiero as, “It is that sense of accomplishment you receive when you have overcome an obstacle, solved a puzzle, or finished a challenge.” For example, listen to Kae Novak discuss “Fun, Flow and Fiero.” So it may be building a house in Minecraft or even taking out your first spaceship in EVE Online.
We asked our readers to share with us their Fiero moments. Here are some of our favorites! ENJOY!
Gridjumper (Tanya Martin) captured by Que Jinn (Kae Novak)
Our readers told us over and over that they didn’t have pictures of their greatest Fiero moments because they were either too excited in the moment, the moment happened so quickly, or they just didn’t think about taking a picture until it was too late. There is no way to go back and get the picture once the moment is gone. So, here are some of the great Fiero moments that are somewhere lost in virtual space but live on in the player’s minds . . . and if a picture paints 1,000 words, these few words may help you paint your own picture of the moments that keep gamers craving more!
Ø The first time the machines "clicked" in Glitch-‐-‐all the sudden I understood the order in which things had to be created and ended up building a second story onto my house that night. :) By Aevalle. Ø When we downed deathwing in the Cognitive Dissonance 10 man raid. After weeks of coordination and strategy, our perseverance paid off and we defeated the world breaker. By Zarrasia
Ø Teaching French FL on Second Life. By Edith Paillat
Ø When I earned the ability to fly. It made everything easier. Getting there required many quests and gold. By Anonymous
Ø Fun fiero moment in Felwood battling imps and used a rainbow to burn them. I felt like I was in an episode of My Little Pony! By Trish Cloud
VEJ Reader’s Choice
We asked our readers to tell us their favorite online, social, immersive, 3D, or virtual game. We also asked readers to tell us “What is the educational value is of your favorite online, social, immersive, 3D or virtual GAME?” Here are some of the comments our responders gave us: Ø Instant Assessment and feedback Ø 21st Century skills -‐ Communication, Collaboration, Problem Solving Ø It could and can be used for a variety of educational purposes ranging from writing, comprehension, storytelling, mathematics, business, etc. Cooperation with fellow players as you collaborate to defeat enemies. Ø Intrinsic motivation, natural language production, immersive Ø Multiple perspectives and exploring identities and contexts, situated learning, social engagement And now, the winners are . . . drum roll, please . . . Honorable Mention
3rd Place Winner Minecraft
2nd Place Winner Second Life Book Study at VSTE
ISTE Island home of ISTE SIGVE, 2013
ISTE SIGVE SPEAKER SERIES
1st Place Winner – World of Warcraft
Balloon over Mist of Panderia
Horde Capital City of Orgrimmar
Outland in World of Warcraft
XP with Machinima for FX in Learning By Tanya Martin (RL), Broward County Schools GridJumper (SL)
Machinima comes from the gaming world. It is a way of making animated movies with nothing more than a computer and screen capture software and “filmed” either in an immersive world or Video Game. The “movie” can be used “as is” without any editing or embellished with sound, music, special effects, text, and editing. Teachers can customize materials for students using game content to help introduce a topic, define processes and content, and trigger creative thought. Considering the components of a typical lesson/unit plan, either teaching a process or introducing new content, machinima could be incorporated to bring interest, help explain, and just get attention in a way that today’s students are used to. Student created machinima supports learning more than a topic or curriculum area. The most effective way to use machinima with students is to have them work in a group and develop the machinima employing a variety of skills and roles. Just as is done in moviemaking, machinima creation requires direction, script writing, acting, special effects, technical skill, music, narration, acting and editing. A machinima project forces students to collaborate, communicate and solve problems. Some possible ways to use machinima for teaching and learning are: ▪ Lesson/Unit Introduction: A short clip introducing a topic in any subject area is possible with a machinima. MMORPGs and Sandbox genre games allow for scenes and actions that would be impossible to recreate in the physical world. As you look over your lesson plans the introductions used to introduce concepts on history, science, math, and literature will trigger ideas of making a machinima to make that introduction more interesting, relevant
and memorable. Using a video game to make that introduction is certain to catch student attention, you can open a free introductory account in most games to use for machinima and most virtual worlds are free to join. ▪ Lesson Objectives: When you give students objectives for a lesson or unit it is typically in words, written and spoken. How about having a Game Toon or avatar supply the objectives in an animated fashion to increase attention. ▪ Lesson/Unit Materials: Develop innovative ways to provide content information on any curriculum area. ▪ Unit Assessment: Student created machinma is a form of authentic assessment, evaluated with the use of a rubric provided to students at the start of the unit. Imagine a student allowed to use Wizard 101 to retell the important parts of a literary classic or a creative story. ▪ Remediation & Enrichment: Machinima works for both enrichment and remediation as students can work in groups and develop machinma ensuring objectives, keeping in mind that grouping students to ensure success is important. ▪ Differentiating Instruction: Developing any project in a group requires use of various skills and knowledge. All students can contribute to a machinima as there are a variety of skills and levels involved. G.A.M.E., Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education, will be sponsoring a webinar on the topic of Machinma onFebruary 15, 2013. Tune in to the Game MOOC channel at 9:00 PM EST for the live stream and ask questions of the presenters.
Moving pictures, sound and stories are the most powerful way of communicating learning content. For Generation Z, video is the favored means of communication expression as well as learning with YouTube. YouTube has become the second most popular community after Facebook and the second largest search engine after Google. This generation however, is also a highly critical consumer of film and video and educators must be aware of
these heightened expectations. MachinEVO (a 5-‐week workshop for language teachers) takes up the challenge of ‘video as a new language of learning’ and purposes to train and equip language teachers to produce visually appealing authentic conversations. The technology in focus is machinima, which by definition is the use of real-‐time 3D computer graphics, such as video games or virtual worlds, to create cinematic productions. Machinima is a neologism derived from machine and cinema. The actors are avatars and the stage is computer-‐ generated imagery. The camera is a screen recording software and these productions are lean and cost-‐effective. These Video-‐Podcasts (Vodcasts) are the natural successor to podcasts and the genre, digital storytelling, meets a creative and popular environment, namely 3D graphics. A major advantage of creating films in Second Life is that they are far less expensive than real world productions, and these recordings go far beyond merely creating podcasts because the avatars may be located in real or imagined culturally rich environments, such as Berlin of the 1920's, ancient Rome, or on spaceships many years into the future. For a set of samples of machinima, please look at the following sites Machinima – Language Learning http://avalon-‐project.ning.com/page/machinima All of these productions on this website did not exist a year ago when we started to learn about how to create this kind of videos. The challenges of producing videos of this nature are manifold though and really require a lot of technical skills. Last year, when we ran the MachinEVO session for the first time, we asked at the outset for Second Life experience because the video production itself is difficult enough. So, next to Second Life skills we needed to acquire film production skills, how to move the camera, how to set the lighting, and voice recording. Post-‐production skills included editing, uploading on video hosting sites, adding music, and adding voice which at times was dubbed with Skype, etc. And finally, of course, participants must learn
language skills such as using conversation, story telling techniques, telenovelas, emoting to develop the story, photo story to prepare the actually recordings, etc. Honestly speaking, we expected about 15-‐20 participants and were BLOWN AWAY by some 128 registering on our MachinEVO NING site. Why expect so few? Well, first of all, because of the pre-‐requisites of having to have had SL experience, then the trend we have experienced away from 3D worlds into mobile technology. Then, most of the techy language teachers who would have liked to be a part of this workshop ran other EVO sessions themselves (EVO is the annual pre-‐conference of the TESOL convention, this year in Dallas, end March 2013). Look at this most amazing list of EVO moderators from 2012. Mind-‐blowing isn’t it? On this list you can also see the number of EVO sessions. We are one of 14 (!) sessions. Last, but not least, the perception is that Second Life is rather 'out' and people often ask me 'does Second Life still exist?' So, realistically, we counted on about 15-‐20 participants and were amazed and happily surprised by 128 sign-‐ups. Not only that, we even saw some 71 inworld. Unbeatable! What proved ever so valuable was organizing this big crowd of eager participants into groups. In the end we had 10 groups, which you can see on this Google docs list and we really thank these group leaders for making MachinEVO a success. Some of them had NO experience with creating machinimas and were scared to take over such a role but they were courageous and we made sure each group had an assigned moderator. Notwithstanding even we, as moderators, had no idea on how to create such recordings. What pioneer work! Due to the technical challenges we were ever so grateful to listen to our expert advisors Gromit Mayo (15 years as executive producer of a commercial company and 5 years SL experience and technical wiz kid), Howdy Colter (media student in RL and main cameraman of treet.tv, the Second Life TV show), Lowri Mills of LanguageLab, Charlie Navarathna (20 year RL video production experience and video producer of First Responder, a 60sec machinima said to be played on CNN) and Jens Nerido (15 years experience teaching film making to school teachers in Denmark) and Giovanni Tweak (20 years of video production experience, now runs a language school in SL).
Most valuable was Carol Rainbow's contribution to MachinEVO, as she busied herself running one workshop after the other to show educators all of the practical skills on how to record. Carol and Marius spent considerable time sharing their know-‐how and helping language teachers to learn all of the practical skills. Well, everybody helped everybody because truly speaking; this film making business is a total different trade! This was the most amazing part of the learning from this workshop! During the 2012 MachinEVO course, we not only saw many participants, but the level of activities from the participants was incredibly high. We had 18 AWESOME machinimas as the outcome, and also on our NING site, this session was as busy as it could be. We had more than 10 live sessions a week, an amazing 44 blogs, 120 photos, uploaded or produced 86 videos, and 221 forum posts speak volumes!!!
A very special highlight was meeting Bente Milton and Rob Gould inworld, who created the fantasy-‐documentary "My Avatar and Me" which is a Danish documentary-‐fantasy about Mikkel and Mike in both Second and Real Life. The film premiered on ZDF/ARTE March 2010 and is shown at many festivals. Supported by New Danish Screen,
MEDIA, ARTE/ZDF, YLE. It is a creative documentary-‐fiction film and a film that might expand your sense of reality. It is the story about a man who enters the virtual world Second Life to pursue his personal dreams and ambitions. His journey into cyberspace becomes a magic learning experience, which gradually opens the gates to a much larger reality. Thanks to Jens Nerido, we were able to meet Bente and Rob inworld and even got the viewing rights for the film which we watched together in our sandbox on EduNation. Very exciting indeed! This has been the most exciting EVO sessions’ workshop I have ever experienced and I believe many who were part of this would whole-‐ heartedly agree. Considering the fact that this was a completely free workshop, it had a truly mind-‐blowing result. This year, for MachinEVO 2013, we will build on this fantastic expertise and add to this: how to use videos in class and how to immerse our language learners into creating their own productions.
The 2013 MachinEVO sessions’ workshop for video productions of language learning conversations in second life is just ending as VEJ goes to press. MachinEVO 2013 http://machinevo.pbworks.com, was again a free EVO* session workshop in Second Life for language educators to learn how to produce machinima. As explained above, the word machinima is derived from machine+cinema and is the use of real-‐time 3D environments for cinematic productions. Moving pictures, sound, and stories are the most powerful way of communicating learning content. Again this year, over a period of 5 weeks (14 Jan -‐ 17 Feb), participants learned how to produce videos from storyboarding to final editing to
publishing. Language educators focused on how to use these videos in class and how to immerse language learners in creating their own productions. You can read about the course, including the participants’ experiences and their work on the MachinEVO wiki and at MachinEVO. We finished the second MachinEVO workshop with 95 participants and a great set of 13 machinimas were produced. This year we had 4 special events with guests including Pooky Amsterdam, Draxtor Despres, Fluffee, Natasha Randt, Karima Hoisan, Mikkel Stout and Rob Gould of “My Avatar and Me.” The closing party with machinima screening and dancing is on February 17, 2013 at 11 am SLT, as a preview to the MachinEVO Awards ceremony, which will take place on February 24, 2013 at 11 am SLT. The jury will have one week to nominate Best Director, Best Machinmatographer, Best Special Effects, etc., and the Internet community will be asked to vote for the MachinEVO People’s Choice Award. The winners will be announced on February 24, 2013 at the red carpet and formal dress event. The Backstage will be open for a press conference, and champagne will be flowing. Be sure to attend the MachinEVO Awards Ceremony with moderators Barbara Novelli and Jens Nerido at the EduNationion MachinEvo Platform or the Livestream Link. For more information about the winners of the 2013 MachinEVO Award winners and to see 18 completed machinima videos visit Film Festival MachinEVO 2013. You can follow the MachinEVO activities on the MachinEVO Facebook site, too. [EVO is the annual pre-‐conference series of online workshops http://evosessions.pbworks.com of the TESOL convention www.tesolconvention.org, 20-‐23 March 2013 in Dallas, Texas. MachinEVO is one of 10 EVO sessions and takes place on EduNation Islands in Second Life.]
One Billion Rising in Second Life
On February 14, 2013, for 24 hours the Second Life Global Community joined the worldwide One Billion Rising Celebration. This was the largest day of action in the history of V-‐Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-‐Day Founder, Eve Ensler, introduced One Billion Rising on YouTube from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Her goal is for everyone to “rise and dance and change the world.” You can learn more about the One Billion Rising international organization and view video from the worldwide events from February 14, 2013 at http://onebillionrising.org/. On November 18, 2012 “Break The Chain” was published on YouTube. It is a song written and produced by Tena Clark with music by Tena Clark and Tim Heintz, was produced by Ev Ensler and V-‐Day, directed by Tony Stroebel, and featuring dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen. For fun, and to join the movement, you can learn how to do the “Break The Chain” dance from Debbie Allen on YouTube. But, be sure to check out the “Break The Chain” machinima listed below to see how it was performed by the women in second life. According to the One Billion Rising SL blog, “ONE BILLION RISING began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. On February 14, 2013, men and women in Second Life will join activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and people across the world to Walk, Dance, and Rise as a show of unity, individual strength, and the
need for change.” “The Second Life event” according to the wordpress blog, featured “a four-‐region stage where 200 people can dance together, surrounded by an area of art installations and informational exhibits. A variety of performers will play over the 24-‐hour period, enabling people all over the world to attend this virtual event no matter their time zone. The regions will have a General maturity rating to allow all residents an opportunity to participate.” Pictures were achieved on the event’s Flickr group. One Billion Rising in SL machinima used the incredibly powerful song, “Break the Chain” to make the machinima “One Billion Rising in Second Life.” As women around the world raise awareness to this critical issue, the women from around the world in Second Life also wanted to do their part. Pyper Dollinger and Tatiana Kurri did an outstanding job on the dance they created for this machinima. “The Dazzlers and the Women of Second Life” beautifully performed the dance. “Joining the world wide event . . . SL is having their own,” Equinox Pinion of The Fruit Islands told us. She continued, “and we're [Fruit Islands] honored to be a part of it!” One Billion Rising is not only a Global Celebration but a Virtual Celebration, too!!! The Fruit Islands were one of many sponsors for the One Billion Rising Second Life event. Other sponsors included: Alchemy Immortalis; Bits and Bobs Animations; Cheeky Pea; The Domineaux Effect; Dutchie; Galland Homes; Garden of Dreams; Gos Boutique; Gwen Carillon Designs/Serenite; Heart Garden Centre; Kaerri; MadPea; Maven Homes; Meshworx; Prime; and Spargel and Shine. In-‐kind sponsors are: CaLLie CLine; Fruit Islands; KittyCatS!; L’Aize Days and Prim Perfect Publications. Check out the pictures of One Billing Rising Second Life.
