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Monday, October 31, 2005

Serious Games Summit: Keynote

Ok. I've attended the morning sessions, and fueled up on the box lunch, so it is time to compose some reflections for Educational Technology and Life.

The keynote session was designed
to explore new ways of applying fundamental concepts about wargame design to extract science from the art of wargame design. Those dynamics affect all of the six key dimensions that a wargame must use to represent reality: time, space, forces, effects, information, and command.
Dr. Peter Perla and Douglas Whatley were the presenters. I was much more impressed with Whatley... perhaps because his work has more relevance to my work in education, but also perhaps because he was a more dynamic speaker and didn't use a twenty year old picture in his bio, which Perla clearly did. ;)

I have written here before about my feelings on face to face trainings and presentations, and I found Dr. Perla's opening comments ironic. He opened with, "you guys are gamers, and gamers crave interaction, not lectures" and very quickly fell back on "to make sure I don't skip anything important I will inflict upon you what you see on the screen... some powerpoint." Not much later I noted: wow. this is boring and I'm already zoning out.

While that was not a great way to start the conference, Perla is undoubtedly an expert in his field, and did have something to offer. He related his experiences trying to describe the "art" of wargaming in terms of "scientific" principles that might be modeled. The general lesson for the participants (listeners) was this: it is worth out time to identify the principles of a field before creating a game for it. Perla suggested the following (paraphrased):
  • Identify basic principles.
  • Identify the philosophers.
  • Identify the basic concepts the game will represent.
  • Consider how to make the concepts tangible in the game universe.
This final point is becoming a common phrase in this field, and rightly so, I think. Clark Aldrich finished with a similar thought when I interviewed him for the OCDE a few weeks ago... he was talking about teachers using existing simulations in the classroom, and here Perla was speaking to developers. I hope people heed this call... because my overwhelming impression of this conference after three sessions is this: there are far more questions than answers. Each presenter I have seen has opened with something like "I don't know of any examples of this, but...."

Perla ended with a humorous reference to Alton Brown's Good Eats: knowing the science and history of food aids in its preparation and enjoyment. So is it with the subjects of games. Later, Whatley would suggest that developers become the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) when designing a serious game.

(Hey, there is a poster session for Dimenxian: Learn Math or Die Trying happening right next to me in the hall.)

Whatley offered a few gems right off the bat. Quoting Donald Thompson, he lead in with this quote:
"Perhaps the most fatal flaw in the education of young people is that we apprentice youngsters into 19th century science, rather than letting them play scientist."
He then offered his definition of serious games:
A product that is not specifically entertainment, but which uses entertainment or the techniques and processes of the entertainment business, to achieve a purpose.
The next bit was particularly targeted to attendees like me... non-developers. Whatley said "when people work with game developers they want to understand our process... so I've laid out a timeline here that is a rough overview of the development process." He suggested that game publishers have adapted to this process well, but the serious games market has not, and that prescriptive government contracts harm creative design process. Here are my notes on the process he presented (in a much more effective graphical form... and I see my tabs were not respected by blogger so I'll have to clean this up later):
1st Phase of Game Design: Concept Phase (1 mo.)
Craft a vision statement for product.
Have a separate statement for the project itself.
NOTE: Here is where our NSF project needs to begin.
2nd Phase: The Design Phase (1-3 mo?)
Design document
Technical design document
Risk mitigation document
What are the risks?
Understanding of pedagogy?
Hardware availability?
You don't need to solve the risk now, but you need a plan.
3rd Phase: Prototype Phase (3 mo)
Satisfy risk issues
Prove the concept
It'd be nice to finish this phase with a working prototype
4th Phase: Pre-production (6 mo)
Get one of each thing in the game to finished game quality
"a slice of game play"
(Sorry, he didn't flip this slide until too late and then skipped over it.)
5th Phase: Produciton Phase (6 mo.)
Crank out the work
6th Phase: Testing Phase (3 mo.)
Test, test, test
Code complete (you may want to lock down early)
Content complete
7th Phase: Support
He also related several concept issues and design issues. I may have seen these things mentioned before, but this was effectively my introduction to the design document, the technical design document, and the risk mitigation plan. This is also where he called for a transfer of knowledge between the SME and the developers... and I presume, from his presentation, the opposite as well. Ultimately he wanted developers to make a project their own and to become passionate about their work. It is clear that he is passionate about his, and the work seems to be excellent.

