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The Reality of Transcending the Virtual Dona Cady, Professor of Humanities Middlesex Community College, Bedford and Lowell, MA.

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Presentation on theme: "The Reality of Transcending the Virtual Dona Cady, Professor of Humanities Middlesex Community College, Bedford and Lowell, MA."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Reality of Transcending the Virtual Dona Cady, Professor of Humanities Middlesex Community College, Bedford and Lowell, MA

2 The VERG Learning Environment Model Technological Diversity Environmental Appeal Playful Interaction Student Learning Source: Cady, Kalivas, Margulis, and Olson (2006) Community College Journal

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4 Learning Theories Support the Use of Virtual Worlds – “Constructivism” – Importance of real-world applications (Dewey) – Social learning theory (Vygotsky) – Construct knowledge based on experiences (Piaget) – Discovery learning (Bruner) – Situated learning (Lave & Wenger) Legitimate peripheral participation Communities of practice

5 “ Situational learning is the process of coming to be, of forging an identity in activity in the world.” Knowledge can only exist embedded in a participation framework. Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger Lave and Wenger. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge U Press, 1991.

6 “ It is in and through Discourses [relationships] that we make clear to ourselves and others who we are.” James Paul Gee Gee, J. P. Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses (2nd Ed.). London: Routledge/Falmer,

7 “ The ability to adopt alternative identities – to shift virtual identities - for purposes of improvisational discovery is key to being able to interpret and construct dynamic models of real world processes.” Henry Jenkins Jenkins, Henry. Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21 st Century. Boston: MacArthur Foundation, 2008.

8 These interpretive systems underwrite the situated online identities that games both perform and recognize. “ In games, identity is never fixed - “one’s position within this multi- dimensional space of coinciding taxonomies determines who one is in the here and now.” Constance Steinkuehler Steinkuehler, Constance. “Massively Multiplayer Online Videogaming as Participation in a Discourse.” Mind, Culture & Activity, 13(1),

9 Don Margulis Carnegie Copper Group Middlesex Community College 2008 Blog: Beyond the Screen Beyond the Screen Video Clip: Reading the River: The Millennial Student.37-1:33 ; 4:49-6:26Reading the River: The Millennial Student

10 “New ‘postmodern’ theories are closer to ancient Chinese thought than they are to ancient Greek philosophy.” Moeller Moeller, Hans-Georg, Daoism Explained. Chicago: Open Court, 2004

11 “ If there is a mind/body disconnect, then perhaps this (Aristotelian) view works, but if we say that virtual worlds are wholly immersive and that transformation is a continuous process, then I believe that we should look at a different ‘cosmological’ construct. We should look to …Daoism and Confucianism.” Cady

12 Foundations for a Virtual Worlds Model of Learning Theoretical constructs drawn from Asian philosophy – Change – Connection – Community

13 Change “ Asian philosophy sees environment as an interpretive context for the individual in which the individual shapes and is shaped by his environment in an “endless stream of always novel yet continuous situations.” Ames and Hall Ames and Hall. A Philosophical Translation Dao De Jing: ‘Making This Life Significant.’ New York: Ballantine Books, 2003.

14 Change “ The ability to adopt alternative identities – to shift virtual identities - for purposes of improvisational discovery is key to being able to interpret and construct dynamic models of real world processes.” Henry Jenkins Jenkins, Henry. Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21 st Century. Boston: MacArthur Foundation, 2008.

15 “ Changes in knowing become changes in being” and individuals are “ontologically transformed by it.” Constance Steinkuehler Steinkuehler,Constance. “Learning in Massively Multiplayer Online Games.” In Y. B. Kafai, W. A. Sandoval, N. Enyedy, A. S. Nixon, & F. Herrera (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference of the Learning Sciences (521–528). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

16 Connection In Asian philosophy “persons are constituted by their relationships and these relationships are valorized and made real in the process of persons bringing their fields of experience into focus.” Ames Ames, Roger. “The Way is Made in the Walking: Responsibility as Relational Virtuosity.” Chp. 3 Responsibility. Ed. Barbara Darling- Smith. Plymouth, England: Lexington Books, 2007.

17 Connection It is in and through Discourses [relationships] that we make clear to ourselves and others who we are.” James Paul Gee Gee, J. P. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses (2nd Ed.). London: Routledge/Falmer.

18 Connection “I am because we are. My identity is such that it involves you.” Fred Rogers

19 Community “In Asian cosmology the most crucial aspect is the spirit of the symbiosis and mutuality between the particular and totality. In terms of our understanding this means an unwillingness to isolate the particular from the totality, and in terms of feeling, it means the commitment of the particular to do its best to realize the totality.” Tang Zunyi Ames and Hall. A Philosophical Translation Dao De Jing: ‘Making This Life Significant.’ New York: Ballantine Books, 2003.

20 Community “As active participants in the practice of social communities and constructing identities in relation to these communities – through affiliations and disaffiliations – individuals act not just as their avatars but as the ‘kinds of people they think they want to be and others respond to.’” Ian Hacking Hacking, Ian. “Making Up People.” London Review of Books Vol. 26 No Aug. 2006:

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22 Connect: The Buy In Approach administrators Present research evidence “Many video games require players to master skills in demand by today’s employers.” National Summit on Educational Games 2005 Academic support Library, IT, Infrastructure - home and school Software, video cards, computer rooms

23 Choose: Eeny-Meany-Mini-Mo Thematic relevance – Types and duration of assignments Competitive or cooperative play Creative problem solving Consumers or creators? Experiment “If you don’t have great learners, you need great graphics.” Kurt Squires WoW –fantasy travelogue WarHammer – journaling and grouping, lore embedded Second Life – extra credit, unit, class meetings Civilization – social science, mods Spore - individual or group play City of Heroes Architect Edition – learning community mission

24 Commit: Relational Virtuosity Where and how are students playing game? – Our 1 st WoW experience – Our 2 nd WoW –what a difference a semester makes – Our 1 st WarHammer journey – Our 1 st City of Heroes Architect Futurenauts Community Build community - Immersive – Groups, guilds Learning happens often screen with guild chatter WarHammer Scenarios: PVP, PVE, PQ – Assigned times to play – Mentoring

25 Create: Relational Particularity Group Dynamics Depth of relationships results in the depth of time involved Stanford University Set specific online times – 3x per week Be online with students even if you aren’t expert Create assignments so they are content experts – Second Life Philosophy, History, Business, Economics, Music, Lit, Math

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27 Me, Myself, and I Using critical awareness and analysis… “means realizing our tendency to split identity into many different ‘I’s by comparing ourselves with others and by making deliberate choices….There is division into this and that, into past and future, into mine and other.” LiviaKohn on Zhaungzi Self-cultivation Only by examining ourselves in different environments and exploring the different I’s will we experience more connections Kohn, Livia. Introducing Daoism. London: Routledge, 2009.

28 A Mile and a Pair of Moccasins Avatars – Good vs. Evil Gender Switching – Perceptions – Case Study Species – Spore – Herbivore vs. Carnivore Motivations – Psychology

29 Passion Communities Activeworlds WoW WarHammer City of Heroes Second Life Spore Global Kids – Race to Equality The Virtual Video Project

30 Performance based learning “It doesn’t matter what you drove to the arcade, if you sucked at Asteroids, you sucked at Asteroids.” Demetri Williams at GLS 4.0 Distributed learning Why games are important in professional learning – Time management – Power and social capital management of IT functions – Delegation of tasks – Problem solving skills in context Critical thinking skills – Guild leaders “Learn when to reward and when to yell” – Power of collaboration Rovy Branon (ADL Co-labs) and Rick Blunt (DOD)


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