Minecraft, Math Mage, and Mobile: Games, Mobile Apps and Edutainment at My School By Trish Cloud (RL), Cloudwhosong (WOW) @Neemana
The growing popularity and desire for mobile device use in the classroom coupled with the growing interest in games based learning has naturally produced an influx of apps which could be used in both settings. There is a difference, however, some apps are purely games and some apps are “edutainment”. Keeping engagement high in students while challenging and teaching is the goal of finding great gaming apps. Right now there are many apps available that students love and that can be adapted for school use; some of these are Minecraft PE, Oregon Trail, Cat Physics, Zio Ball, Zentomino HD, Machinarium, Angry Birds (in Space, Star Wars, or seasonal), Stack the States, and the Math Mage. Depending on your needs, your students’ age, and the subject matter, there are plenty of apps to choose from.
The most popular game being played right now is without a doubt Minecraft. Both the PC version and pocket edition keep students engaged and learning, while challenging them to use creative, collaborative, and reasoning skills as they seek to build in the sandbox environment. The pocket edition, which is available in both iOS and Android, is nearly as complex as the PC version, and with each succeeding update more variety and flexibility is being built into the app. A free version is available; however, worlds cannot be saved. Minecraft’s potential in the areas of Social Studies, Language Arts, and Math are just being tapped. Teachers are having students’ craft historical landmarks, reconstruct a Native American village, or colonial settlement. Students gain problem-‐solving skills by becoming involved with the how-‐to’s of building what they have designed. They must build to scale, using algebra to calculate size and perimeter. Time management and resource management is also required even when students are playing in survival mode and it is peaceful so they are not being killed or losing all their supplies. All of these factors come into play when students start building in Minecraft. And the pocket edition does allow saving of worlds and up to seven students can connect at one time on their iPads. Gameloft has come out with their version of the Oregon Trail (still made by the Learning Company who originally created the game in the 1980’s). In this new version you have choices you must make in order to get your family to their destination. All along the way there are accidents, illnesses, breakdowns, bad weather, hunger, etc.. Your job is to make the necessary decisions. This game does offer in app purchase to “ease” your way, but with careful planning you can do the game with no purchases (which is how a settler had to handle it).
How could you use The Oregon Trail? Have the students journal about their travels in a blog format, (i.e., Kidblog which has an app), or possibly have a group of students take on roles in the adventure where they contribute and have a voice in the decisions that are made regarding the trip. The Oregon Trail game does not replace learning the historical significance of westward expansion. Instead, what it does is give students an opportunity to experience that time in an immersive environment. Math skills are employed to calculate how much and how often certain supplies are needed and how long the coins will last. Other games that test your knowledge of History and Geography are games by Dan Russell-‐Pinson. Stack the States and Stack the Countries both test your knowledge of US and World Geography. There are challenges and rewards that keep students interested and competing with one another for who has the most states/countries. Presidents vs. Aliens tests your American History knowledge of US Presidents by having you shoot their heads at aliens that are invading Washington, DC. Science games like Zio Ball work with positive and negative magnetic fields moving a metal ball through different puzzles. This app can be really challenging for students of all ages as they try to manipulate the magnetic fields to get the desired outcome. The Physics involved in games like Angry Birds and Cat Physics require thoughtful planning and some idea of how force and motion work in order to get the desired result. Physics Monster pits your skill of building simple machines in order to feed the monster a piece of fruit. Along with science, mathematics come into play in Angry Birds. Students need to use geometry to line up their shots to take out the evil piggies.
The Math Mage has taken an educational app and made it a truly fun and challenging game. Made by RGH games, the Math Mage is really challenging. Students select their difficulty level. I would suggest starting at easy, because you are given a walk-‐through of how the game is played. In order to kill the monsters students must solve the math equations. The math equations get progressively harder. If they take too long, the monster will kill them. Just as in RPG there are levels. The higher your level, the more weapons or powers you have. But, then again, the problems are harder to solve. KenMaster is a kashiko game, a type of mathematics and logic puzzle, that is stimulating and increases in difficulty as you progress. Puzzle games like Zentomino HD takes the fun of Pentominoes (Math based puzzle game involving geometric shapes) and puts it on a handheld device for students to solve. Students love to solve puzzles, especially if they aren’t too hard. One of the great things about gaming apps is the leveling. These games start you with a simple puzzle to solve and gradually increase the difficulty to keep the player challenged. If it’s too easy, the student will be bored. Likewise, if it is too hard the student will just not want to waste their time. Machinarium has a storyline and is quite cutely drawn. Students have to solve the puzzle in each scene to move the robot along. Clues can be attained by playing an in-‐game challenge. The story writing potential coupled with the puzzle solving aspects give this game much potential for use in the classroom. These are just a few of the great gaming apps that are available. The vastness of apps that are available in the App Store or the Android Store
can be daunting, but I have found the best way to determine if an app will meet the needs of your students is to get the app and play it. Going by the reviews is not a good gauge of whether an app will work your classroom setting or not. Many games that I have thought would be engaging and entertaining, as well as educational have left students yawning and looking for other things to do. In a similar way, those games that I thought would be empty and superficial have entertained and engaged students for the entire class period. Start by playing the app yourself. This gives you an opportu nity to work through some of the problem s or puzzles in the app. Next play the game with the students and see what they are doing with it. Once you have a good library of apps at hand you can use them as you see fit to enhance what you are teaching in the class. Often you don’t know unless you download the app if it is a duplicate of one you already have or if it just doesn’t offer much unless you spend money for the app. For most schools spending money on apps is a luxury. Finding fully functional engaging FREE apps can be a challenge. When you do find good free apps they prove their worth. This is just one of the questions
that come up when talking about using apps. Other issues include saving games, functionality, and the fun factor. Like most mobile devices, iPad are meant to be used in a 1:1 setting. Many schools, however, are just adopting mobile technology and may not have initiated BYOT – which brings up the matter of storage on mobile devices being used by more than one person. For those who are in BYOT, most games are available on iOS and Android devices, and in both cases not all games have the ability to save multiple games nor do they allow you to completely reset the game. Learning to work around these road bumps will help avoid headaches when they arise. Frequently the paid versions of the games do allow for multiple players or multiple save slots so each student can enter their name and keep their own score. In the case of Minecraft PE, fortunately worlds can be saved individually, so multiple students could have worlds on one iPad of Minecraft. There are few games that allow you to save your game and start a new one. Finding games that allow this and meet your classroom needs can be a challenge, but a fun one. A good rule of thumb is, if the game is free it is highly unlikely that you can save it. Fortunately most of these games have a minimal cost. If saving is not an option perhaps the game will just let you start over – that being the second best option when more than one student uses the same iPad. This could present you with an opportunity to use a leaderboard in
your room to keep track of scores. Sometimes the functionality of the game can be an issue, particularly in Minecraft. The pocket edition is very functional. There are limitations at this time. Mojang is doing a great job of updating the app frequently to make it more like the desktop or Xbox version, but you still can’t do as much on the app as you can on a desktop. And, the iOS version is more locked down than the Android version. Players can go into the Android version and make mods, which is not possible on iOS. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker for you though. Teaching the students to be flexible and work within the parameters adds challenge to the game. For elementary students, particularly kindergarten and 1st grade, where they might not have much experience playing desktop video games that use a keyboard and a mouse, the pocket edition of Minecraft has very intuitive controls and is easy for the younger set to pick up. Allow them to stay in Creative mode and just build without having to be concerned with mobs of zombies. When they get some expertise built up move them to Peaceful mode in Survival and they can still build. Here they will have to craft, but again, no zombies to fight off or losing inventory if they die. As with most apps, the game controls are easy to use. This is not to say a child can do it, but it’s more like an adult can do it! A great plus that game apps offer is that they generally are not tied to an Internet connection, so even if your wifi is down you can still play the majority of the games. All of these issues will be moot, however, if the game is not fun. What makes a game popular whether it is a board game or video game is the fun factor. What you will find is there are as many different types of game apps as there are students, but, there is always going to be the games that seem to be popular with all students. What are the characteristics of a fun yet educational game? If you have questions, let your students play and get their take on it. Better yet, play it with them and learn what challenges them and involves them. Students generally prefer an intrinsic reward system and a way of leveling up so they feel they are making progress in the game. They
enjoy simulations, too. Plant Tycoon, a game where you run your greenhouse and nursery, growing and cultivating plants to sell, is very popular in school. Frequently, I have heard students talking to each other about how far along they are in a game, how they solved a particularly difficult section of the game, and how best they can earn the coin they need to keep the game going. When you listen to students talk you can really see the collaboration as they teach each other how to work through the difficult areas. This is when students truly have fun! It’s not only the game, but the flow and collaboration that are created in the classroom that makes them want to continue playing that game. If you are contemplating incorporating gaming apps into your classroom give it a try. Having your students explore a subject area by playing a game will often give the student an “a-‐ha” moment. Let them play the game that you have selected as an enhancement to your lesson. Ask them the questions about how they can relate the game to what has been instructed. When you see them make connections, they will play the game with new understanding. In Summary, often the best way to determine if a game is right for your purposes is for you to play it yourself. But remember there are limitations with free games, especially in saving or resetting the game. Most games have minimal cost, and in BYOT situations many students may already have the game. Most game apps run from the device and so you are not tied to wifi. If there are network problems, some are tied to the game centers on devices (which is tied to online play). You do not , however, have to connect to the online gaming community to play the game. Gaming apps cover a wide swathe of subjects and skills and it doesn’t have to be from the Education category to be useful. In fact, about half the games being used in schools today are not educational games per se. So, give it a try. Give the students a game and tell them to play. Then have students write what they experienced, and share it with others. Students enjoy telling of their conquests in games.
#gamemooc: Game Based Learning Tweetchat By Karen Novak (rl), Kavon Zenovka (sl)
So what is a tweetchat? It is a designated time that people get on to twitter and have a synchronous text conversation using 140characters. For example, the Games MOOC and G.A.M.E. Gamers Enhancing Meaningful Education have a sixty minute tweetchat every Wednesday at 9 pm ET/7 pm MT.
You might be thinking – how do you find these tweets when on an average day there can be thousands of tweets happening every minute? Tweetchats use a hashtag. They place the hashtag # before their designated word. For the game based learning tweetchat we use #gamemooc. We choose a topic in game based learning each week and announce it on twitter on Monday. This gives people some time to think about the topic and even do a little reading and research if they want. We start the tweetchat by asking you to introduce yourself. This is just letting us know who you are and where you are. Then we do a few warm-‐up questions (think vocab quiz) so we are all using the same terms. After that we normally have 4-‐ 5 discussion questions. Then we wrap-‐up at the end of the sixty minutes with last comments and ask everyone to re-‐introduce themselves.
If you would like to join us for the Tweetchat – here’s the information to get you started. If this is your first time doing at tweetchat, please go to www.tweetchat.com. Login with your twitter account and when prompted put in the hashtag #gamemooc. Using this will allow you to see any tweets that contain this hashtag. The questions for the tweetchat will come from the @proximalzone twitter account. Games MOOC and G.A.M.E. Gamers Enhancing Meaningful Education have a sixty minute tweetchat every Wednesday at 9 pm ET/7 pm MT.
Hope to see you at our next Tweetchat!
Calling All Visioneers!
By SIGVE Lowly High Grand Poobah Emeritus Scott Merrick
Have you experienced an ISTE Conference Virtual Environments Playground? Maybe more than once? We’ve been doing them annually for years now, and the event has grown into one that brings the enthusiastic and energetic SIGVE tribe together physically in one location at least once a year. It’s been an event that ran for the whole conference time, all three days of the conference proper, and just last year it was pared down to a single day. This year, for ISTE 2013 in San Antonio, Texas, purportedly because there is a highly increased demand for the spotlight amongst the 20-‐odd Special Interest Groups (demand likely in part because ours have been so fun over the years), we’re down to half a day, Tuesday, June 25, 2013 from 1:30pm -‐ 5 pm. While that may seem like a slap in the collective virtual face, we SIGVE folk are nothing if not optimistic and positive. We want to make it an explosion!
As lead Playground Facilitator this year, I want to us to take a serious look at how we have done playgrounds in the past, how we could envision them as even more exciting and even more of a draw for our members and prospective new members, and how this one will look in the light of all those appraisals.
Join in the discussion. Visit our wiki at http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net and learn about past playgrounds, read past issues of VEJ to learn even more, and then visit our Wallwisher at http://wallwisher.com/wall/esvwgqyqf6 to double-‐click and type in your own notions of how this shindig should present itself. There are already some interesting posts there and all we’re missing is your own voice. Let ‘er rip! And come to our Tuesday, 5 pm SL time (8:00 EST), Open Office Hours every week until we hit San Antonio, to help plan our best ISTE Conference and Exposition EVER. Thanks in advance! We’ll know we will see you either in the playground, inworld(s), or at this year’s ISTE SIGVE Machinima Festival, which is also a GO and not to be missed!!!
Fairy Tales Do Come True ~ It Could Happen to You!
By Mary Obrien (rl), Serena Offcourse (sl)
You are cordially invited to Cinderella’s Ball! Please visit the Fairy Tale Forest on the island of MaineLand on Jokaydia Grid. All students and teachers are invited to come and explore this immersive build.
You will find many favorite characters including The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and Thumbelina. The forest is both magical and interactive - be sure to look for the scavenger hunt notecard just beyond the gate. Fairy tales provide young learners with an opportunity to hear and learn about classic stories. The Common Core
Standards include learning about a story’s themes, characters, and settings. Visiting the Fairy Tale Forest is sure to engage your students in discussions about these important story elements. To learn more about how to log onto Jokaydia Grid, visit http://www.jokaydiagrid.com/ When you arrive in Jokaydia you will be on the welcome sim of Scooter. There is a landmark giver to The Fairy Tale Forest under the big tree. You can also find it by searching for MaineLand on the world map. For more information, please contact Mary OBrien on Jokaydia (Serena Offcourse in SL)
Creating Texture Packs for Art Classes
By Trevor Roe
Welcome back to this magazine, or if you’re new, welcome! Here’s another article for the fantastic Virtual Education Journal once again! If you’ve opened an app or played a game, you’ve used and interpreted textures, GUIs and HUDs. Minecraft is no exception to having these and them being vital. The difference, though, is that these can all be directly edited in this game!
