Build Your Game Design Skills

January 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Creative Writing, New Media, Video games 

D3 Logo

 DESIGN                                                             For Cayuga students who share

 DEVELOP                                                           a common interest and curiosity in

 DEPLOY                                                             videogame design and development

D3 Interactive invites students to undertake five secret missions in Spring 2012.  Agents, who choose to accept these challenges, will participate collaboratively to level up their design skills.  No coding or design experience required.

Missions include…

  • (Feb 6)—Working Your Game Core
  • (Feb 20)—Taming War without Frontiers
  • (Mar 5)—Uncovering Passwords to Lost Enigmas
  • (Mar 19)—Melting Digital Metal into Physical Gold
  • (Apr 2)—Raising the Dead

Secret Missions

Drop by L-218 and talk with Professor Bower to receive your missions.

Cool Writing Tools & Gamification

December 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Video games 

I found “cool tools for school” mentioned on an education wiki the other day.

I recommend giving it a look, but keep in mind that whether using a pen or 2.0 web apps, tools to help someone write are only tools. I was reminded of this when within 1 day of posting how pleased I was with 750 Words, I missed a day. A month later I have not yet returned to the website. What went wrong? The tool/app is well designed; I followed its program for most of a month–a long enough duration to revise my writerly habits.

What I think happened was that I realized subconsciously that the game was not the goal.

As Jesse Schell has coined, “chocofication” does not work for everything and should be used discriminatingly in marketing, education, or behavior-changing goals because it’s not a silver bullet. In other words, adding chocolate makes a lot of things better, but not everything.  We wouldn’t try to add chocolate to cottage cheese or pour it over staplers to induce people to buy office supplies. Gamification of an activity may develop a structural toolkit for the participant, but transferring habits like productive, fluid writing outside a gamified structure is not automatic, nor likely to be guaranteed.

Building a game layer on top of the world is appealing for many of us in education. It promises to change what and how we learn. But we are never playing just one game in life, and we don’t play in just one environment.

For more on Gamification efforts and thinking, check out the wiki.  

Digital Distraction Debate (& Possible Evidence)

June 8, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: History, New Media, Video games 

We know attention is as important to writing as it is to most any practice, and a lot competes for our attention these days.  But are we more distracted than in the past?  The discussion has gone something like If you are distracted constantly, you become dependent on the stimuli in your environment–digital life and multitasking have “shallowed” our ability to attend to the world and our very bodies.

Or There’s no such thing as distraction–being distracted means we pay attention elsewhere.  We’ve always multitasked, and we’re smarter for the engagement it provides.

Debate can help frame our concerns, and we can pick sides in this.  But without getting out of our skin or applying multiple tools, we can’t know the accuracy of our perceptions.  A Feburary 2, 2010 Front Line found MIT students thought they were more productive when juggling tasks, but their reaction times slowed.  Thus, we’re beginning to test how multitasking is or isn’t impacting us.

This Sunday’s New York Times Article, Your Brain on Computers: Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price, focuses on a forty-something multi-tasker, not simply the youth as is usually done.  Care to check yourself for distraction?  There’s a test provided.

Admittedly, I found the test exceptionally easy.  But instead of congratulating myself on my abilities or doubting the test’s validity, I couldn’t help think the test was easy because it was a stripped down skill set I’ve acquired by playing video games.

Care to weigh in on this?  It’s an ongoing question: what does digital life mean for writing?  I’d be most interested in hearing what you think are the best tools to test our arguments.