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#7542872 Mar 18, 2013 at 09:13 AM
Guild Officer
354 Posts
From Jane McGonigal in the TED Talk Games Can Change The World tells us games provide

1) Urgent Optimism
2) Social Fabric
3) Blissful Productivity
4) Epic Meaning

What do you think?
twitter @kzenovka
www.center4edupunx
Games MOOC Instructor and Designer
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#7544897 Mar 18, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Initiate
13 Posts
The real "Epic Meaning" would be present in games that have an effect in the "real" world. For example the "Let's Ablolish Poeverty" game, and the "Creative Cure for Cancer" game.

(Love the video, and also love the book, "Reality is Broken."
Bob Yavits
Tompkins Cortland Community College
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#7544996 Mar 18, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Artisan
58 Posts
I think all of these things are present in many video games today but mainly within the confines of the game. Take for example Call of Duty. The people involved in the game feel that they will complete the object of the game as long as they play, they play in groups to meet the objective of the game, they are in their glories while engaged in the game and trying to meet the objective, and they are looking for that epic meaning of finally completing the objective of the game. So, in real life they are not accomplishing those things but within the world of the game they are. We just need to find more ways to bring that to fruition in the real world.
To each his own game ;)
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#7548012 Mar 19, 2013 at 09:20 AM
Guild Officer
187 Posts
There's a lot of competition for students' attention, so getting that idea of "epic meaning" across can be a challenge. "...the only problem is that is that they believe that they are capable of changing virtual worlds and not the real world. That's the problem that I'm trying to solve."

How do we convey hope? How do we make something as mundane as the real world give someone an epic win?

I think the answer is bigger than gamification, game elements, and other limited terms. I think it'll span all the way from event management to graphic design to marketing to...? On a large scale, it's a Herculean effort.

How do we take the every day tasks in the classroom and put them into a hopeful frame for students? How do we put them into a frame that says, "You are part of something bigger than yourself that is going to make a difference"?

Something this reminds me of, even though it wasn't specifically game-based learning, is Harvard's CS50 (Intro to Computer Sci) course. Students can get t-shirts that say, "I survived CS50". It creates buy-in, which I think is part of getting students to start feeling that epic meaning.

What projects have others seen that seem to incorporate the concepts Ms. McGonigal was talking about? Oh, and YES, her book Reality is Broken is a great read!
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#7549028 Mar 19, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Initiate
14 Posts
I haven't read the book but it will be my next step. Loved Jane's talk.

I agree with Leedale that we have so much competition for the student's attention. Minecraft is going to be a easier sell that a save the world game today.

One success I have found is using games to teach thinking. I have found this with my younger students. K,1st and 2nd grades. They have a thirst for knowledge and optimism but don't have the experience for complex thought yet. So I have been using games like Snail Bob and Cat Around the World to give them the experience of solving a complex problem (at least in early elementary stages). It has been very successful and my students have a success in thinking under their belts. I am trying to get them to use that knowledge to solve other issues in their life. While I only have them for 40 min a week - it does seem to be having an impact.
A skilled teacher knows that technology implementations won't have any impact as long as you try and retrofit them on to outdated teaching methods. Only when combined with the creativity and ingenuity of dedicated teachers can technology have a truly disruptive and transformative effect. "

by Sam Gliksman
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#7550886 Mar 19, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Initiate
35 Posts
3) Blissful Productivity

I was walking downtown with my roommate and his girl who dragged me away from WoW one night. My head was still in the game, but I wanted to communicate with them and remember clearly saying "gee, I wish WoW professions were more like real life...like I could just spend some time improving discrete skills and then see the fruits of that labor by being able to create something cool."

How silly. That IS real life! I understand why I said that, though, because it's pretty hard to notice progress. Like Jane said, no one was gonna hand her a note that said "+1 Speaking."

What I will have to work on the most throughout this course is avoiding what I've heard other game developers term "chocolate covered broccoli." I need my game objectives to match my content objectives...acquiring Latin...and right now I struggle with how that might fit into a "games for change" category. Perhaps tackling metacognition skills will do it, or the promoting of bilingualism...we'll see.


Latin Teacher
magisterp.com
MOOC III Week 2 Artisan
MOOC III Week 4 Collabrateur
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#7551429 Mar 19, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Initiate
108 Posts
Our school has been doing a project on motivation and meaning in learning this year, so this is a familiar topic. One thing we recently did was ask students to answer a survey about why we go to school.

The results were pretty interesting because we organized them by grade. We found that in kindergarten and grade one, the results were really diverse -- everything from "friends" to "play" to "learning." In grades 2, 3, and 4, the overwhelming response was learning. In grades 5 and 6, we started to see a lot more responses along the lines of "to get a job" or "to get ready for the real world."