Many classes are overlooked, but none so much as art class. For many students, art is a paint-‐and-‐palette kind of class, though this journal has made me entirely rethink that idea! Many Kinds of computer – animated art (Like ipad or pixel art) already exist, but Minecraft offers a simple, low-‐def pixel system for its textures. Each “block” is 16x16 pixels on each side, and can be individually edited to change the look of blocks. Of course, with certain edits, the terrain pixels can be improved to be more than 16x in pixels. These alterations to game textures are called HDfixes.
Texture packs are packs where only graphics are included, and they change the way blocks and items in the game look. Among the fantastic
gameplay and simplicity of Minecraft, many people appreciate the textures as the not-‐so-‐complex pixels they are, and embrace this idea. Games like portal have great graphical features, but again, the simplicity is appreciated as an aspect of Minecraft. A great art project for a middle or high school art classes would be to assign certain textures to certain individuals or groups in the class. Each texture takes no more than 5 minutes to create, so with a class elected theme, each person or group could create about a dozen new textures in a short amount of time. Even sounds can be changed, but that process is a bit more complex. In about a week, without overlooking any items, a great pack could be created and even put on the Internet for others to use! An easy way to edit these textures is to use Paint or Paintbrush (PC and Mac, respectively,) allows for non-‐transparent retexturing. The look and feel of video games varies, but there’s no doubt that of simple 3D textures, Minecraft best allows for as sleek, rough, light or dark a mood as your class desires. And so, a conclusion to my artistic spiel relating to Minecraft. [Trevor Roe brings a student’s perspective to virtual education. He is a special reporter for the Virtual Education Journal -‐ VEJ.]
SIGVE Speaker Series
On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, over 25 people joined Spiff Whitfield and guest speaker John Lester for a lively discussion. John is Chief Learning Officer at ReactionGrid, a software company developing 3D simulations and multiuser virtual world platforms. His primary focus is on collaborative learning and instructional design, working with academic and business clients to develop immersive education environments. From 2005-‐2010, John worked at Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life. At Linden Lab he led the development of the education and healthcare markets. Watch it at: http://youtu.be/VWyBgSx0jXY and the speaker schedule at weebly site Http://sigve.weebly.com .
An Interview With Kavon Zenovka (SL), Kae Novak (RL) By Roxie Neiro (sl), Rosie Vojtek (rl)
I am very excited to be interviewing Kae Novak for this issue of VEJ. Any inworld educator who is a member of ISTE SIGVE, has participated or worked on VWBPE, plays in World of Warcraft, or participated in the GAMES MOOC has met her avatar, Kavon Zenovka. She has relentlessly helped many of us learn and grow in virtual environments. I can’t begin to tell you how much I have learned from her and how much I admire her work, her passion for teaching and learning, her enthusiasm for virtual worlds, and her dedication as an educator. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I have enjoyed talking with, working with, and playing with Kavon Zenovka (SL), Kae Novak (RL). Roxie: Kavon, please introduce yourself to our readers. Tell us who you are and what you do in real life (rl) and virtual environments. Kavon: I’m Kae Novak(rl), an instructional designer for online learning at a community college in Colorado. In virtual environments, I manage Front Range in Second Life and play around on Center4EduPunx on JoykadiaGrid. I am the High Grand Poobah or Chair-‐Elect for ISTE SIGVE and collaborate with an exceptional group of educators there. In addition to these sandbox virtual worlds, I'm a guild officer for two World of Warcraft guilds. These guilds are the all-‐purpose educator’s guild Cognitive Dissonance on the Alliance side and Inevitable Betrayal on the Horde side.
Roxie: How did you get started in virtual worlds/environments? What was it that kept you going back? Kavon: I had attended a presentation by Lyr Lobo (Cynthia Calongne) at the e-‐Learning Consortium of Colorado. Lyr presented on Second Life and several projects that she was pursuing in games and simulations. After the presentation, I joined SL and started visiting the New Media Consortium (NMC) islands and other educator builds. After about 6 months, I requested that my college look at Second Life for online learning and the college purchased Front Range Island to start doing simulations for online classes.
Front Range Island Kavon: I keep coming back to virtual worlds due to the deeper learning that I observed. What I’ve seen is that immersive games and virtual environments offer a richness and deeper learning not seen in a traditional text based LMS even if you are supplementing it with podcast and videos. In fact, it’s even better than a F2F classroom because it sometimes allows you to do what isn’t possible in real life. Some examples from Second Life include visiting and exploring Dante’s Inferno or flying up to look at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. We call that NPIRL or Not Possible in Real Life.
Roxie: How did you get started playing virtual games? Kavon: I really wasn’t into video games in high school. I played roll the dice Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). Until MMORPGs (Massive Multi-‐player Online Role-‐Playing Games), video games did not have much appeal for me due to their limited social offerings. My first MMORPG was World of Warcraft, which I selected after reading Edward Castronova's books on virtual economies. Roxie: What are your favorite virtual games and why? Kavon: World of Warcraft is. Not that another MMORPG couldn’t take its place. It was the first virtual game that provided the immersiveness and social aspects that I loved from D&D. For me, right now, it has an interesting economy, challenging end game content, and I’m involved in a community of educators there who not only play but also collaborate outside the game. Roxie: In this issue we have captured some of our reader’s favorite Fiero moments. Please explain briefly what a Fiero moment means to you and give us an example of one of your favorite Fiero moments. Kavon: Fiero. Well, it’s a term we use a lot when teaching about games based learning. Nicole Lazzaro is the earliest person I have seen using it to describe the satisfaction and enjoyment of hard fun. Fiero is the moment where a player / learner successfully overcomes challenges. In games, this is overcoming the monster or finishing the quest. In the classroom, this is mastery of difficult concepts and resolving problems. It is that moment that you see in soccer games, when the player scores and they continue to run around with their arms up. Kavon: Actually in the guild I play in, we have an expression, “Don’t steal my fiero!” It means -‐ don’t make it easy for me, I want to learn how to do it. For a lot of gamers, the die and do over part is how we learn. My favorite fiero moments happen when I am playing with members of my guild and it is so difficult that all of our characters die. This is called a wipe.
Wipe Roxie [laughing]: Kind of like the song, “wipe-‐out?” Kavon: Then we stop, research anything we can find on the Internet, talk, strategize and try it again. And then the same thing happens again, but we’ve made a bit of progress. So we strategize more and we change up what we’re doing and then we finish the dungeon or overcome the last monster or challenge in the raid. That’s the fiero. It’s not easy, it’s not nerfed, and it has to at some point feel nearly impossible. Roxie: Whatever “it” is sounds like, in the moment, it is a major, perhaps life changing -‐ at least for the player(s), accomplishment! So, can you establish a sense of community while playing the game, even in a virtual world? If so, How? Kavon: Absolutely, in fact many of the MMORPGs require a community to play end game content. It’s not that different from any community that meets regularly. MMORPGs like World of Warcraft require players to collaborate with others to quickly navigate the game. In fact, there is a whole series of built in rewards in WoW to promote and maintain
collaboration in the form of faster leveling in a group, access to better gear (dungeons that required 5 players), and team oriented achievements. I see that virtual environments like MMORPGs and other virtual worlds have become the third place for many people. It is not home and it is not work; however, it is a place to gather with your friends, socialize and engage in immersive entertainment and hard fun. Roxie: I like that – a “third place” – kind of reminds me of the television series, “Cheers” -‐ “Where Everyone Knows Your Name!” So, like “Cheers”, do you make friends while playing virtual games? Or, is it always “us/me” against “them/enemy”?
WOW Picture of Gameplay Kavon: For me, it’s rarely us or them. In the games I play, I am usually competing against myself. Most of the guild groups I’m in focus on beating our last attempt whether that was a win or lose. There is a continuous focus on efficiency and effectiveness in gaming. Most players are looking at several areas of improvement consistently. They usually focus on their game play to see how they can improve individually or they are looking at group play. In group play, players are looking at what value do they bring to the
group and what can they do to ensure/assist in the overall success of the team. Roxie: How do you balance competition with collaboration? Or, is it all about the winning and getting to the next level? Kavon: Actually in games like World of Warcraft, the designers take care of this for us. WoW requires collaborative groups of 10 to 25 individuals to work together to be successful and gather the best gear in the game. Teams are competitive and there have been cross faction tensions; however most of the competitive focus is on how fast does a group clear a dungeon. This is especially true with the new Challenge Mode Dungeons that WoW introduced with Mists of Pandaria. With Challenge Mode Dungeons, groups of five players have their gear normalized so everyone running the Challenge Mode is on equal footings. This removes any advantages from gear and is truly an evaluation of mastery of game mechanics and strategy. Roxie: Are all the virtual games violent? If so, how do educators deal with violence with their students? Kavon: Some video games contain violence. However, there are options for educators that wish to use games and remove as much violence as they can. Educators can focus on a specific area of a game where there is minimal violence. An example would be focusing on the economy or business aspects of a game and not requiring students to participate in fighting or normal gameplay violence. Kavon: Overall, I think the most important thing is for the educator to provide the context of the game in the educational setting. Students look to the educator for guidance on what is allowed and not allowed in class. Many games offer non-‐violent opportunities to play and be successful in games. Students could select healing roles or focus on the crafting side of the game and purchase materials off the auction house. The key is that the educator needs to play the game and identify the various options when it comes to gameplay.
Roxie: What are some of the best practices that teachers are using with students while engaging them in virtual games? Kavon: The big thing is that educators cannot look at games as an epack that they can just plug into their class. Game based learning requires a carefully scaffolded approach that ramps students up from simple easy to play games to the more complex end game content that generates wicked problems and hard fun. Roxie: I love that phrase, “wicked problems and hard fun!” We need more of that in the education for learners! Kavon: The educator has to play the game to know the content and how they see it fitting into their core competencies and learning objectives. One of the most successful implementations I have been part of had students starting off with games like Free Rice and Budget Hero and ending with World of Warcraft and Second Life. The key was that we slowly immersed the students throughout the semester using planned projects and assignments that directed students through to the more complex games at the end of the semester. Each activity and project tied back to core competencies and class learning objectives. Roxie: Are there any significant research findings about the benefits of using games with students that teachers can use when they advocate for games in the classroom? Kavon: Absolutely, I would suggest they look up Jim Gee and Sasha Barab from Arizona State University and the work that they have done. Then I would also suggest Constance Steinkuehler, Kurt Squire and David Williamson Shaffer from the University of Wisconsin. Roxie: Tell us about the GAMESMOOC. What is it? How did it get started? Kavon: The Games MOOC is a synchronous and asynchronous online open course. The site has had a total of 144, 246 visits as of today! We have 209,488 page views. The Games MOOC is on an asynchronous LMS –like site http://gamesmooc.shivtr.com/
Kavon: This is actually a gaming community site that we adapted for the course. We livestream Google Hangout on Air as a quick overview each Monday morning. We do a #gamemooc Tweetchat each Wednesday evening. On each Thursday, we livestream a discussion or panel of guests through Google Hangout on Air and also through Second Life. If there is any opportunity to livestream a games based learning activity being done by another educational group during the time of the MOOC, we do it. Kavon: We have had sessions in World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Second Life and OpenSim. Participants had the choice of logging into those and playing with us or watching through the YouTube livestream.
Kavon: The first version of it was A Virtual World, Education and Games Tour at P2PU http://bit.ly/127rxTb A number of educators who had been organized virtual worlds conferences felt that a once a year event, while great outreach, left educators isolated until the next year. So we decided to do something about it. Kavon: This MOOC was four weeks with a different educator leading each week. Stasia Weston started us out the first week with a Virtual World Tours. The second week, Tanya Martin worked with us on Machinima. I had MMORGPs for the third week and Chris Luchs did the fourth week which was called “The Bleeding Edge.” Kavon: After that it snowballed. First along with Tanya Martin, Vasili Giannoutos, we created a two week Machinima course on P2PU http://bit.ly/VbjlNc to get people ready for the ISTE Machinima contest and then an ARG Academy http://bit.ly/VbjtMA where Joseph Doan, Jerry Buchko and Catherine Flippen joined us in facilitating it. Kavon: So when the Colorado Community College System had an Immersive Learning and Game Based Learning faculty grant challenge, I was able to use what I learned there and with help from Chris Luchs and Kate Hagerty apply for a grant to do three versions of a Games Based Learning MOOC. Roxie: What projects and events have you and members of the GAMESMOOC accomplished or held? Kavon: We were accepted and are now listed in the US Department of Education’s Connected Educators Project’s Community Directory http://connectededucators.org/community/games-‐based-‐learning-‐mooc/ Participants in the Games MOOC, spun off G.A.M.E. which is network hub for Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education. G.A.M.E. currently produces a monthly webinar hosted by Laurence Cocco, Director, Office of Educational Technology, New Jersey Department of Education. This webinar is “It Takes A Guild – A Guild of Educators.” http://g.a.m.e.shivtr.com/pages/guildofeducators
Kavon: We are very proud of two games based learning grants written by our participants that were just funded for this year. Sherry Jones, who won the “Cataclysmic” award in the Games MOOC was funded for Rhetoric and Composition: The Persuasive Power of Video Games as Paratexts. Chris Luchs and Kate Hagerty won a grant to do a game based learning Hackathon for introductory computer science classes. Roxie: FANTATIC! CONGRATULATIONS! So many accomplishments! I hope our readers will check out the websites and resources that you are sending their way during this interview. Your webinars and Google hangouts are very informative – EXCELLENT JOB and KUDOS to everyone working with you! I have heard you talking about creating badges for learners to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. What badges have members earned and what did they have to accomplish to earn a badge? Kavon: Games MOOC participants have earned two badges. We have a “Brave Beginner” badge for people new to games. Also, out of Connected Educator Month last August, we designed a “Networked Educator” badge. With the Networked Educator badge, we based it off Dr. Lisa Dawley’ Social Network Knowledge Construction matrix. Badge earners had to show that they curated content and that they contributed, created, and led the dissemination of information on games based learning. Roxie: What have you and others learned from being a part of the GAMESMOOC? Kavon: For us, M stands for modest compared to some of the large Stanford and MIT MOOCs. A business professor out of U of Penn taught an 80,000 person Gamification MOOC through Coursera, we have had 400 participants. It’s really about the interaction between an online community of learners. This may say it best. “Coursera gamification12 is totally LMS. OTOH #gamemooc has morphed into a wonderfully supportive guild of educators.” This tweet came from a librarian who took our Games MOOC and also took the Coursera Gamification MOOC. Roxie: You are right. That quote sums it up perfectly – and nothing says it better than word of mouth, or should I say word of tweets, to spread the
word! So, if someone wants to participate in the GAMESMOOC, how do they join? Kavon: Well, the third iteration is starting on Monday March 18, 2013. The topic of this iteration is Apps, AR (Augmented Reality) and ARGs (Alternate Reality Games). It’s very easy; all you need to do is to go to http://bit.ly/gamesmooc and signup. For our summer MOOC, we will be doing immersive environments, which will focus on MMORPGs and virtual worlds. Roxie: I just signed up – and hope that many of our readers will do so as well. As you know, I can’t always get fully engaged because of my rl work, but I love to lurk and watch what all of you are learning – and that has always been OK. I noticed when I signed up that you may have a summer conference on game based learning. That should be very exciting and something to look forward to. So, what is the future of Gaming? Kavon: I really don’t look at it as the future of gaming. Instead I look at as the future of education. I think education especially online education will need to be as immersive and engaging as games are. Roxie: If someone has never played a virtual game, where and how can they get started? What is the best game for beginners? Kavon: If they have never played any type of online game, I like to start people with Free Rice. It’s easy to play, educational and it is engaging. If someone is looking to play an immersive game, like an MMORPG then I would suggest that they look for at the network of educators who game. I’d tell them to start by just asking a question in the SIGVE listserv. For SIGVE weekly Connected Educator, we send out a listing of events being done in or about virtual worlds and games. Also at the bottom of the listserv, we send out the sites for all the organizations doing outreach and professional development. Kavon: I’d also tell them to take a look at the “It Takes A Guild” playlist http://bit.ly/WEOcmv on YouTube. G.A.M.E. (Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education) http://g.a.m.e.shivtr.com/ has been doing monthly
recordings of teachers who have brought games into their classroom. Lastly, there are a few educator gaming guilds. Cognitive Dissonance http://bit.ly/12GtVQz is a large all purpose guild for World of Warcraft. Inevitable Betrayal http://g.a.m.e.shivtr.com/pages/ibguild does what we like to call tourism for educators in World of Warcraft and has developed a number of introductory videos entitled Inevitable Instruction. http://bit.ly/inevitableinstruction Roxie: Awesome! There is so much to learn on those websites! So, for you personally, what online/virtual activities are keeping you up late at night? What projects and activities are you working on now and in the future? Kavon: Games MOOC III – Apps, AR and ARGs starting from March 18 – April 22. The Games MOOC IV – Immersive Environments -‐ Summer Date TBA. The SIGVE Machinima Fest at the ISTE annual conference! Monday, June 24 from 5:30 – 6:45 pm. We will be having our annual Machinima Fest! We’ll be opening up the Machinima contest portion in late February and will be doing a Machinima Open Online Course through P2PU at the end of May also! Kavon: Another activity is the Connected Educator Event for August 2013. That is currently in the brainstorming stage. I know this may seem like an “interesting” fusion but with a couple of innovative educational leaders, we have been talking about leadership, assessment…. and games. Roxie: Is there anything else that I didn’t ask you that your want our readers to know about games in education? Kavon: There isn’t an easy button when it comes to games, not the games that are really worth it. Gamification is a marketing term to incentivize activities. Look for something deeper than behaviorism when designing your courses. I do subscribe to Jim Gee’s idea of chocolate on broccoli. We see this all the time with homework managers that do automatic grading. While it frees up time for the teacher, are the students learning the content or just becoming experts in pattern recognition?
