CAVE Exploration

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The picture above is from my exploratory visit to CAVE Island. The acronym CAVE is Community of Academic Virtual Educators. The trip was/is truly fascinating. The scenery is detailed and enhances the experience. The amount of information is almost overwhelming. I know I will visit CAVE Island again.

I learned about virtual meeting places for educators, virtual Alaskan wetland exploration by grade school students, presentations on hiring veterans with TBI, and studies of gaming with adults over 50. (I resemble that last study.) The caves seem to go on and on. Just when you think you have all of it, there is a hovering door for you to transport yourself (Star Trek-style) to another area.

The island is a cooperative of the following entities:

  • Boise State University’s EDTECH Department
  • AECT SL
  • iNACOL
  • ARVEL SIG
  • AECT Library

I am sure since the entities cast a wide net, one will see not only a casual passerby (done) but one will see students from all over the world gathering information. While exploring, I was able to meet a person from Greece and a quick hello to a fellow Edtech student. I think it is that world aspect that is finally coming into view.

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Abbott’s Spaceport?

I explored the following link http://slurl.com/secondlife/ABBOTTS/249/62/26/ purported to be Abbott’s Spaceport. What I found was certainly not like the picture. The site has been re-purposed to a functional airport (a small regional jet landed while I was exploring) and museum. I was a bit surprised because of the “historical” name and figured the aircraft were display only.

The airport and island are privately owned. One can get certain permissions from the owners and I would presume you can learn to fly there as well. There are four private planes visible at the moment. Two small experimental/high performance jets, one twin engine King Air and a smaller private prop plane. The prop plane is marked Pirate Air Racing Team and seems high performance in its own right. In that same hangar is a British-flagged helicopter (Sea King HAS Mk6). The British machine appears operational as its marking lights are functioning. It is odd that it is a blacked-out paint scheme. A jeep and a pickup truck also reside in that hangar as well. The pickup has emergency lights on it and one would presume it is a service vehicle for the airport. Same would hold true for the jeep.

There is a tower. Access was unavailable. There are two large halls which appear empty and offer no passage into other possible chambers.

While flying around the island, I discovered private residences and a country club on the other side of the island. The country club rents/teaches sailing on small craft. Vertically, there is another floating island with its own airport. Evidently, that area is private as I was asked politely to leave the area.

Overall, I was intrigued by the depth that players would invest themselves as I am sure all of this costs real dollars. At the moment, as a grandfather, I just cannot see putting money into a Second Life world. I need my monies in my first world.

Seven Ways Video Games Engage the Brain – Reflection

Mr. Chatfield is obviously very taken with video games and their use in society. I am not there yet. I think back on my high school music teacher’s Merit/Demerit board on the wall outside his office. Standards were clear. I never earned a letter until my senior year. I usually had more demerits than merits and the goal was 61 merits to achieve a letter. I never really cared (enough to work hard) to earn the letter until my senior year.  Would gaming have changed that outcome? I am not so sure. I know that I am still proud of that letter 40+ years later since not everyone earned the letter.

I get engagement. What I miss is the excitement about our REAL world and interacting in REAL time. As an administrator at a boarding school, I was challenged to have students leave their dorm rooms to interact with one another. Gaming has that draw.

Impact for designing my game would have to include something in real time they can do to bring back to the game or vice versa. I would want to include rewards in small increments to increase their desire to play the game and keep their engagement high.

Gamification Reflection

As I read the Gamification Information (see below) I could not help but think of our own children and where my wife and I stood on games as they were growing up. I guess we were late adopters to gaming in our home. We did allowed them to have some rudimentary educational games as they were growing up. (Our oldest was born in 1987.) In the early 90s, we bought a MAC and with it, some basic games like Typing Tutor. Math Blasters was another program we loaded on the computer. The only devices allowed were VTech educational game consoles.

We were adamant they read or play in their first life. Trips were spent talking with one another and discussing books and movies. Finally, in the late 90s we allowed them to use their own money to buy Game Boys. We did not own a home game device until around 2003.

As I read the info-graphic, I wonder if I short-changed my own children. They are healthy, well-adjusted adults who both were/are successful in college and life. Neither are gamers in the true sense of the word; but, both played the college game quite well. Did they lose out because we did not expose them to game play on computers? I am not sure.

I taught at a 9-12 boarding school in Connecticut for student with learning differences from 7/2006 to 8/2008. Differences notwithstanding, I think most people would be attracted to this type of constructivist (gaming) education. The standards seem clear. Obstacles can be overcome as the non-gamer learns the maneuver tools.

As I looked at the graphic, I questioned my own applications. I have taught Theatre for much of my profession. Not clear how I would construct a game model to teach that in a general sense. If I chose Technical Theatre, I could certainly see some applications. At the boarding school, I taught Strategies of Instruction and question how that would fit. I also teach English, so how would that look in a game?

I have not settled on a specific game model yet. I would lean toward Technical Theatre as that seems the most clear from this distance the first week of class. I would like to explore more to refine or change my plans.

<a href=”http://www.knewton.com/gamification-education/”><img src=”http://www.knewton.com/wp-content/uploads/gamification-education.png&#8221; alt=”Gamification Infographic” title=”Gamification Infographic” width=”1000″ /></a>
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