He returned to Perla's six elements of a wargame (from the description above) and replaced Forces with Entities as a more general formula for serious games.

It is also worth noting that he pointed out (and questions were asked about this) that many games are designed more around "effects" than around "physics" in other words "skill charts" and "hit points" etc. instead of ballistics and anatomy.

Finally, he asked the rhetorical question... "are we tilting at windmills? Or can we really change the world!" And, yes, he ended that question with an exclamation point.

I was left with a few questions, still... what is an OODA loop? (I understood the concept, but didn't sort out the acronym.) And what did he mean by "design needs to be fungible"?

In the meantime I found myself at a table with Heather Chaplin, the author of Smartbomb and with someone from Breakaway Games among others. It may be interesting to note that there is a much more balanced gender ration here than at E3, and perhaps even more so than at Education Arcade or the Games, Learning, and Society Conference.

Naturally, the fact that I've been blogging this means I am not engaged in conversation at lunch, which is a negative in my book, but once again, as an educator I am something of an outsider at these conferences of developers... even one about serious games, including educational games. At least I find this valuable going into the afternoon sessions...

And I hope some of you find this helpful, too. (I've also been FURLing as much as I can during the session, so check out my archive and feed.)

Gotta go...


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Serious Games... and World of Warcraft

Today I'm on my way to Washington DC and the Serious Games Summit. Right now I am on a layover for several hours in Denver... not far from where my faculty advisor, Dr. Jock Schorger lives, but he's away on vacation.

Earlier this week I got an apportunity to begin the book Serious Games: Games that Educate, Train, and Inform by Michael and Chen and plan to finish it tonight in time for the summit tomorrow. I'm about half way through, but while I am on the ground and online, I am going to take a break and see how well it works playing World of Warcraft over airport Wi-Fi.

When I put both of these things in the title of this post, I realized this is also an opportunity to blog about a passage of the book I read on the last leg of the trip...
Noting the usefulness of multiplayer simulations, the military has been eying the potential of massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs). Robert Gehorsam, now C.E.O. of Forterra Systems, approached the militarty in 2002 with an idea for using technology from There to simulate "warfare against insurgents in urban settings." There is an MMOG that pays particular attention to realism, especially in regard to player avatars. The realism of virtual worlds makes MMOG's ideal for dealing with urban warfare situations, such as occupation and dealing with insurgencies. In October 2004, Joint Forces Command officials tested the waters by conducting the largest real-time computer urban warfare simulation in history with gamers at three different sites controlling up to 100,000 entities.

In a December 2004 Millitary Simulation & Training article examining the capabilities of MMOGs. Jason Robar of the AISA Group wrote, "It is clear that a technology that can host 600,000 concurrent players in an environment of competing guilds and clasns, each a politico-military organization, has some military applications." MMOGs he went on, "offer some compelling new capabilities that may be able to augment and enhance how warfighters and the intelligence community prepare and train for... the 21st century."

... with MMOG technology bringing together troops from around the world, ... operations can be done for much less expense and with much more secrecy.

This passage turned me on to There, which looks similar to Second Life, and worth a look. Perhaps it might be useful for one of the projects we have underway at the OCDE. Also, Terra Nova posted excerpts from a related interview with a There excec, but the links they provide are now dead.

I look forward to seeing how MMOGs appear in the other parts of this book, particularly the section on education. (This reference was in the Military section, as you might imagine.)

I have been downloading a patch for World of Warcraft while typing this out (I normally play on my desktop PC), and it is eating up harddrive space... I had to ditch 1.3 GB of unwatched Rocketboom (I'd been saving for a plane flight) to make room. :(

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Serious Games Summit

It turns out I will be able to make it to the Serious Games Summit in Washington, DC this week afterall. I get into town Sunday night and fly out Tuesday night. If any of you will be there and would like to meet up, please leave a comment below or email me.

