Serious Games and Virtual Worlds: April 4-24, 2007

Welcome

Welcome

by Tia Carr Williams -
Number of replies: 28

Good Morning and welcome everyone to Serious Games and Virtual Worlds.

During the next three weeks we will hope to explore, debate and share our collective understanding of these two subjects which are currently being developed both academically and commercially to great effect and success.

Today, Wednesday, we request that registrants post a brief introduction and indicate what specific interest they have in Serious Games and what questions they are seeking answers to.

All registrants have been accorded a 30 day free licence to register at www.IndustryPlayer.com, for which I am the VP of Corporate Relations. To download a special SCOPE code has been created in the dropdown at the download menu. Select SCOPE and you will receive free credits to play for 30 days. IndustryPlayer is unique in its immersive dynamic business world design as an MMOG, and the creator, Thomas Lehnert, has much improved the game dynamics in the last couple of months to offer educators offline versions for classroom application. We can discuss the ways that MMOG portals can provide a cosntructive, stimulated learning environment and see what people think about this type of serious game from first hand experience.

On Tuesday, 10th April,  we have a special guest, Ron Edwards, CEO of  www.ambientperformance.com who will co host a simulcast in Second Life and skype and we recommend that anyone wishing to attend, create their avatar in good time and have their skype id available.

I believe that the future of Serious Games in education will enhance the ability of the educator to truly engage the 'digital native' in ways that make learning more enjoyable and continuous. The Digital Classroom is prescient, is this something you believe, as educators, will improve your ability to achieve learning objectives and outcomes?

These and other questions can be explored in the coming weeks and Im delighted to have this opportunity to meet so many educators who are seeking greater understanding of what can be accomplished with games.

Tia Carr Williams

In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Therese Weel -
Thank you Tia for starting our first ripple of conversation.

I've been looking forward to doing this session for quite some time.  Now, I'm not an  expert who can impress you with my expertise.   I'm here because these subjects are on the leading edge and a SCoPE seminar is a good way to divine the collective wisdom.

I describe myself as a practical person who learns best by doing.  At home I build furniture and tinker with my vehicles. After many years of doing so - I think nothing knocking out a wall or changing my own brake shoes.   I like doing a job well and having the right tools to do it with. 

I've been impressed by some of the serious games and simulations I've tried because they have helped me "get a feel" for doing things.  Much better than just reading about them or taking a course.

Over the past few years I've been involved with larger web projects. For Industry player, I've been well.. playing... and watching as Tia suggests terrific strategies and Thomas makes them happen.

Over the past few months Tia and I have been surfing  the web, following discussion forums and chatting with people who are developing serious games.  We've also met people who are creating environments in virtual worlds such as Second Life. 

Most recently, I decided It would be nice to see people in three dimensions again, so I have been working for the Faculty of Education at SFU.  I use my magic powers to keep the machines running.   We are primarily a Mac shop providing support for 400 staff and students including distance education and research projects.

I'd like to thank Liz and Sylvia for giving us the opportunity to host this conference.  Sylvia  just impresses the socks off me and pretty much everyone else who gets to know her.  Together  Liz and Sylvia are developing the SCoPE platform into a terrific resource for educators worldwide.

I am delighted to be hosting this conference with Tia Carr Williams.  I hope you will get to know this amazing lady and call her a friend, as I do.

Come in and post your introduction, the water is lovely.

In reply to Therese Weel

Re: Welcome

by Elizabeth Wallace -

Just a note to thank Theresa for her kind words about what Sylvia and I are doing. It's no secret that Sylvia is the creative genius behind SCoPE. As I've said many times, I just run around trying to keep up with her.

However, I will mention that one of my major tasks at the moment is building the infrastructure that keeps SCoPE going. All the participants in this forum can help by sending suggestions to Sylvia, and of course by being actively engaged. You may have noticed that we have over 800 members in SCoPE now, and there are many "regulars" already signed up for this conversation. Your support is very much appreciated.

Through my working relationship with Therese, I've come to understand her passion for virtual worlds, and from her complimentary comments about Tia, I'm sure they will make wonderful leaders for the seminar. I know everyone will have a lot of fun in the next three weeks and you can be sure I'll be following along. Let the games begin!

