Bye Bye AERA, Hello Games for Change!

  Thank you Chicago & AERA. It has been indescribable. Looking forward to DC next year! Hopefully the weather will hold out just a titch longer & I can extend my stay next year to include Smithsonian days. Unfortunately I barely viewed Chicago’s wonders beyond a comic book store, a few queer bars, & the park with the giant metal bean. 

Currently I am warming myself in a Chinatown cafe before boarding my bus back to New York City. Games for Change begins on the morrow & I know I am ill prepared. Hopefully the bus ride provides sufficient time to process the wonderful research I was exposed to over the last week. Special thanks to Dr. De La Vega, Vanessa Folds, GLSEN researchers Emily Greytak & Joe Kosciw, Dr. Meyer, Jake McWilliams, Dr. Stevens, James GambrellCatherine Kemeny Gambrell, and all the others that I can’t seem to hold in my head. You made this a great event.

My Vlogging broke down and I have yet to edit today’s video (yesterday did not happen) but feel free to check out my vlogs listed below:

Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNxw7WAV0HqB6F6ExiXlSIgn5OwtRrPG6

Day One: https://youtu.be/rMhnao46nDU

Day Two: https://youtu.be/lY9EHfYFieo

Day Three: https://youtu.be/ZZY19Emi5MA

 

Also – photos…

       

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The Brainwaves Video

The BrainWavesBob Greenberg has been doing a series of videos called The Brainwaves. In this series Mr. Greenberg, a retired educator, asks educators to provide an interview. He does very little to find out what people are going to talk about. His coaching is also minimal. The result is a video where educators really get a chance to talk about their passion. Some of the names of people he has interviewed are huge in education and educational politics. Some…well…I only have two subscribers to my YouTube channel so there are those of us who are not so big. In his interview series, though, we are all equals.

Check out his channel and my recent interview embedded below!

 

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)

Presenting at ISTE 2014

iste2014badgeHurrah! Presenting at ISTE 2014!

 

Once again I have the opportunity to present at ISTE this year. Last year was San Antonio and this year is Atlanta Georgia….a bit sweltering after 2012 in San Diego but I have a blast irregardless.

This year I am working with a colleague at Portland State University on faculty technological professional development. We are using the ISTE NETS*T as our guide and 3DGameLab as our portal. At the conference come by our poster session and we’ll let you know how it goes. Right now we are in the midst of promoting NETS*T IV amongst the university faculty!

While there I also hope to spend some quality time with the Young Educators Network, the games for learning people, and several SIGs. I am especially excited to reconnect with SIGML! I feel completely out of touch this year and desperately want to reconnect with folks. Doctoral work seems to magically sneak my time whenever I am not looking.

My Researcher Identity Memo

20130607-163242.jpgOver the last thirteen years I have taught or involved myself in education in a variety of non-traditional roles. Primarily I have been concerned with engaging at-risk or disadvantages youth. Simultaneously I have been an avid user of virtual environments, most notably games and especially massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG). These dual passions eventually led to an introduction to a community of gamer educators who were passionate about taking the features of games in the classroom.

Several educators noted the rich literary opportunities. A few educators were intrigued my the opportunity to explore simulated environments that parallel the real world but did not have the costs associated with traditional labs or live action simulations. These content specialized interests have not driven my interest as much as the level of engagement that students experience in games. This particular feature of games fascinates me.

Tracking these mechanics and lifting them from the context of games and into the learning environment is one of my goals. (I do not mean this to indicate that I think these mechanics can be nakedly lifted from games and placed within education. This is a more critical and complicated interaction than I have space to describe here). I plan to form a collaboration with educators practicing game enhanced learning strategies to develop an artifact that may assist educators in implementing engaging mechanics in their curriculum in useful and timely ways. Having a group working on this is quite important due to my limitations as a researcher.

My experiences limit me in that my concepts are influenced by deep knowledge of game design mechanics. Due to this I need collaborators who lack this understanding yet still have an interest in games for learning in order to help clarify the any artifacts. My lack of “traditional” classroom experience can also be seen as limiting since a traditional classroom teacher may not find my findings generalizable. This is yet another reason for a diverse force of collaborators. I think through diversity in experimental contexts the findings might be generalizable enough for further spread and usability of the artifact.

Emerging Leader Award is Popular at my School…

A screenshot of the article.The emerging leader award is popular at my school. They decided to feature the award in the school of ed’s blog. While the interview was fun and strange emails I am getting scare me just a titch!

Despite my embarrassment regarding the attention I am excited about the opportunity to go to Washington DC. If I can leverage this visit towards grants for my research in games for education and general leverage for curriculum design I will be happy. There is also a secondary set of interests. I have joined Portland State University’s School of Ed’s Curriculum and Instruction’s LGBTQ Advocacy Task Force. We are looking for ways to support teacher candidates, students and others in the schools who identify somewhere along the LGBT (and QIA) spectrum. Personally this is very satisfying work and I hope to hear other’s perspectives in DC and throughout the year.