I endeavor to do a better job blogging this event than I normally do. :)

As for this evening... after a long day at work, tennis with Eva (we're in a league here in Irvine), a few hours of research, and now sticking to my new "blog before playing" policy (barely), I'm off to work on a quest as a paladin in World of Warcraft - and to see what I can learn from other players. :)


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Video Games in Education Webcast

We have not solved the issue with the streaming server, but the Video Games in Education webcast is ready for download. Below I've recreated the announcement on our department website.
Video games are an important part of many student's lives. When playing games they are clearly engaged and motivated. They are also active, thinking critically, and taking risks. There is little doubt that a good deal of incidental learning is taking place when students play these games, but can we harness this powerful new media for intentional learning in formal education?

The Orange County Department of Education has produced a webcast that explores how computer and video games show a great deal of potential as teaching and learning tools.

Mike Guerena and Mark Wagner interviewed Henry Jenkins of the MIT Media Lab, James Paul Gee of the University of Wisconsin, and Clark Aldrich, author of "Simulations and the Future of Learning." The video includes commentary from Dave Kosak of Gamespy.com and from David McDivitt, a High School World History teacher who has integrated a computer game into his curriculum.

This is the first in a series of programs that create a dialogue with leading experts to explore the innovative use of new technologies in K-12 education. In November, we explore the use of iPods in the classroom.

Download the webcast here (To download, right click this link. On a PC choose "Save Link As" and on a Mac choose "Download Linked File" to download).

Since we don't have comments on the OCDE sight, please leave feedback about the video here.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Serious Games Summit (with some "and life")

After reading Beck and Wade's Got Game, my trip to USC last week, and my purcahse of Serious Games by Michael and Chen, I am seriously considering a last minute (and expensive) registration and trip to the Serious Games Summit in DC next week. I can actually clear my calendar those days and plan to approach my boss about it tomorrow.

If any readers would like to offer me any feedback on this idea, please leave a comment below or email me. I'd especially love to know if any of you are going.

Now, because blogging in bursts can be as bad as a blogging lull, I shall save the rest of my posts for later in the week, and turn to actually playing a game... at least until Eva is done watching her Harry Potter movie and assembling her stamps. I'll be playing World of Warcraft, which I actually hope to get Eva to start playing with me, since we've enjoyed (and completed) a few console based RPGs together. :)


Update on the OCDE Video Games in Education Webcast and Podcasts

I offer this post in the same spirit in which Peter Jackson is offering insight into the making of King Kong, frustrations and all, at KongIsKing.net...

A few days ago I announced that the project that Mike Guerena and I have been working on was as finished as it will get. The first OCDE Video Games in Education webcast was to be available in the archive at http://vc.ocde.us by around 4 pm Thursday. (There will also be two companion audio podcasts available at http://edtech.ocde.us soon after if is finally posted.)

Unfortunately, it's now Sunday night, and the webcast is not up yet. I'm glad announcing here is not the same as announcing on the OCDE site. We were adding things down to the wire and apparently there was trouble rendering, trouble compressing, and trouble posting to the webcasting server! I suspect it will be up on Monday as we've now cleared two of the three hurdles.


David Shaffer on Epistemic Games

It's time to catch up on some article annotations. This a brief annotation of Epistemic Games by David Williamson Shaffer.

Shaffer builds upon Gee's article by delving more deeply into the ideas of "authenticity" and "professionalism." I am most interested in his focus on communities of practice as I go forward with my research into social constructivism and principles of societal development.

Shaffer discusses the "reproductive practices" of a community, the ways in which newcomers develop the community's "ways of doing, being, caring, and knowing." The suggestion, of course, is that games or simulations might facilitate the reproducion of a community's values. This is the controversial power of games that Gee mentioned in his 2003, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, the controversy I'd very much like to be at the heart of.

Shaffer also discusses pedagogical praxis, and cites Dewey, who serves as the first theorist in my upcoming KAM. (He also later cites Vygotsky's thoughts on play, and I will be including Vygotsky in the KAM as well.) According to Shaffer, "Dewey argued that knowing and doing are tightly coupled." Once again, the suggestion is that games or simulations might facilitate this coupling by allowing a greater degree of doing than the traditional classroom might. This is a suggestion also made by Clark Aldrich in his latest work, Learning by Doing.