Take a look at meaningful education with games. For great overview of gamification, take a look at this video of Dr. Scott Nicholson, Director of “Because Play Matters Game Lab” at Syracuse University. Then look at these interviews with educators on Minecraft, World of Warcraft, Portal and MMORPGs. These are videos have extraordinary classroom teachers who use games for teaching and learning. Roxie: Thank you Kavon/Kae for all of these wonderful resources. They are going to be very helpful for anyone wanting to get started exploring gaming in virtual online environments. As always, you have given us so much to think about. I hope that our readers will join in some or all of the activities that you listed that will be starting soon. I also hope that everyone attending the ISTE 2013 Conference in San Antonio this year will attend the Machinima Fest this year! It has become an annual highlight of the conference! Thanks again for taking the time to talk with me today and KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!!!!!
Introduction to a WoW Guild By Izzy Karu
By now, in this issue of VEJ, you have read about the number of educators playing The World of Warcraft. Teachers are using WoW successfully in their classrooms to help students learn. So, you have decided to get an account, install the client, create a character, or “toon”, and take the plunge. There you are, a level 1 WoW toon dropped off in the starter location appropriate for your selected race. Now what, what do you do? If only you were in a guild!
A guild is a chartered organization in WoW. Think of it as a village. In the village you have the village elders who offer the wisdom of experience. You also have gathers, and craftsmen who provide the resources you need to progress through the game.
But more importantly, you have a family that shares in your struggles, triumphs, discoveries and growth, both as a character and person. So, take the plunge, join a guild, and let the fun and learning begin! Hope to see you soon in WoW!
Peterson Schools Get Serious About Playing Games
Game-‐based learning refers to the integration of gaming mechanics into educational experiences.
By David W. Deeds, Cuajimalpa Campus
What exactly is meant by “humanistic education”? Trying to arrive at a consensus regarding a definition brings to mind the fable about the blind men describing an elephant: the guy holding the trunk thinks it’s like a snake, the dude with his arms wrapped around a leg swears it’s a tree, etc. A website named, appropriately enough, education.com, succinctly suggests that humanistic education simply features “learning activities…[that] are oriented toward improving self-‐awareness and mutual understanding among people.” The academic world has borrowed the corporate term “soft skills” to discuss such desirable student qualities, which, not coincidentally, correspond with the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile attributes: being caring, principled, open-‐minded, etc.
The question for educators has always been: How is it possible to instill and nurture such nebulous characteristics in students while teaching them no-‐nonsense subjects such as computer programming? The answer is now known: game-‐based learning.
According to the 2012 K-‐12 Horizon Report, an annual publication of the New Media Consortium that predicts adoption of educational technologies, game-‐based learning will be mainstream in all schools by as early as 2014. Having learners engaged in game-‐based learning is not only “beneficial [for their] cognitive development,” but also fosters “collaboration, communication, problem-‐solving and critical thinking.” Games provide an “open-‐ended, challenged-‐based” social aspect to learning that prepares students “for their continued education and the workforce,” (i.e., for 21st century survival and success). “When embedded into the curriculum, [games] offer a path into the material that allows students to learn how to learn along with mastering the
subject matter.” The evidence is indisputable: playing games in school is highly effective as well as enjoyable.
As everyone knows, students love to play games, and it’s this “fun factor” which ironically sums up the biggest objections many teachers, administrators and parents stubbornly maintain to this innovative approach. Higher education institutions have been utilizing, 3D virtual worlds, for example, with amazing results for years. But, K-‐12 organizational dinosaurs largely remain reluctant to accept that education doesn’t have to be boring and painful to be beneficial. The game-‐based revolution is going to happen with or without these misguided skeptics, however, this advancement is inevitable. Clark Aldrich, in Learning Online with Games, Simulations and Virtual Worlds, states that game-‐based learning represents “a permanent transformation of the educational landscape…due in part to interactive environments’ ability to produce better traditional academic results.” Please note: “better traditional academic results.”
Petersons Schools’ overarching goal of providing our students with a genuine “21st century education” will ultimately be achieved via a two-‐ pronged strategy: (1) a transformation to being exclusively an International Baccalaureate institution; and (2) the implementation of a completely student-‐centric approach to teaching, which necessarily involves the adoption of game-‐based learning. So far it’s been primarily the Cuajimalpa campus that has been experimenting with, e.g., 3D virtual worlds, but soon our other locations will be joining this movement as training and other preparation progress. Currently, Second Life and OpenSimulator, both “immersive/virtual-‐ learning environments,” are being used as integral parts of the Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS) and Computer Workshop courses, respectively. Second Life, formally known as a “Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG),” was introduced by the Linden Labs company in 2003 and includes thousands of education-‐ related institutions. The platform features its own economy and currency, with average quarterly holdings exceeding US $25 million.
Second Life is a “public grid” (“grid” just means a lot of computers connected together) restricted to users 16 and older. So, for all other students it’s necessary to maintain an OpenSimulator environment, which offers both the security of access control and the benefits of
interaction with others. OpenSimulator is “open source” software and so it’s not nearly as advanced as its commercial cousins, but organizations such as Dreamland Metaverse, Peterson’s host company, contend it will ultimately become the MMOG of choice for schools, primarily because of its ability to create and maintain a completely private virtual learning environment.
Both Second Life and OpenSimulator offer sophisticated Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools, an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for programming, etc. But it’s the communal characteristics of the potential work that matter most: students not only practice project management on a local scale, but they’ll soon also be communicating and collaborating with learners around the (real, or is it virtual?) world. Imagine our students hosting and visiting learners from other schools, other countries, even continents. Both Second Life and OpenSimulator have been utilized for “cross-‐curricular” efforts, meaning that recent projects involved Art and Music classes as well as Technology. Soon all Peterson campuses will be using one or both of these platforms, for student courses as well as teacher professional development. Peterson Schools’ cybercampuses are open and available to all our teachers and students. ITGS learners will soon, as part of their final project, be training people, starting at the Cuajimalpa campus and then extending to the others. “Others” includes everyone around the globe!
Unlike Second Life and OpenSimulator, environments in which the primary goal is to create a virtual world from the cyberground up, Quest Atlantis offers a prebuilt platform via which students focus on completing missions or tasks via narrative “toolkits.” Quest Atlantis is designed to engage students 9-‐16 years of age in “transformational play,” meaning that, again, they are learning “hard skills” while also developing their abilities regarding communication, collaboration, etc.
All the storylines involve social action, whether it’s solving a bullying problem or saving a town from the plague! More than 50,000 students on six continents have completed “quests” over the past four years. Peterson teachers at two different campuses will have started their training toward becoming qualified Quest Atlantis teachers by the time this journal has been published. Quest Atlantis is completely free and it’s hoped that all Peterson middle school teachers and students will use it soon. Sometime during 2013, the traditional Quest Atlantis will be replaced by a spectacular 3D version that will rival most commercial games, while still offering all the usual educational benefits. Atlantis Remixed, as the new Quest Atlantis will be known, will focus even more on the skills needed to solve problems, both real and surreal.
Second Life/OpenSimulator and Quest Atlantis aren’t considered games in the traditional sense, but there’s never been any doubt about Minecraft! With more than eight million registered users worldwide, Minecraft is one of the most popular diversions for young people ever. How to effectively use the environment for education remained elusive until the recent introduction of MinecraftEdu, a “mod” (modification, or version) created exclusively for schools by programmers working directly with the Minecraft staff.
MinecraftEdu offers all the benefits (including the fun!) while allowing a teacher to maintain control via an intuitive server interface. MinecraftEdu is often jokingly referred to as “Second Life Lite,” because it offers younger students the ability to easily create elaborate structures while focusing on the design versus the mechanics. It’s also easier to “start from cyberscratch” because different maps (actually called “seeds”) are available to provide different environmental factors, such as a mountainous or wintery landscape. Kids as young as kindergartners can create their own virtual environments, then take their teachers (and parents) on tours of their creations. Peterson Schools has a campus-‐wide license to use MinecraftEdu so there will be no software costs involved. It’ll just be a matter of installing the program on different local area network servers and computer lab PCs.
How successful has game-‐ based learning been at Peterson Schools so far? Some student quotations should provide some perspective:
10th Grade Computer Workshop: “Many people think that games are useless. They certainly don't know that games put our minds in action every second. There are lots of things to learn from games. Games are not just the future of entertainment, they're also the future of learning.” -‐-‐ Joaquin Berarducci “As technology develops, we open the doors to a new dimension. In each stage of our development, computer games make our lives easier. They are what will make the new world of tomorrow.” -‐-‐ Melyssa Montes
11th Grade ITGS Class: “ITGS is my favorite class. You are your own teacher, you are responsible for your own learning process, and that's what education should be all about. Students have the right
to have a fun class once in a while. With ITGS, you actually learn and have fun at the same time!” -‐-‐ Diego Figueroa “Being able to combine what happens on the Internet with the real world through art, and that way create a learning environment, is one of the most innovative and effective methods I've seen, because it connects the student with the lesson through something he's interested in. This is education's way to say ‘Welcome to the 21st century.’” -‐-‐ Ilan Eichner
Peterson Schools is just getting started with game-‐based learning. Our progress will be covered via the website and other venues, so stay tuned. More coming soon!
[This article originally appeared in Peterson Schools Magazine. Reprinted with permission. Peterson Schools is a private K-‐12 institution with more than 2,000 students at four campuses around Mexico City. David is the Technology Integration Specialist for the organization.]
Second Life Physics Lab Physics is different here! By Renato P. dos Santos (rl), Otaner Merlin (sl)
Despite my best efforts, I am, unfortunately, unable to remember how I got to know about Second Life! In my personal diary, I have found an entry saying that on April 23th, 2007 I got the idea of starting a research project about physics teaching in SL. Another entry says that I created my account on the 11th of May and started promoting SL to my friends and colleagues, as many of us have probably done. I soon noticed, however, that SL Physics is neither real-‐world Physics nor the Newtonian Physics. I decided to study and explore these differences for some kind of ‘alternative physics’ teaching (dos Santos, 2009), having Papert’s microworlds in mind. One of my friends was able to bring Emiliano de Castro, former Kaizen Games CMO (once a Brazilian SL developer and partner, creator of the Mainland Brasil), for a talk in our Institution and I had the privilege to discuss with him how to implement ‘alternative physics’ in SL. On July 4th, 2008, I purchased a small parcel of 512 sqm in the Pavet region of Second Life and began to build a crude and small laboratory to perform experiments with Second Life Physics. Since then I have had to move it to bigger and bigger parcels as the Lab evolved due to the well-‐ known prim limitation. Second Life Physics Lab (SLP Lab) is now a Physics and Mathematics teaching research laboratory that is being built at:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Castelo/208/145/39/. Aiming for wider dissemination to the youth community who attend SL, as well as taking in account the strongly visual game culture of many of its users, SLP Lab was set as a 11-‐floor 'space station' hovering 30 meters above the terrain (Figure 1).
Figure 1 - Second Life Physics Lab themed as a space station.
Visitors may find the land pleasurable by itself for its nice flower fields, trees, garden benches, a nice 20 meter pond with fishes and the soothing sound of water stream, and even a gazebo with the teleport to the Lab (Figure 2). One has just to ‘sit’ on the black disk to be transported to the Lab entrance. To investigate the feasibility of building devices that do not follow the laws of Newtonian mechanics in SL, the first simulation I built was a ‘Buridan’s Cannon’, which can simulate cannonballs following two different motion theories, Newtonian mechanics or the well-‐known Buridan’s Theory of Impulse (impetus) (Crombie, 1957, p. 251), at user
choice, through a control panel (Figure 3). The operation of this Buridan’s Cannon can be seen in video (dos Santos, 2010a) or be experienced at 4th floor.
