Game Play/Real Play & We Live In Public

I wanted to share a couple of recent videos that I’ve been rewatching.

First, while I don’t agree with all of Jane McGonigal’s arguments, I’m genuinely excited by her recent TED talk. At this point, I am strongly aligned with the idea of connecting game play to real world change. You could do a lot worse than spend 20 minutes watching Margolis’ presentation.

I’ve been following Jane’s work since Greg Niemeyer showed me World Without Oil (A bit of trivia: Greg was also one of the members of Jane’s dissertation committee).  Her article, “Why I Love Bees fits directly into my research on the Black Cloud. Similarly, Evoke seems like an interesting premise. And while I understand what she’s doing with her argument by contrasting the time youth spends playing video games with the time they spend in schools, I think this is where a lot of researchers are missing a big opportunity. As a field, we continue to look at the informal environments for game play and research. It’s easier to do so – a select group of interested individuals, less controlled curriculum, easier access issues, etc. However, think about how the power of game play for change could be compounded within formal learning environments. I’m working on developing material around this within my classroom, and expect game play to fit somewhat prominently into my dissertation. So if it sounds like I’m grandstanding or being a bit presumptuous here, it’s more personal throat-clearing than anything else.

Second, I just saw We Live in Public and found it to be an absolutely compelling and terrifying documentary. I’m not clear about what disqualified it for an Oscar nomination, but think it could have given The Cove a run for its money. The foundational arguments about privacy, surveillance and our culture’s relationship with the media are extemely prescient. As I continue to think about how student-generate media products will be created, shared, and assessed within my classroom, these are the topics I am concerned about. Ownership of data, of our lives, and of conceptions of propriety is in flux and the experiments that Josh Harris challenges us to face this fact.

His next project sounds equally as preposterous as past efforts, and I’m interested (if not extremely wary) about what will transpire if he gets the funding for this. Though I encourage you to watch his pitch below, I highly recommend seeking out and viewing We Live In Public for a better sense of context.

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