Perhaps most importantly, particularly for a researcher such as myself who is interested in the power of role playing games, Shaffer suggests that such games can be valuable "not in order to train for [specfic] pursuits in the traditional sense of vocational education, but rather because developing those epistemic frames provides studetns with an opportunity to see the world in a variety of ways that are fundamentally grounded in meaningful activity."

Unfortunately, here Shaffer also fall prey to the Planet Jar-Gon effect, which Prensky pointed out in Gee's work. The discussion of epistemic frames and epistemic games may be valuable to researchers, but may not be accessible to educators looking to implement these theories in their classrooms. Thankfully, in this article Shaffer offers a very concrete example of an epistemic game in Madison 2200, a project - along with several others - aimed at an audience of middle and high school students, the subjects of my own research.


PS. As you may have noted in the previous post, Shaffer, too will be a focus of my next KAM.

Learning Agreement: Social Constructivist Theory and Digital Game-Based Learning

Here is the Learning Agreement I sent to Dr. Nolan this evening for his feedback, and hopefully his approval to move forward with my second KAM.

I post this for the benefit of anyone else who is interested, and so that if there are any errors, readers of the blog might point them out or steer me in a different direction. Keep in mind I haven't actually read all of this yet, so I am somewhat out on a limb in terms of the introductions and in terms of the relationship between these theorists. Completing the reading and writing process will almost certainly change this significantly. Note that there are three sets of references, so keep scrolling down if you are interested in all parts of the learning agreement. I apologize in advance for the format of the references in blogger. At least all the data is here...

Learning Agreement for Core Knowledge Area Module Number 1: Principles of Societal Development

Social Constructivist Theory
and Digital Game-Based Learning

Mark D. Wagner

Dr. Joseph Nolan

Walden University
October 23, 2005

Overview of the KAM
This Knowledge Area Module (KAM) will focus on the relationship between social constructivist theory and the application of digital game-based learning in formal k12 education. The breath section of the KAM will begin by presenting a synthesized working theory of constructivist societal development, with a focus on the works of Dewey, Vygotsky, Bruner, and Bandura. This will be followed in the depth section by a critical examination of digital game-based learning theories in light of the working theory of constructivist societal development. This section will focus on the work of Squire, Steinkuehler, and Shaffer. Finally, the application section will conclude the KAM with the design of a three-hour hands-on professional development session to provide educators with guidance in using digital game-based learning, informed by theories of constructivist societal development, to facilitate student learning.

Breadth Objective
Synthesize a working theory of constructivist societal development, with a focus on the works of Dewey, Vygotsky, Bruner, and Bandura.

Breadth Demonstration
In a scholarly paper of approximately 30 pages, a working theory of constructivist societal development will be presented.

Breadth Introduction
The purpose of this breadth portion of the KAM is to synthesize a working theory of constructivist societal development, with a focus on the works of Dewey, Vygotsky, Bruner, and Bandura. The paper begins with an investigation of Dewey’s early twentieth century theories on democracy, experience, and education, particularly his expression of education as a social function. Following this is an exploration of Vygotsky’s later theories, including the role of the social environment in his concept of the zone of proximal development, and his belief that an individual develops primarily on a social level. Bruner built on Vygotsky’s theories with his inquiry-driven approach to learning and this paper will continue with an articulation of Bruner’s theories. Because “Bandura emphasizes the importance of observing and modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others” (Kearsley, n.d.), Bandura’s theories will be reviewed as well. Finally, this portion of the KAM will conclude with the presentation of a working theory of constructivist societal development synthesized from the work of these four theorists.

Breadth References
Dewey, J. (1938) Experience and education. New York: Collier Books.

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education. The Macmillan Company.

Dewey, J. (1910) How we think. Lexington, Mass: D.C. Heath.

Dewey, J. (1897). My pedagogic creed. School journal vol. 54 (January 1897), pp. 77-
80. http://dewey.pragmatism.org/creed.htm

Bandura, A. (2002). Social cognitive theory of mass communication. In Bryant, J., &
Zillman, D. Media effects: advances in theory and research. 121-153. Mahwah, N.J. : L. Elbaum Associates.

Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: an agentic perspective. Annual Review of
Psychology, 2001. Retrieved October 23, 2005, from Questia database:

Bandura, A. (1999). A social cognitive theory of personality. In L. Pervin & O. John
(Eds.), Handbook of personality (2nd ed.), pp 154-196. New York: Guilford

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy in changing societies. Cambridge University Press.

