Online Collaborative Practices

Some brief notes:
Online games provide a platform for modelling collaborative practices; providing regular incentives and an in-built reward system which motivates players to succeed. Jane McGonigal suggests here that through online gaming players will develop the creative solutions that are needed to solve problems in the real world. Gamers collaborate with strangers readily in order to change the world. This cooperative form of problem solving that is experienced in games is rarely evident in real life. Harnessing the educational merit of the gaming culture requires a deep understanding of its importance. It has been suggested by McGonigal that the average gamer within a strong gamer culture will have spent 10,000 hours gaming by the time they turn 21.Their willing participation in what McGonigal labels a ‘parallel form of education’ provides an avenue for innovative teachers.

The ultimate challenge then is to inspire gamers to relinquish their chairs and apply their skills. Enter Seth Prietbatsch who sees here an integration of the game culture within the real world. With motivational rewards offered as incentives for daily lifestyle choices. Integrating gaming culture and subversive marketing that will require participants to have the skills to sift through the disguised advertising incentives if they are to be able to make their own decisions. Independent thought would seem to be the enemy with Prietbatsch espousing the collective power of collaborating to bring about changes in the way that the collective population judge the world and their participation in it.

Henry Jenkins discusses Participatory Culture in his article ‘Shall We Play?’. Jenkins indicates that members in a Participatory Culture feel that their contributions are valued and so are more likely to generate creative solutions to problems. These thoughts of learning through play are not new (John O’Toole, Brad Haseman, Bruce Burton, Cecily O’Neill, Dorothy Heathcote all espouse similar understandings in the use of play based learning in Drama; Early Childhood also has strong supporters of this theory – Fisher, Beecher, Dockett) though the media and the environment is different.