Figure 2 - SLP Lab garden and gazebo
The next one was the Lander Simulator (Figure 4), inspired on Jim Storer’s 1969 classic Lunar Lander computer game. From a physics teaching point of view, to succeed in this ‘serious game’, to be able to land safely, the player needs to master the concepts of force, acceleration and speed and their relationships -‐ in short, Newton's Laws. The operation of this Lander Simulator can be seen in video (dos Santos, 2010b) or be experienced at Lab’s 7th floor. A few other Physics, Math and Chemistry gizmos are available to the public at the Lab’s other floors.
Figure 3 - Trajectory of a projectile according to Buridan’s Impetus Theory
I have realized, however, that if SL shows itself as a viable and flexible platform for microworlds and simulations, then on the other hand one has to learn its sometimes cryptic and not well-‐documented Linden Scripting Language (LSL), without which one fatally ends up with an especially inane kind of gigantic Lego. From my own experience with it, I supposed that this would discourage most Physics teachers that probably will not be willing to invest so much time learning LSL only to build simple educational simulations. Aware of this shortcoming, I decided to build TATI, The Amiable Textual Interface for Second Life, which would translate simple Logo-‐like commands into the sometimes-‐cryptic LSL commands that would generate the desired objects in SL.
Figure 4 - Lander Simulator
Papert proposed a Piagetian learning path into Newtonian laws of motion (1980, p. 123) by means of a sequence of four types of objects: geometry, speed, acceleration and Newtonian Turtles (1980, p. 128). For compatibility, TATI is also able to generate the two basic types of primitives in Second Life, physical objects and non-‐physical, in a total of six types of objects to its user. Examples of objects created by TATI are shown in Figure 5: a blue cube of non-‐physical type, a plane of velocity turtle type, and a yellow cone of physical type, which is lying on the ground as it is subject to gravity. It was found appropriate to theme the TATI as a 'wizard hat' so that objects are rezzed over it 'like magic'. Various examples of the operation of TATI can be seen in video (dos Santos, 2012).
TATI and TATILogo are in final developments now, but will soon be released to a limited and selected group of volunteer users to perform usability and acceptance tests. Figure 5 - Examples of objects created with TATI
References Crombie, A. C. (1957). Criticism of Aristotle in the Later Middle Ages. Augustine to Galileo: the History of Science a.d. 400-‐1650. London: William Heinemann, Ltd. Papert, S. A. (1980). Mindstorms -‐ Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas. New York: Basic Books. dos Santos, R. P. (2009). Second Life Physics: Virtual, real or surreal? Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 2(1), 1–21. Retrieved from https://journals.tdl.org/jvwr/article/view/383/455 dos Santos, R. P. (2010a, July 30). Alternative Physics in Second Life [Blog post]. Second Life Physics blog. Retrieved July 30, 2010, from http://www.secondlifephysics.com/2010/07/alternative-‐physics-‐ in-‐second-‐life.html dos Santos, R. P. (2010b, December 17). Lander Simulator in Second Life Physics Lab [Blog post]. Second Life Physics blog. Retrieved December 17, 2010, from http://www.secondlifephysics.com/2010/12/lander-‐simulator-‐in-‐ second-‐life-‐physics.html dos Santos, R. P. (2012, May 13). TATI -‐ The Amiable Textual Interface for Second Life [Blog post]. Second Life Physics blog. Retrieved May 13, 2012, from http://www.secondlifephysics.com/2012/05/tati-‐ amiable-‐textual-‐interface-‐for.html
Lights, Camera, Nominations: SIGVE at the Eddies By Kae Novak (RL), Kavon Zenovka (sl)
The Edublog Awards http://edublogawards.com/ or “Eddies” are a community based initiative started in 2004 to create resources for educators on how educational technology and social media are used in different contexts with a range of different learners. Each year, the Edublog Awards nominations are gathered through a process where educators can nominate favorite blogs and sites in a wide range of categories. The nomination process requires that the blog, social network or online events be publically nominated on an educational blog and self-‐nomination is not allowed. For 2012, there were approximately 2000 nominations in 20 categories. Each year, judges review the nominations and a list of finalists is chosen. This year, SIGVE was nominated for the “Best Social Network for Educators 2012”, selected as a finalist and was named in the top 5 Best Networks!
In addition to SIGVE, we had several members also nominated. To take a look at all of the amazing SIGVE members who were finalists, please go to this link for their blogs and sites: http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net/Edublog+2012+finalists
Also a special shout-‐out to the following SIGVE members who made the top 5 in their respective categories: Teacher Blog ctrl + alt+ teach http://www.ctrlaltteach.com/ Catherine “Cat” Horton Flippen Individual Blog Grid Jumper’s Blog http://gridjumper.net/ Tanya Martin Administrator Blog This and That http://jcastelhanothisandthat.blogspot.com/ Jon Castelhano Congratulations and a big thank you to all nominees, finalists, and all of you who voted to make this possible!
-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ Gamers Represent! Game Based Learning Finalist for 2012 Edublog Awards! The finalists in the Edublog Awards 2012 were also well represented by educators (who are also gamers) using blogs, social media, MOOCs and Google Hangouts to advance meaningful education. G.A.M.E. Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education http://g.a.m.e.shivtr.com/ G.A.M.E. was a finalist in Edublog Awards in the following categories: Podcast: Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education – “It Takes A Guild – A Guild of Educators” Series http://g.a.m.e.shivtr.com/pages/webinarpage Open Professional Development: Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education – “It Takes A Guild – A Guild of Educators” Series http://g.a.m.e.shivtr.com/pages/webinarpage
Social Network: Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education http://g.a.m.e.shivtr.com/ Gamers who were finalists for individual categories: Lifetime Achievement: Marianne Malmstrom -‐ Virtual Worlds, Games and Minecraft Maven Best Individual Blog Post: Gridjumper’s Blog – It’s About Time and Space (25) http://gridjumper.net/2012/10/29/its-‐about-‐time-‐and-‐space/ Games Based Learning MOOC The Games MOOC or Games Based Learning MOOC was also a finalist in social media and blogging categories. Best Class Blog: Games MOOC http://gamesmooc.shivtr.com/journals Best Group Blog: Games MOOC http://gamesmooc.shivtr.com/ Individual Tweeter: @proximalzone Twitter hashtag: #gamemooc And additionally games were represented in the Best Mobile App category: Mobile App: WoW Armory http://us.battle.net/wow/en/shop/mobile-‐ armory/
Educational Games for Social and Environmental Causes
By Carl Solutionary (sl)
Games are one of the most dominant and influential forms of entertainment of our times. Easily exceeding the revenue of blockbuster movies, World of Warcraft has grossed more than US $10 billion and titles such as Super Mario, Grand Theft Auto, and Call of Duty grossed over US $1 billion each. Educational games are a significant market with 1000’s of available titles. As virtual worlds add game support such as Second Life’s Advanced Creator Tools and Pathfinding, development is beginning on new kinds of in-‐world games. Since these are very early days, the purpose of this article is to introduce readers to social/environmental educational games, and invite you to participate in upcoming virtual world gaming projects, discussions, and eventually courses. As a Humane Educator, I am particularly interested in how games can be applied to social causes and environmental education. I was surprised to discover the wealth of relevant games and contests (See Announcements). In the Internet Resources below, I’ve listed game titles and URLs for 15 social/environmental games (all of which I highly recommend) in 3 general categories: (1) Cultural Education Games; (2) Civics Policy Games; and (3) Active Citizenship Games. Cultural Education Games help us to learn about people, their psychology, and societies through experiencing alternate realities and cultures. Civics Policy Games are simulations that allow us to call public policy shots and experience the consequences of our choices. Active Citizenship Games build consciousness about social justice causes.
All of the Internet-‐based games are free, and some installed games have free demonstrators. The balance of this article introduces an example game from each of these categories.
Figure 1 Inside the Haiti Earthquake – a Video/Photo Game
(1) A Cultural Education Game: Inside the Haiti Earthquake uses video clips and photographs to tell the story of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Haiti (Figure 1). Set in the timeframe just after the devastating Earthquake, the game captures peoples’ confusion and desperation. As player, you assume one of three roles: journalist, aide worker, or survivor, and the game takes you through a role-‐based scenario that includes text messaging, conversations, and many decisions that determine the scenario’s outcomes. It is very interesting to play the game again choosing an alternate role. This game conveys a realistic understanding of the real-‐world issues that are still playing out years later, today in Haiti. Other similar video/photo games that I recommend include -‐ On the Ground Reporter: Darfur, Homeland Guantanamos, and
an Amnesty International-‐endorsed game called Curfew (See under Active Citizenship Games). (2) A Civics Policy Game: Climate Challenge is a card-‐based environmental policy game (Figure 2). You are the leader of Europe, and set policies for each decade from 1990 through 2100. You must balance your public approval rating, with your financial resources, water supply, food supply, and climate impact. You can choose government actions from available cards, including policies and programs affecting the nation, trade, agro-‐industry, local areas, and households. The game is very instructive about choosing tradeoffs and understanding pros and cons of each policy. There is a significantly more complex successor to Climate Challenge called Fate of the World, an installed game available for purchase. Another card-‐based civic policy game that I recommend is Win the White House. Peacemaker is an installed game, which focuses on Arab-‐Israeli policies. Figure 2 Climate Challenge is a Card-‐based Policy Game
(3) An Active Citizenship Game: September 12th: A Toy World portrays a fictional city somewhere in the Middle East, which is populated by a large number of wandering civilians and a few so-‐called terrorists, easily distinguished by their clothing. The player can fire missiles into the city to try and eliminate terrorists, but every time you do, more and more civilians are converted to terrorists. It is a simple, active game with a moral: violence begets more violence. Other highly engaging, active games that I recommend include: Phone Story, Dys4ia, and The Arcade Wire: Airport Security.
Figure 3 September 12th: A Toy World is an Action Game with a Moral
Announcements: Upcoming Social Cause Game Contests Global Game Jam is a social cause game development event on January 25-‐27, 2013. Over 270 website teams compete by developing games supporting social causes in this marathon event: http://globalgamejam.org/
TechSoup, the sponsors of NonProfit Commons in Secondlife, are conducting the Windows 8 Apps for Social Good Contest http://bit.ly/QKexib deadline February 28, 2013. Entries can include educational games for social causes. Click the Hacker Helper link for important instructions. About the Author Carl Solutionary (carlicann Resident) is a Humane Educator at Rockcliffe University in Second Life. Carl also manages a free shop of educational resources promoting Humane Education on Etopia Island, the sustainability education community. Visit Carl’s educational resources on the web at: http://carlicann.wordpress.com/ including access to 1000’s of free lesson plans supporting social consciousness and sustainability. Internet Resources Key to Game Types: None of the games I found were based in virtual worlds, but many are available online (web-‐based versus installed games). Several of the games use video clips and still photographs to tell their stories (video/photo based games). Some games limited character movement to 2 dimensions (e.g. platformer or maze/pong games). Other games are based on dealing or choosing cards (card games). Several games emphasized dynamic user engagement (e.g. fun games), and others taught through assessments (quiz games). The games listed are web-‐based unless annotated with (install). (1) Cultural Education Games Inside the Haiti Earthquake (video/photo) http://www.insidedisaster.com/experience/Main.html On the Ground Reporter: Darfur (video/photo) http://www.radiodabanga.org/darfurgame/english/index.html Elude (platformer) http://gambit.mit.edu/loadgame/elude.php A Closed World (maze) http://gambit.mit.edu/loadgame/aclosedworld.php
Hunt for the Noor Stone (quiz) http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/wham-‐bam-‐ islam/game.html Dys4ia (fun) (maze/pong) http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/591565 (2) Civics Policy Games Climate Challenge (card) http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/hottopics/climatechange/climate_chall enge/ Fate of the World (install) (card) – Purchase Only http://fateoftheworld.net/ Win the White House (card) http://www.icivics.org/games/win-‐white-‐house PeaceMaker (install) – Click “Play the Demo” for Free Demonstrator http://www.peacemakergame.com/ (3) Active Citizenship Games September 12th: A Toy World (fun) – Web-‐based; Works on MS Windows http://www.newsgaming.com/games/index12.htm The Curfew (video/photo) http://www.thecurfewgame.com/ Unmanned (quiz) http://unmanned.molleindustria.org/ Phone Story (fun) http://phonestory.org/game.html Homeland Guantanamos (video/photo) – Click “Skip Intro” to Play http://www.homelandgitmo.com/ The Arcade Wire: Airport Security (fun) http://www.shockwave.com/gamelanding/airportsecurity.jsp Directory of 1500 Educational Games http://wingz2fly.com/wp/search/ Second Life Game Platform Technologies http://tiny.cc/eubtqw and http://tiny.cc/svbtqw
The Virtual Pioneers have completed another . . . It Was A Very Good Year! amazing year in their quest to provide By Spiff Whitfield (sl), Andrew Wheelock (RL) anyone interested in history and culture a way to explore and learn in Second Life. Our group has gone through a variety of cosmetic changes over the years, but we have consistently stayed true to our mission. This year brought change on several fronts. One of our most successful upgrades for this year was the creation of a more dynamic webpage for our members to keep track of our events and happenings. We have tried several variations of website, but the Weebly site is the easiest and most manageable. Please check us out at http://virtualpioneers.weebly.com for all of our news and updates. Another happy change for this year was our new location. As you may have known, we moved our headquarters from the University of Maine’s Black Bear Island to Eduislands 9. A special thanks to the University of Maine for offering us their space. They were kind and gracious hosts. They were going to downsize their islands and we would have been homeless were it not for Eduislands offering us a parcel on Eduislands 9. Fleet Goldenberg, http://www.sambiglyon.org/ has been a wonderful supporter and promoter of our efforts and uses. His work with Eduislands has been one of true collaboration and bonhamie. We are so grateful for his quick action to find us a comfortable location with adjoining parcel of ISTE’s SIGVE space. We have found that it has created a true fellowship of like-‐minded educators that can easily work from one region to another to share and collaborate. With our new website for sharing and an educationally viable location, we went about our business of arranging tours, having presentations, and enjoying some light hearted discussion for our bi-‐weekly Meet and Greet sections.
