Games Learning Society wrapping thoughts

One thing I noticed while at GLS was that a lot of folk seemed to be talking about similar things from different angles. Here’s a list:

  1. participatory culture and new media literacy (Henry Jenkins and Alice Robison)
  2. ludic bureaucracy (Thomas Malaby)
  3. gamer mindset (Jim Gee)

The common theme in all of these topics is that gamers and people in general are in a new age where the traditional ways of structuring and organizing things no longer applies. The gamer mindset focuses on exploration, transgression, pushing the system, trial and error, emergent phenomenon, etc. all of which is essentially a subset (I think) of living in a participatory culture. It’s not really a knowledge economy, but more of a social economy. Your positionality and network and the skill you have in plying that network will get you far in life. The old bureaucracy is being replaced by one that doesn’t attempt to control and order everything; instead it supports emergent actions and movements.

This of course has huge implications for how I teach the technology class to future teachers that Yen-Ling and I run… How do we prepare teachers so that they can prepare their students? It’s hard enough just trying to expose new teachers to the gamer mindset, Web 2.0, etc. How do we help them develop the skills necessary to help kids develop a critical view of the world they live and participate in?  In other words, I think our teacher ed program is working under the old model too much.  Kids and adults will need, if not already need, equitable access and sponsorship to new technologies.  Participation now depends more than ever on social skills and cultural capital and the skills involved with content creation and mediation.  Yet our schools and teachers are still emphasizing knowledge and facts rather than processes and usage of knowledge.

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