Bandura, A. (1997a). Self-efficacy: the exercise of control. New York: Freeman.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: a social cognitive theory. Prentice Hall.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Prentice Hall.

Bandura, A . (1973). Aggression: a social learning analysis. Prentice Hall.

Bandura, A. & Walters, S. (1963). Social learning and personality development. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Bruner, J. S. (2004). Acts of meaning: four lectures on mind and culture. (Reprint).
Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Bruner, J. S. (1997). The culture of education. (2nd Ed.) Cambridge: Harvard University

Bruner, J.S . (1991). Acts of Meaning. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Bruner, J. S. (1977). The process of education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Bruner, J. S. (1987). Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge: Harvard University

Bussey, K., & Bandura, A. (1999). "Social cognitive theory of gender development and
differentiation." Psychological Review; 106, 676-713.

Kearsley, G. (n.d.) Social learning theory (A. Bandura). Available:

Vygotsky, L. S. (1997). Educational psychology. (Classics in Soviet Psychology Series)
CRC Press.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and language. MIT Press.

Vygotsk, L. S. (1980). Mind in society: the development of higher psychological
processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

NOTE: References may be added or removed throughout the process of writing the breadth portion of the KAM.

Depth Objective
In light of a working theory of constructivist societal development, critically examine theories of digital game-based learning, with a focus on the work of Squire, Steinkuehler, and Shaffer.

Depth Demonstration
In a scholarly paper of about 30 pages, theories of digital game-based learning will be critically examined in light of a working theory of constructivist societal development. In addition, an annotated bibliography of 15 articles will be amended to the paper.

Depth Introduction
The purpose of this depth portion of the KAM is to critically examine theories of digital game-based learning in light of a working theory of constructivist societal development. The focus is on the work of Squire, Steinkuehler, and Shaffer. Squire’s 2004 dissertation and subsequent work focused on the implementation of a multiplayer commercial off the shelf video game in formal k12 classroom environments. Similarly, Steinkuehler’s 2005 dissertation and subsequent work focused specifically on cognition and learning within the social spaces generated by massively multiplayer online games. Their colleague, Shaffer, has also produced work exploring the use of epistemic games to model professions, thus allowing students to learn by doing in a social context. This depth portion concludes with recommendations for how digital game-based learning, particularly multiplayer and massively multiplayer games, might be used in a formal k12 educational environment to support constructivist societal development, and thus student learning.

Depth References
Barab, S.A. & Squire, K.D. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground.
Journal of the Learning Sciences. http://website.education.wisc.edu/kdsquire/manuscripts/jls-barab-squire-design.pdf

Beck, J. and Wade, M. (2004). Got game: How the gamer generation is reshaping
business forever. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Holland, W., Jenkins, H. & Squire, K. (2003). Theory by design. In Perron, B., and Wolf,
M. (Eds). Video Game Theory. Routledge. http://website.education.wisc.edu/kdsquire/manuscripts/theory.doc

Jenkins, H., Klopfer, E., Squire, K. & Tan, P. (2003). Entering the education arcade.
Computers in Entertainment 1(1). http://website.education.wisc.edu/kdsquire/manuscripts/tea-acm.pdf

Jenkins, H. Squire, K. & Tan, P. (2004). You can’t bring that game to school!: Designing
Supercharged! In B. Laurel (Ed.) Design Research. Cambridge, MIT Press. http://website.education.wisc.edu/kdsquire/manuscripts/laurel-curlers-images.doc

Klopfer, E. & Squire, K. (in press). Developing a platform for augmented reality gaming.
To appear in Educational Technology Research & Development.

Shaffer, D. W. (in press). Epistemic frames for epistemic games. Computers and
Education. http://coweb.wcer.wisc.edu/cv/papers/ef4CE.pdf

Shaffer, D. W., and Clinton, K. A. (in press). Toolforthoughts: Reexamining thinking in
the digital age. Mind, Culture, and Activity.

Shaffer, D. W. (2005). Multisubculturalism: Computers and the end of progressive
education. Under review by Teachers College Record. http://coweb.wcer.wisc.edu/cv/papers/multisubculturalism-draft1.pdf

Shaffer, D. W. (2005). Epistemic games. Innovate, 1(6). Reprinted in Computer
Education (in press).