See below for our year in review of locations and topics. Please visit these locations to see and learn more. Serena Offcourse has been an amazing scheduler for us and has done an incredible job of providing tours that are timely and unique. Big thanks to Serena! -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ January 29th We began our year at the lovely Victorian home of Virtual Pioneer, TwelfthNight to discuss our recent conference, what worked and what didn't work -‐ gathering ideas for next year. We put on our best Victorian clothes and chatted over a cup of tea. Twelfth has been a wonderful member who contributes and walks the walk when it comes to virtual environment work and play. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ February 12th -‐ Nodaway The Nodaway sim celebrates the people, places, and connections of one family and community. Using photographs, diaries, and local newspaper accounts, this sim tells the story of this family in a small Missouri town from the 1890s through the 1950s. Ashbrook Llewellyn was our tour guide and gave us a thought provoking evening. February 26th -‐ Peru http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-‐Fnb5OSVbGo Amparo Delvalle lead us on a tour of Machu Picchu, a real-‐life reproduction of the ancient ruins of the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu, a rigorous simulation of a 60% real Citadel, built as part of the University San martin de Porres of Perú. We learned
about the history, origin and use of one of the world's archaeological wonders. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ March 11th -‐ St Patrick's Day Tour This tour led us to the beauty and wonder of Ireland in 1712! Located in the Ocean Realms sims, DUBLIN and IRELAND offers urban and country locales including the historic Brazen Head pub, the Abbey Ruins, Dunseverick Castle, the Standing Stones, and a Gypsy Camp! A fun tour had by all. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ March 25th -‐ Empyreal Dreams~The Art Anthology Virtual Pioneer, Cyrus Hush, gave us a tour of Empyreal Dreams~The Art Anthology. This is ultimately going to be twelve builds commemorating famous works of literature. They are up to five... Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Coleridge), The Bluebell (Bronte), The Raven (Poe) Les Miserables (Hugo) and the newest addition -‐-‐Owl and the Pussycat (Lear). Cyrus is a first class tour guide and didn’t disappoint with this tour!
-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ May 6th -‐ Principato di Melioria, Villa Vesuviana Lady Sere Timeless invited us to Principato di Melioria, Villa Vesuviana. This is an interpretation of Palladio’s Villa Rotonda that has inspired more architecture than any other single building in history. We visited this role-‐play of a fictional Italian Court in 1780 south of Napoli. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ May 20th -‐ Afghanistan Virtual Museum This museum provides a fully interactive and immersive experience to learn more about the history, culture, art and people of Afghanistan. This museum is rich in information, images, and more. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ June 3rd -‐ Welcome to Greece Mariposa Melodee lives in Greece in RL and in SL. She shared a bit of her country's history, culture, and beauty. Starting with the Acropolis, then to Plaka, and then to Athens -‐ we visited the Presidential House, Monument of Unknown Soldier, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and a Greek Orthodox Church. We ended at the beautiful Aegean Sea. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐
June 17th -‐ Buona Pesca Archipelago Cesta Franizzi led us on a tour of Buona Pesca Archipelago. These beautiful Medieval Realms and Role-‐plays are surrounded by open sailable waters covering twenty-‐seven adjoining regions. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ July 1st -‐ Colorado North Join Downy (Downunder Snoodle) for a tour of this Authentic 1869 Wild West Role-‐play based in Western Colorado. We visited several replica builds including The Mahany House, one of the "five oldest buildings" in Georgetown, Colorado, built during the silver rush. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ July 15th -‐ Victorian Summer Party (With some modern modifications..) This was a great gathering where we had some fun and fellowship all wearing Victorian Era Swimsuits. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ July 29th -‐ Flying Tigers in SL Jessii Warrhol-‐Giano, Guarocuya Giano and the FLYING TIGERS (the largest aviation group in SL) provided an amazing tour of their sim. This venue is host to a replica of the WW2 Memorial in DC and The History of Aviation Aircraft Museum. Our tour included a WW2 themed aerial combat. This group was inspired by the efforts of the original Flying Tigers, they fly to honor all veterans and are dedicated to pursuing camaraderie, goodwill, cooperation and harmony within the SL aviation community. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ August 12th -‐ Adventure in Dominica TwelfthNight again guided us to the island Antiquity Dominica. Highlights of the tour included: The Cabrits Garrison, Fort Shirley and the many natural highlights of this
beautiful island. We also visited The Pirate's Lair -‐ Hideout for the Pirates of Antiquity. Dominica has a long legacy of piracy over the years. It was also the location for several of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ August 26th -‐ Second Life Photography Tips Ansel Artful is an instructor at Builders Brewery who has spent many hours developing his excellent understanding of photography in both RL and SL. In this introduction he shared some tips to improve your ability to take great pictures while on Virtual Pioneer Tours. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ September 9th -‐ 1920 Chicago Starla Moorlord (starla.huntress) was our host for this sim based on the 1920's in the City of Chicago. This Roaring 20's style sim is the home of gangsters and dolls. We were even treated to a Gangster hit job! Oh the clean fun of role-‐play and history sims.
-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ September 23rd -‐ Photohunt at Mont Saint Michel This was a Self Guided Tour and Photohunt at Mont Saint Michel -‐ a rocky tidal island in Normandy, France. It is located approximately a half a mile off the country's northwestern coast. This island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times. Since the 8th century AD it has been the seat of the monastery from which it gets its name. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ November 4th -‐ O'Hare's Gap 5:30 pm SLT Willy and Meg Sandalwood shared their Rural Irish Village of O'Hara's Gap. It is 1939 and the war between the Axis powers and the British is on. Strategic positions were needed to observe British shipping and the Axis powers know that much of the convoy activity to and from England must pass through the narrow gap between North Ireland and Scotland. This sleepy little Irish Village provides a good staging point to watch this activity. The Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone could be seen and kissed!
-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ November 18th -‐ Tour of London Village
Darkling Leechfinger (leechfinger) provided for us a tour of London Village. This fun filled place is one part London, and one part English fandom. There are some famous landmarks such as the Tower Bridge, London Eye, and the BT Tower. In addition, there are tributes to English shows Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ December 2nd -‐ Ancient Alexandria Cleopatra VII of the Ptolemies (pharaohcleopatra, was our guide of Alexandria, an ancient world role playing sim, set around 35 BCE, at the time of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Alexandria, Egypt was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BCE. At this time, Alexandria was the most beautiful, wealthiest, and most educated city on the planet. Highlights of this tour included the Palace, the Market, an Arena, a Hippodrome, a Bedouin camp, a Roman Fortress, and a temple.
-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ December 9th -‐ PRESENTATION +++ The Renaissance Hunt +++ Hunt organizer, Perryn Peterson, discussed the second Renaissance-‐ themed Grid-‐Wide hunt. He offered some "Hunt Tips' for new hunters and answered questions. This exciting SL event had Renaissance and Medieval gifts to find hidden in over 100 participating shops. -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ December 16th -‐VP Winter Event +++Historical Costume Party+++ Our last event brought us together again for some fun mingling skating, and snowball throwing. Good clean entertainment.
As you can see, the Virtual Pioneers like to learn, share, and collaborate in a variety of settings. 2013 is underway and we already have some great sims planned, like a return to Harlem 1920, and Medieval Dee. Please look for us inworld or follow our Weebly site. Spiff Be sure to check out our flickr group site to see pictures of our events!
NPC Meeting Feb 22nd
The NonProfit Commons weekly meeting featuring web pioneer Aliza Sherman (Cybergrrl Oh) who will take us on an interactive exploration of using QR codes. You can read the chat from the meeting and visit NonProfit Commons inworld and on the NPSL: Nonprofits in Second Life website.
The QR Code Mantra
Aliza Sherman @alizasherman
According to the NPSL website, “QR Codes can be a compelling and effective marketing tool when used thoughtfully and integrated carefully into a campaign. Nonprofits can benefit from incorporating QR codes appropriately into marketing collateral and communications flow, especially to bridge offline with online actions.” Aliza Sherman @alizasherman
During this session, participants learned about some of the best tools for generating and managing QR code efforts.
My Friend, Buffy Beale
Cybergrrl Oh & Rhiannon Chatnoir
Participants also saw some examples of QR codes – both effective and ineffective ones. Can’t wait to see how these participants begin to use QR codes in SL!
Achieving Fiero Moments in Collegial Learning & Gaming Communities By Rosie O’Brien Vojtek (rl), Roxie Neiro (sl) Bob Vojtek (rl), BJ Gearbox (sl) Motivation is a funny thing – what motivates one person or group of people may not work for the next person or group. But from our research and experiences (Vojtek& Vojtek, 2009, Corwin Press) we have learned that the more the following ten strategies are embedded within the culture of a school or classroom, a virtual community like ISTE SIGVE in Second Life, or a guild in WoW for example, the more likely the group is going to be able to work together collegially, and the more likely they will be to achieve what we call optimal performance and what the gaming community calls a Fiero Moment. We define optimal performance as the state in which individuals within the school community are enthralled in complex, job-‐embedded educational work and learning experiences that serve a greater purpose, have a clear and specific focus, provide knowledge and feedback about the results of educator effort, intrinsically captivate educator attention, are balanced between the challenge of the activity and the knowledge and skill of the individual, and clearly make a difference in helping all students achieve personalized and collective learning goals (Vojtek & Vojtek, 2009, p. 30). Optimal Performance is what Csikszentmihalyi calls “Flow,” what Maslow calls “Self-‐Actualization,” what runners call, “The Zone,” and what gamers call “Fiero Moments.” So, what are the characteristics that must be met to achieve Optimal Performance or a Fiero Moment? We list them as the following. The People/Players: • Are actively engaged/enthralled in complex, job-‐embedded or
• • • •
game-‐embedded/immersed learning or work. Are engaged in work that serves a greater purpose or a greater good (e.g., working collaboratively in WoW to survive and help each other or on a school goal to ensure students achieve statewide assessment goals). Know and can articulate the clear and specific focus and goal. Are provided with specific and immediate feedback about the results of their efforts and actions. Are intrinsically captivated by the mission and work they are doing. Have the knowledge and skills necessary to complete the task or activity and the knowledge and skills they possess are balanced against the complexity of the task, so that the task/activity is neither too difficult nor too easy. Realize that what they are doing is making a difference in helping them to achieve their personal or collective goals.
Game developers “get it!” They understand that if they are going to enthrall and captivate their players, they need to embed the above characteristics of optimal performance into their games. For example, as players acquire the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their goals, they experience success – a Feiro Moment, and thus move on to the next level. We do not do this enough in real life! Especially in the classroom when we are teaching our students. Maybe that is why it is so difficult for us, as educators, to build and sustain the momentum (enthusiasm and enthrallment) of games; or as administrators, to build a collegial learning community with educators that is able to achieve the optimal levels of performance described above; or as learners, experience those potential real life Fiero (ah-‐ha, got it, can do) moments in the classroom! But, what if we could? What if we could structure these Optimal Performance/Fiero Moment principles into the important work we do, everyday, whether it be in the: virtual environments; the gaming environments; the work we do with teachers, colleagues, and peers as a collegial learning community; or by engaging students in the daily classroom curricula?
There are 10 highly effective, essential strategies that teachers and administrators can use to motivate and inspire students, teachers, or members of their WoW guild, to build collegial learning communities and help them achieve optimal performance. It doesn’t matter whether you use these in your classroom with students, with the teachers in your school, with your colleagues to build an inworld group, or with your guild in WoW. The 10 essential strategies are the same and are just as effective in all of these environments. The more you are able to embed them into your culture and make them the norm (norm goes without saying – it is just the way you operate), the more likely you are to create those Fiero Moments in real life and in virtual worlds and games. The 10 strategies are (in no order, except for number one, which is the same as Maslow’s survival skills): 1. Quality of Life – Everyone within the group must have their basic life skills and needs met. In Second Life for example, until an avatar learns how to move, has the appropriate dress, understands the culture, etc., they have not achieved a quality of life that helps them sustain their involvement in the virtual world. Often people pop into second life and quit because they do not feel comfortable (achieve the quality of life) that sustains their participation. This is why ISTE SIGVE has spent so much time nurturing newcomers. 2. Mission – People need to know, understand and be able to articulate the important work (i.e., goals, actions, and desired results) they wish to achieve. Mission is that morally compelling, important work that the individual or the group is pursuing. Everything that the person/group is doing is important to furthering that mission. 3. Communication – There must be a shared vocabulary and clearly established definitions. There must be clarity in purpose and channels for dialogue among members. Information must be open, honest, and transparent. People must be on the same page with the same information. 4. Relationships – Relationship matter! People need people! We love when Barbara Streisand sings, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” Cultivate, nurture, and build
those relationships! Together, we can! 5. Accountability – Make sure that when you develop the goals, action plans, and result indicators that everyone of the stakeholders has input and is listened to. Take time to build consensus around what is important and what you are going to do about it. This creates ownership in the task. Then, and most importantly, make sure everyone holds themselves and each other in the group responsible and accountable for accomplishing the mission and goals. 6. Competence and Capacity – Not only do individuals need to increase their own knowledge and skills (competences), but also, they need to share that knowledge and skills with the rest of the group to build the collective capacity of ALL. 7. Autonomy – Make sure that everyone knows and understands the clearly identified and articulated boundaries (including rules) and then grants each other the freedom and authority to make informed decisions. As in games like WoW, sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, people need to be granted the ability to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, do some research, revise, and try again. This is what it takes for successful gamers to move on to the next level. This is what it takes for successful schools to improve. 8. Empowerment – Even though we think we can, in games and in real life, none of us can do it all! It is important that we delegate the responsibility, distribute the leadership, grant the authority, and allow others to do the work. Then we get out of the way! Make sure people have the competence and self-‐confidence they need, and then, when they do, empower them to do the work, and watch what they become! 9. Positive Interdependence – None of us are as smart as all of us. It takes all of us, working together, to achieve our goals. We are a team . . . we win or lose, sink or swim, and we are all in this TOGETHER! To survive, to be successful, we need each other! We are a community. We are a family. We are a guild. We are one! We must make sure there is “UNITY” in the “COMMUNITY.” 10. Results – Getting results means achieving the individual or groups’ morally compelling mission and goals. Goals must be kept realistic, attainable, and measurable. Be sure to celebrate the little accomplishments along the way. When you don’t get the results
you were looking for, step back, take a deep breath, investigate and analyzing what happened – what went wrong, and then, have the courage to try it again. And, when you do achieve success (that Fiero Moment), celebrate! After celebrating, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on to the next level (in the game or in the complexity of your work) and in the words of Jerry Garcia “Keep on Truckin’” The best of games incorporate the above 10 strategies for building collegial communities to engage and enthrall their players. Educators in WoW and other online games will tell you that these are all elements that keep them coming back, day after day (and in the case of WoW) night after night to PLAY! Like game developers, our job thus becomes embedding these elements into the work we do in virtual environments, social media, online learning, and daily classroom face-‐to-‐face learning. The more these 10 strategies are embedded within our schools’ cultures and classrooms every single day, the more likely educators and students will be to achieve optimal performance – those FIERO Moments! [For more information, see “Motivate! Inspire! Lead! 10 Strategies for Building Collegial Learning Communities” by RoseAnne O’Brien Vojtek and Robert J. Vojtek, 2009, Corwin Press].
Walkabout By Matt Poole aka Cyrus Hush -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐ -‐
Chapter 4: The Blake Sea Greetings, intrepid explorers! Sandwiched between and extending east of Satori (the Japanese continent) and the continent of Nautilus lies a network of interconnected islands and waterways collectively referred to as the Blake Sea and United Sailing Sims. Although technically not considered one of the original Second Life continents, Blake Sea and USS are a continent-‐sized group of contiguous simulated environments, all more-‐or-‐less devoted to a maritime theme and all designed for easy inter-‐sim touring. There are some wonderful sights and surprises here that we would otherwise miss, so let's check 'em out, shall we?
