Anger, fear, and games: The long event of #GamerGate by Torill Elvira Mortensen (2018) – an article review

Mortensen (2018) takes the reader through a story arc to define the event #GamerGate; however it has not come to a tidy conclusion yet (just type in the hashtag in Twitter). From the underground buzz where discourse began and how it gained momentum in mainstream social channels, to using a “swarm metaphor to describe its self-organizing nature” and gradually building to a crescendo with the declaration that #GamerGate is akin to hooliganism; defined by Merriam-Webster as “rowdy, violent, or destructive behavior.” Mortensen explores #GamerGate and states that “it is a unique chance to understand more about games and their culture”. The author explores the motivations behind the ugly and damaging vehemence of the GG’s supporters’ presence throughout this event….

Click below to read my article review; prepared for ETEC 565S: Digital Games, Pedagogy and Learning.

My Page

Two Strikes: A Twine Story

Twine / An open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories

In my summer institute course Digital Games, Learning and Pedagogy at UBC’s Vancouver campus, we had the opportunity to try Twine, an online tool that allows you to make fun story games! This is such an incredible resource for the classroom as it is free!

My game, Two Strikes, is below. Click on the picture to take you to the game, hosted on my itch.io page. It is a story with two different outcomes (sort of ;), and you’ll notice when you hover your cursor over certain words/sentences, they are clickable. These will take you to other screens. It is a “choose your own adventure” type of game (albeit a short one!) and my first attempt at using Twine. It is so fun to use and I hope you try it out!

Download Twine here and try it for yourself

All images free to use from Pixabay.

ETEC 565S: Day 1 Reflection

A reflection of our afternoon of play, with reference to Huizinger’s definition of ‘play’ and Caillois’ take on ‘game’.

Afternoon board games – we settle into our corner and choose a game to play.

Image from: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2126836/crafting-windows-dice

“Sagrada? What’s that?”

“Do you know that cathedral in Spain? It’s a really fun game where you build stained glass windows…using die.”

Sagrada is a game where the players create stained glass windows by building up a grid of dice on their player board. Each board has some restrictions on which color or shade (value) of die can be placed there. Die of the same shade or color may not be placed next to each other. There are 90 coloured die in the game, and a game board with 10 spots. Those 10 spots are empty and awaiting the discarded dice following each round of play. For a 4-player game, you roll 9 die, choosing them from a bag and then selecting one to place on your “cathedral” (player board). Each player gets 2 die to place on their board, with an option to take both, opt out entirely or just take one (with the implication being you would potentially be behind your opponents, but sometimes you have no choice). We figured that a potential strategy could be to look at your opponent’s board and, if it suits your board (even though it would not necessarily be your first choice), take a dice that they would need/want for their window during that round to try to force an opt out. 

One of the questions that came up was: Are there enough die for our rounds? The cathedral has 20 windows (spaces to place the die), marked with either the numbers on the die or colours. We did the math and if we were to deplete the bag during the rounds (4 x 20 = 80) and have 10 leftovers for the game board, that would equal 90 die total. The crux lies in whether or not the die rolls are in your favour. Caillois defines 4 different categories of games. Our group participated in the alea type, or games of chance. Games of chance level the playing field, as randomness takes away some of the competitiveness, since skills, qualifications and experience does not factor in. It is left up to fate. However, some games of chance are higher stakes than others (for example, gambling money in a casino versus a family game of Yahtzee), so each would have different levels of stress attached to who wins.

Huizinga (1955) states that play “must be defined as a free and voluntary activity”. Although the games were provided and assigned to us this afternoon, it still felt like free time, as there were no expectations or analysis to be done while playing. So, it was a source of joy and amusement. I remember thinking to myself that I should play more in general, as I was using problem-solving and critical thinking skills while figuring out the win conditions and gameplay, and doing so was satisfying.

Games provide an environment conducive to collective conversation, and thinking to yourself; being helpful, and attempting to thwart your opponents – all in an afternoon of play.

References


Huizinga, J. Nature and Significance of Play as a Cultural Phenomenon.In K. Salen and E. Zimmerman (Eds.) The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology (pp. 96-120). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Mobile Virtual Reality Experiences

For my current UBC MET course (ETEC 523 – Mobile and Open Learning), the first assignment is to publish an original media-based critical analysis of an emerging facet of mobility. I chose to use Adobe Spark Page to create the resource, as I know how mobile responsive it is, and my topic was how to use apps to support and produce immersive mobile narrative-making. I smashed a few apps together but had to include a tour building software only available on desktop – Google, if you’re reading this (ha), please develop a mobile editor for Tour Creator! This proposed platform allows students to use free software and apps to create virtual reality scenes / tours – the potential for creativity is endless. At the end, students can publish their tours and view them using VR goggles.