Liz

In reply to Therese Weel

Re: Welcome

by David Bell -
Hi. I'm David Bell, A Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at SFU. My area is educational technology & have read a bit about these gaming environments & their impact on education. I'm anxious to chat with folks who are actually using them to see if this is something I should be adding to our undergrad courses in Ed Tech.
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Bronwyn Stuckey -
Hi I, Bronwyn Stuckey here in Sydney Australia. I have worked for the past 4 years on a 3D multi-user game environment developed for kids out of Indiana University - Quest Atlantis built on the ActiveWorlds platform - working for Sasha Barab. I have a great interest in MMORPG as potential spaces for community and identity building, as my main area of research and practice is in Internet-mediated community of practice development. I manage online Professional Development Workshops for teachers Quest Atlantis and support schools using QA across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Europe (new workshops starting mid April).

I was a guest blogger a in February on the 21st Century Organisation Blog where I raised a few issues about games and virtual worlds. Like Therese I am not expert but on a journey and am very glad to join you in here for some new dialog and discoveries.

My questions about games and virtual worlds relate to the skills learned in them and the transferability of skills and networks beyond the games themselves. I see kids lacking in self esteem and confidence carve out strong identities online and I wonder how those boosts to ego/skill/knowledge translate into the student life worlds.

I am looking forward to the next few weeks although I will be travelling to the USA next week and may have sporadic connectivity.
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Cristina Palomeque -

Hi, I'm Cristina Palomeque from Barcelona, Spain. I am a univeristy EFL teacher and I’m interested in using 3D multi-user environments such as Second Life to teach and learn English. My current line of investigation is focused on the collaborative skills and communication strategies that students develop through these environments. As Bronwyn, I am also interested in community and identity building, to my mind virtual worlds provide a rich field of research concerning this aspect.

I am not an expert as I have just started getting familiar with Second Life and how everything works around there. I am looking forward to learning and sharing experiences with you during these three weeks.

In reply to Cristina Palomeque

Re: Welcome

by Mar Ruiz -

Hi!

I'ma also from barcelona, at an Oxfam counteraprt, Intermon Oxfam. We are also very interested in this issues. Spcially interested in new tendency now of dispersating community and activities in myspace, second life and others instead of bringing all people together to your site!

i'm working on a space within our web specially for young people and we are not sure if we need how/what to do as a space ij or web to fidelise these young people after we go out there to music festivals, tours, big events such G8 in germany and so on.

 

 

In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Kaleem Bhatti -
Hello all,
I'm a Learning Designer. One of my interests is in ARGs. The idea of an alternate reality that lives within what we call 'normality' is possibly the most immersive experience. Was thinking of the films such as 'Seconds', 'House of Cards' and 'The Game'. One has another life, one that offers freedom (though not liberation) because of its new paradigm.

Like to hear from others on their experiences of applying, or half applying such things.

Kaleem
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Ian MacLeod -
Hi, it's Ian MacLeod from the Nova Scotia Community College in Halifax. I'm really looking forward to this seminar as I have been interested in games and learning for some time now. I currently teach an Intro to Business course and use business simulations in the course - they result in a lot of positive learning opportunities.

I am exploring Second Life quite actively, and am looking at using it to run a business simulation with learners as its vibrant economy seems to offer a lot of opportunities for creating, developing, and running a business.

But mostly, I am really looking forward to learning from all of you.


Cheers


Ian
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Nick Kearney -
Hello,
My name is Nick Kearney. I work at Florida Education Centre in Valencia, Spain. One of my jobs involves coordinating the use of technology for learning in the different areas of education we work in. I am currently exploring the educational potential of MUVEs, which includes a lot of stumbling around in Second Life!!  I'm looking forward to sharing impressions here.
All the best
Nick
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Graham Bevan -
Good Morning everyone.

This is Graham, like Ian I'm at the Nova Scotia Community College. I'm part of a group of us at NSCC that is looking at the uses of immersive environments to enhance our educational programs. While I now fulfill the role of Academic Chair, I taught for many years both here in Canada and in the UK including three years teaching Electronic Game Design and my graduate work was in Game AI, so I have more than a passing interest.

