James Fallon and Paul Darvasi Gaming Digital Literacy



okay so keeping beer out of the box I said this is journeys and podcasting and we are meeting in the afternoon to talk to two educators John Fallon and Paul DeVoe see I will let them introduce themselves before we delve into their work John who are you and where are you my name is John Fallon I am an English teacher I've been teaching English for the last ten years going into my eleventh based out of Fairfield Connecticut which is where I've been teaching for the most part now in West Haven at Notre Dame West Haven High School which is a Catholic all-boys school about 400 500 boys I've been doing game based learning of various types for the last seven probably seven or eight years at this point took me a couple years just to get my sea legs before I started experimenting and I started with developing kind of in-house classroom games that would probably fall under the umbrella of alternate reality games which is where my cross paths with Paul we collaborated on on a few projects then I've also been using video games as texts to develop the same reading writing and critical thinking skills that any other you know English classroom would recognize but with video games great well unpack that more as we go because I think it takes a lot of explaining to explain what you actually do it's not as simple as saying we're game based learning or that we're argument reality gaming it's way more complex well how are you you've been on the podcast before but you could remind people who you are what you do well sure of course yeah happy to be back my name is Paul Durov ozzie and I am an English and Media Studies teacher in Toronto Canada I teach at an all-boys school called Royal st. George's College and I've been teaching for about 20 years and I design alternate reality games and I've designed one with John I also do a lot of work with video games commercial video games in the classroom I've worked with other teachers to help them implement commercial video games and I've implemented some in my English and Media Studies classes I also write about games and the intersections of games and culture games in society and I am a doctoral candidate at York University where I am doing research on how white adolescent boys relate to race in Grand Theft Auto 5 great so a few years ago I visited ISTE and I was chasing down anyone working on a game based learning and this is where I met Paul and a lot of other like-minded people and since we've been in the 21st century I have kind of been looking around like who's doing this really well and the closest people in the education world that I would say are doing it pervasively are the ones that are really tweaking the learning environment through making the learning a game I'm not talking about gamification here just giving points for accomplishing things but for actually embodying the classroom is like a situated game itself this overlaps a lot with participatory theater and with a lot of other forms of cognition that I hope we can get to a little bit John the first questions are going to be kind of geared towards you because of a series of blog posts that you have that are about the unreliable narrator and this was a I'm never not familiar with the term but I think I'm familiar with the strategy of teacher playing dumb or narrator playing dumb causing the learner or the reader to move out of their passive position and kind of lean forward as a you know to more carefully monitor what's going on so I'm going to throw a series of questions at you and let's see where this takes us so you talk about a story as simple as Shirley Jackson's Charles becomes a delightful literary prank that reminds us that we all tend to believe what we want to believe even when the uncomfortable truth is staring you right in the face at the dinner table this comes straight off your blog so building this metacognition these are my comments providing the space for students to parse their own saw thoughts to delay the interpretive ma and to hopefully learn how different types of media manipulate the unconscious emotional brain I wonder how how this plays out how the decoding of the facts on one side but also the reflection of how we construct understanding from our media's often through emotional triggers and our default belief systems how do you see that at play well I think one of the things that's great about unreliable narrators as a fictional device is that they kind of show a lot of the same cognitive weaknesses that we have like confirmation bias and you know that we encounter and deal with every day but when you put it within a fictional context it allows it to almost be safer to approach those because you know the more our more traditional way it would be like okay get a news article and break down like both sides and very quickly you can kind of see at least I've seen that students are very sensitive when you put it in those real-life contexts and I think the walls go up much faster and people kind of retreat to their their their corners but when it's fictional you can kind of still diagnose those things in the characters and there's a little bit of a distance that helps the students be able to see those things in action and then once you've identified them in a story with the characters I think kind of transferring at that to other context becomes a lot easier and I think because it's more fun they're much students are much more likely there to receive it and and deal with it in and out of the classroom this is kind of going straight into the the next part of your blog where you write unreliable narrators forces to see the text down to its DNA like neo and the matrix we must learn to see that the mechanisms that hold the fictional world together inconsistencies hyperbole falsehoods etc are no longer merely the instruments of an author's world building but challenges and distortions that we must overcome to fully understand the story I'm fascinated by this interplay between narrative and games the way I've thought about is deep play and deep reading are very much the same that the author invokes this kind of fantasy game this is what you're talking about it like lowering the the filter once you make it like a playful fictional narrative and to really go deep you have to be a willing reader you both are lowering this threshold for what I imagined are sometimes reluctant readers overlaying games with literature this is powerful stuff how do you see this effect on student process and and product and that's a really big question but hopefully it starts something yeah I mean that's a good question because I would say that that definitely goes to the core of one of the main reasons I'm so passionate about game based learning is that it does kind of strike deeply and into kind of the engagement aspect for students you know I might be skipping ahead but her story which is the game that I use as like the the final text in the unreliable narrator unit I mean I had boys that even for the stories that I think that may have found interesting we're still kind of keeping it at arm's length and then these same boys once we got to her story and it was being presented in this novel way it's multimedia fashion and almost as a direct challenge to their to their intellect basically I you know I had boys literally who would be falling asleep if we were reading a similar text you know squirming in their seats because they're like I have to go to the bathroom but I don't want to miss a single second of the next clip so you know and Paul can speak to it too when you change the context you just change the way it's presented and and the context of which they're approaching instead of it this static thing you know like you know I'm a holy shrine like Neil the alter Shakespeare and you know let it's you know blessings come upon you and then you will walk away you know a learnin man once you kind of make it this challenge that they participated and it it totally changes the way that they are learning and interacting Paul you might add anything there are you can I go on to the next question no just I also feel that the multimodal element of the game the dynamic and and an embodied element of the game is also really stimulating and I don't necessarily buy into the you know the the very clean recipe the gardener has put out for the multiple ways of learning but I do think that there's different ways that you know people can be appealed to and and using a game like the curse story which is a brilliant game in John's use of it is absolutely brilliant I can't think of a better attacks to teach unreliable narrator really will stimulate kids that may not otherwise you know sort of take interest in in a more traditional literary classroom yeah we'll get back to this multi modal element a little bit later because I think I'm glad you mentioned the Gardner frames of mind just because I feel like it's one of the more misunderstood right up there with like a zone of proximal development it's it's one of the most like simplified distilled version gets into the classroom into like learning styles but he talks a lot about like bridging through metaphors of going between one form of intelligence or one modality to another which i think is a very powerful thing for not just gaming but for teachers who are trying to create environments where attention is a problem but also maybe language itself so I've always taught younger kids and the more we can like spread it across modalities to lower that threshold and higher engagement you'll get um so John you also write that we must by definition play in the end it is a paradoxical effect where simultaneous simultaneously drawn out of the story as we tear it apart like a tinkering engineer but the narrator's flaws and even untruthfulness somehow make them more real more dare I say human unreliable narrator seems to create this lean in effect that I was mentioning at the beginning of not just passively floating through the story I think I use this during read-alouds with kids playing stupid in your think Aloud's so they have to be on watch to catch you when you're wrong or to purposefully throw out misleading information to make sure they do catch you this works for elementary school students how does it