Riding with Rosa Parks to ISTE


Today on my way into ISTE I sat with a seat dedicated to Rosa Parks. It has set my thought towards issues of equity this morning. When I return to Portland in the morning I will need to work on two papers concerned with these issues. One relates to digital tools and the other to broader implications. The question I am going to focus on today is: how can I build games for learning that address social, cultural, and ability inequities?

To lighten the mood, my selfie yesterday:



ISTE – Monday Morning


Today I am heading off to ISTE. Actually I have been here for the last few days. Today is the first full official conference day. The events of the weekend got me to reflecting a bit. Reflecting on games in education.

During the Saturday activities we were rehashing old topics and I was feeling fearful that I was not going to experience the inspiration I have felt at prior ISTE conferences. Then I got a call/email from someone I’ve worked with regarding Google Apps for Education asking for some help with Google Voice. Sherry Bosch wanted to make sure the system worked for the Epic Leadership program Monday morning. Since I was attending she wanted to keep thing quiet and not reveal why she needed this to work. Nothing like a mystery, right?

Since I know the facilitator, Peggy Sheehy, and had already completed the online quests (amazing!), I already had a strong sense of what the Google Voice was for. Still…I decided my best course of action was to beard Peggy in her lair (hotel) and offer to help. At the end of a couple hours getting components of one massively fun Alternative Reality Game (ARG), which was the backbone of the Epic Leadership experience, I was inspired!

It is amazing the kind of work and collaboration a small group of enthusiastic professionals can do when they put their minds to it. Peggy is a maestro of orchestrating games for learning. Kae Novak was instrumental in pumping up the crowd and organizing. The bricoleurs drove excitement and facilitation to levels I would not have dreamt up.

So I am back to inspired – just in time for my presentation this morning.

PS: My Jane Mcgonigal video mash-up will come soon. Probably after the conference.

Off to ISTE!

ISTE 2013 San Antonio June 23-26

I am off to ISTE! I absolutely love this conference. This year I hope to tak advantage of the conference to launch a few projects.

The first project relates to this blog; I want to get some guest game-players in here. Hopefully I can get my first QuestGuest to play on Friday but my main goal is to recruit a few people for future shows using Google Hangouts.

Last week I tried starting a book review vlog series and ran into a problem of time and organization. It is quite easy to discuss chapters from a book but editing things together takes a larger chunk of time which I lack. One of my goals is to ask more experienced vloggers how they handle their workflow and get shows posted regularly.

Finally the last project, and perhaps most important, getting my dissertation topic off the ground. My dissertation relates to games for learning in some way but the details have remained fluid. Back when I thought I might end up in a classroom again I thought I could do a case study. Now I am thinking about the potential for an empirical study of WoW in Schools across the classrooms adopting this curriculum in some form. Hopefully I get a chance to talk with folks more intimate with the curriculum and get their ideas.

Machinarium – Interesting Beautiful Game


Okay – I have had a couple days to reflect on this game. I really like it as an example of an exploration game. Imagining replicating the game with different content relating to the disciplines I have taught seems doable. If I were teaching a unit on cell reproduction I might make each puzzle about the steps in mitosis etc. Math and physical science (engineering) fit in well. The discipline I struggle to integrate is literacy. Documentation might be one avenue or a specific literature study but I really value the individuation for students in terms of their literary pursuits. This might be a case where having students build a game of this sort based on their literature choice might make more sense. Constructing a game to complicate their understandings of a bit of literature.

Regulating –>MOOCs<-- as a Headline?!

Holy rusted educational punditry Batman! Did I just put MOOC and regulation in the same sentence. Twice!? Zoinks!

Alright, moving past the batman references that I am too young to truly appreciate – no I didn’t do it. Or at least I was not the first. I refuse to link the original article on principle. Perhaps we need to stop using the acronym as a word but isn’t open one of MOOCs middle names? Somehow I feel we might mess with MOOCs identity even more if we start messing around with the second letter.

Aren’t we already stretching the M? I mean, how massive do we need to go to use massive as a term? I joined one “MOOC” with 20 participants. I think it fit the last three letters but OOC sounds like something an Orc Grunt says in World of Warcraft.

Actually I think this helps. If we regulate MOOCs they become MOCs. Long live the MOC! “What a great MOC!” Saves me a whole character when I tweet this out too!


Checking out some games…



I decided to check out some games. Well, actually I checked out two new games and recalled two games I played in the past. In avoiding writing papers and other traditional duties of a procrastinating student I am blogging and vlogging about my topic. So in addition to my other projects I am now having fun writing up little minireviews of games I have the opportunity to explore and doing vlogs on the ones that really catch my attention.

Enjoy the vlog or better yet go play the game. For other games keep an eye on the sidebar – I plan to continue posting interesting games as I recall them.