Right... so in addition to day and night, sun, moon and clouds, Second Life has winds of varying direction and intensity. With a virtual sailboat of the right design, it is possible to tack against these winds, steering and adjusting the angle of one's sails in order to maximize forward thrust... and even engaging in races and epic sea battles against other virtual sailboats and pilots in contests that match not only how fast your prim sailboat can move, but also technique and strategies for taking best advantage of the course and the winds. In order to do this you need a bunch of contiguous low-‐lag water sims to accommodate race courses. You will also probably need stores that sell sailboats of various designs. Around these marinas and tracts of water will spring up nautical communities, and that is basically how the Blake Sea came to be.
Since the early days of Second Life the maritime character of the Blake Sea sims has expanded, opening up new realms of boat design and expansive harbors, docks and communities all built around the concept of sl sailing to some extent. One of the great things about water sims is that they tend to have low lag. This of course makes for much a better vehicle experience -‐-‐easing the hand-‐off from sim to sim on lengthy vehicle voyages. It also makes for more fun exploration!
In our last installment, we were exploring the continent of Jeogeot and discussing the Linden Department of Public Works (aka the Moles). The Moles are of course the resident builders that Linden Labs has recruited to create wonderful little works of art and sprinkle them throughout the public areas of Second Life. Their handiwork is quite well represented in the Blake Sea, and in particular at our starting point for this issue's safari -‐-‐Nautilus City.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Nautilus -‐ Byth/156/201/22 [Note: You land in the water, so be sure to fly up to see Nautilus City and be sure to rezz a rideable dolphin.] One could argue that Nautilus City is part of the continent of Nautilus because of the name, but it is just as close to Satori and the areas are stylistically and functionally very different. Shaped like a key and bisected by a great canal that opens from the east and runs west to the great Citadel, Nautilus Island has many interesting neo-‐classical buildings, particularly bordering the canal. The many statues of dolphins, seahorses and Greek sea-‐gods remind me a bit of a certain southern US beach boardwalk. Some people dismiss Nautilus Island as a Linden-‐owned planned community that is laggy and overtly commercial, but it's worth visiting just to check out the architecture. Like a beach, there are often concerts and special events held here... in particular at a spot just beyond the southern wall of the Citadel, close to the shore. Turning east, we head out into the ocean...
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Blake Sea -‐ Crows Nest/128/128/2 The great expanses of water finally give you a chance to set your draw distance to 1000 and really get a good look at a seascape with some scale to it. Sprinkled throughout the Blake Sea are lonely outposts, like the lighthouse at Crow's Nest. Just as in real life these sentinels serve as landmarks and beacons for sailors. They also make great picnic spots and photographic backgrounds. Often they will have a small area with rez permissions to allow you to pull a boat out of inventory and sail away. Sometimes they will also have freebie sailboats and instructions to give visitors a taste of the maritime world.
Heading north, we soon strike a rather busy sim that is filled with planes taxiing, taking off and landing. This is Hollywood Airport, on the simulated parcel of Santa Catalina. There are of course lots of airports in SL, but few that are this busy and none that are quite this... serious about aviation. A quick look at Parcel Details shows that this sim is set to the Flying Tigers aviation group. This means nothing to me... but a proffered note card explains the history and significance of the Flying Tigers. Prior to the US entrance into WWII, the Japanese military was wreaking havoc in the Pacific. Although the US was not officially involved in hostilities at the time, a group of volunteers (ok mercenaries) from the US and other countries formed the Flying Tigers... several squadrons of fighter aircraft that were defending Chinese and Southeast Asian targets from Imperial strikes. Apparently these fighters made quite a name for themselves before becoming an official part of the US military after Pearl Harbor. They were the ones who came up with that snaggle-‐ toothed shark face that could often be seen painted on WWII fighters. The Flying Tigers in SL is composed of aviation aficionados, veterans of the US and other countries' armed forces and anybody else who is
nostalgic about WWII aviation technology. Billed as the largest aviation group in SL, they are committed to fraternity and camaraderie.
How cool is that? The next sim to the north is Virtual Hollywood... we definitely need to check out Virtual Hollywood.
After being greeted by a likeness of Marilyn Monroe, we pass down some steps to a lagoon. The central lagoon is surrounded by a walkway with kiosks honoring Best Movie awards of past decades. There are also exhibits depicting individual stars and a recreation of the Hollywood Bowl as well as the Hollywood sign.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Greenhouse/216/78/22 There is a linear corridor of open water sims that runs east to west through the middle of Blake Sea. As we follow this corridor we soon spy a lush, verdant sim to the north that warrants further investigation. The aptly-‐named Greenhouse is largely taken up by an enormous Victorian greenhouse, complete with an enclosed lake, waterwheel and an aerial lounge area. The whole place is peaceful and beautiful... filled with the sounds of running water and surrounded by fields full of flowers. A partially submerged, abandoned and sadly out of place seaplane was idling at the edge of the enclosed lake on the day of my visit -‐-‐thus highlighting the importance of finding and reclaiming or at least deleting any items lost during your voyages of discovery.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bearskin Neck/86/65/26 Looking at the World Map, the greater Blake Sea region extends several pseudopods from the central corridor that form separate neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are often but not always residential and/or rental regions. One such region to the north is the New England Sims. Angling north and west, we cruise by many lighthouses, boats and marinas until we come to a sim called Bearskin Neck. This region beckons us to land and investigate the ancient VW bus, bonfire and catamaran we can see on the shore. On the surface this place appears to be peaceful, quiet and rather simple... filled with the sound of waves and seabirds... with not much going on. However, further inspection shows that nothing could be further from the truth! Sprinkled around the sim are a dozen or so "anywhere doors" that will lead you to parts unexpected. From tree-‐ houses to Steampunk airship-‐meeting spaces to Rick's American Cafe from the movie Casablanca, this sim will keep you busy for quite a while if you start poking around. Also, it is just one of the dozen or so New England sims to visit!
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ymer/201/50/23 Returning back the way we had come and pushing further east we eventually come to the Second Norway group. Second Norway consists of a number of regions connected to the Blake Sea whose primary theme is Scandinavian or Norwegian. Taking a cruise through Second Norway is like taking a trip through northern Europe. Besides the ubiquitous lighthouses and boats we see snowy mountains and deep valleys where icicles adorn the buildings and kerosene heaters and wood stoves abound.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Norway Fjord/218/110/25 With Norge as the nominal "capital," this 21-‐sim spread provides ample opportunity to absorb Scandinavian culture. The Scandinavian educational system is one of the best in the world and English is taught to most children right along with their native tongues, the result being that although clearly the majority of the signs and communications are in Norwegian, English translations are usually provided as well.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Stranda/194/218/23 We pause for a hearty meal of lamb and salmon but, as there are no signs of either Thor or Loki we decide to press on...
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Schooner Run/110/187/23 We take another lengthy cruise... sailing southward. As we cross the central Blake Sea corridor we enter a largely residential area known as the Sailors Cove sims. These are beautiful and nautical again. There is snow on the ground and on the tree branches, and the theme is not as tropical as the United Sailing Sims further south. There is a lot to see and do here as well, but unfortunately we are on a timeline so we press on...
Sailing back into the central Blake Sea corridor we thread our way through picturesque islands and yachts until we turn hard to port and head south following a single line of sims. Suddenly an enormous white mass looms ahead, glistening in the moonlight, flags flying in the breeze. It's the Galaxy! The SS Galaxy is the biggest cruise liner in Second Life. Taking up three sims, it doesn't actually cruise anywhere, but if you want to rent a stateroom, dress up, dance and live in the lap of luxury, this is one of the best places in SL to do so. Not being a terribly luxurious fellow I just take a couple of pictures and move on. The next sim to the south, Galaxy Quest, is worth a look, however. Here can be found the Robert A. Heinlein Crooked House exhibit, as well as a very interesting planetarium that also shows a streaming video of Heinlein's 1994 movie The Puppet Masters (Hollywood Pictures), starring Donald Sutherland. (I guess the builder likes Heinlein!)
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Honah Lee Point/227/73/53 Heading back north and on to the west, we take another southerly tributary to an enormous mountain ridge that is almost as big as the Galaxy. Here you can rez a free pony and follow a riding trail around the mountain or up to a gleaming white dome on the northern tip of the ridge. This is the famous Palomar observatory! Palomar was the biggest, most important ground-‐based optical telescope in the world until the Keck I on Hawaii's Mauna Kea
superseded it in 1992. It remains a major resource for astronomy today, and an important part of the scientific history of the 20th Century. While I was visiting I ran into a fellow named Mark Twain White, who built this and many of the other Blake Sea sims. He was very pleasant and hospitable, and he invited me to come back and check out the Palomar exhibit after he had finished adding more interactive content in a week or two. I will pass that invitation along to you! Once again we have whipped through a major Second Life land-‐mass (ok sea-‐mass). As you can see, the Blake Sea and United Sailing Sims have a lot of amazing content to offer visitors. There of course huge swaths of land and sea that we didn't even touch -‐-‐ any bit of which could hold amazing treasures that like a sandcastle could be gone tomorrow. But, hopefully, you now have had enough of a taste of the Blake Sea area to know which spots you might want to come back to and explore more fully on your own. Thank you for your excellent company on this adventure. Until next time, be well! Your friend, Cyrus “Sitting at the Galaxy Pool Deck Bar – helped me forget about the Blizzard of 2013 – at least for a little while!” Roxie Neiro
Inevitable Betrayal: An Educator’s Guild By Kae Novak, Mellody Collier and Chris Luchs
While the name of the guild may at first sound a little…well… enigmatic.. Inevitable Betrayal is based off a famous or infamous line from the science fiction and geek culture favorite, Firefly series. The guild was initially formed for the 2011 Global Goblin Gathering between the Jokaydians and the Center4EduPunx. The game of World of Warcraft had just come out with a new character, goblins, and educators from Jokaydia and the Center4EduPunx wanted to investigate and play with these new characters. For those new to games, World of Warcraft (WoW) is a Massively Multi-‐ Player Online Roleplaying Game that is also known as an MMORPG. With over 10 million paying subscribers worldwide, WoW is the largest
paid subscription MMORPG. Each subscriber pays $14.99 per month to continue accessing this virtual world and engaging with its content and other players. World of Warcraft also has a free version that allows players to advance to level 20 out of 90.
Players create characters or “toons”. For each character they choose which faction to play on, Alliance or Horde. The WoW virtual spaces are divided up by real-‐time geographic location (United States, Europe, Oceania, Latin America, Brazil among others) and then are divided further by realms. Inevitable Betrayal is a Horde guild on the Sisters of Elune realm. While it is possible to play solo, many characters choose to form in-‐ game groups known as guilds. A guild shares a private text chat for its members, has a guild bank to place in game objects and can work together for in game perks and achievements. There are different types of guilds. They are often categorized as social, casual, progressive (seeking achievements) and then serious end game content guilds known as raiding guilds. Inevitable Betrayal has taken a twist on that and calls itself an Educator’s Tourism Guild. Inevitable Betrayal tries to function as a guide on the side. This idea of being guides has developed further as explained by Guild
Officer, Mellogy Collier, “Educators, parents and perpetual students, we all come together in Inevitable Betrayal to explore and promote the use of MMORPG’s like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 to demonstrate that creativity, collaboration, community and FUN are an integral part of improving the education and learning of every student in a classroom today. While some are intrigued and others skeptical, it only takes a few moments in game for them to realize the massive potential at their fingertips. Whether they are interested in Language Arts, Mathematics, Assessment or Neural Development, there is an educational avenue for everyone. We have many members willing to collaborate and publish their findings throughout many circles in education. We are a beacon in a sea that can at times be still and stagnant or rough and fraught with “killer” waves. After the Global Goblin Run, Inevitable Betrayal went on to participate in Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) in 2011 and 2012. They were the Horde side hosts of Week 3 of the Virtual Worlds, Games and Education Tour at P2PU in 2012. They also gave tours in the Games MOOC I and II as well as the Virtual Worlds and Games UnSymposium in November 2012. Inevitable Betrayal members produce the Azerothian Financial News and Horde Holiday Tours.
Mists of Panderia
With the World of Warcraft game expansion in Fall 2012, Inevitable
Betrayal has also expanded and is currently a level 20 guild. It is a part of G.A.M.E., Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education. g.a.m.e.shivtr.com/ Since, Inevitable Betrayal is a group of educators, instructional designers, and educational technologists; we just can’t seem to help ourselves. We’ve started weekend seminars for beginners in World of Warcraft. These seminars take place in World of Warcraft and are recorded live over Google hangout. Our “Inevitable Instructors” Webinars are accessible on YouTube. http://bit.ly/inevitableinstruction
WoW Hangout If you are interested in a tour of World of Warcraft, Machinima or virtual goods and virtual economies contact us! Guild members have organized the virtual worlds exploration streams for VWBPE from 2009 – 2012 that have taken educators into Club Penguin, Minecraft, EveOnline, TeraOnline, War Hammer and numerous other virtual worlds. We always want to talk to and collaborate with educators using or curious about MMORPG for play, professional development and in
the classroom. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org And, the exploration continues…. Report from the Front: Cognitive Betrayal Outpost in Guild Wars 2
GW2 Character We are in the barren wastelands, that frigid mountain passes, and the verdant, rich valleys throughout the world of Tyria. Here we have come to continue our exploration with the “Cognitive Betrayal” guild started by myself, Mellody Collier, with the support of my guildees from Inevitable Betrayal, on Devona’s Rest. Guild Wars 2 (GW2) is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-‐Playing Game. It is a sequel to Guild Wars and takes place 250 years later in the shattered world of Tyria. While Guild Wars 2 offers quests, it is unique in that it employs a “dynamic events” system that is constantly changing your gaming experience based on the actions of the players.