IMG_4068
Cardboard VR Goggles, Best Buy’s Insignia brand (these often go on sale for $5.00)

Click below to see how Cardboard Camera, Google Drive, Tour Creator and Google Expeditions work together to create mobile virtual reality experiences!

Mobile Virtual Reality Experiences

Google Tour Builder: A Virtual Tour of Three Mushkegowuk First Nations Communities

I’m currently taking a course called Constructivism Strategies for E-Learning as part of my master of educational technology at UBC. We were tasked to host a “Research Cafe” for our colleagues on UBC’s Canvas LMS by designing an online learning environment. My topic was “Virtual Field Trips in a Virtual Learning Environment”, although it could also have been Virtual Field Trips as a Virtual Learning Environment. I used inquiry and collaborative learning as the basis of my cafe, and hopefully provided a space for both of these to occur through the use of map listings, a multimedia virtual field trip and discussion fora where peers collaborated with each other and asked questions based on their prior and current understandings/knowledge. My chosen framework was grounded in Baviskar et. al’s (2009) research which outlined four key elements for constructivist learning: 1) eliciting prior knowledge; 2) creating cognitive dissonance; 3) applying new learning; and 4) reflecting on the learning.

Thank you to Roxanne Metlin, Ed Sutherland, and Wilma Williams for providing audio for parts of the tour!

Click here to visit Kashechewan, Taykwa Tagamou and Chapleau Cree First Nations in Tour Builder (best viewed in Chrome).

You can also click on the hamburger menu at the upper RH corner and choose “Open in Earth” to open in Google Earth:

OpeninEarth

GoogleEarthTourBuilder
Google Tour Builder

References

Baviskar, S. N., Hartle, R. T., & Whitney, T. (2009). Essential criteria to characterize constructivist teaching: Derived from a review of the literature and applied to five constructivist-teaching method articles. International Journal of Science Education, 31(4), 541-550. doi:10.1080/09500690701731121

Sketchnoting the concept of Knowledge

I’m currently enrolled in ETEC 530: Constructivist Strategies for E-Learning through the UBC MET program. We are learning about knowledge, and how it’s constructed and acquired, through a philosophical lens held up by Professor Duncan Pritchard at the University of Edinburgh. The following post was one of our discussion post assignments.

Method:

My task for this particular week was to choose an online concept mapping tool in order to draw a visual representation of linkages between the posts in What is knowledge? My ideas forum, with the readings from Duncan Pritchard. Since I knew I wanted to create a sketchnote and I don’t currently own a stylus to draw on a tablet, I opted for a no-to-low tech option for this assignment. Yes, I used paper and pens. I did use an online word cloud generator by Jason Davies in order to begin my word associations, and this acted as a digital springboard for me. I take word clouds with a grain of salt, as these generators don’t take context into consideration.

 

I started with the word “knowledge” in the middle of the page. Then, I thought of a brain, so I drew a brain beside the word knowledge. I remembered when I taught the Human Organ Systems unit in Grade 5 Science years ago, and proceeded to split the brain into four parts: Frontal, Parietal, Occipital and Temporal, and labeled and colour-coded them. Then I refreshed my memory (activating my temporal lobe) and researched the parts of the brain, and ended up organizing my canvas into four parts. I thought that I could link Pritchard’s teachings through this type of lens and go from there.
Taking notes by sketching comes naturally to me, and I feel that I organically made linkages because it was a natural process (not to speak in circles). If you’d like to dig deeper into the wonderful world of sketchnoting, I just found this article entitled “50+ Awesome Resources to Create Visual Notes, Graphic Recordings & Sketchnotes”. It is an amazing curation of resources, even if you’ve been sketchnoting for a while! I also love Sylvia Duckworth.

Materials:

Gelly Roll 06 pen (found this one while in Japantown in San Francisco and it is my absolute favourite gel pen)

Sketchbook (mine is a Five-Star Scrap Book with heavyweight paper)

Mr. Sketch markers (for pops of colour and scent!!; although these will bleed through the paper)

Sharpie pens (multiple colours)

Computer with a copy-paste Google Doc of my fellow students’ responses in the What is Knowledge? My Ideas forum, as well as the word cloud I used to generate linkages based on frequently used words/ideas

My sketchnote:

References

Cherry, Kendra, and Steven Gans. “Learn the Basic Structures of Brain Anatomy.” Verywell Mind, Verywellmind, 24 Feb. 2018, http://www.verywellmind.com/the-anatomy-of-the-brain-2794895.