April Update

I’ve discovered that April in Boston is pretty much just like April in the upper midwest: crappy. Oh sure, we’re teased with the occasional warm, sunny day. We are tempted to practice jujitsu in the quad, jog along the Charles, and get off the T a stop early because we need the exercise. Too bad the joy is fleeting. Too bad it’s not quite time to turn off the heat and open the windows. But we’re getting close.

So yeah, I’m freaking out at how much in love I’ve fallen with the new Of Montreal record. I go back and forth between that and My Morning Jacket each morning. Thanks to Elise at SomaFM, too, I’ve discovered a fun San Francisco band called Dodo Bird. Strong percussion against fun pop-folk hooks and harmonies.

I will be listening to all of the above as I travel to Chicago this week for the American Educational Research Association conference. This year I will again appear on a panel with Jim Gee, Betty Hayes, Kurt Squire, Constance Steinkuehler, and Katie Clinton. Thursday morning at the Fairmont Hotel we’ll speak on videogames and the new literacy studies. It’s usually good times as we all try and outdo Jim, who is the reason why everyone’s there in the first place. šŸ™‚ But we’ll take the star power if it means getting our own stuff out in the world.

This year I’m giving a talk on a paper-in-progress that I’m writing on the literacy potential of “on the ground” game design. I’ll talk specifically about Jane McGonigal’s new game called “World Without Oil” and Justin Hall’s new “Passively Multiplayer Online Game.” I argue that both exemplify the 21st-century media literacy “skills and competencies” we outline in our white paper for the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Learning Initiative. I’ll also show a clip from the “Big Games” video created as part of the New Media Literacies project here at MIT.

There are so many things going on around here that it’s often difficult to keep up. The Harvard Interactive Media Group is going gangbusters and I’m in the midst of planning the next meeting of the MIT Videogame Theorists Group. My students are immersed in thesis-writing and soon I’ll spend some serious time responding to their work. Students in my own class will soon be cranking out their final projects as well. My best friend is moving to New Hampshire, I’ve got several talks and conferences in the next month, deadlines for next year’s conferences, planning for the Games, Learning and Society conference, and a ton of emails to return. Never boring around here.

Sadly, it’s been so nuts I’ve not had time to play my blood elf hunter in World of Warcraft. Zetia, do you miss me?

3 responses to “April Update

  1. Alice, I would say this is not normal for April in Boston, but the whole country is screwy right now. It snowed in North Carolina this week..in April! At the Red Sox game in Texas last night it was 38 degrees! It’s like reverse global warming all of a sudden.

  2. Alice, your panel sounds great. I’m lucky enough to work on the same campus as Constance, James, and David Shaffer. I’m on a panel wednesday called communicating your research to the world. Since you’re a blogger you might enjoy it. I’ll talk about social media, news feeds, podcasts, wikis, for 20 whole minutes. The other panelists will talk about presentation style and writing and revising.
    Paul Baker
    EducationPR blog
    http://www.pbaker.wordpress.com

  3. Good luck on the panel — it sounds awesome. I love that you found links between ARGs and Justin Hall’s passively multiplayer game. I really like that project a lot myself and intuitively sense there could be a lot of interesting findings in look at them next to each other. I hope to see slides or notes online so I can catch up with your insights!

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