New Media Faculty Seminar: Fall 2010 Week 10
In this latest installment of our podcasts for Awakening the Digital Imagination: A Networked Faculty Development Seminar Gardner Campbell reviews the discussion activities of the Baylor University seminar group. This week, the reading was two selections by Brenda Laurel, The Six Elements and the Casual Relations Between Them
and Dramatic Interaction in a Small World, found on pp 563-573 in the New Media Reader (available as a PDF from the the Media Reader web site).
While Gardner was not there in person, the designated facilitators led an active discussion, as well as lot of activity in the Bayler blog space. The group got rather excited about the animation tool xtranormal (who's tag line is, "if you can type in a box you can create a movie") after watching together this rather harsh, yet humorous exchange between a humanities gradiate student and her cynical adviser -- So You Want to get a PhD in the Humanities
The seminar participants dove right in- see Lance's depiction of Ted Nelson as perhaps not the most desirable tech support person
and also Blain created one more on How to Lose Inverstors and Alienate Bond Holders.
IN summarizing where the seminar is, Gardner described the arc of moving form Marshall McLuhan's ideas into two weeks of discussion about video games, with this week focused on Brenda Laurels concept of computer as theater, and next week with a reading of Sherry Turkle's studies of video game players.
In their discussions, the Baylor group spent some time on Anthropomorphism and how Laurel suggested he infer minds in these machines, and as characters in a play, machines should be consistent in their role. It was suggested this is why some people name their technologies. Some on the group felt like Doug Engelbart did not really address the psyche of the computer user, although Gardner was fairly adamant that he did.
The students in Gardner's First Year seminar were working on the Sherry Turkle essays the faculty seminar is reading this week, and among the nuggets they focused on was one of her case studies of video game players:
Video games allow Marty to feel swept away and in control, to have power and yet to lose himself in something outside. The games combine a feeling of omnipotence and possession-- they are a place for manipulation and surrender.
The suggestion was that games can provide a fractal like experience, where small lessons learned in an activity can then be applied and extended elsewhere. Gardner suggested this was an example of what Jerome Bruner described as a "spiral curriculum. He also highly recommended the book where University of Delaware professor Thomas Leitch applies game theory to the movies of Alfred Hitchcock -- see Find the Director and Other Hitchcock Games.
This week's reading goes deeper into games with Sherry Turkle's look at the psychology of game play in Video Games and Computer Holding Power (pp 499-513 in The New Media Reader; also found online as a full excerpt from the New Media Reader site).