The Strength of Weak Ties

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Playing the Lesson

My Thursday post at features my first steps into the world of gaming. Be sure to check out the link to Line Rider-it's extremely addicting, and be sure also to take a look at the YouTube videos that capture the rides of the penguin in Line Rider.

We've begun to have some discussions about taking the attributes of gaming that are beneficial for kids and asking the question "How do we begin building those ideas into instruction?"

Try bringing that one up at the lunch table...after that, integrating blogs and wikis will seem easy.

So, how do we begin design lessons that students can play?

That sounds very Warlickian.


  • At 12:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Line rider sure can be addictive. Check out some of these amazing videos of line rider slides

  • At 10:58 AM , Blogger David Warlick said...

    Warlickian :-)
    I love it!

  • At 2:47 PM , Anonymous Pete Reilly said...

    Check out my post:

    "Toe the Line or Ride the Line?"


  • At 1:30 PM , Blogger Dan said...


    For years I have learned through narrative activities that move from a “beginning-to-ending” motif, whether on paper or on passive analog TV. Reading a good book, or watching a movie reflects thjs way of learning and observing. Today though, gaming is an example of interactive digital activity, usually with narrative that has multiple branches of action with multiple outcomes possible. The “game” is to reach (or discover) a variety of outcomes through multi-layered logic moves and tests that are not linear.

    We are seeing several things happening today:

    Gaming is becoming realistic, moving toward “TV-quality” imagery;
    TV is becoming more digital, with interaction possible through video on demand and digital controls;
    Movie and TV “cartoons” are becoming more and more “lifelike”;
    DVDs often come with alternative action lines and endings;

    So… we can look for instances where the narrative is created to allow end-user selection of branches and outcomes, even characters and environments.

    In the soap opera, the doctor goes through door A and gets shot.. whoops, not desired. Take him back, try the path through door B now. Wow. How many outcomes are possible? What are the graphic qualities of the characters and their surroundings?

    None of this is new. Some of us remember the Twist-a-Plot stories on Apple IIe software in the ‘80s. Kids loved them. During my last year of undergrad college, the Montreal 1967 Expo ( Worlds Fair ) offered us the Czech pavilion where the audience voted to direct the action of a movie. That was analog, but the concept was futuristic for that time and place! Ted Nelson’s book Computer Lib - Dream Machines, 1974 outlined all this as ‘hypermedia” and “branching” stories. He told us 30 years ago about what is happening NOW.

    Today we have seen the growth of MUDs and MOOs into online environments such as Second Life that let the end user design e a character (avatar) and join into the activity in real time. This is an avenue of approach that is somewhat different from the asynchronous mode mentioned above which exists in many video games.

    Gaming? Logic? Branching Stories? HDTV? Alternative endings? Avatars and real time envrinoment creations? Hypermedia?

    I think we are really seeing only the tip of the iceberg if we talk about learning and GAMING. We are talking about an ongoing shift in how we handle narration and story, and how we are progressing from flat-line beginning-to-end narration and passive TV-watching toward hypermedia with its synchronous and asynchronous modalities and extreme complexities of structure. The advent of HDTV in DIGITAL format is bringing these past ideas to the forefront rapidly.

    Bringing “gaming” to education is a very narrow view of what is happening.

    Understanding the confluence of gaming logic, gaming environments (especially realistic imagery) and emerging interactive entertainment media is what I think is of paramount importance to educators thinking about the relationship between “games” and learning.

    Thanks for “listening”


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