I've been really quiet for the last several months, but just wanted to drop a quick line and say I'm helping out with the Video Games, Learning and Literacy class I took last spring. Among other things, I've setup a site for the class that we're using in place of Blackboard. I used Drupal and, while it's still under pretty heavy construction theme-wise, the site should prove to be a great resource for the students. Check out the Spring 2009 VGLL site, if you're interested.
This spring, I wrapped up my masters degree in Educational Technology at Arizona State University. In my studies, I had the great pleasure of working with some of the trailblazing academics in the field of educational language, literacy, and gaming studies. Among the folks I've interacted with over the last several years, James Paul Gee and Elisabeth Hayes have overwhelmingly influenced my interests in academic research in the field. Guided by their seminars and publications, along with many others, including Sean Duncan and Constance Steinkuehler, I developed a strong interest in utilizing my web application development skills to create tools that further the field of academic research in language and literacy.
Last fall, I started in earnest on a project to do just that and, to make a long story very short, the ultimate result is Decoder Ring, which I've just presented at the 2010 Games, Learning & Society Conference. Decoder Ring is a web-based, collaborative language analysis tool designed for academic research of textual content. It features:
- Abstracted, flexible, powerful data model
- Sustainable, low cost, open source framework
- Project- and group-based to facilitate collaboration
- Tools for gathering (scraping), importing, browsing, and exporting large data sets
- Automated and extensible reporting tools
When I signed up for EDT791, Video Games, Literacy, and Learning, I was cautiously optimistic. I had heard James Gee speak about literacy in gaming at ASU before he became a professor, and he really caught my attention with his discussion of the language skills being used and gained in everything from World of Warcraft to Yu-Gi-Oh!, so I knew both he and this semester's professor, Betty Hayes, were serious about learning concepts present in games.
In my mind, gaming has historically been social in nature. Chess, soccer, Chinese checkers, poker, basketball, hide-and-seek, horseshoes and Dungeons and Dragons all exist as activities that enable and facilitate social interaction. As games, they nearly cease to exist without the presence of others.
Dear Persona 3,
I want to like you. I did like you... and maybe I still do. I just don't think you want me to like you any more.
Note: For those of you coming to this article outside of the context of the Video Games, Literacy and Learning course (EDT791), I reference topics discussed by James Paul Gee in his book What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.
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It took me over a week to do so, but I think I've finally chosen a game to play for class. Picking a game was actually more difficult than you might imagine. The requirements are pretty open-ended - the game needs to be something I've never played, and should (hopefully) last me fifty hours or more. The hard part?
This past Wednesday, I started my second semester of the Educational Technology (EDT) master's degree at ASU. Last semester, I realized just how difficult having a demanding job and going to school could be, so I decided to cut back this semester to just one class. That one class is Video Games, Literacy and Learning, and if the first class is any indication, it should be a real blast.