Shaffer, D. W. (2004). Pedagogical praxis: The professions as models for post-industrial
education. Teachers College Record, 106(7), 1401-1421

Shaffer, D. W. (2004). When computer-supported collaboration means computer-
supported competition: Professional mediation as a model for collaborative learning. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 15(2), 101-115.

Shaffer, D. W., & Gee, J. P. (2005). Before every child is left behind: How epistemic games can solve the coming crisis in education. Under review by Educational Researcher. http://coweb.wcer.wisc.edu/cv/papers/learning_crisis.pdf

Shaffer, D. W., & Squire, K. D. (in press). The Pasteurization of education. In Education
and Technology: Issues in Policy, Administration and Application. London: Elsevier. http://coweb.wcer.wisc.edu/cv/papers/pasteurization_inpress.pdf

Shaffer, D. W., Squire, K. D., Halverson, R., & Gee, J. P. (2005). Video games and the future of learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 87(2), 104-111.

Squire, K. (2004). Replaying history: learning world history through playing Civilization
III. Dissertation. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University. http://website.education.wisc.edu/kdsquire/dissertation.html

Squire, K.D. Giovanetto, L., Devane, B. & Durga, S. (in press). From Users to designers:
Supporting a culture of simulation. To appear in Technology Trends.

Squire, K.D. (2005). Changing the game: What happens when videogames enter the
classroom?. Innovate 1(6). http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=82

Squire, K.D. (2005). Toward a theory of games literacy. Telemedium 52 (1-2), 9-15.

Squire, K. and the Games-to-Teach Research Team. (2003). Design principles of next-
generation gaming for education. Educational Technology.

Squire, K. & Jenkins, H. (2004). Harnessing the power of games in education. Insight
(3)1, 5-33. http://website.education.wisc.edu/kdsquire/manuscripts/insight.pdf

Squire, K. (2003). Video games in education. International Journal of Intelligent
Simulations and Gaming (2) 1. http://website.education.wisc.edu/kdsquire/manuscripts/IJIS.doc

Squire, K.D. (2002). Rethinking the role of games in education. Game Studies, 2(1).

Squire, K. D. and Steinkuehler, C. A. (in press). Generating CyberCulture/s: The case of
Star Wars Galaxies. In D. Gibbs & K. L. Krause (Eds.), Cyberlines: Languages and cultures of the Internet (2nd ed.). Albert Park, Australia: James Nicholas Publishers. http://website.education.wisc.edu/steinkuehler/papers/SquireSteinkuehlerCYBER2004.pdf

Squire, K. D. and Steinkuehler, C. A. (2005). Meet the gamers. Library Journal, April 15.

Steinkuehler, C. A. (in review). Situated identities as styles of play in massively
multiplayer online games. Manuscript in submission.

Steinkuehler, C. A. & Williams, D. (in review). Where everybody knows your (screen)
name: Online games as "third places." Manuscript in submission.


Steinkuehler, C. A. (in press). Cognition and literacy in massively multiplayer online
games. In D. Leu, J. Coiro, C. Lankshear, & K. Knobel (Eds.), Handbook of Research on New Literacies. Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum.

Steinkuehler, C. A. (in press). Massively multiplayer online videogaming as participation
in a Discourse. Mind, Culture, & Activity. http://website.education.wisc.edu/steinkuehler/papers/SteinkuehlerMCA2005.pdf

Steinkuehler, C. A. (in press). The new third place: Massively multiplayer online gaming
in American youth culture. Tidskrift Journal of Research in Teacher Education, 3, 17-32.

Steinkuehler, C. A. (2006). Why game (culture) studies now? Games and Culture, 1(1).

Steinkuehler, C. (2005). Cognition and learning in massively multiplayer online games: a
critical approach. Dissertation. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. Available: http://website.education.wisc.edu/steinkuehler/thesis.html

Steinkuehler, C.A., Black, R.W., & Clinton, K.A. (2005). Researching literacy as tool,
place, and way of being. Reading Research Quarterly, 40(1), 7-12.

