Production 2

Production 2 asks to engage this week’s readings by de Castell and Jenson and Gee. Select an option/prompt below. Expectations include 1) engaging with the theories, pedagogical models and/or examples in the articles and integrating/unpacking at least two central quotes or passages to support your own arguments or critiques 2) adopting a formal style – write well (essay genre) 3) minimum 600 words. I don’t count words – just make sure arguments are developed and supported.

Option 1: At the risk of oversimplification, Covid 19 has situated us at an educational crossroads where we are being pushed to either: quickly adopt digital technologies in order to reproduce the standardized content-driven learning and assessment systems of the 20th century — or — configure novel practices, opportunities and conditions for re-thinking technology, pedagogy and learning (and the sites/conditions for learning and knowledge making).

How might these articles help us to re-think epistemological questions like ‘what counts’ as knowledge & learning in schools/institutions and/or how we might re-think and do educational practice differently. Possible starting points (from zoom discussion):

  • What kinds of critiques are being advanced about traditional forms of school knowledge and epistemologies (what counts as knowledge, how people come to know (methods) and how we assess knowledge and/or skills)?
  • What can ‘good games’ teach us about deeper learning both in and outside of games? What/how do people learn, act, do and come to know, understand or make knowledge (differently) in games and/or through ‘ludic’ modes of ‘serious play’? What are the unique affordances of good games – or the qualities associated with play – that might lead to deeper/significant learning or knowledge making?

Option 2: Educational researchers argue that games, simulations and play in virtual worlds prepare us for engaging complex ‘problem spaces’ and even uncertain futures (e.g, like pandemics, ecological challenges, global social/economic crises, and social justice/equity matters) — and in educationally significant and rich ways that challenge content/disciplinary boundaries. Good games typically combine rich story worlds and ‘hard’ problems with dynamic models or feed-back rich simulations. Based on the articles, how might games support that kind of contextualized learning where students actively engage the critical problems of our times? What kind of virtual role-playing game/simulation might you – or your students – create to engage a critical issue*? What would that game world look like, how would it work (premise, situation, rules), what would be the “goal” of the game, what avatar roles would players take, and what kind of challenges might they face in the game? Briefly discuss the possible benefits or “outcomes” of the game experience.

* use the models from the readings, or your own experience within good games. i think designing games is MORE fun/educational than playing them

Option 3: Making connections between the articles, and your own experiences as a learner (in or outside of schools), develop your own angle or thesis – or pose new questions of your own – for engaging the ideas, critiques, and arguments in the articles (based on the many models and conceptual figures provided by the authors about play, games and learning). Ensure your arguments, narratives, and critiques do not simply “opine”, but engage the articles and experiences critically (and feel free to introduce fresh ideas, themes or theories from other courses, etc, if you wish).