work for high school students well yeah it kind of reminds me of that old math teacher joke that the quickest way to get kids to correct a mistake on on the board is for you to do a mistake on the board because they're very attuned to when the mistakes are outside of them but not so much when it's their own so I think those teachers and other teachers forever use things like peer editing because when you're looking at someone else's work you're gonna be much more sensitive and you give your own work pass but within kind of this context I would say it it really is like the one of things I like about games and learning is that they add a meaningful context and teachers can do this in a million different ways and great teachers have done it forever even without games but I would say most lessons most of the time for most students completely lack context you know you know I'm not as as well-read in the research as you or Paul or others but you know what I know from experience and from reading that when you don't when you subtract all the context for learning and just make it dry abstract information no the the degree of learning is get employment for everyone except for the most extrinsically motivated student who wants to absorb the information just to spit it out for a grade but when you had a game they're instantly engaged and it's contextualized in a way that they want to participate and once you get over that hump a lot of the learning is just going to kind of you know flow down from there so another student I've had who was very much not an engaged to them did not care about English class would you know sleep through class then go to the Learning Center and you know have the you know you know a learning aid kind of just help them spit through the rest so he could then hand it in and forget about it he was sitting there as we were playing her story and just literally mouthing every word that was spoken on the screen to absorb it and he and I I just I'm sitting in the back while they're doing this I'm not actively really participating and he's kind of turned to me and just goes yeah I feel it just like a detective and then he just goes back to like learning it and it's that context that that makes you want to learn where you feel like you're doing something that is fun and worthwhile and even just the light fiction of a game allows students to do something way more exciting than just memorize stuff and spit it back out so this again kind of I'm going through your your blog here and this goes into something I called this idea of close gaming where you write that it took only a few minutes of playing to realize that her story was not only a game tangentially applicable to English class curriculums but that it was in fact a close reading game the entire user interface and narrative experience is designed for the player to dissect analyze and annotate text and video I'm wondering here about assessment and the metrics of learning that we're all accountable for the criteria of teachers is often very much based upon these metrics I'm not sure exactly what environments you all are teaching in but even within some of the more progressive private schools this is just kind of fact of the trade what is like a formative assessment look like throughout this gaming process what's the final test what's the student product sure so as far as like what they actually have to do is we read a series of how I kind of contextualized as a series of increasingly complex short stories with unreliable narrators as a way I've kind of just kind of leveled them up the way a game would where you're gonna start with a very easy basic thing and gradually introduce more difficulty different types of ways of looking at a story and dealing with unreliable narrator and then her story which is this kind of nonlinear you know player guided text that they had to navigate themselves as like the final boss so for each story I developed and retooled a graphic organizer based on some other unreliable narrator research that I had found and it basically became like the the worksheet that they would have to do and it would have a list of the questions that they would need to keep track of different types and motives essentially for unreliable narration of like why is the character doing that and all those boxes and all those areas that's what they have to put their textual evidence like a quote to say like okay they're unreliable for this reason here's the quote so they basically will have accumulated at the end of each story a whole graphic organizer full of close reading annotation for each one and for her story or the energy the same thing that's what they would have in front of them while they were interacting with the game is they would be filling that out as they go so that as far as what they're working on as they progress it's it's that annotated graphic organizer and then for the final one I've played around with different options but the one that really works the best the most students when they had a choice but choose would be a formal review which is essentially a thesis based persuasive essay and I know it's like a thesis based persuasive essay because I contacted former reviews editor at the video game site polygon and that was exactly what he told me when I was asking for materials and guidance somehow to teach a good review he said it's a five-part piece of space I said just like you would take on the AP test just with you know some modifications obvious for the topic matter but it was you know and I didn't even have to prompt him for that he gave that to me and so I always show that off to my skeptical students when they say that it has no value anywhere else in the world so that final writing assessment is what it's like the final project after they finish her story they then have to do a formal review just like they would find you know out in the wilds for video game review sites so in a lot of ways it sounds like you're following a pretty close ap you know the Indigo Liz not just the paper but they have to fulfill the AP requirements whatever so the reading through your blog post you mentioned that the National Council of teachers of English has their 21st century learning skills which overlaid someone with is T student standards what you all are doing seems much more aligned with something that I've read about I guess I'm sure you know too is like new media literacies were play appropriation multitasking judgment distributed teaching and learning etc they all come into play in the learning environment you're designing it sounds a lot like what Seely Brown calls situated learning how do you communicate this complexity to your students to your learning community and I can't imagine that everyone even comprehends what you're talking about you know I've been I've been pretty lucky both on my old school and even more so in my new school that certainly within administration and I would say most parents they understand that if I'm teaching the same way that their English teacher did in 1985 1975 that word that we're just fundamentally not preparing their kid for the real world so when I say you know yeah we use different types of media I use games and you know talk about you know the critical thinking annotation get any pushback at all and I would say the most disappointing reaction I get is usually from teachers and it's not that they they've ever cast aspersions on it it's usually they do struggle their shoulders and they're like wow wish I could do that but I don't understand games or I don't understand how to do that I don't play games so I can't do it so the reason why I you know do podcasts and go to conferences and start professional learning communities at my school is is to try to help teachers get over that I'm sure Paul has similar stories but it's usually not negative it's usually wistful so I try to help them realize that that's you know they don't have to exclude themselves that quickly and I think it's usually in good faith but maybe it's just the typical stereotypical teacher of oh I don't want to change and then the same thing for 20 years but that's only so it's usually communicated to me yeah one look at what Paul was doing a few years ago and realizing that oh my god this isn't scalable which you know I've most recently worked at a pretty big school whereas if you were working on something that wasn't scalable then it's almost like people don't see it you know they may not even criticize it but they just sort of ignore it because it's something outside of their their normal scope of things and even administration like they like it but and they're always looking for that scalable thing especially I mean you guys teach high school English so I think you're given a little more of a niche there of freedom whereas if you're in elementary school you've got six classes per grade level they want things to be the same in case there's triplets that come through so they're not having like three different education experiences there's a little bit more obsession about this scalability thing let's talk about like the you know you mentioned like writing for the AP I'm curious about this idea of like a performance task so you write that to build international cross-cultural connections and relationship with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively in strength and independent thought the game worked even better than I thought in a hot seat method one copy of the game is being played for the whole class it was the students favorite aspect of plague to dissect and discuss the game collaboratively check on mechanisms of ensuring depth of engagement can you explain a bit about how this hotseat works and I think I've really failed to like mention what the game is actually about so that people kind of have some idea so how does the hot seat work as opposed to just having the students play individually why this idea of the gradual release of doing it's a group before they play individually and I mean students have games in their in their schema how are the objectives in class different from their normal experiences sorry I just do like five questions at you sure yeah so one big aspect is logistics I mean from her stories actually you know essentially an interactive movie so