Gamer Generation

     Many, many years ago, before it was common for schools and teachers to have websites, Alan November
shook my edtech world up a bit when he showed me how hate groups and
supremacist organizations “got” the Internet as an education,
communication and PR tool. I had that same feeling a couple of years
ago when I first heard David Warlick’s
spin on gaming. I have to admit to some manic gaming at one point in my
life. Someone had to save the world from those little space invaders
and keep the Pac Man family fed and free from ghosts (I never could
come up with an altruistic reason for Pong). Anyhow, most of you
probably ain’t seen nothing like this before – I caught pieces of two
shows on the “Gamer Generation” on the Discovery Times channel some
weeks ago. They have recently resurfaced in ON DEMAND on my cable
system until mid June and then it looks like they will be rebroadcast on June 26th and 27th.

   You might want to check them out if you get the chance. You will
hear and see a Syrian first person shooter game producer  proudly state
that he is “facilitating the acquisition of knowledge” for his people
as they battle Israeli troops and tanks on the screen. Another game
producer declares that this is a “new language for a new century.” If
you’re like me, there is a world of playing, learning and interaction
out there that is completely unknown and foreign. From a Woodstock like
gathering of hundreds of gamers near the arctic circle, to U.S. Army
recruiting, to fighting your own cancer cells, to buying (yes, real
money!) your own virtual vacation condo at a resort
some place out in space, to digital sweatshops where third world gamers
will play your character up to a certain level for a fee, to virtual
sex, gaming is in and TV is out for many young people and some adults.
Professional gamers in Asia are treated like rock stars with loyal fans
and endorsement contracts.
     And I was just feeling pretty smug and au courrant
because I got myself dressed and I can get myself lost just about anywhere in Second Life
(still trying to get my “hands” on a DEN laptop and T-shirt there and
I’m not completely sure how I ended up with a ‘fro).
     I just
hope that there’s a way for us in education to tap into this
stimulating and challenging medium like we have with web pages and
multimedia production.

Comments

  1. Tim Childers

    Heather, you may some very astute observations. I recently read “Mindset” by John Naisbitt. He makes the argument that cell phones, online gaming, social networks, and places like Second Life are so appealing to young people because they are both bored and lonely. We have raised a generation of kids who have grown up in the total isolation of their bedrooms (my comment, not his). It has become so pervasive that kids don’t feel that comfortable being around one another in school. They have taken the old-school system of sending notes to one another all day to a totally new level. Now it is text messages, Skype, Twitter, IMs and more. I’ll be blogging about this soon (with some notes from Naisbitt). I look forward to your thoughts! Tim

  2. Tim Childers

    Sorry Joe! I knew you wrote this blog, but as I was typing my first comment I saw Heather’s name above it and just typed it in. Maybe Sundays really should just be about rest! :)

  3. Lori A

    Joe,
    The Den SL t-shirts and laptops are again available in the DEN SL house on Eduisland II. We’ve been decorating and it was taken out for awhile. The DEN house is still under construction but the Leadership Council (Yes, I’m on the DEN SL Leadership Council) is busy making plans for events including a Kick Off opening. Stay tuned for more information. By the way, I’m Lor Frederiksson in SL- and we’re looking for more help with events in SL. So look me up in World. And if you still can’t get a laptop, one just ask one of the Leadership and STAR DEN members for help. Dont forget to make sure you’re listed as a STAR in DEN SL too- Steve can do that for you.
    Lor

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