CLMOOC 2014 Make Cycle #3 is all about games. And the games we are considering are ones taken from the widest continuum imaginable: childhood games, board games, made up games, online games, World Cup games and the greatest meta-game of all—telling stories about games. Games and gaming have burst into the learner zeitgeist over the last several years marked by the coining of the term “gamification” in education circles. Game sales are bigger than movie box office revenue worldwide. Game apps can create overnight millionaires.
But games are also intimate and unconcerned with big bucks. Often they are about narrative. In the lead up to our work on this cycle we began by talking about games in our own lives. Joe told about how his backyard trampoline was not just a magnet for playmates in the neighborhood, but also a source of ad hoc gam-ery. Terry related how his mother was an afficionado of hard ball, marbles, and knife games. He learned “danger games” about knives while playing mumblety peg. Christina Cantrill told about how her father played “halfball,” a game that involved half a ball and car traffic. Michael Weller admitted to a continuing passion for table top ice hockey. Kim Douillard (who said at first that she couldn’t think of how gaming was important in her life) shared a project that is a fixture of the San Diego Writing Project’s Summer Institute: participants remix the classic board game Monopoly. We invite you to not only play, make and hack games, but we invite you to be your own bard about games past, present, and future.
Let’s Get Serious
The main subtext underlying games is play. Play researchers like Peter Gray have argued that our culture is play-deprived, something that “unschools” like the Sudbury School have taken to heart in restructuring learning from the ground up. Gray also argues that play dovetails into human adaptation and survival. In other words, without play we will not survive as a species.
This week (and beyond) we ask you to tell stories about play, to make up games and play them, to find others’ games and play them, and to hack/adapt games as you wish and you will. I think you will find that connected learning principles and values fit hand in glove with the idea of play.
Let’s Spark Our Thinking
Each link below opens paths into this week, and like the old “choose your own” books they can lead you to play in new spaces and places where you will make, play, connect, and learn.
- Gaming as Connected Learning Personified: This Thinglink interactive image ties games into connected learning principles and values.
- Blaze a TrailThis Inklewriter branching story presents specific examples that may give your adventure a direction. CLMOOC Make Cycle Three:
Remember that however you wish to game, play is the operative verb. Just blaze your own trail.
You can edit this newsletter here if you want to add more “sparks”: Hackable version of newsletter.
Here is a social bookmarking group for reading about games and sharing your links and thoughts: Diigo “Let’s Go Play”
Asynchronously discuss along with us and play expert (oxymoron intended), Jane McGonigle’s global thumb wrestling initiative.
Asynchronously discuss, along with us and play scholar Peter Gray, the evolutionary imperative that play represents.
And whatever you do, make sure you share your examples and/or tutorials at the bottom of this Make Bank entry or on G+, Twitter, your blog, or wherever else you hang out.