Steinkuehler, C. A. (2004). A Discourse analysis of MMOG talk. In J. H. Smith & M.
Sicart (Eds.), Proceedings of the Other Players Conference. Copenhagen: IT University of Copenhagen. http://www.itu.dk/op/proceedings.htm

Steinkuehler, C. A. (2004). Learning in massively multiplayer online games. In Y. B.
Kafai, W. A. Sandoval, N. Enyedy, A. S. Nixon, & F. Herrera (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference of the Learning Sciences (pp. 521–528). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. http://website.education.wisc.edu/steinkuehler/papers/SteinkuehlerICLS2004.pdf

NOTE: References may be added or removed throughout the process of writing the depth portion of the KAM.

Application Objective
Design a three-hour hands-on professional development session to provide educators with guidance in using digital game-based learning, informed by theories of constructivist societal development, to facilitate student learning.

Application Demonstration
A written rationale of about 10 pages, appended with all session materials, will describe the professional development session, the justifications behind it, and the ways in which social constructivist theory is put into practice to guide educators in using digital game-based learning.

Application Introduction
The purpose of this application portion of the KAM was to design a three-hour hands-on professional development session to provide educators with guidance in using digital game-based learning, informed by theories of constructivist societal development, to facilitate student learning. The first hour provides participants with an overview of the theories discussed in the breadth and depth portion of this KAM. The second hour then allows participants the opportunity to experience some multiplayer games, such as those discussed in the first hour, hands-on. The final hour provides a facilitated discussion of how participants might return to their own practice and implement these theories. Though the actual delivery of this professional development session is beyond the scope of the KAM, it is designed for use as a pilot class for educators in the Technology Center at the Orange County Department of Education during the spring quarter of 2006.

Application References
NOTE: Though there may be additional references listed in the final product, it is anticipated that most references for this portion of the KAM will be drawn from the previous sections. There are no additional references to list at this time.
Thanks for reading.


PS. With only two minor changes, this was informally accepted by Dr. Nolan tonight. The formal process will take a bit longer, but I will begin tomorrow after work. Unfortunately, one of the first steps is to get my hands on a lot of books.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Objectives - Video Games and Social Constructivism

Here is my first repurposed email post, addressed to Dr. Joseph Nolan of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, who has agreed to be the assessor on my next Knowledge Area Module (KAM).

These objectives will define much of the research I am doing at Walden over the next three months, and so will consequently determine much of the content posted here. Please keep in mind that these are only in DRAFT form. That being said, I'd love any feedback that any of you might be able to offer here, particularly in terms of games in education theorists whose work might touch on societal development. Unfortunately, in order to cover new ground I need to avoid Prensky, Gee, and Aldrich who were featured in my last KAM. Anyway, fire away...
Dr. Nolan,

Here are some draft objectives. I love that they build on what I did in my first KAM, and I am excited about the direction of this inquiry. But, I wonder if social constructivism really qualifies as societal development theory? How do these read to you, and do you think this, or something like it, will fly? I'm anxious to hear your feedback.

KAM I Objectives


Sythesize a working theory of constructivist societal development, with a focus on the works of Thoreau, Dewey, Vygotsky, Bruner, and Bandura.


Critically examine theories of digital game-based learning in light of a working theory of constructivist societal development, with a focus on the work of Squire, Steinkuehler, Shaffer, and Beck and Wade.


Design a three hour hands-on professional development session to provide educators with guidance in using digital game-based learning, informed by theories of constructivist societal development, to facilitate student learning.

Thanks for reading.


Blogging Lull and a Video Games in Education Announcement

This post is partly inspired by the call for personal status pages over at 43 folders. At any rate, with work at the Orange County Department of Education, my phd efforts at Walden University, life with my wife, and finally actually playing World of Warcraft (as part of my research... of course), I have been having trouble finding time to blog. In truth, the WoW time has probably replaced my occasional end of the day blogging. I really aught to be blogging about it though. (Actually, I feel I should be blogging about all of these things! The time required would be prohibitive, but I think I would get a lot out of blogging about other parts of my life.)

In any case, one of the ways I have recovered from a blogging lull in the past has been by repurposing writing that I am doing, because for work and Walden I am always writing, and much of it is relevant. What I have been writing tonight is email, so I plan to repurpose some of it as posts here.