Interesting to see what kids think is their purpose.

I really like the idea of doing actual meaningful work in our classroom. I can't remember who the quote is from, but I would like to find a way to integrate gamification, learning the curriculum, and actual work that shows results in the real world. For example, we went to a retreat this week (I teach at a Catholic school) and one of the activities they had them do was, after lunch, make sandwiches from lunch leftovers to take to a local homeless shelter. I thought that was a fantastic idea -- a way to illustrate concepts of compassion while actually having them do something with real world results.

So now, how to integrate more of this in the classroom?
Don’t do work that just exists within your classroom... do work that changes the world. -Will Richardson

http://www.gamifymyclass.blogspot.ca
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#7551500 Mar 19, 2013 at 09:37 PM
Initiate
108 Posts
OK, so yeah, I'm kind of an idiot... that quote I mentioned, the one I couldn't remember the source for? It's the signature to my posts on the Games MOOC.
Don’t do work that just exists within your classroom... do work that changes the world. -Will Richardson

http://www.gamifymyclass.blogspot.ca
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#7553806 Mar 20, 2013 at 10:45 AM
Initiate
11 Posts
#7548012 Leedale wrote:

There's a lot of competition for students' attention, so getting that idea of "epic meaning" across can be a challenge. "...the only problem is that is that they believe that they are capable of changing virtual worlds and not the real world. That's the problem that I'm trying to solve."

How do we convey hope? How do we make something as mundane as the real world give someone an epic win?



I think a lot of this boils down to feelings of ownership and investment.

It is very easy to have those things in a game world, because your actions are always reinforced and informed by feedback and easily identifiable goals and obstacles to them. The real world is a lot less empowering, especially for young people. Problems seem monumental, complex, and nebulous. Obstacles are far from clear and their solutions are often just catalysts for more questions. People have competing priorities and thus competing solutions.

All of that leads to disenfranchisement, no ownership, apathy, and the feeling that those problems are just always going to be there, so best get used to them, or at worst a feeling of "get mine while I can".
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#7553977 Mar 20, 2013 at 11:17 AM
Fiero
26 Posts
Talk about relevant transfer. Recently in Utah I was listening to an NPR article where Jane McGonigol was discussing this topic with the news reporter and one citizen called in to talk about how his children and grandchildren that play video games have been "unsuccessful" in their careers. His argument was there is nothing good coming from game play.

If you focus on the bad (that game players feel more successful in their virtual worlds) then you can lose all the potential good that can come. It is like student's looking at a math class and saying "When am I going to use this?" rather than enjoying the journey of logical analysis (and by enjoy I mean tolerate). I never hear students say "Why do I have to write this essay?" They realize that the process will develop their writing skill. They may not "enjoy" the challenge due to a lack of proper development. [Being a level 1 mage fighting against level 20 monsters]. We don't have elementary students writing research papers for a reason.

If you will, we can look at games as being a "waste" of time just as some would look at solving math problems as a "waste" of precious development time. I tell my math students that I am not a "math teacher", but a "logical communication" teacher. It's in the journey that they will develop their skills.

So, if end results are the most important thing we teach tell me what you learned in your last math class. You can see how outsiders think that a lack of retention shows a problem of the system and jokingly state that college graduates only know 5 minutes worth of information 5 years later.

The process of gaming can help instruct a student on 1) Urgent Optimism, 2) Social Fabric, 3) Blissful Productivity, and 4) Epic Meaning. But if we look at the end result some might say - what a waste of your time.
"A game is a problem-solving activity, approached with a playful attitude."
~ Jesse Schell ~
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#7554103 Mar 20, 2013 at 11:36 AM
Initiate
11 Posts
#7553977 Sam G wrote:


So, if end results are the most important thing we teach tell me what you learned in your last math class. You can see how outsiders think that a lack of retention shows a problem of the system and jokingly state that college graduates only know 5 minutes worth of information 5 years later.



I think this is a byproduct of the "knowledge transfer" model of education that most people are used to, and which has been the dominant model of education for ages. Too many people focus of "how much" you know/remember after highschool/college, and not "what kind of person are you" or "how do you approach problems".

The easy availability of facts and trivia provided by the internet and other modern sophisticated forms of technology makes simple knowledge retention the least relevant skill we can have now. Most programmers do not remember names of methods or classes, they learn to use the documentation and API, and how to easily look up what they need. We're offloading that mundane stuff onto databases and repositories, so we can focus on more exciting stuff.
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#7555246 Mar 20, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Initiate
23 Posts
I have played McGonigal's ARG called "Urgent Evoke." She has a particular vision of ARGs that doesn't align with some of the standard examples of the genre that marketers like to employ. Like the ARG "World Without Oil," (a great youtube intro to this is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-hzUGFD-Gc), these imagine that a crisis has already occurred, so the game-play becomes changing behaviors that will ultimately help us avoid the crisis in the first place--brilliant!

