Saturday, November 06, 2010

Something worth playing for.

While waltzing around the interwebs this evening, I came across a video that made me think. Now, thinking is one thing I've been avoiding for the past bit, with the end of my teaching degree coming up. And after typing paper after paper and working with students, staff, and parents, I wind up a little fried by the end of the night.
Back to my point;
I was watching a TED conference video when I saw one about video games and how they could improve the world. Curiosity had me bad by this point, so I clicked. Maybe you will too.
Gaming can make a better world, by Jane McGonigal
You can, at this point, watch it or not. The basic idea is that by gaming, we learn to work together and achieve, and by learning all kinds of behaviors online, we can apply them to the real world using a model we're already used to.
So at the end, she talks about a new game they developed called Evoke. In this, they not only set up a theoretical world with a problem, but they back up details of the story with current issues and technology.
The effect is to make the story so believable, and the steps to 'solve' the story's problem so obtainable, that you realize this could be a serious problem we are facing right now, and that we could do something about it now if we try. Heck, they offer you steps and goals to achieve (and ideas to pick from) that could make this all possible.
You sir, with you're natural ability to achieve small goals like in WOW, are completely prepared to help us solve starvation in other nations. How? Blog about our project, and then let us know you did. Own some piece of information about changes that can be made. Small ones. Then let us know you let others know. Once you have networked what you learned, we'll give you a bonus and your next mission. Congrats; you're already on your way to saving our world. We all are. We can do it together.
I took the bait, or at least a little. I looked it up. My favorites were Innovation comes from constraint, and Don't fight culture. When humans needed to stand upright to walk, we figured out how to as a means to solving a problem. We never had a need to change our ways until we were desperate. Some people won't live with so little money until they need to. Struggle often brings the fire out of people and the ability to try something new, something that might allow them to live a little longer. Culture, in this example I mean when everyone does the same thing and it still works, even if it's not the best, is something you should leave alone. If they bike long distances to work because they think cars are the devil, don't mess with that by pushing the devil on them. Make bike paths, improve their current bikes for a low cost, offer free repairs, make nice cushions for their butts. Work with us, not against us. Show the people that you are working for them first, and they will work with you to continue the aide.
There it is. If I ever get around to involving myself in this project more, I have already taken the first step. Will you? Is it possible for us, the online community of nerds and gamers, to become activists in our spare time? If just to unlock the codded Avatar program Alchemist uses?

Until we meet again,
Dancing Shadow

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