Bavelier Inducing a Broader Concept in my Game Design Schema!

Today I either watched for the first time, or rewatched with a greater awareness of the content, Daphne Bavelier’s TED Talk on action video games and the brain embed below. The researchers at Bavelier Lab have recently described playing first-person action games as a way to affect perception, attention and cognition.I especially appreciated the information on increasing the perceiver’s ability to search through a cluttered scene. Most middle school passing periods meet that criteria. In addition the researchers were able to determine that action games were able to lead to greater benefits in theses areas than other entertainment games.

Another Photoshop Stick Figure Doodle by RurikUntil this round with the video I was focussing on increasing educator empathetic response to bullying based in part on Greitemeyer, Brauer, and Osswald2 as well as experiments like IfYouCan, and other media experiments such as described in this NPR story. The problem with this was developing a literature review that could frame how empathy impacts players. My solution was to research as many studies of games that seek to achieve an impact on player empathy. What has resulted is a frustration with the complexity of empathy and lack of direction. Bavelier’s research helps connecting games more directly to skills and our brains rather than the more difficult to define, though no less exciting, world of psychology.

Getting down to the details, according to what I have read so far action game players can track more objects. They grow to recognize finer distinctions in what they see. What if one of the keys to increasing educator intervention in the marginalizing of LGBTQ youth is to increase, through an action game, educators’ recognition of and ability to track behaviors that contribute to a hostile school climate for marginalized students?  Often I hear educators describe their retreat from the chaos of a rowdy classroom or noisy hall and being unable to track the multitude of students. If an action game can increase educator ability to track more students would they not feel more comfortable in those situations and more capably intervene. Well – you can see where my thoughts went on this.

Now I just need to continue to keep my eyes open for additional approaches rather than the empathy bog I was falling into.

Daphne Bavelier’s TED Talk:

 

1) Green, C Shawn, and Daphne Bavelier. "Effect of action video games on the spatial distribution of visuospatial attention." Journal of experimental psychology: Human perception and performance 32.6 (2006): 1465.

2) Greitemeyer, Tobias, Silvia Osswald, and Markus Brauer. "Playing prosocial video games increases empathy and decreases schadenfreude." Emotion 10.6 (2010): 796.
TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedInPinterestTumblrShare

Book Spotlight: Fly Away Home

(null) Recently I spent some time looking for picture books that tackle social justice issues in a sensitive way. Hopefully I will share several but this first one hit me pretty hard. Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting does a credible job of describing what it is like to be homeless, employed, and living in an airport. At one point in my life I experienced a similar situation. It is amazing what you can survive and how often folks will overlook someone. During my stay at an international airport (I found a roommate in another airport resident just after a week) I bought orange juice and oatmeal from the same coffee vendor every morning and evening. My lunch occurred at work, a college coffee shop.

This tale contains an unreal authenticity to my own experience and seeing other “Terminal Homeless”. It also facets the lens on what people view as homelessness. I have experienced several types and never has it included living under cardboard. Unless you count an apartment I lived in during college. I am pretty sure the roof was just tacked up cardboard with the number of leaks I experienced that winter. At any rate, sharing this picture book with your kids is worthwhile. Share a picture of what life is like for the economically disadvantaged. There is extreme difficulty in finding affordable housing at minimum wage.

Order it. Google some lesson plans for sharing in the classroom or check out this one that I found. If you need a preview before ordering there are always YouTube videos.

In keeping with a spotlight I am ending this post here but I think this book deserves a place in your social justice younger reader library.

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!

 

Short Notes of a Book: How to Stop Bullying in Classrooms and Schools

Today I spent quite a while catching up on research articles themed around LGBTQ discrimination in education. Since I am taking notes I thought I might as well share some summaries here. Besides, LinkedIn and my Blog make for easy searching compared to the vast vault of my hard drive and Google Apps accounts.

Each of the articles includes a citation at the beginning and my thoughts following in italics.

Cover of the book: How to Stop Bullying in Classrooms and Schools: Use Social Architecture to Prevent, Lessen and End Bullying.Goodstein, Phyllis Kaufman. (2013) How to Stop Bullying in Classrooms and Schools: Use Social Architecture to Prevent, Lessen and End Bullying. New York: Routledge.

In general I dislike the use of bullying as a term to describe the marginalization of a student or group of students. First I will need to ignore this categorization as most articles will use terms, like bullying, that invite excuse making (my major problem with using terms like bullying and victimization. The categorizations of the forms the bullying (read: marginalization) and outcomes in the first half of the article are actually something I would love to build an infographic on. The language would be useful and easily translatable to a variety of audiences and facilitate greater dialogue. It was the second half of the article which I really found interesting.

Goodstein describes the use of social architecture theory and social scaffolding as a method for creating social change. Actually it is more of guide for educators and others. Teachers stand as role models and set up systems for pro-social classroom behaviors. There is also a description for bystanders and upstanders. The section on encouraging bystanders to become upstanders deserves more consideration as those models may apply to the design of a game intending the same outcome. To support teachers and upstanders there are two major components described by Goodstein: incompatibility and intervention. Incompatibility means creating such an environment of kindness, expectations, service learning, projects, and other things so as to make the school climate incompatible with bullying. Intervention focusses on making sure educators and upstanders, parents, and the community, administrators, and policy all take action when marginalization occurs as inaction relates to a lack of condemnation rather that “ignoring something so it goes away.”

I really enjoyed the metaphor of a broken window. If a window is allowed to sit without repair then additional windows will be broken. The same applies to marginalizing behavior. If no one intervenes and there is not a social stigma applied to marginalizing behaviors then what can be expected to occur? Maybe the broken window would be a symbol for a video game…or graffiti on a locker.

 

Queer Coffee: LGBTQ Apartments for Elders Article

 

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)