as far as the graphical intensity of the game you know the almost any device I could run I think it's available on almost every platform that's out there but it is much simpler to plug in 1 laptop to the projector and protected to the whole class I have found on my own experience that around you know 12 to 15 is like a good number of the amount of guys you can all kind of be engaged and it's not kind of you know kind of be a diffusion of responsibility so I actually had I had a bigger class the last time I ran this so I actually had a volunteer teacher take one of the other sections and add them into different classrooms so they can do it at a smaller setting as about 25 guys all in the same room but you know your mileage may vary so if you know it really depends on the students in the room you could have 30 students and if they're all really really engaged it could be fine so most of it was that so there would be one volunteer student they will go up to the laptop and and her story basically works by google searching for terms you're you're essentially searching an archive of scrambled clips that have all been hard-coded by the word spoken by the the interviewee subject so you know that person is you know and then when they were out there they they might put it in but then as they watch new clips so that the other guys who are not in the hotseat are throwing ideas out there talking to each other they're cross-referencing notes they're saying but what about what you said that you know they're comparing theories and dropping theories so it says it's just one of the best kind of organic environments where you can just see the thinking happening where they are dissecting attacks looking at the meaning of multiple meanings of one word that was spoken you know the kind of like deep mining of meaning that you know would be familiar you know to any any teacher who when they get that poem that kids are into or or that novel but I found this activated you know almost across the board and not with like a an AP or an honors level class where they're kind of predisposed to that this was a very wide variety of ability levels and interest levels I would say almost all of them were completely engaged more than any other unit that I had done with them for sure I'm sure I missed the question so feel free to remark what I was basically trying to get it I mean personally I've borrowed in those kind of scenarios where I have these games in the classroom that same kind of theater seating where you have narrators behind the game players maybe even just like broadcasting what's going on in the game or borrowing from Socratic circles so Socratic show we have the inner circle of the active participants then you have the outer circle of maybe groups that are documenting or interacting and jumping in the circle at different times to make sure that every single student in that environment is actively engaged yeah I think it does come down just like you know how well you can juggle these kind of logistics and then what does the tasks that you put upon each person within the class and then I think also borrowing from participatory theater of theater you know a gusto bow out through the oppressed kind of stuff where you can stop action and alternate speakers and things to to really mix it up so my next question I guess tries to bring this a little bit more into our current political state here in the states you write that it takes only a few minutes of browsing the internet to realize the world is full of unreliable narrators anything that can help our students build the skepticism and analytical skills to parse truth from fiction fiction from truth and everything in between seems essential in the international battleground that has become the 21st century media we don't have to travel very far to find daily tweets about this kind of stuff what about transference is there a performance task with real media a tweet from a world leader someone who's been subpoenaed by Congress for example how do you tie this into current things going on I mean I easily could part of the reason that I haven't done that explicitly is one it's kind of outside the scope of the Union like I am trying to teach it is like it like a textual way to understand stories but in the course of reading the stories you know I you know just my natural teaching style encourage the students always to be reaching from real-world examples of where you know we've where you see people like this you know doing tricks and I do tag a few specific kind of cognitive things that happen there in the different short stories like confirmation bias with Shirley Jackson you know one of the stories we also read is in a grove which you know the movie adaptation is rational which you know blended its name to the Rashomon effect where multiple witnesses can see the same event but all interpret it differently so yeah could I take a Trump to eat and and and ask them to do it honestly I think you would be too easy because it's usually bald-faced lies that have no basis in reality but would one of the reasons I stopped at that is again the political sensitivities of students way more than when I was in high school are so sharpened that I think when you bring in that kind of white-hot radioactive element that's always out there the this their their thinking gets short-circuited so I almost think it would be kind of counter active because as soon as soon as you put that in you can have students being looking at through a political filter and then they might push away some of the learning and things that they they got so I try to keep it in the abstract and I think fiction is a good way to do that where yeah it doesn't take a step or two to make the connection and when the connection is there you know I'll say yes but I well I don't think it would be effective to deliver it that directly I guess is what I'm trying to say yeah I hear you I mean I get the in goal is so they would tear that apart themselves and delay the emotional mind but I like how you described it what white-hot radioactive so Paul bear with me a couple more questions for John I would like to get through this series of blog posts that he wrote and for anyone listening if a lot of this is not clear please look up the blog post because there are a lot of videos LinkedIn and a lot more descriptions about what kind of gameplay we're talking about here so you write in building unit context in writing sorry completely completely unreliable building the unit is the name of the post I believe say I have a writing bias communication especially in written form is as essential as it's ever been even more so in the Internet age I tell my students all the time they are almost guaranteed to be making their first impression with someone via their writing whether it's a social media post a resume an email or published online content as a result whenever I build a unit whether traditional or game based the first question I ask myself is how can I get them to write about this I had on this podcast and Trevor who also spoke about Sholay which is the the Greek concept of leisure but it's much more about wonder and explore how school has derived from this world from this word it's kind of hard to imagine so two things games as tools mean that those approaching these tools will have constrictions their own experiences capabilities beliefs will largely determine their goals when you mention a writing bias I think what you're clearing up is gaming mechanics crank up social interaction they crank up critical thinking just about anything we could label 21st century learning but they are games people made to code that through their own confirmation bias how do you talk about this with your students and learning community to get them over this kind of experiment maybe normal experience they have to pro or against games yeah that's actually a really good point because of that I think what one thing I always do is as a beginning to gear up toward these units that are the game is learning it's is that I never use the word game I always say we're gonna do an activity we're gonna do a unit it's gonna be an experience on little kids talk I never used the word game because they will instantly many of them will interpret it as a certain type of experience for tonight being the big one obviously right now so I said we're gonna play a game they instantly think oh it's going to be something like fortnight or something like all day or something like Madden or 2k that they are intimately familiar with now sometimes that inversion of the expectation is actually interesting but for some kids as they build up an expectation they get into it it's almost it feels like a letdown so I feel like the word game is very wrongly coded and so I try to avoid it so they go into it with a more neutral experience and then what's great is when as we're doing it they start saying like oh man this is just like a game where I'm like yes that's the point you know so you're hooked so I almost wanted to try to do it in a way that they they're the one who gives it that label not me I feel like that that allows them to kind of enter it more naturally so I noticed that you use a strategy that I would normally associate with something called gradual release that you focus on shorter narratives which you write allow me to utilize a key pedagogical method video games have been using for a long time scaling difficulty by studying short multiples shorter narrators I could introduce my students to gradually more complex narratives and plots lowering this threshold of entry is scaffolding in elementary classrooms we call gradual release moving students through a keystone text something you do as a whole group then moving to smaller groups until the ultimate goal of students managing the last part of the project on their own when I saw your template on confirmation bias this is exactly what I thought as as I dug up kahneman chart for cognitive biases how do these small moves lead students to the more challenging moves and and do you see them like eventually doing much more challenging work and engaging with challenging text from these smaller moves yeah I think one one main skill I hope they get out of it is to recognize the different motives that someone