Have You Played Packman in Your Neighborhood?

No, seriously – you gotta play Packman on your local streets.

I stumbled onto this while looking for a store to sell my friend’s CDs. You can actually turn streets on Google Maps into the iconic arcade game. Just click the icon on your google map and it will highlight the area for your game. Big cities make for some of the most entertaining games but even small towns can be fun. I chased ghosts around the Eiffel Tower in Paris.PacMan Google If I get a chance I plan to see how mad Times Square can get and experience the Autobahn as a yellow mouth. There are also some famous traffic circles I plan to pilot. Some, like the Super Round-About, should be extremely interesting.

super_roundabout

I tried to play where I grew up but there weren’t enough streets in the extreme rural landscape. In trying to play there I was surprised at the amount of development in the region. Still, the road situation made for an unplayable Packman game according to Google Maps.

PacMan in Time Square

If I were teaching in a computer lab I might take the last fifteen minutes to have students explore far off places. Talk about a fun geography day. Someone out there is probably planning to sabotage this natural and exciting learning environment by requiring students to play and report their findings or fill in a worksheet. Please do not. Let them take what they can and simply enjoy the ways everyday technologies can be made joyful. If they happen to have excellent skills in navigating traffic in Rome as a result – well – tap them as your navigator next time you end up chaperoning on an international band trip.

 

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Guest Appearances!

This is going to go down as my favorite week for blog connections. While my own blog (this spot here in case you are confused) enjoys unprecedented neglect, one friend, Amanda, decided to include me in her xoJane Post and I am guest blogging for the International Society for Technology in Education. A confluence of my identities, something I am striving towards, seems imminent!

Nevermind, it has occurred:

One of my professors/mentors/colleagues included a brief mention of me in her recently released book. Check out Olivia Murray’s tome entitled Queer Inclusion in Teacher Education: Bridging Theory, Research, and Practice. Click the link to help support my V/Blog delusions as well. If you buy it for me as a gift I promise to go vegetarian for a week.

I have to thank Amanda for re-locating these praise worthy images of me as well:
Image of the author looking goofy with a green plastic halo, plastic star glasses, and a rainbow feather scarf.

This is my serious look.

I swear I am dancing but it looks like I am lifting a leg to go potty, dog style.

It looks like I am in need of a fire hydrant.

 

In better news, my totally serious vlog post for ISTE is complemented with a marginally useful 460 word ISTE EXPERIENCE REVOLUTION!!! Alright, maybe more along the lines of, “Ideas for educators interested in games for learning.” Check out below for an excerpt and video!

I am excited about games in education. Games offer a learning environment that privileges creativity, problem solving and collaboration. It is true that some educational games act like worksheets in terms of repetition and compliance. Despite this less-than-engaging genre, games — especially those designed by students — offer a unique space for constructivist education. This year in my research I explored unique applications of game principles in gaming and non-gaming contexts. ISTE will play a big part in my future direction.
Using 3DGameLab, a platform represented in the exhibit hall at ISTE 2014, I taught faculty, teacher candidates and students. While not as intensely exciting an experience as Marianne Malmstrom’s teaching with Minecraft or the use of World of Warcraft in schools through the visionary efforts of Peggy Sheehy — both presenters at the conference this year — this let me experiment and discover how deeply I appreciate the potential of games in education. I also realized that gamification was not enough to feed my passion for games in schools……   (READ MORE)

Games, games, games, games….comics?!

This blog will certainly become dominated by posts about games, theories of game design, and research insanity in the near future. I should probably change the name. Possibly even the domain. As I delve into designing games for social change some of the education oriented content will undoubtedly slack. Please accept my apologies.

katzenjammer_kidsNow – on to the topic! As I delve into games I have also immersed myself in related “pop” media. I quote pop because there are comic books that rival “classic” reading for longevity and time-based distortion that forces the reader to do as much heavy research as reading Tom Sawyer. Don’t believe me? Check out The Katzenjammer Kids. If the picture of the cover on the right isn’t confusing you are probably over 40. That is not a picture of sadism. Apparently public flogging of children was okay in 1897. I think I vaguely recall naughty students who were foolish enough to get caught getting sent to the principals office for a spanking when I was in kindergarten but that may have been child rumor. I would love to teach late 19th, early 20th century history with this comic series as a guide. How fun would that be?

Check out some samples and possibly even order a book or two here.

There are other long running comic series like Dennis the MenaceB.C.(one of my favorites), Beetle Bailey, Blondie, and others. In terms of oldest comic books there were “Pulps” which also had radio shows. Yes, actual radio. Back when that was entertainment and news. Very little content creation and large audiences due to limited distribution. Newspapers were also big back then. From my limited study the first American costumed super hero was the Phantom. 1936 I think. Someone fact check me on that. At any rate, the social commentary and reflections of social beliefs embodied in these comics are really interesting and sometimes much more critical, if a bit absurd in the portrayal, than literary texts. (Totally my opinion – biased). I like to think that the comic writers today continue to reflect attitudes and social change through their work. X-men is often referenced as a parallel to various civil rights movements and definitely has some interesting things to say if paired with current LGBTQ struggles with child abandonment (kicking a gay kid out of your house is still abandonment), the struggle to hide what you are (in the closet), and the empowered sense of self that I, at least, gained when I came out professionally and to my parents.

For this reason I wanted to share some of the queer comics that have been hitting the net. I am not even going to try critiquing or discussing these. They are all amazing for various reasons and there are plenty of people already providing critical analysis at a level I do not need to compete with.

Adventures in Gay ComicComics I Love:

Adventures in Gay

14 Nights

Blur the Lines

Chaos Life

Check Mate

Girls with Slingshots (Not really my thing but one of my friends loves it).

Kate or Die (I really relate to the main character sometimes)

Ruth & Annabel Ruin Everything

 

LGBTQ Comic Presses:

Northwest Press

Prism Comics

Comic Book Queers

 

Resources

Geeks OUT

 

Comic Book Artists & Writers:

Tony Breed

Rachel Dukes

Jess Fink

Melanie Gillman

Kori Handwerker

Kate Leth

Sfé Monster

Hazel Newlevant

L Nichols

Sasha Steinberg