One of the challenges I think many institutions face is how to help people understand that games and immersive environments are an engaging and educational activity, far more than just eye candy and so I look forward to learning from everyone here.

Cheers

Graham
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Carolyn Campbell -
Hi all,

I'm Carolyn Campbell & I'm an Instructional Designer at the Nova Scotia Community College on the east coast of Canada.  I've been exploring Second Life with my colleagues for about a year, and we're seeing lots of great opportunities for learning there.  I'm eager to hear how you're using games & simulations, especially if you're integrating them into online courses.  (How does that work??  How are you handling the practical issues of tech support, etc.?)

I'm looking forward to the discussion over the next few weeks.

Carolyn
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Barbara Dieu -
Hello everyone,
I'm Barbara (Bee) Dieu in RL or Bee Kerouac in SL. I teach EFL (English as a Foreign Language) at the Franco-Brazilian school in Sao Paulo.

I became acquainted with SL through JoKay and Sean Fitzgerald from AU and later explored it with Graham Stanley (Baldric Commons) and Nick (Corwin Carrillon) visiting different environments and looking at possibilities for creative teaching and learning.

I also started participanting in Bron's Atlantis Quest with two of my classes three years ago but our limited bandwidth and network issues prevented us from going further into it.

I will be travelling those next two weeks  but I am very interested in the conversation so will log on occasionally and try to follow and contribute.

BTW - I would love to meet anyone on this list who happens to be in Barcelona or London - two places I will be visiting during my trip :-)
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Gina Bennett -
Hi everyone,

I'm Gina Bennett; I live in Cranbrook, BC in the beautiful Rocky Mountain area of Canada. I work at College of the Rockies, a small, rural community college with a very strong interest in distance deliveries. I've been stumbling around in SecondLife for 5 or 6 months now & I'm intrigued by the potential for building a sense of community among distance learners & faculty. I believe we're just at the beginning of using 'serious gaming' for educational purposes & I'm hoping that participation in this discussion will give me some ideas & starting points.

Looking forward!
Gina
PS: my SL name is Nomadia Nordwind
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Deirdre Bonnycastle -

Hello from the frozen land of Saskatchewan where I still have a foot of snow in my backyard!

I teach faculty in our medical college to be better teachers. As part of that task, I try to look at innovative ways for them to use technology. Gaming is an obvious option, but so far we have been concentrating on card and PowerPoint games that are easy and inexpensive to create http://facstaff.uww.edu/jonesd/games/index.html. I am a member of Second Life, but still a novice.

Participants might be interested in downloading the Federation of American Scientists report on gaming from this site http://fas.org/gamesummit/

In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Re: Welcome

by Tia Carr Williams -

A very warm welcome to all you early adopters! Kudos for such a terrific response. I mean to keep tabs on all the valuable links, references and resources you offer and potentially will siphon them away as we go along in a thread marked..yes, you've guessed it, 'Resources'..... surprise, so we don't have to trudge back through threads to find them (oh, yes, been there, done that).

 

Tia

In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by John Patten -

Hello All!

Saw this event listed in the SLED and thought I'd check it out. There sure seems to be a lot of discussion recently regarding the use of immersive environments and learning/engaged learning :-) ... or at least in the circles I've been frequenting lately :-)

I'm the director of technology for the Sylvan Union School District in Modesto, California. Like some of you probably, I've been brought up in this digital age first through hijacking my parent's TRS-80 in the late 70s, through the IBM clone years following that, and then into the Mac, and gui dominated computers of the present. I have always been a big fan of the computers ability to foster creativity, starting early on with applications on the Mac such as HyperCard, MacPaint, MacWrite all the way up to the current bevy of tools (Adobe CS, Revolution, etc).

The immersive environments such as SecondLife, and others, take that creativity to even further heights, expanding the range of possibilities, and mirroring, to some degree, the progress of modern technologies such as the web. For example, if you were creating a learning WebQuest, you would put all those previously learned creative skills into good use. Now you would still use those same tools but have the ability to put the learner in the actual environment, virtually of course :-) Very powerful, very engaging!