can be unreliable and a big one and it's it's your first well it comes up a little bit when we read Casco Amontillado but it's a bigger one when we read the Yellow Wallpaper and that's the idea I think this one's very very relevant and kind of the social media aspect thinking about you know unreliable narrators out there in the political context and that is when the mayor Reeder themselves the person themselves doesn't even know they're being unreliable because I think we all most people have a pretty good BS radar when they think that they're directly being lied to that someone's trying to con them and you know I'd out of money or whatever you know many people have that skepticism but it's a lot more dangerous when someone is transmitting something unreliable to you and they believe it and that's what you see you know log on to Facebook or Twitter and you know it'll take 15 seconds before you find that where someone is passing something on completely unthinkingly and it could be because they believe it it could because they've been duped it could because they don't care and they just like that idea and they just want to spread it just to put it out there so identifying that there are multiple reasons why and they can be mixed together someone can be unreliable that I think is a valuable kind of mental framework to be able to carry a way that you know for any dozens of different reasons you could be being given unreliable information and it's not just the obvious one of someone turn to sucker you like well liquid is Charles you know in the first one so I know slow the gaming terminology in your posts and for non gamers that may be a little disorienting so one was that you talk a lot about like mini-bosses which I thought was really funny you write that now that they had their and interrogated tools it was time to work our way up to the final boss this is that again that that gradual release idea her stories hannah but before you can get to the final boss all gamers know that you have to face a series of seemingly difficult mini bosses the mini boss is reliable pedagogical trope and video games they function as skill checks to ensure the player has the requisite abilities to continue into the next phase of the game and even face players for players to master a specific technique that will be nests in it necessary to progress I definitely sense here some James Paul gee thing on how well designed videogames gradually build up difficulty as the skills broaden and deepen I also see just great formative assessment no player could proceed without mastering the skills moving in a little closer how do these format his work I kind of asked reduce before but now that we're on this kind of topic of the gradual release our students even conscious of what's going on do they move behind this obsessive is this going to be obsessed attitude that schooling trains no I mean yeah but let me get the high school most students are pretty I mean the first word out of their mouth is like you know what are we integrated on or you know once you give an assignment the first question is when's it due but so I try to do some jiu-jitsu to get away from that and I focus more on those game terms so for example some years when I've done this just goes as it so students all-time if I can't mess with students you know what was the point of me being a teacher when we get to the unreliable narrator unit I'll put her story up on the board and make it seem that like we're gonna start this and then I'll say no you guys aren't ready and I'll pull the plug and I'll say we got to start you know at level one and then I literally most years I'll go to the board and I'll write level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4 final level and I'll put Charles under level 1 and the rest will be question marks and then as we go I will write in like the next stories that's going to explicitly give that sense of progression and then they know that they have to do the annotations as we go and then once you start her story for real at the end they know that it'll end with a review and there's more of an onboarding aspect of that that comes later so it's yeah it is it is kind of gradually done I almost at every level but it's explicitly done as a way of kind of increasing in their abilities as opposed to you know lesson 1 lesson 2 lesson 3 cool let's ship here's a little bit so I Paul can wake up because I think we we put him to sleep so you all have worked on a project together and this deals was like data privacy and creating an alternative reality game that helped kids in real life and I know you've written a little bit about this I've found Publishing's on the KQED website and let's talk a little bit about this project because I think it's even more relative now then since you started running it a few years ago and maybe I'll just add in case we miss it but these are games that you can only play once and then you have to wait until students graduate and move on and so I think you mentioned that you only play these games every two years because you don't want the students to pass all the information to them the next class I find that pretty fascinating especially that you know you're talking about a game that can only run so many iterations you're only going to be able to teach it so many consecutive years so let's talk about this and how did you set this game up and yeah how did this get started oh you want to take this one sure so John and I met at a conference in 2013 I think and we both had an interest in alternate reality games and we each designed our own alternate reality games and started thinking about something we could work on together that would involve both of our schools we also had a shared interest in privacy and surveillance and we thought this is something that really is affecting many lives and the lives of our students but there's not a lot going on pedagogically to really prepare our kids for a world of data mining and surveillance and and data gathering and the increasing manipulations we're seeing online so we combined that instructional goal with the the aim of designing an alternate reality game which we thought would be an ideal way to marry form and content and we spent the better part of about a year and a half remotely designing it together because John lives in Connecticut and I live in Canada so through Skype and Google Docs and all kinds of other means we slowly started shaping this game that would take our students independently of each other but in parallel through a 30 day immersive game that would eventually pit them against each other with the ultimate objective is to uncover the location and identity of their rival school and the reason we have to stagger it every two years we had to stagger it every two years was because once the identity of the rival schools were uncovered obviously it's a very quick bit of information that one student could pass on to the other and from one you know from one year to the other and that would pretty much ruin the whole game so we had to wait for the institutional memory to die out and for the students to graduate before we could do it again but now that John's at a new school or if this were to be done with other teachers it would be pretty easy to run it every year so I've questioned you right that education youth about data secure educating youth by data security can fall under the larger umbrella of digital citizenship such as don't comedian uses and misuses and learning how not to embarrass or endanger one's self while using the internet but fewer resources compared to actually experience a data and privacy breach so that you forced this situated aspect of it I went to Berlin last summer and visited sea bass which is a hackerspace and Chaos Computer Club and I was very impressed how they don't really differentiate between digital and media and literacy I would say they just sort of have a holistic view of literacy itself mm-hmm our common sense programs much more reactionary than leading with a new media literacy narrative how does this game make it more constructive as opposed to informing kids what they shouldn't do or what they should do or shouldn't do with their data and online presence well I think that there's a combination of both because part of the way that you build resources up through the game is engaging with some some basic strategies involving a becoming aware where you're vulnerable how to shore up and protect yourself from those vulnerabilities and eventually when it moves into the final phase where the schools are competing against each other usually it's it's a piece of information that's floating around about you on the internet that that kind of leads to your team's demise so it's the very real intangible lesson that you know your Facebook profile could very easily lead a blackhat agent to uncover your location and identity for whatever nefarious reasons or purposes yeah and I think one thing we really strive for that made an alternate reality game a pretty ideal place to do it as opposed to I think your your application Lord reactionary so if economists traditional digital citizenship pedagogy is a good one is is because we wanted there to be the the like the the sense of threat but obviously not a real one and and done in a way that doesn't actually put anyone in danger I'm put anyone's privacy in danger so by being able to use kind of the metaphorical mechanisms of a game I think we're able to give that sense of threat but in a safe environment which isn't something that games do very well because you know just about any you know soccer game or football game or lacrosse game you know it's a metaphor of battle but no one's getting killed and I think that what your question leads to is is a bigger issue that I think really spans the whole the whole nature of this podcast is that you know what John teaches the students with her story is a form of critical thinking that in some ways transcends all literacies and when there are questions about you know your questions about assessment in the English classroom but I think what has to happen instead of thinking about how do we fit these games and make them relevant to the English classroom is how does the English classroom have to bend and change to make sense to the world that has produced this game right and English English is a misnomer I've said this that we call it English but really what we teach particularly in my province which you know sort of recognizes this is communication we teach communication and and and in my particular region that involves reading writing listening speaking and Media Studies Media Studies is 25% of what we're supposed to be doing in English so there's this recognition that is a larger communications ecology something like the kind of critical thinking that John teaches transcends all of that and when you involve a video game in a classroom in an English classroom what you're doing is you're acknowledging the ever-changing communications landscape that we're now embedded in and video games are we know one of the communicative means par excellence because they in here every single type of communication they use writing they use audio they use video these motion picture they used still these theatrical and spatial elements so in some ways as an artefact as a learning artefact there is no better way to to to create sort of a tool or sorry an artefact that is worthy or susceptible to analysis so I think that that rather than detaining ourselves with some of the more traditional elements of what involves assessing and producing in an English class I I feel that what's warranted is a revaluation of what our goals are for what we've traditionally considered to be English class and how we have to adopt those to a very very different world that contextualizes school yep ah that's what I was trying to get at when I was talking about asking about learning product and assessment since these are often the criteria that everyone home in on and kids are really adept at picking this apart of saying like okay well I'm being assessed for this that's really the only thing that matters but I feel like you're doing is something that we were discussing right before we started the podcast I was talking about how I had been working with some immersions in color using Josef Albers technique of creating color experiences so that color is this psychological thing before it's a scientific thing and then of that from those experiences students developed their own theory from that so really using this kind of embodied cognition and the situated learning you all are creating what I believe our experience allure nning environments I mean this binoculars the pragmatism of Dewey of knowledge is an action upon your environment and everything that you build is that to better inform your this mixture of knowledge and intuition so you write that every decision and click you make is being recorded and scraped by someone who doesn't have your privacy and interest at heart Fallon says this to his students think carefully about whether you want your cookie crumbs to be spread so there's very real-life context of what kids are living every day with their digital devices and they're in their media presences I feel like what you all need is not assessments you need ethnographers to come in your classroom and actually document you know some of the stuff that's going on and more grounded up nature and that's why I was getting at so how do students reflect how do you kind of not just explain to yourselves within the classroom and but communicate that beyond of what this kind of learning really is because it does get very distracting once we start talking about your AP requirements and all of your the criteria of what your school is putting upon you or just the system itself but then what you're creating is something quite different that has a much more multifaceted result does that make sense yeah and and I think again so this is you know now you're really cracking open a very interesting kind of realm of discussion and one is that the you know what I was alluding to earlier about the content of an English class or what we've traditionally called an English class and how we should re-evaluate what that content is with the goals in mind of what English should be doing is a subject which ultimately teaches communication but the other side of the coin is the way that learning and teaching is delivered right and and we we have a system a very deeply ingrained industrial system of learning that that perpetuates itself and and is really fundamentally it's scripted and mundane when when John was you know referring to the fact that you know the students like when they see a mistake being put on the board is because those are the moments where the very mundane and predictable social script is broken and for the poor zombies that are our students that have been kind of you know you know beaten into submission all of a sudden and wake up because something is different or something is unusual and that is the core of the engagement of the kinds of games that we design but also you know somebody once said I I heard it in a conference I don't know if it was the individual Michelle King who came up with this but she said I don't teach I create the conditions in which learning takes place and I and I think that that is a beautiful statement that's where what we should aim for and and what what John and I have really aimed to do is to create a learning environment that almost runs by itself we were more designers than we are teachers where we're trying to create an experience that will draw our students in that will that will be dynamic unpredictable and to a discussion we were having but maybe I think before we started the podcast ultimately not necessarily scalable or scalable in the traditional sense because you know scale has some kind of not just industrial underpinnings but some sort of capitalist motives as well on some level right and whatever and and what that is is you come up with an idea right as a teacher let's say I come up with a really good idea and you know I this is gonna get me out of the classroom right and we should really wonder why teachers are so so in such a rush to get out of the classroom and then I'm gonna commercialize this idea and mass-produce it and every teacher across North America is going to be doing a version of this or actually exactly this and and I and I find that a bit you know problematic in the sense that every single school is a different culture every single community is a different culture and therefore learning and teaching should be adopted to that particular culture and that I think that that that I would like to see a diversification of teaching and learning styles so for example and this goes to your point about ethnography I think the most valuable thing for some of the projects that John and I do or not here is the paint-by-number recipe for you to do this exact thing in your classroom it's really documenting the experiences to the best of our ability sharing those documented experiences to inspire other educators to put on their design hats and use some of these elements and reconfigure them in a way that makes sense to them personally within their kind of limitations and affordances as human beings but also to adapt to the unique culture of their particular schools I mean John and I teach all boys that has a certain cultural ramification we teach and independent schools that has another cultural ramification so the things that we do in our environments are not necessarily useful possible or of interest to somebody who teaches in a drastically different environment yeah yeah well a few things I wanted jump off from that is one is some is Paul mentioned surprise and like that is such a big things I think it it could be the biggest blind spot that teachers have is that we live in chaos like with from the moment we walk into our classroom even maybe before we get in our classroom we are being inundated with the chaos of teaching young young minds you know kids are crazy and it is you know the best thing about teaching and sometimes the worst thing but if you ask any teacher the one thing they can tell you is that it's never bored that's for sure maybe not for good reasons but it's never boring the same is not true for students we have industrialized and commodified and just you know absolutely railroaded their entire educational experience starting before kindergarten you know their day is not that much different than any other day and and we forget how mind-numbing that can be you know it as we depart from you know being a student and then faced with the chaos on our end I think we completely forget that so doing things differently that truly and genuinely surprised them I think please amazing dividends and I think it it's it's not surprised that Paul and I we designed one protocol that the the first day the the rabbit hole of the game we do the most surprising thing possible where we engineered this kind of pseudo sci-fi moment where it looks like the classroom has been hacked and Paul and I leave we leave the classroom and we don't come back there's nothing more shocking more disruptive to the traditional learning environment than the teacher not being there at all so I think that very much like is it's pointed to one of the things that we you know and I think we backed into that I don't think that that was not an explicit pedagogical war that was just the attrex but I think it's a good metaphor for what all teachers and all different experiences where you should strive to do is like how can I make this experience less predictable and I think it was ironic is I think teachers are being trained to do the opposite Oh to make it so crazy I just have to say something in addition to what John said very quickly it's so funny because the last time we played on that first class where obviously the students have no idea what's about to happen I walked in and had about a five minute discussion with one of my all time kind of top students really creative really awesome kid and we were like we're talking about black mirror the show black mirror and and he says to me goes can we just kind of do a show of black mare and honest to god he could not have picked a better thing to say because we delivered a third episode of black mirror after he couldn't believe it and the other thing too I never thought about this you know hearing John talk but the the fact that we start the first day of the game with the teacher walking out of the classroom you know 15 minutes into class and then the game takes over I think is a wonderful metaphor where we should be going with all of this right like we weren't necessary for this this ran itself that we worked very hard to put all the mechanisms in place that this thing was running on its own and we didn't have to because once it kicked in it was so engaging and the students were so compelled by what was going on that that in and you know and of all the years that we've run it we've never had a problem with walking out of the class and letting the class take over and the mechanisms of the game take over to run the rest of the class I mean the kids were absolutely immersed in what was happening absolutely engaged mechanics just so we go a little further into how the game is run I understand like you start and it's an expected thing but something that really surprised me is you wrote the do the two classes are experiencing the Arg the augmented reality game separately and the students are unaware of each other's existence until they eventually interact halfway through the four week unit which means they've been in that game already for two weeks before they realize they're not alone in the game right it's secret you mentioned that you stagger the game you know every couple of years you run the game and then what are students reaction and surprise when they realize that oh my god we're not the only students playing this game I think they're mostly just surprised and then you know at that point it becomes like a direct competition so I feel like it's just been it's cranked up a little bit like they feel like they're under the gun and we they're different times the two or four times we did it we've found different ways of trying to make them feel that pressure and that was just one where became now like this hunt of where once they realize they're not alone that's immediately followed by this group is looking for you right this second so get to it the other thing too is that they don't really suspect the scope of what's happened I mean in my case many of them suspected it was another class in the same school initially they can't fathom that it's a class in a completely different country that they're competing with so it takes them a while and in fact many of the moves that they make to try to uncover their opponents early on our base on that assumption that they're much more local than what ultimately ends up being the case yeah it's definitely I mean it's it's a different a tie to the themes of the game is that you know the the threats and the scope of the data that you interact with on the Internet is is global you know it is a complete global experience there's you know when it comes to cyber security and privacy you know your your geographic borders you know are mostly meaningless so that's often a good thing to reinforce now you write all of a sudden I get a phone call the posse says I'm sorry someone's writing about this and finally gets the same fake phone call – as each follows the same setup each teacher then steps outside the classroom leaving the students alone as you mentioned already then the video restarts seemingly gets hacked and a voice urges students to check their email students then find an email from mysterious in 2d named Horace and an email with the school domain address the message from Horace contains a video message with instructions for the Arg so this is the onboarding launching of the game I'm assuming it's bringing into contact what you were just talking about all of the black cat packing that's been going on shadow brokers for example paralyzing Philadelphia public health services all the identity theft going on and the fact that no one sees any into this even you know the experts meet at global conferences and say we don't know how to stop it and even while we've been talking it's probably happened again yeah well one thing is I know that just from my own research and reading but also I have many friends and even family who work in the cybersecurity sectors both public and private and one of the things I'm always shocked by is is it's just the complete just ignorance in an aptitude of a you can just see that both the people and the technological system or there's not set up to deal with this and part of the reason why I'm so passionate about teaching this when they're this age and you know high school is they're they're developing the habits and the mindsets that will carry on for the rest of their lives and if they learn to realize that technology is this constantly growing and evolving thing and you always have to be updating both literally and metaphorically your defenses and and thinking several steps ahead you know they take that into the future hopefully we will you know have future generations that are not going to be so you know lackadaisical about you know cybersecurity and and making sure that they understand how these systems work as opposed to how do I turn on and how do I send the file that I need which seems to be all that so many of these systems you know are built on so going further into the mechanics of the game itself they write da gachi students in Toronto can pull together fifty five fo bitcoins to purchase and launch the bodying protocol against an opponent the student targeted Fallon School in Connecticut would then have 48 hours to record audio of ten words of Durvasa students choosing and sent it back to them through an intermediary neva CR Fallon for a higher price of 65 fo Bitcoin students can launch morphling which would give the opponent 48 hours to record a one-minute video explaining three ways to stay safe while using Facebook while making their school mascot or a close approximation of appear in the video in some way during the entire minutes so explaining to appear is one thing and this is a very powerful pedagogical tool but explaining to a competing team and others school by having to construct an informative video is another school mascot is particularly clever and did you all make this up like were you getting a sec so just a little back what we did is that to buy bitcoins to earn bitcoins you produce artifacts and the artifacts you produce all relate to privacy data surveillance so for and you mix it match so for example you can create a brochure about passwords and there's a whole roster of topics and production artifacts that you can combine in any way that you want with bitcoins that are attached to each one and then what that happens is in the the final phase of the game it's revealed a catalogue is unlocked which is you know previously kind of not available to the students and the catalog has a whole series of what we call protocols you just described a few of them and that have different prices attached to them and John and I found this the model for this as part of the Snowden leaked from the NSA and there's an NSA catalog that has all these toys that the NSA can purchase internally for them to conduct surveillance at various levels so John and I used this model for creating the catalog that would then we issue to the students and then that's the final phase of the game is that they launched these protocols spending the bitcoins that they earned while producing artifacts that inform them on the various you know sort of privacy themes and and the the combination of these these protocols that we designed to open very small windows into the reality of the opponent not large enough that it would be an obvious giveaway but as John has said little breadcrumbs that that that could lead them to their opponent and eventually the team that puts these all together first and and and kind of triangulates the information that they've that they've mined declares where what they think the school is or the identity of their opponents and and they're the winners the first one to declare yeah one thing I think that is really important to note is that the feedback from the students one of the things they liked the most about this experience was the fact that you as polishes explaining the the artifact production where they were choosing to research and do all these different many apprise projects is that they had a list of like 25 to 30 different types they could do and as long as the topic was within the relatively large umbrella of you know cybersecurity you know privacy and surveillance they could do whatever they wanted and they really liked that freedom and that agency and that's something that I then tried to transfer into other units that I do I think it's another mistake that we teachers make is that we do not open up the students to follow their own curiosities anywhere near or not and I think you know we could have probably done many different topics like if you gave them that sense of freedom I think you would you would find similar levels of engagement with students and and one example it's a funny anecdote from this is a group of students were working on their artifacts and and this one boy was he decided that he was gonna do I came here when I was English drones and I kept looking over at him and and I kept seeing him doing something other than researching drones and then I went over to him and I was you know Josh like you know you guys watch the clock you're only gonna have so much time before you're gonna have to be able to accumulate all these angles I know but I just can't I just can't stop reading and watching all these videos about Bitcoin like it's so fascinating and I was like Josh why don't you just do it on Bitcoin and he was like oh I can do that like yes you can topic you are he's like oh I'm gonna do that say that he wanted just immediately you know did a great video about bitcoins I'm explaining what they were but you know it it's kind of it's funny but that's the kind of sign that they're just not used to being it they assume that if they're curious about it and it came organically that they're almost not supposed to be pursuing it which it's kind of a sad indictment of the learning that usually goes on in the classroom you know the mechanics that you're describing I've often seen or you all described and others as well as this idea of questing where teachers can give quests or challenges students can also make up their own quests you know creating this entire inquiry based structure where they can push it wherever they want I also love this mechanic of where the kids take screenshots of their computer like that's a regal you know malpractice of you know things capturing your keystrokes and things capturing periodic screenshots of your computer and sending them God knows where I'm also thinking just there's endless possibilities of what you could have kids have to grapple with with this environment you know crypto parties were a big thing in Berlin where you show up with your devices and you meet with professionals and they just tell you how to lock everything down like how do you keep everything encrypted how do you keep all your blocks which social media is should you you know be more wary of or you know you need to download signal or use a tor browser you know there's all these different ways to get around different ways of being monitored I don't know if you need your kids to go that deep into it but these are like real life ways that malware at axis and there are in response that real ways the kids could learn like the most professional ways to go about protecting themselves yeah that was explicitly the subject of many of the artifacts they can do like there were did videos about you know the privacy settings on Facebook you know Twitter snapchat kind of turn off like the geo-tagging on your phone when you take a picture so if you spread a picture it doesn't tell you exactly where you are you know so that and that was something we really try to do as well as we wanted them to be creating artifacts that had a hundred percent real-world value you know things that could be posted around the school like PSAs how-to videos we wanted it to be a hundred percent real world context you know it's only valuable within the classroom it's useless and that's what that's what most work is so that that real world application definitely was one of the explicit things that we had in mind no I'm just thinking like in the next iteration of the game how many things have come really like in the last six months to a year from facial recognition being legalized in Boston and San Francisco to the DNA testing and triangulation of identity whether you've ever been tested if anyone within a proximity in your genetic pool has been tested then you know you you're in that system as well to China and the I'm gonna mispronounce it but the ogre region where where they have to install surveillance software on their phones you know it's mandatory or the re-education camps mean all of the dystopia black mirror like things that are really like maybe were speculative but now they're right in front of our faces right yeah yeah science fiction has become reality and very quickly I have a couple more questions about gaming culture can you guys stick around for five or ten minutes or less art sure okay yeah my camera's on their way back but they're not here yet okay great let me know if we need to cut this short because I know that we're well over time don't worry okay all right so this next one has to do with an article the first door gender Authority and choice in the Stanley parable and I love that the things you guys are talking about have like you know releases in 2014 but they're also all having new iterations I mean this particular game is going to have a new version coming out this year and I forget the makers of the game that you're talking about this interactive video with all the little narratives first story yeah so that there's like a new narrative coming out in that same format as well so there's any day now yeah I mean so what I mean is like I feel like you you started things you know five six years ago but they have very like they're very poignant in this moment right now as well so let's talk about about this gamergate and and gender and gaming I know you teach it all boys schools and I know you're both John I believe you are also a gamer of sorts in some way so you know that this like gamer gates thing that has and five years ago kind of you know blew everybody out of the water Paul I just read your research on gender narrative and Authority and I see that there's a new edition of the game which I just mentioned and I'll saw in this description of the early 20th century British board game called the suffragettes in which women battle the police and try to disable them with jujitsu toward the end up in jail parlour games were once part of how women asserted themselves in a man's world but given gamergate sensitivities over the last four years I wonder about games and gender in the classroom but I didn't realize you didn't teach women but do you have any backlash from men who in wrists engagement in in serious games this is not the games that they're normally used to and do you notice gender challenges an engagement between different times types of games participatory pervasive games are you know involve a lot of Improv Theater techniques for example versus the digital you know one-man shooter games that they're used to what do you is there so I gender to the grade 11 and grade 12 to all boys I I frequently bring up the f-word in class and and it's I'll tell you it's a bit of an uphill battle sometimes right because there's a lot of what's happened what I've realized what I've untangled from doing it for for many years now is that notions of feminism that are held widely by many of the boys that I teach are really based on the circulation of YouTube videos where you have an angry woman railing or going over the top about something and that becomes to them the face of feminism I mean there's no reading involved there's no deeper understanding of gender issues there's no exploration at any scholarly level it just becomes sort of this this this kind of the circulation of videos and memes and and and you know some some some heated arguments they may have what their sisters the dinner table so I actually use games like there's a beautiful game called the path I do a whole unit around using Little Red Riding Hood and the motif of Little Red Riding Hood from its early oral origins and how the story has been used in progresses you know through the last two or three hundred years and how each of its manifestations in some way speaks to its cult contacts and how you know the the issues of representation within it's very basic very tell form all the way through to its manifestation in a game called the path which which looks at all these different young woman's experience is very difficult experiences through a very poetic lens and and what I find is as as you know kind of you know as we start looking at it from different angles there's definitely a softening of the views from the perspective of the boys that I teach and my research my doctoral research using grand theft auto 5 the initial exploratory stuff was based around looking for gender race political ideology and violence within the game and opening up discussions and readings on all of those topics and using the game as a site where they could discuss their experiences through those lenses eventually I landed on race as the most interesting based on the type of data that I was crunching but there was a there was a real awakening not just in terms of of how women are represented in Grand Theft Auto 5 but also how men are represented and notions of masculinity and hegemonic masculinity and very narrow representations of masculinity and how that that kind of you know inculcates a certain way of being with boys that may that may have very different senses of masculinity that are natural to them but don't really have a script to follow in that respect so so I think that games games can definitely you know they are gendered and there's been a lot particularly the industries quite toxic or has been quite toxic towards women the mainstream kind of Triple A studios but it's also a site of subversion there's a lot of small independent games and small independent female artists that are using the medium and LGBTQ to articulate their circumstances to and as a form of activism you know Zooey Quinn's depression Quest is a great example of that and she's definitely you know the person that started the whole gamergate atrocity yeah it's usually I've seen a very similar thing that policy where yeah I would say that the the he did political kind of knee-jerk reactions I've seen has been to quote unquote feminazis and it is usually you know in the completely ignorant context and and actually reminds we have an interview but I'll send to you guys because I think it's it's apprehension irrelevant were yeah on YouTube which many media scholars are saying is kind of 5-10 years ahead of the curve of where mainstream political fights are and if you go on YouTube it is all about gender you know it is it is not about health care it is not about you know race so much but so like gender is this next battleground field and yeah I think I think games can be great because in many cases they require you to you have to use empathy to play a game that has a narrative and I think that's one of the things that's great about games is that it can be I think a more seamless way to experience a different identity that they're already kind of primed for so that is one area that I am optimistic in yeah it see this neat parallel that both of you are working on and I see the same thing with our interactive technologies in that we very much leave this mostly up to just the market you know it's kinda like this kinder culture where we leave kids as kind of victims to however the market wants to treat them and market to them and in the gaming world I see the same thing like if you go on to twitch and you know kind of surf through different gaming channels and listen to how these young boys or men whatever they're gonna identify them as how they this bro talk that they communicate in it's downright scary and I know there's beautiful things happening on twitch as well there's live painting there's all this amazing stuff but the majority of is is this kind of like bro culture of gaming it so that to me was sort of you we want to teach the intelligent uses of our interactive technologies and we also want to teach the intelligent uses of gaming because I believe it is incredibly powerful but if you look at sort of the back channels of 4chan hm and what's fomenting and being produced there it's pretty disgusting at the same time and it's all doing through this lens of fantasy gaming yeah I think I think there was a big that stuff in the next hill to climb because you know growing up you know I'm 33 so grab a school like even a very isolated you know bubble of a suburb like race was a concept that you were forced to grapple with you know at least in the abstract but gender was not like it was there was no discussions of gender or masculinity or anything like that and I think we're beginning to see the whole the that kind of left I think kids are are much more racially conscious I mean they're that they're still it's still a thorny concept that you know befuddles everybody but compared to gender I think we've moved the ball farther and I think yeah there is yeah there's definitely more to come when it comes with that and that any teachers a lot of their hands hands fall and I and I would advise every teacher to figure out how they're going to begin to have those conversations so I want to close with this idea of multi modality and transmedia and literacy big words but there will bring them into like a more like context that we can we can grapple with so in the article on reading a digital media rejoin her to digital technology and student cognitive development the neuroscience of the university classroom that's quite a mouthful similar to John's you so sure the Jackson Paul you've adapted gone home to approach reading analysis in the Journal of management of education you were quoted English class can become a sort of theater where everyone pretends the texts are being read our duty as educators is to design our courses to prepare students to think critically and succeed in their current communication context as that is the environment where they must survive and and hopefully prosper I wonder if you might comment on a more holistic approach to literacy that while we train students to decode and produce text the reality is students spend a much greater amount of time decoding decoding across multiple mediums the rapid rise in games social media political and advertising transmedia blitz that to train students to function in a democracy these may be the decoding production skills that are needed what are your thoughts on that my mic so yeah I think your mic is off I didn't hear I didn't sorry I I'm a big fan of the written word I I read everyday I the best things that have happened in my life were as a result of literature I would like nothing more than to share the passion I have for literature with my students but I also have to take into consideration the reality that I'm living in and unfortunately many teachers many English teachers are looking back at their kind of magical high school experiences where even when I was in high school a lot of the kids weren't reading the books right so and and that was with far less you know distracting them from that reading and now I see that with all the resources available online with their the ability for them to create internal communication networks and and and share information that that they don't really have to do nor do they often want to do the reading so we could either continue with what I call theater of English where we all pretend that reading is being done and we pretend that things are going on you know as normal or we start making adjustments to take that reality into consideration right and and that doesn't mean eliminating books from the curriculum but it does require some what I think are going to be some dramatic adjustments and and one of them what I'm convinced of is that we are returning to a court a culture of orality right that increasingly you know there was a great piece that was written in the New York Times about one of their writers who now wanders around Silicon Valley and dictates his columns through his his iPad his headphones and then he uses a voice the tax transfer system and then just that it's his work and he says that his writing is now better because it's more conversational which is what you know writing should ideally aim for and and I saw that as a very big first step towards this culture of morality here we are creating a podcast podcasts are very popular we're increasingly having these kind of devices in our in our homes where we can orally dictate commands like turn off the lights or tell me when Marilyn Monroe's birthday is and and we can now dictate text we have Siri to give us all the information that we need and and all of this is you know this was predicted by Marshall McLuhan a very long time ago that he what he saw as the end game of what he called electronic media but what he was really talking about was digital media was a return to orality and what's fascinating about this you know going you know wrapping the whole thing around in terms of this culture of you know post truth culture is what the Internet has done when we'd codified texts in you know with the printing press in a written paper form we can solid ated ideas in a way that we're not mutable because oral cultures are mutable what's a person says changes from one day to the next our imperfect memories kind of create this game of broken telephone where stories always changing and mutating and creates you know kind of this mythological mindset right and and what the internet did is we thought wow we're gonna have the biggest library known to humanity and we're gonna take all of these texts and put them in digital form but what we lost sight of and we I think continue to lose sight of is the fact that the same mutability that characterized oral culture is now being applied to those texts that were once quota fide on paper but it now are mutable in the digital sphere right a Wikipedia pages are constantly changing a page that you look at one day may be different the day after and you can't with imperceptible differences and it's exactly that culture that that kind of morality that's or that oral mode that is actually at the heart of the Internet even though it's not explicitly oral is what's what's creating this kind of crisis of truth but but the other thing we have to remember is that even when we were codifying this stuff on paper I don't think we were too much closer to the truth than we are now I think it's always been versions and perspectives and and and the only truth that really exists is the moment in and of itself and everything else is a representation of and and and I feel that that we're going to return to that mythological mindset that characterized our earlier oral mode and that we as educators as forward-thinking educators have to really start thinking about that as being the emergent reality although I have very little hope that that's going to be the case and I feel that rather the the momentum of social necessity is going to force changes on people rather than anybody kind of coming up or or for seeing the changes that have to be made I want to congratulate you on your most recent trade especially that you didn't use one bad word throughout the whole thing well this is one fascinating an endless topic and thank you guys for taking the time to explain it John it's very nice to meet you in live form and look forward to hearing about future iterations and whatever games you all are developing in the classroom in the future I hope you will keep it at least publish it or keep it open source so however you get it out there I think it's extremely valuable now I'll be doing at least one or two games as text units that are new for this year so I'll be sure to update my blog what's that gonna get those rolling and I've rolled them out great so where do people find how do they follow you and then maybe you want to like point them somewhere else to a cool conference or what you're reading or endorse something in addition to your own work but how do people reach out to you and find your work and then where would you point them sure our easiest way to get get in touch with me or follow my work would be on my blog which is at the alternate classroom org you can also find me on twitter twitter at john jo hn c as in christopher fallon and and those are regularly checked and you can find my email through there as well first service i would say to check out is if you're in the Northeast – at the end toward the end of August I think August 19th and 20th there's the games in education symposium which is where Paul and I met and where I met many of the other kind of tribe members as we like to call ourselves of the game based learning world so if you can make it to the Albany New York area around that time I would strongly recommend you go and you can I'm gonna walk away with more than a few great ideas ok the long pause I think you'd me in so I my words really distributed I was I was keeping a blog which I hope to return to once my doctoral work is over but I haven't really added anything since 2016 although there's lots of valuable material there it's a ludic learning dot-org ludecke lu d IC learning dot org but if you google my name Paul Dhar vazhi dar VA si you'll find lots of stuff that I write lots of stuff that's been written about my work my Twitter account my gmail address if you want to write me as Paul DeVoe Z at gmail.com and and like John I highly endorsed the games in education symposium in upstate New York it's where we all met it's where teachers presented teachers they're all very practical examples of amazing stuff not just in games but but some really cool digital stuff and and it's a it's a very special conference that we all really value cool now I feel like what you guys need is some some form of micro blogging you know just like an image with a couple of sentences to people can kind of keep up I think the games education movement if you want to call it is an exciting thing but you have to really stay on it and track after it it's also very like you all all seem to know each other from the right conferences and stuff which is pretty amazing like the network is really strong thank you guys if you want to stick around just for a second I'm gonna disconnect here and then we'll say our goodbyes after thanks very much Chris that was a lot of fun thank you

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