This becomes more of a social networking game with a very serious purpose, as I suggest in the comic I created for the last mission of Urgent Evoke (and for which I got a coveted chit!). Some ARGs are more like mysteries--highly immersive, but ultimately escapist, it seems to me, in the same way that a good movie is escapist.
____________________________________________________________
Richard Smyth, Ph.D.
http://electrateprofessor.wordpress.com
rsmyth64@yahoo.com

"Perhaps my best years are gone. But I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now." --Samuel Beckett
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#7556657 Mar 20, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Guild Officer
187 Posts
"If you focus on the bad (that game players feel more successful in their virtual worlds) then you can lose all the potential good that can come."

It's interesting you say this, Sam G, because one thing that games and education have in common is they both "simulate" reality to some extent. Teaching math, for example, by necessity simplifies reality to focus on specific aspects. Games do the same thing, although they don't necessarily focus on the same things.

And really, as you say, we need to value what we get out of the journey and not just the measurable results at the end of the journey. Love the "5 Minutes" YouTube!

We're definitely seeing a shift in how those who use technology process and store information. We study step-by-step tutorials and processes instead of poring over reference manuals.

rsmyth, I hadn't seen "Urgent Evoke"! I wish I could see some of the planning documents she used to put it together. There's so much media there that it's a little difficult to get an idea of how it was originally formatted. It looks like it was a huge undertaking! Can you expand on some of the things you did in the course of EVOKE? What was hardest about it? Did anyone else play it?


EVOKE site screenshot - See the original site at http://www.urgentevoke.com/ by Leedale Shepherd, on Flickr
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#7556688 Mar 20, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Initiate
35 Posts
There ought to be some caution in terms of focusing on "utility," however. Research confirms that general transfer (the idea that studying linguistics will improve your math skills) is RARE.

Jane's games DO foster change because it's a 1 to 1 ratio. In one of our readings there were references to "hand-eye coordination" and other discrete skills as being somewhat of a "thin" argument for gaming benefits, and I agree.
Latin Teacher
magisterp.com
MOOC III Week 2 Artisan
MOOC III Week 4 Collabrateur
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#7557138 Mar 20, 2013 at 09:45 PM · Edited over 5 years ago
Herald
60 Posts
#7548012 Leedale wrote:

There's a lot of competition for students' attention, so getting that idea of "epic meaning" across can be a challenge. "...the only problem is that is that they believe that they are capable of changing virtual worlds and not the real world. That's the problem that I'm trying to solve."

How do we convey hope? How do we make something as mundane as the real world give someone an epic win?

I think the answer is bigger than gamification, game elements, and other limited terms. I think it'll span all the way from event management to graphic design to marketing to...? On a large scale, it's a Herculean effort.

How do we take the every day tasks in the classroom and put them into a hopeful frame for students? How do we put them into a frame that says, "You are part of something bigger than yourself that is going to make a difference"?



I think our first step in this Herculean task is to encourage students to find their real world passion. In his book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, Sir Ken Robinson argues that this is the real problem with current schooling--it actually discourages kids from exploring and discovering their passion (especially when it comes to the arts and humanities, which are usually considered third-string or worse in terms of importance for college and career readiness). This lack of passion, drive, and focus is, I believe, the largest contributing factor in the apathy and disconnection we're seeing in so many (kids and adults). I've blogged about how I see this lack of passion in students at my university, basically turning them into soulless, aimless zombies.

If you think about it, people who are passionate about something are the ones who are making a difference in the world, perhaps not on a global level, but on some level. They approach the thing they're passionate about with the same optimism, blissful productivity, and epic meaning as hardcore gamers. And if they are successful in locating a clan (as Robinson terms it), they will build a social fabric with that clan (via partnerships and collaboration). One case study Robinson uses is Sir Paul McCartney. Just think about the passionate intensity and optimism The Beatles brought to their music and how those emotions rubbed off on their audience. And consider the amazing power that those four people managed to harness via collaboration (something never achieved by any of them individually, great as they each were/are).

Perhaps if we could make discovering your passion and finding your clan an integral part of schooling, then we could begin to develop a world full of game-changers (pardon the pun) who find as much satisfaction in the real world as they do in virtual worlds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9LelXa3U_I


a.k.a. Tanya Sasser
English Instructor
Jacksonville State University
@TanyaSasser
Remixing College English
“I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one who must walk through it.” ~Morpheus, The Matrix
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#7560678 Mar 21, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Initiate
14 Posts
There are so many great quotes in this thread that I can't even focus on just one. All the posts are so thought provoking and eloquent. I find myself a bit intimidated by responding now but ah well... Hopefully I will just get better.