Which brings me to another way I have combatted a lull in the past... I have announced some topics I have in the queue. Most of these are games and education related of course:
  • I have annotated the rest of the articles in the August/September issue of Innovate.
  • I also read and annotated Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever by Beck and Wade.
  • I've interviewed Clark Aldrich and James Gee through work at the OCDE.
  • My colleague Mike Guerena interviewed Henry Jenkins for the same project. (See the announcement below.)
  • I visited USC to meet John Beck and Adam Carstens of Northstar Leadership Group, and to hear Gerard LaFond of Persuasive Games and Douglas Lowenstein, President of the ESA speak to John's graduate students.
  • And, of course, I am becoming personally familiar with the systems that facilitate (and describe) learning and collaboration in World of Warcraft.

And now for the announcement alluded to in the title of this post... the project that Mike Guerena and I have been working on is as finished as it will get. The first OCDE Video Games in Education webcast will be available in the archive at http://vc.ocde.us by around 4 pm today. There may also be two companion audio podcasts available at http://edtech.ocde.us soon after. (UPDATE: It's Sunday night, and the webcast is not up yet. I'm glad announcing here is not the same as announcing on the OCDE site. We were adding things down to the wire and apparently there was trouble rendering, trouble compressing, and trouble posting to the webcasting server! I'm sure it will be up on Monday as we've now cleared two of the three hurdles.)

Thank you for your comments and emails of encouragement over the past few weeks. I hope you'll continue to find value in what I post.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Curious about the future of history based simulations?

I FURLed this post form the Learning Circuits Blog yesterday, but thought it would be good for testing the Blog This feature of Google Reader.
Curious about the future of history based simulations?: "As I have said before, I hate it when e-learning hacks make superficial, overly-broad analogies to hot trends. 'E-learning should be like hybrid cars; Training should be like Ipod Nanos; Lessons learned from FEMA.' Having said that, I love a real analogy. For example, six years ago, I found it very useful to apply experiences with ERPs and CRMs to the then emerging area of LMSs. It did provide"

Monday, October 10, 2005

Robert Craven Presents to Los Al High School

Robert Craven led the interactive learning discussion.

The audience needed coffee.

What is Interactive Learning?

Here at Los Al High School, Jim says it's "Learning by doing... for example acting out a play... Shakespeare."
Mark Wagner
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

Monday, October 03, 2005

Video Games in Education: Application

I haven't posted much this past week, in part because I have worked too much, but also because I am now in the application phase of the research project I have been working on for the past few months. Once again, though, I have found myself lacking in motivation and structure for my work in this open-ended phase of the project, so I am once again turning to this blog as a possible solution - it worked wonders during the research phase.

So, I have been working on a 3 hour course titled "Introduction to Video Games in Education", which I will actually teach at the OCDE tech center on December 13th. (Sign up if you live in Orange County!) Tonight I offer up my draft of the slides I will use during the class. I have almost certainly over planned at this point, but all of the theory in the opening section I have previously presented in an entertaining 15 minutes at the Walden residency this summer, so this may be do-able, even if it may make participants' heads spin a bit.

In any case, if you are interested, take a look at the powerpoint file and let me know what you think. (I hope you have the fonts I used, but if not, that will be valuable feedback, too.) Thanks.

Click here for a zipped version of the powerpoint file. (2.7 MB - sorry, I have cable and don't usually bother resizing my images.)

In the coming days I hope to start posting reflections on articles again, too. I've been making my way through last months' Issue of Innovate.

Also, I had the good fortune of interviewing / chatting with Clark Aldrich on the phone last week. If all goes well, I will also be talking with James Paul Gee this Thursday afternoon. Parts of these talks will appear in the "Video Games in Education" webcast scheduled to be available October 13th through the OCDE at http://vc.ocde.us. At this point we also plan to produce a companion podcast in order to share more of the audio only conversations, so keep an eye on our RSS feed at http://edtech.ocde.us. Henry Jenkins will be interviewed via iSight for the webcast this week also (again, if all goes well), and other educators are submitting video of their implementations of games in education. I'm more than a little excited about this project, as you might imagine.

Thanks for reading.


PS. I finally received "Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever" in the mail this afternoon. :)