professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Everything old is new again, kinda, sorta

A colleague of mine sent me a link to a You Tube video she participated in that discussed literacy and gaming.  I am not a gamer, at least not one of the massively multiple player variety.  I do play a few online games; they act as a sort of mental yoga for me. Often when I am blitzing away, an idea will crystallize or I will workout some block that was keeping me from completing a piece.  Given my obsessive nature, I am afraid that if I began playing World of Warcraft, I might never emerge again.  So, back to the topic.

As I watched this video (and you can access it here:, I was struck with some of the similarities between now and about the 80s when I was first being trained in the use of computers in the classroom.  They point to Edutainment.  Back then we talked about the difference between CAI and real computer applications.  CAI is Computer Assisted Instruction, and basically most of CAI consisted simply of skill and drill with some bells and whistles.  These still exist, BTW, in the form of some of the products "guaranteed" to help improve scores in a variety of content areas.  They are still nothing more than skill and drill with animation and other bells and whistles.

It was the discussion of the work of Paul Gee that intrigued me, too.  The discussion reminded me of how we enter text.  As we begin the reading, we are the real self, the person we bring to the book; as we are interacting within the text, we are a slightly different sort of person.  And when we emerge at the end of the reading, we are (with any luck) changed.  the change might be temporary or it might be more permanent.  To me this parallels the 3 identities from Gee's work (real, virtual, projective).

What i was doing was connecting what I already know to a new form, format, paradigm, whatever.  As I near a milestone birthday (the BIG 6-0 next week), I love seeing the new thinking, the new ideas, the new voices in the field. Thanks, Hannah Gerber, for helping me learn new stuff!
Tags: gaming, literacy, thinking
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