AVI CHAI Educational Technology – Posts from and Reports on Games for Change 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Comment on Bird Hurling, by S. Lefton [on the Avi Chai blog]

 

I’d add the previous post that:

1) the comment “just make a Jewish Angry Birds” is akin to “just make a Jewish Google” – Angry Birds is a blockbuster for many reasons.   The Angry Birds mechanic is incredibly catchy and fun, the sound design is inspired and evocative, the art and characterization are so good that there are now Angry Birds plushy toys in the airport.  There is excellent use of scaffolded learning as the puzzle complexity increases, and there are regular releases of new puzzles.  It’s important for the Jewish world to realize what it takes to make a good game – collaborative teams of highly trained professionals working very hard for many long hours, days, weeks, months.  Skill sets include game and puzzle design, software engineering, sound design, graphic design, plenty of playtesting, usability testing, music composition, animation, and more. 

That said, if the Jewish community helps support game designers to work in our small market, we can build some very cool, modest yet engaging games that teach.  Part of moving the Jewish world into the effective use of interactive digital media is increasing literacy – those interested in supporting and advocating for Games for Learning (digital and non-digital) should consider developing some basic game literacy by 1) playing some games (digital and board/paper) and 2) experimenting for a few hours with making a paper prototype, playtesting, and iterating a little game or puzzle for a friend or family member. You will learn an incredible amount about the process very quickly, the kinds of skills and critical thinking, problem solving, and design work it takes.  You will have a much better understanding of the whole burgeoning discussion of Games and be able to be a much better advocate for the cause.  

2) Angry Birds and its mechanic teach players how to get really good at flinging birds.  In contrast, Games for Learning need to match mechanic to the desired learning.  My task when I am designing Jewish Games for Learning or teaching Game Design for Jewish Learning is to build core game mechanics that teach Jewish skills and literacy.  It’s something I delight in working on and I believe, a key way that we will train thoughtful and culturally literate Jewish minds in the digital century to come.

Rabbi Owen Gottlieb
PhD Candidate in Education and Jewish Studies
www.converjent.org
www.mysticalcreative.com

 

AVI CHAI Educational Technology: Teaching (Jewish) Inquiry with Serious Games

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rabbi Gottlieb reports for Avi Chai from Games for Change 2011 Festival

Teaching (Jewish) Inquiry with Serious Games

 

Teaching Scientific Inquiry with a Serious Game (and the Jewish Education Implications – OG)

Start time: 11:20am
Until: 11:30am
Venue: NYU Law School (40 Washington Square South), Greenberg Lounge
C. Forsythe (substitute co-researcher presenter from University of Memphis)

The implications of this talk for Jewish learning is that Games and Game-play are particularly suited through story and genre to teach inquiry and research methods.  The use of a quest with embedded narrative can turn the dry teaching of methodologies into an emotionally compelling adventure.  Here, as Jewish educators, we have the opportunity to teach methods of Jewish scholarly research and inquiry to young people.  How can Jewish learners be best equipped to pursue self-directed learning in the areas of Jewish Studies they are most curious?  By the providing of tools and methodologies for research embedded in compelling narratives.

See my writing on compelling emotional narratives in the current CCAR Journal at:
http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=11699

Rabbi Owen Gottlieb
PhD Candidate in Education and Jewish Studies
Speciality in Digital Media and Games for Learning
NYU
www.converjent.org
www.mysticalcreative.org

 

 

AVI CHAI Educational Technology: Indiana U Researchers: Mindfulness, Positive Psychology, Games for Learning

Rabbi Gottlieb reports for Avi Chai from Games for Change 2011 Festival

Indiana U Researchers: Mindfulness, Positive Psychology, Games for Learning

 

 

Examining Reflective Awareness in Gaming Experience

Start time: 10:20am
Until: 10:40am

Presenters: Thomas Fennewald Gabriel Recchia Ellen Jameson

The implications for the Jewish world from this panel include the possiblity of using games and simulations and the techniques they employ to hand down our Jewish prayer “technology” in deeply meaninful ways.  By scaffolding techniques in practicing gratefulness, such as in this game, called Dream Kindlers, users/players practice what in liturgical terms, we call Hodaot – thankfulness/gratefulness.  Note here how well designed games signal techniques we should be considering in Jewish education – whether using technology or not – the act of _practice_ of gratefulness improves psychological impact.  For Games for Change, the learning scientists draw from Positive Psychology.  For Jewish education, we can 1) come to understand the science that is explaining the ways which prayer changes us and those around us – this discursive understanding of prayer practice – a reflective understanding will broaden the reach of the kinds of learners we can engage 2) appreciate the ancient wisdom of our prayer and mindfulness practices and 3) use the kinds of practice inducing techniques that Games and Simulations demonstrate to bring learners into a more personalized, meaningful, and engaging prayer practice.  Yet another way that good science and good games can bring us closer to God.

Rabbi Owen Gottlieb
PhD Candidate, Education and Jewish Studies
Speciality in Digital Media and Games for Learning
NYU
www.converjent.org
www.mysticalcreative.com