Module 2 Week 5

Key players, research agendas and sites.

The first thing to ask, think about is why be worrying about this now that you've done your scoping of the digital space that will serve to underpin your professional resource. The reason is that while you all have scoped useful and interesting slices of digital culture, there are other ideas and ways of thinking about all of this that you will not have come across. So this work is designed to help add to your thinking about the professional resource.

Which players are key is of course a matter of your particular interests. In the absence of suggestions I have chosen a number of folk who work offers useful and interesting insights into ways of thinking about digital culture, games and education. I have opted for a larger number of folk with a light scan of their work to give as broad a coverage as possible. The links are to the individual's pages. Feel free to add/edit. These are not in any order or sequence so feel free to jump about and choose folk whose work looks to relate to your own take on things. I've tried to weave information about sites and agendas around the different folk below. In terms of agendas/interests I have tried to pick those that are more likely to resonate with your interests.

A person whose work we looked at last week is well worth a revisit because of his agenda. James Gee's interest in what can be learned from video games to change/improve what is done in schools is important because it is not in the let's apply games to schooling.

Tom Apperley is an Australian whose book Gaming Rhythms1 we had a look at in week two of this module. The journal he co-edits will be a useful long-term resource for your thinking in this field. Tom has a number of important agendas but one that is developed in his book is an examination of the often heard claim that computer games do things to people. His answer: it's complicated.

Catherine Beavis is the convenor for this course and has a long standing interest in the changing nature of text and the implications for literacy, education and schooling of young people’s engagement with digital culture and the online world. We will look at Catherine's work in more detail in week 2 of module 3.

Katrin Becker has similar interests to Jim Gee's but is interested in how what is learned from game playing might be used to design educational games.

Ian Bogost is an influential and important thinker/writer in the digital games and education sphere. He recently wrote an excellent critique of the notion of gamification2. For one of the best analyses about the various terms, labels and rhetorics associated with games and gaming, he is a key person.

Constance Steinkuehler is another that comes from the literacy/games field and has broadened her work to consider a much wider set of cultural issues and questions that derive from the playing of MMOGs. Like Apperley she is interested in the local practices that spin out of game play as she argues3:

This is why we need to understand the emergent game cultures within virtual worlds and not simply the designed objects that hit the shelves.

Jesse Schell is an academic at Carnegie Mellon but also has a strong involvement in game deign and development. He has in interesting argument that story and gameplay are one4. His interest in entertainment is captured in recent presentations: