I’ve made it through the various videos and readings for week #2 of Video Games and Learning. Really good stuff. A few highlights for me:
Scot Osterwiel’s notion of “play”… searching for the fun in the concept at hand. That failure should be entertaining and provide feedback
David Gagnon’s piece on situated learning. When designing video games for learning, think about the concept being taught as the killer strategy to beat the game. So that means you have to get inside the concept sufficiently to think of it as actionable rather than a body of knowledge. Got to get my head around that.
I was also thinking more about something that Kurt Squires said during week #1 when listening to two of the writers on the AMC series Breaking Bad talk about the process of creating their stories (in this Fresh Air podcast). Squires talks about the way a well designed video game will pull you through the experience. The Breaking Bad writers talked about pulling their audience along, rewarding them here, confusing them there, with each character or story insight being delivered at just the right time for maximum satisfaction. Nice.
There was yet another parallel when the BB writers talked about the process of writing. They jot down ideas, fragments of the story they want to tell, on index cards and post them up on a big cork board. Then, working together they refine, reorder, flesh out. Often times, they explained, one index card will be fairly abstract…something like “Jesse confronts Walt.” and the details have to be worked out. An ill-defined problem in a well-defined problem space?