Very exciting times for learning, and only going to get more fun!

Looking forward to the discussions…

In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Salvor Gissurardottir -
Hi, I am Salvör from Reykjavik, Iceland. I am assistant professor at KHÍ the main teacher university in Iceland (my university will merge with University of Iceland next year) My field is information technology in education. Some years ago I tought a course about computer games  but  for the last few years I have been mostly interested in wikis and blogs. But right now I am very much interested in internet games and Second Life. I am interested in using on-line environment such as Second Life in education and I am also interested in researching gaming behaviour of children and teenagers and in what way participation in on-line gaming is a helping young people gain skills that can be valuable in tomorrows workforse in  virtual enterprises.
I am also very much interested in gender issues and gaming and the difference between  sexes in gaming environment preferences.
site 2007 conference
Here in a picture of five of us at San Antonio Riverwalk (I am the one on the right with four phd students in our field)

I am right now in Austin, Texas since I attended the Site 2007 conference in San Antonio last week. I will go to Iceland tomorrow. Yesterday I bought World of Warcraft which I intend to play on-line, that is one of the most popular games right now in Iceland.
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Tom Polklamp -

Good day to all,

I am an 8th grade math teacher.  As an educator and a gamer, I am involved in educational applications in the virtual world of Second Life.  I started the community of practice, 'Gaming and Learning in Second Life', and function as the President/CEO.  I am interested in this vein to see how we can all come together, using our individual strengths, to make these ideas viable.  I invite all of you to check out our community on Google Groups.  You can join for free at

http://groups.google.com/group/gaming-and-learning-in-sl

I am looking forward to the conversation here on this list and the outcomes. 

Jeremy

In reply to Tom Polklamp

Re: Welcome

by Derek Chirnside -
I'll just be lurking here I think.  I have a week's holiday soon, and Easter before that, and start of term after that.  On the other hand, what better fun to have during a holiday than some gaming?

My connection with gaming is largly vicarious.
I work with Tim Greig who is a serious gamer (He has a state of the art setup - computer plus Wii) and is doing some research in gaming and second life.  He is my human delicious tag for "gaming and education and VR and SL and WOW", and tells me things I need to read and keep up with. wink

Internet connectivity is an issue sometimes here in NZ.  The bandwidth sometimes just does not quite support the stuff needed.

-Derek

In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Cynthia Alvarado -
I'm really excited about joining this discussion. I am a K-12 School Media specialist and sometimes adjunct professor of education. I am very interested in the potential of online gaming and 3-D worlds for learning. I believe that educators must be willing to change their view of pedagogy and of the world in general based on new information and technological breakthroughs. I see online worlds and gaming as the next great tool in teachng and I aim to use it reflectively.
In reply to Cynthia Alvarado

Re: Welcome

by Corinne Brooks -
Hi,

I'm a SEN (MLD) teacher from Birmingham in UK. I use lots of games to make lessons interesting for my kids. I'm also the "Community and Education Manager" for Tycoon Systems which is the company behind IndustryPlayer (which Tia mentioned in the first post).

If anyone does take advantage of the trial for SCOPErs - look out on chat for angua-2, angua-3 or angua-4 (they are all me).


 (If anyone registers for an edu account at http://www.industryplayer.com/pages/edu_register.php please bear with me as I have to add them manually when I get the email. Also note the website has just been updated and even our learning objectives have not been uploaded to the new site yet)
In reply to Corinne Brooks

Re: Welcome

by Dan O'Reilly -

Hi All,

A little late joining in the group but I made it.  I teach philosophy at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, and have been an active (way too active) participant in Second Life since last September.   My primary interest in this seminar is the use of virtual reality to develop community, but since September I have also become very interested in the potential for exploring one's personality in VR.  I definitely see great potential in SL for both these interests and want to find out how others are making use of such environments to these ends. 