So my point - is education is a huge problem - one of you said the phrase soulless zombies as college students. My oldest of my own goes off in September. I hate to think of her as a soulless zombie - although she does watch a great deal of The Walking Dead. But I digress. I am in elementary where kids are still full of spunk and many want to learn. And this is where we have the opportunity to build passion. But we don't, or it gets lost in testing or something. This is where Games could help. It is not THE answer for everything - so much needs to change. But we are seeing what people do with games. As Jane mentioned the amount of man-hours spent on WOW. So we as game advocates need to spread the word in our classes and grab a hold of it now.

How on earth do we do that? Yes we can create games that are real world. There are many now. But how do you get that stigma of - oh they are just playing a game into a serious part of the curriculum. I keep trying to figure out how to weave a great multiplayer virtual world into my curriculum - www.whyville.net. But it is going to be an uphill battle. Even though it teaches great life skill, real world critical thinking and all... I have to frame it as part of the Common Core.
A skilled teacher knows that technology implementations won't have any impact as long as you try and retrofit them on to outdated teaching methods. Only when combined with the creativity and ingenuity of dedicated teachers can technology have a truly disruptive and transformative effect. "

by Sam Gliksman
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#7560895 Mar 21, 2013 at 04:19 PM · Edited over 5 years ago
Guides
561 Posts
I certainly enjoyed the book, Reality is Broken, but I really like to look at both sides and am interested in the opinion of others in the MOOC regarding this article, book review, by ANDREW KLAVAN in the Wall Street Journal.

Andrew Klaven's Review in Wall Street Journal
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#7561181 Mar 21, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Initiate
4 Posts
McGonigal's TED talk was most intriguing. I think she is on to something. A collectivist mentality. Imagine what issues and problems we face today could be addressed with 21 billion hours of human endeavor on the same "subject". There is a gentlemen, Thomas P.M. Barnett, whose Crowd Sourced Consulting, Wikistrat, which will "give you real-time, interactive, grounded strategy" for "geopolitical analysis and forecasting". Wikistrat is where he has teams from various universities from around the world compete in developing analysis of complex real world issues. Essentially, the World's First Massively Multiplayer Online Consultancy. Dealing with complex issues...this month they are examining "Cuba After the Castros". This is a great idea in terms of how to "work a problem" of real world complexity. He blogs over at Globlogization and deals with very complex political, economic, and cultural shifts. Check him out!

I guess what I am saying...does one need a "game" to do the things she talks about? Digging deeper into the psychology of the process...which is what she is doing by labeling behaviors as "Urgent Optimism" and "Social Fabric" or "Epic Meaning" and "Blissful Productivity". These are emotional and mental reactions that happen when one games. I wonder if our military personnel deep in the bunkers of Fort Hauchuca, AZ. controlling drones in a video game atmosphere have these same sort of feelings when completing a mission that has real world consequences?

Dethstrider

"The bugle sounds, the charge begins...but, on this battlefield no one wins. The smell of acrid smoke and horses breath...as we plunge on into certain death" - Iron Maiden
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#7561692 Mar 21, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Evolutionary
5 Posts
I am fascinated by the discrepancy between behaviors and movitations in the "real" world vs the virtual world. Why are young people so much more willing to take action and responsibility in a virtual scenario, yet may be apathetic and disdainful in real life. I would guess that part of the reason this occurs is because a young person can be any persona in the virtual world and would have respect and cooperation from other gamers. In real life, he/she would probably not be taken seriously or given much respect for the ability to tackle a big problem. Kind of like acting, when we aren't constrained by our own or other people's view of us, it's a lot easier to achieve greatness. We ARE superheros in the virtual world, but here in day-to-day reality we're mere mortals. I think Jane's commitment to try to figure out how to get virtual behavior to occur in real world situations is ambitious and essential. But it will take changing the attitudes and judgments of everyone, not just the gaming community. We'll see how it all evolves.
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#7562101 Mar 21, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Artisan
58 Posts
#7560895 grasshopper98 wrote:

I certainly enjoyed the book, Reality is Broken, but I really like to look at both sides and am interested in the opinion of others in the MOOC regarding this article, book review, by ANDREW KLAVAN in the Wall Street Journal.

Andrew Klaven's Review in Wall Street Journal



I read the article. And I think that the problem is that he is taking McGonigal's idea to the extreme and making it seem like she would like to replace life with video games. I have not read the book but from articles videos etc. I see McGonical as saying if we can gamify something and make it better and more useful why not do it? What do you think?
To each his own game ;)
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