Friday, 15 June 2007


I had a chat with Chris Goldsmith in our Politics and International Relations department yesterday. As well as being a top wicket-keeper and middle-order batsman, he's one of the good-guys. Always interested in innovating [early use of and Wikis, embedding role-play and simulations], he's working with Heather [Humanities eLC] on implementing some elements of gaming cultures into next session's modules. Part of this is about student energy and engagement and "passion" within the module.

This is interesing because ahead of running a development session @ Worcester University on Wednesday I read Marc Prensky's "Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning!" There are some critical messages in it about engaging with a culture that appears alien to many of us. Whereas I was brought up on single-user games like Asteroids, Defender and Pac-Man, most games are now networked, multi-player and complex and I don't play them. It is Prensky's ability to strip-back gaming beyond the graphical interface to highlight the pinciples that underpin its cultures and thereby show how those principles can be embedded within the curriculum that matter.

These principles include: instant feedback on preformance; collaborative goal-setting and achievement; intrinsic, emotive engagement in a task or set-of-tasks; testing assumptions and emerging theories; developing awareness about rules and contexts; resourcing, planning and delivering strategies; voluntary associations within communities; reviewing and modifying contexts/games/levels/content; and decision-making based upon problem-solving and prioritising. Embedding these types of principles is part-and-parcel of a Web 2.0 approach and is what Chris "The Wickie" Goldsmith is trying to work through. This approach and these principles will also underpin our professional development work-packages, because whether or not we use Web 2.0 software, we do need to deploy Web 2.0 approaches in our practice.

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