I am currently involved in a research project called Mapping CURA, which is a Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).  One of the aspects of the reasearch is developing an area in Second Life to both assist in deseminating information about our projects but also to facilitate the collaboration of the reasearchers.  Along with BCcampus and TRU Open we have leased some space in SL and are currently developing it, this happened in the past month.  We have one exhibit setup already for Mapping CURA.  If you have an avatar, feel free to visit it at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Klaw/179/10/24/ and try out the video, as well as explore the exhibit (along the side of the mountain).  In SL my name is Odysseus Chandra (I found out after selecting my name that short names are far better so I am getting a nickname as Ody LOL).

I use the Web for all my courses at my university, and I have taught totally online courses though currently all my teaching is f2f.  Though I am not into gaming per se, I can get quite drawn into it when I let myself.  Two of my courses, Logic and Causal Reasoning, use a number of Java programmes that could be considered games.  One is Tarski's World and another is the Causality Lab.  Tarski's World is a modelling world and I have found it especially useful to get students to appreciate some of the subtler concepts in formal logic.  The Causality Lab teaches students how to analyze causal bayes nets.  In short, I am interested in the gaming part of MMORPG but my main interest is in the SL type of environment, that facilitates social networking and interchange in a less competitive way.

Cheers,
Dan

In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Alice Macpherson -
Alice Macpherson here, from Kwantlen University College. I'm aka Alys Obviate in Second Life. Looks like old home week as I cruise through the list of participants!
My interests in this topic range from using enhanced tools to connect with learners, to creating spaces for Faculty Learning Communities and lots in between. I found the ppt interesting and will note that in my world "simulations" include doing the real thing in safe environments or as my colleague, Tally Wade, who teaches Public Safety Communications at Kwantlen says "In our simulations, we kill hundreds of (virtual) people as the students learn to do call taking and dispatching."
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by John Kellden -
Hi all,
John Kellden chiming in here, from Norrkoping, Sweden & Clerkenwell, London, UK. Serious game creator, developer of business applications,
and also very interested in the collective intelligence aspects of
immersive environments, whether online or face-to-face.

Found you through amodus, a social network, and hope I have some
assorted 2c to share.
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Greetings from Scotland

by Jim Wolff -
Hi All,

Bit late in the game here, but thought it worth a quick intro all the same.

I'm studying a masters in E-Learning at Edinburgh university and have just finished an excellent module on Game-Based Learning. We looked at, played and designed a whole range of game applications for learning, including using Google Earth, Second Life, WebQuests and ARGs. I was particularly impressed by the potential that ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) have for immersive and experiential learning, and have since designed a game with a colleague to teach use of digital earth software, web 2.0 features and environmental issues.

I obviously can't get enough as it's now the holidays and I'm here now :-)

Looking fwd to what looks to be an interesting few weeks

Jim Wolff
In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Olha Kutsevych -

Hello Everyone,

Sorry for belated introduction but better late than never. My name is Olha Kutsevych and I’m a Business Development and Sales Manager of Soft Format LLC. Our main expertise is development of the community-based online value-added solutions for different sectors, including education. Over the last 3-4 years I was following the development of the online worlds and see a huge perspective in this niche with the development of Web 2.0. I'd be happy to join this seminar and maybe  my technical and business experience will supplement some of the brilliant ideas which are being discussed here.

In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by Angelo Lewis -
Very late to the party here, but better late than not at all.

I am the designer of Clarify and the Game of Games who daylights as the Web Convergence Editor for Calkins Media and its mother site, phillyburbs.

Both games aim to help people clarify and accomplish their goals and, in a collaborative process transform the notion of work=struggle to work=hard play. 
I look forward to weaving into these conversations and learning from you all.

 

In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: Welcome

by David Brear -
Hello my name is Dave and I have been teaching for over 30 years. Currently, I facilitate Computer Studies for Grades 9 - 12 at Centennial High School, SD#43,Coquitlam, BC. I have taught part time for UBC on and off since 1992. My areas of interest are Digital Story Telling and Online Learning. You can visit the courses and workshops I have developed at http://members.shaw.ca/dbrear/workshops.html.

I created an educational games Web site at http://members.shaw.ca/dbrear/oleg.html aimed more at K - 5 and middle school.

I like using Moodle to create online courses.

I also spend time in Second Life.