Another unique aspect of GW2 is the personal story. Your choices determine how the game plays out for you. No two players will have exactly the same experiences. These concepts are carried over into the Dungeons with each dungeon being divided into story mode and explorable mode. For those that like the challenge of competitive play there is Player versus Player and World versus World. Cognitive Betrayal is founded on the same principals and created to further promote the same philosophies as its counterpart in World of Warcraft, Inevitable Betrayal. If you would like to read about our adventures, you can follow us in the Inevitable Betrayal Google + community http://bit.ly/betrayalgoogle or learn more about us as a work in progress at the G.A.M.E. shivtr site http://g.a.m.e.shivtr.com/pages/ibguild
Last night, Loweedo using her alternate identity of Lorido, entered Mogu'shan Palace a level 89 and emerged a level 90. The first step to becoming a true Inevitable Betrayal Double Agent. Posted by Que Jinn February 18, 2013 at https://plus.google.com/communities/102977444450350896453
A Digital Game Based Learning MOOC: ‘Rhetoric and Composition: The Persuasive Power of Video Games as Paratexts’ By Sherry Jones and Kate Guthrie Caruso
Abstract “Rhetoric and Composition: The Persuasive Power of Video Games as Paratexts,” an Advanced English Composition course, will explore rhetorical discourse of Adventure and Role-‐Playing Games (RPG) and socio-‐ cultural meanings that influence the persuasive content and design of those games, while emphasizing rigorous writing analysis and game creation through critical thinking and research. The course will run as a hybrid class at Arapahoe Community College (ACC), Sherry Jones based in Littleton, Colorado, and as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) using a combination of social media, commercial off the shelf games, and immersive simulations. Workshops will be provided to Arapahoe Community College (ACC) and the Colorado Community College Kate Guthrie Caruso System (CCCS) to assimilate Digital Game-‐
Based Learning (DGBL) into other Advanced English Composition classes. Project Overview The Advanced English Composition course, “Rhetoric and Composition: The Persuasive Power of Video Games as Paratexts,” will actively engage students through the analysis of video games as paratexts, with focus on examining the relationship between virtual reality depicted in video games to real life situations influenced by cultural and social issues (both in creation and through playing), to enhance and clarify the skills needed to write and understand composition rhetoric and develop digital and new media literacy. Paratext, meaning beyond the written word, refers to any text external to the text itself that influences the text’s meaning. Video Games are a type of paratext in which their content and construction extend beyond themselves and impose meaning on the physical world, as well as being influenced by external events. In terms of a rhetoric and composition course, we will teach students to analyze video games as paratexts (specifically the composition of the video game through the lens of game mechanics and dynamics), and to conduct research on the various rhetorical, cultural, and social situations which the video games are designed to address. Through immersive gaming, students will complete a series of short writing assignments and long form essays analyzing the rhetoric and composition of video games. These papers will focus on identifying cultural and social situations that influence video game design (and the rhetorical appeals that video games employ in order to address those cultural and social situations), the implicit and explicit claims made by the video games, the purpose of the video game (in terms of game genre and topic), and the intended audience/market of the video games.
Blended Learning/Flipped Classroom Model We have selected the blended learning/flipped classroom model for conducting English Composition hybrid MOOC. We find that the blended learning/flipped classroom model is especially helpful for ACC students who require additional face-‐to-‐face reinforcement and motivation to successfully complete the course. However, participants may take the MOOC only portion of the course for non-‐credit (meaning they do not need to be registered ACC students nor do they need to register for the course through ACC). As with any flipped classroom model, technology will be an integral piece of the course. Through recorded lectures and online discussions (podcasts, vodcasts, and use of Google+ Hangout, for example) students will become more proficient in the use of technology and immerse themselves in the language and knowledge of Game-‐Based Learning as well as add to their proficiency of college level writing, research techniques, and critical analysis. Our focus will include the study and use of Adventure games, game design with game mechanics, immersive virtual worlds (for instance the option of holding the online portion of our class in places like Second Life or “meeting” in Google+ Hangout), as well as the integration of COTS into the learning and analysis process. We will use both synchronous and asynchronous learning models throughout the semester.
MOOC Credit and Compensation (Future Considerations) Currently, we are conducting data driven research on possible methods for providing students credit for taking the MOOC, as well as considering possible MOOC compensation models that can benefit Arapahoe Community College (ACC) and the Colorado Community College System (CCCS).
Digital Game-‐Based Learning (Digital Games and Technology Selected) Students will play Commercial Off The Shelf games (COTS) with focus on Role-‐Playing Games (RPG) and Adventure Games, create RPG games themselves, and produce writing that analyzes and demonstrates clear understanding of rhetorical discourse utilized by the technology. We plan to actively engage students in face to face and online classes by asking them to play video games in class and online (we will use hardware such as PC Laptops and Playstation PS3 160 GB Console, and softwares such as 3D GameLab, COTS, RPG and Adventure games. "Some of the Adventure games we will assign for the course, "The Longest Journey," "Siberia," "Bioshock," "Fallout 3," "Journey," "Flow," and "Flower," are selected for their rich narratives and virtual environments that respond to rhetorical, social, and cultural influences, and are thus suitable for academic discourse."
Gamification of the MOOC Gamification of the MOOC through badges, experience points, rewards, and other game mechanics will help increase student motivation, as grades alone will not be sufficient as a sole, motivating factor. Students will more likely complete assignments that resemble fun, game-‐like missions, and will become more competitive in completing assignments when badges and achievement points are associated with assignment completion (for both game based missions and writing assignments). Furthermore, to ensure students receive constant enforcement to continue the MOOC, we intend to provide students continuous feedback. It is our hope that students, through the experience of immersive gaming, will become more enthusiastic learners. Essentially, the goal of higher student retention is at the forefront of the need for gamification of the MOOC, since we believe that students will become invested in the games they are playing, and thus more likely to complete the game-‐based assignments as well.
By using the game principles such as winning, conflict, rules, goals, players, motivation, constant feedback, practice, intensity, and choice/involvement, students will learn that games are a concrete way to explore the critical thinking and writing process. This will happen both through the use of COTS as mentor texts and the study of written texts that explore these concepts further. Students will evaluate and come to understand the game mechanics that professional game designers employ to create games. Then, students will be challenged themselves to use the tools taught to them through these mentor texts, as well as through podcasts and vodcasts created specifically for further comprehension and engagement with the technology. With the idea in mind that most games employ implicit thesis statements and arguments, students will be asked to consider and critically think in order to understand and express the explicit meanings that should be apparent in their written texts.
Rigor of Assignments Through the study of rhetorical devices and appeals of video games as paratexts, students will complete three essays: a Rhetorical Analysis Essay, Evaluation Essay, and Proposal Essay, to demonstrate their understanding of the rhetorical and cultural situations that influence the construction of video games. Finally, students will create argumentation-‐based persuasive RPG games that are contextualized by current social and cultural issues with different rhetorical devices, so to keep their audience actively involved in both the cultural complexities/context of the game and the challenges that they set forth for their audience; students can design games using software such as RPG Maker, which provides a platform for RPG game creation, but gives students full control over the game’s development for their final project at the end of the semester. Through reflective writing exercises and immersive gaming, students will come to recognize the multiple contexts that contribute to the construction of the video game, and demonstrate this explicitly in their essays.
Collaboration Inter-‐Department and Inter-‐College Collaboration will be a theme consistently held throughout the course, as we will be working with Arapahoe Community College’s (ACC) English Department, with the help of ACC’s E-‐Learning Department to create and run the course. We see this collaboration as a tool to continue to foster creativity and assessment inter-‐department and later, inter-‐college within the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). Students will also be asked to collaborate with each other to further bolster their learning successes by workshopping texts (both written and multi-‐modal), and by contributing to discussions online and in-‐class as they work to further understanding.
Goals In summer of 2013, we will roll out of the first version of the course with 25 students enrolled through ACC as well as a version of the MOOC going live online. The course will be co-‐taught by Sherry Jones and Kate Guthrie Caruso. This will happen after we spend the Spring 2013 planning, developing and researching the course. In the Fall of 2013 we will run two courses of 25 students each and implement the MOOC full scale. The overall goal of this course is to get students actively involved in multi-‐ model texts, expose them to the use of video games in the classroom, create a fun learning environment, and directly address and complete the learning objectives for the Advanced English Composition Course. Eventually it is our goal that the DGBL MOOC will be made available to students throughout the Colorado Community College System (CCCS).
When the Games MOOC first started up, it was quite a huge endeavor to take on. I’m sure Kae will tell you that there was a lot of trial and error to get to where we are today . . . Well, her and Chris, of course. They both have been running things quite tight with the limited help at their disposal, though they grin and bear it, I’m sure. Gridjumper, Izzy, Aevalle, others (and myself included) have been lending a hand when we can with our hodgepodge of skills and talents, even so much as to making it on to the Games MOOC Advisory Board; everything seemed to manage somehow when this all began. (Please know that if I didn’t list your name I am very sorry. There are plenty of other people who have been a huge help in contributing time, resource, and talent to the GAMES
MOOC.) If you don’t know what a MOOC is, it stands for “Massively-‐Open-‐Online-‐ Course”, though Kae has always said it stands for “modest” in our case. Sure, we don’t get the hundreds upon thousands of participants like the free courses that are done by Harvard or Purdue get, but getting over twenty people was plenty (we actually had about 50 people each time). So like most MOOCs, the group was “winging it” on how to do courses and collaboration while teaching the extremely diverse subjects of Games with an educational affluence, of course. Heck, we were educators catering to other educators as it were, and we were trying to do our best. Everyone immediately knew that we would be “Open Course” – meaning open to everyone. The problem of time zones became a big deal. Sure we had people mainly in the U.S., but we had others scattered across the globe from the UK to Australia on different occasions. We wanted to accommodate everyone, and have something for everyone, even if that meant having different sessions from odd hours of the night to early mornings. For example, I recall coming in extra early one Saturday Morning for one event. And, now that I think about it . . . that was a big problem for us, as well. We tried to do so much that it tired a lot of people out. After three different iterations of the original GAMES MOOC (also known as “A Virtual Worlds, Games and Education Tour) on P2PU, to the ARG (Alternate Reality Games) MOOC, and then straight to the Machinima (filming real time games) MOOC, it is no wonder that one of our other plans fell through and gave way to a kind of sabbatical syndrome. We all, kind of just stopped . . . and . . . waited for September to continue the MOOCs. Sure, the break gave us time to reflect and rest (after all we were making peoples’ brains explode practically every session). But, setting out to do something and then not proceeding with it, was a real let down. We learned from that. We no longer were doing more because we were trying to cater to everyone’s needs. We did more for us, and what we wanted to see happen with the course. As Kae said often, “…this kind of thing was unprecedented and trying to compare it to something else is a
mistake waiting to happen.” The Assessment Specialist working with Kae at the time would agree with that. Trying to meet the expectation of others just didn’t work for us in the long run. Spending that first bit of time after the end of that March, from the end of the Virtual Worlds Best Practices Conference to the end of that summer, was a learning experience for everyone (probably the most understated sentence in this entire article). We were certainly “grid-‐jumping” as it were as we darted from virtual worlds, to games, and to massive multiplayer online (MMO) games. We played with programs ranging from video capturing to video editing. Our occasional romps took us through Minecraft, Kitely, and Joykadia, to name a few. How anyone was able to follow along is beyond me! We threw a lot at our participants. They participated on their own freewill to be put through all the tortures that could easily be a hell for some people. But we did all that and more, with plenty of treats along the way! Education is a journey, not just for the mind and body, but also for the soul of a lifelong learner. Those that stuck through to the very end became great friends and have become regulars in the educational circles in Second Life (SL), World of Warcraft (WoW), and other educational forefronts. Granted we had our fair share of “lurkers.” I was tempted at the start of every MOOC to say, “look to your left and look to your right, one of you won’t be making it through this…” As I said, I was tempted to say such a thing, but lurkers were always welcomed and we were always glad to get to meet new people offering different inputs and insights. [See note below from editor] Moving to the present, the Games MOOC has become more formulated into something that has rubrics and requirements. I hate to phrase it with a certain “standard,” but its reached a point where arranging and organizing events has become second nature to us. A couple of notable changes are the switch from P2PU to the shivtar portal guild site, the introduction of badges and the weekly Twitter chats/Google hangouts. Most of the major changes were from our Advisory Board meetings where we all sat down (in Google Hangouts) and really got down to brass tacks about what was going well in the Games MOOC and what
needed to be changed. Changing the learning management system (lms) was probably the hardest thing for all of us to admit that it needed to happen. We were hesitant to change, as well. Kae was probably thinking it was for the better. Chris hasn’t complained about it too badly because collecting quantitative data is, after all, about the same. This decision to change came about from having more of a focus on the game WoW. It became our prime example because we could show gamification and teambuilding through easier means. Most of the organizers had at least a level 1 or up to level 20 character on the Sisters of Elune server in the starting area (some even going as far as reaching the new level 90 cap). Shivtar was originally intended to be a Guild (the in-‐game groups/clubs in WoW) database with forum and badge capabilities through Mozilla backpack core standards. This has also expanded into the real world with participants forming bonds with other educators, such as the Inevitable Betrayal Guild on the Horde side on the aforementioned server, which was formed over two years ago with people who already saw the learning potential of games before we did.
After a presentation by the great James Paul Gee about gamification, the idea acted as resurgence through the educational community like wild fire. We too, were looking to incorporate game design into the Games MOOC back in the P2PU rendition. The site, however, didn’t offer that sort of thing we needed, thus adding another positive chalk mark on Shivtr. Even though it was a hard decision, it was made for the better, as we switched to the more Game-‐friendly lms, Shivtr. The last major change for all of us was the new requirement of either having to attend or comment, on or during, the live sessions that were scheduled once or twice a week in the evenings. Back in the P2PU we met frequently in SL at Front Range to do introductions before speeding off into other programs. True, SL was a great place to meet, but more and more participants became weary (I would think) of doing the whole SL program and then going into multiple programs/games soon after. For many people, just getting situated in SL became a task in and of itself. So we still have that SL option. We live stream the Google Hangouts in the Diner on ISTE for those that want. Between Youtube and Twitter the competition is clear. It is fun to see which media people lean to. Anyway, the weekly meetings have topics that revolve around most of the readings, links to other pages of interest, and additional resources located on the Shivtr site. The bulk of the discussion happens live with easily twenty or more people attending. In its current episode, we are seeing over 500 participants with an astonishing growing number of 1700 posts and beyond. Having regulated meetings at predictable dates and times was a must. On P2PU, it was practically a free-‐for-‐all trying to schedule meetings so multiple people could come on different days. Sure, it was the summer, but a line needed to be drawn. For myself going from a head first volunteer of moderating and facilitating to a reserved Advisory Board member and seeing how the Games MOOC
has evolved and changed really does make me happy to be a part of something so profound as the Games MOOC. There are no words to express my gratitude to my fellow educators – who are trying to make that difference that everyone talks about but rarely follows through with it. We’ve all seen our rounds of facilitators and supporters. We also all see ourselves excited about meeting the newer challenges and future technologies that will continue to make this hard work worthwhile. To sign-‐up for the third iteration of the Games MOOC, click here: http://bit.ly/gamesmooc. This course will begin on March 18, 2013 and run for six weeks until April 22, 2013. Our topic for Games MOOC III is Build the Game using Apps, AR and ARGs. The focus of this MOOC will be creating a game or gaming project for your course. Depending on your class, you may choose to use a little, a lot, or no technology at all. This course will have us exploring all the options. [Special Note to Bluebarker and the GAMES MOOC Gang. I, Roxie Neiro, one of your biggest fans, am also one of your biggest lurkers. LOL Keep up the GREAT work – as, even as a lurker, I have learned so much from all of you!]
Dancing Pandas in WoW! You Gotta LOVE ‘Em!!!!
Got Game? Let's Play! This issue of VEJ explores the power of using games in education.