Monday, December 05, 2005

"The Gaming Generation and Libraries: Intersections" -Constance Steinkuehler

Even more Gaming, Learning, and Libraries coverage

Constance Steinkuehler – “The Gaming Generation and Libraries: Intersections”
U of Wisconsin
Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG)

What is an MMOG?
Highly graphical 2d/3d
Online/social interaction
Persistent virtual worlds
Real-time, perpetually accessible
Loosely structured, open-ended
Players free to do as they please
“Escapist fantasy” yet emergent “social realism”(Kolbert, 2001)

Discussion: Lineage II
MMOGs feature totally immersive environments where players can do whatever they wish (in most cases).

Constance previewed a video of a massive battle she and her clan were part of that involved seizing a castle. Such things can take weeks to plan, and becomes more than just playing a game.

There are millions of people playing these games.

MMOGs have created their own market places. Example: On ebay people are selling items they have earned in game. Because of this, you end up with an exchange rate (ex. US Dollars to game currency).

Intellectually Significant

Collaborative problem solving – ex. Group hunts. Going out to hunt a “Boss” monster to defeat it. I.e. Cross-functional teams – take on a project: planning to follow-up, individuals have functional roles, self-managed, semi-permanent, group goals w/individual accountability. This seems to mirror “fast capitalism”, less of the pyramid structure and more flat. You end up with leaders and followers.

The literacy scare

Books such as: “The collapse of literacy and the rise of violence in the electronic age”
“Video games hurt brain development…”
“Video games…displacing print media…”


In-game talk: players can interact through the text-written talk.
Because of so much going on in the game, gamers use shorthand (really creating their own language) to communicate with text.
“orally” delivered narratives
in-game letters
Player generated content becomes more important (and accurate) than the official contents of the game. Fan sites, clan sites (photo albums, forums), personal game blogs, and:

Fan Fiction
Game fans just begin to generate fiction based on the game. They do not see it as writing or a separate activity, but a natural part of their game play.

Games are not replacing print media. They are about literacy activities.
“sure, but quality matters”

Some MMOG literacy practices exceed national reading, writing, & technology standards.

Back to the literacy scare
Fear of technology
Fear of youth culture
Fear of what, not whether (or how well)

Games as an intellectually rich environment

Systems of reciprocal apprenticeship
Features of apprenticeship (she listed many, but I’m just putting a few here)
-Join participation
-Valued / routine activity
-As you go forward the learner takes more control of the activity
-Apprenticed into a particular view of the world (the teachers culture)

Players can feel they can be something they aren’t because in real life they see their looks/appearance as a barrier to being a leader.

Ex. MadamSin – in real life she is an illegal immigrant welder. In the online world, she was a powerful leader.

-decentralized authority (Beck & Wade)
socio-technical skills over status
reciprocal apprentice ship

Participatory culture
collective intelligence (Levy)
Awareness of different ‘games’
Multitasking across multiple “attention spaces” (Lemke)
At ease with dynamic & evolving knowledge
Primary of the subjective
McLuhan: “searching not for goals but for roles, a striving for an identity that eludes.”

Video games are a push technology.
Not just hardware, but norms (society/culture) as well.

Why should you care?

Games are intellectually rich, collaborative problem solving, literacy practices, and enculturation into practices and perspectives (shift toward participatory consumption).

Mods: Modifying a game, creating your own content

Social mods: unintended changes in the rules of the game. Ex. Instead of sieging castles, players (even enemies) band together to fight (in game) a group or people that are not playing the game as it was meant to be.

Technical mods: Mods that alter the interface of the game.

For some modders the game becomes about modding. They no longer play, but spend their time making mods for the game.

MMOGs are functioning as third places. A new space for people to build social networks. A place to build social capital.

Games * Learning * Society
June 15-16, 2006 Madison, WI

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At 12/21/2005 10:22 AM, Blogger Michael McArthur said...

Great blog! I'm stunned at how many people are writing on the topic, and how none of them are being seen unless you happen to read blogs!


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