Archive for March, 2006

Shaffer and Gee on How epistemic games can solve the coming crisis in education

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Before every child is left behind: How epistemic games can solve the coming crisis in education. (Via David Williamson Shaffer.) This article Shaffer co-authored with Gee, and not surprisingly I found much I was interested in. Also, they build on the popularity of Thomas Freidman’s The World is Flat as they make their case for epistemic games, so some of you might find this a timely and relevant article.

If you are skipping these posts, don’t worry there’s only 1 more to go. In the meantime, these quotes are categorized based on the section of my own paper they might appear in. They appear with minimal annotation, and they appear sans any formating – I’ve dragged and dropped from my outliner.

Introduction

- [ ] Re: The World is Flat: “But this crisis is not just a crisis of
economics or politics. At its core, this is a crisis in
education—a crisis in education unlike any we’ve seen before….
The coming crisis is this: Young people in the United States
today are being prepared—in school and at home—for “commodity
jobs” in a world that will, very soon, only reward people who can
do “innovative work” and punish those who can’t.” (Shaffer & Gee,
2005, p. 1)
- [ ] “The foundation for innovation ha to be laid from the start… it
starts in kindergardn and before” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 6-7)
- [ ] “But the problem is that innovative work is by definition
something that can not be standardized” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005,
p. 12)

Constructivism

- [ ] In a literal sense: “But today it is not nearly good enough to be
able just to read that textbook—you have to be able to produce
and not just consume, to make knowledge and not just receive it.”
(Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 9)

Engagement and Motivation

- [ ] “Contemporary video games are profoundly engaging and motivating
to young people.” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 15)

Context-embedded

- [ ] “Epistemic games are about having students do things that matter
in the world by immersing them in rigorous professional practices
of innovation [23]. In this approach, students do things that
have meaning to them and to society, supported all along the way
by structure, and lots of it—structure that leads to expertise,
professional-like skills, and an ability to innovate. So we have
the immersion dear to liberal pedagogies and the structure dear
to conservative ones.” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 12)
- [ ] “The key step in developing the epistemic frame of most
communities of innovation is in
some form of professional practicum [25, 26]. Professional
practica are environments in which a learner acts in a supervised
setting and then reflects on the results of his or her action
with peers and mentors.” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 14) Also
social and ZPD related.
- [ ] “new technologies connected to computer games, video games, and
simulations—as well as handheld computing devices and the
Internet—can let students learn to innovate by participating in
simulations of professional practica” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p.
14)
- [ ] “with epistemic games students don’t have to wait to begin their
education for innovation until college, or graduate school, or
their entry into the work force. In these games, learning to
think like innovative professionals prepares students for
innovative work.” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 19)
- [ ] “Instead of learning facts, information, and theories first and
then trying to apply them, the facts, information, and theories
are learned and remembered because they were needed to play the
game successfully.” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 21-22)

- [ ] “Epistemic games of all kinds make it possible for students of
all ages to learn by working as innovators. In playing epistemic
games, students learn basic skills, to be sure. They learn the
“facts” and “content” that we currently reward. But in epistemic
games students learn facts and content in the context of
innovative ways of thinking and working. They learn in a way that
sticks, because they learn in the process of doing things that
matter. Epistemic games thus give educators an opportunity to
move beyond disciplines derived from medieval scholarship
constituted within schools developed in the industrial
revolution—a new model of learning for a digital culture and a
global economy.” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 24)

Inquiry-driven

- [ ] Islands of expertise: “These islands may be rooted in dinosaurs,
mythology, computers, science, or art, but their real import is
the preparation they give these children for life-long learning
as they face the ever increasing demands of complex language,
symbols, and practices at higher and higher levels of schooling.”
(Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 7)

Socially Negotiated

- [ ] “Innovative practitioners use the knowledge, skills, and ways of
thinking of some professional community (in the broad sense of
professional). Learning to innovate always involves becoming part
of some group of people with a common repertoire of knowledge
about and ways of addressing problems in the world. What’s more,
these professional communities already know a lot about how to
make innovative practitioners. If they didn’t, the communities
would die out. So communities of innovative
practice—professionals in the broad sense of the term—can tell us
a lot about how to help students prepare for innovative work
[23]. ” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 13)

Play

- [ ] Hard Fun: “Rigorous learning requires lots of time and lots
of engagement and motivation [21]. But aren’t games fun and
learning work? Well, actually, no [22]. Skilled professionals (in
the broad sense of the term) draw deep pleasure from what they
know and do. That is what keeps them challenging themselves at
the cutting and ever growing edge of their competence. Innovation
is fundamentally playful, but far from driving away rigor, such
pleasure and playfulness drives the practitioner towards greater
challenges and higher standards of accomplishment.
In other words, epistemic games are games that let players learn
to work and, thus, to
think as innovative professionals. Epistemic games are games that
let students develop the epistemic frames of innovation.
Epistemic games are fun, but they are fun because they are about
innovation and mastery of complex domains. Epistemic games are
about knowledge, but they are about knowledge in action—about
making knowledge, applying knowledge, and sharing knowledge.
Epistemic games are rigorous, motivating, and complex because
that’s what characterizes the practices of innovation upon which
they are modeled.” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 15)
- [ ] “To be clear: epistemic games are not necessarily games that are
played strictly for pleasure – but then pleasure isn’t what makes
a game a game in the first place. Pleasure is the by-product of
good game design and good game play. Play is the world someone
enters when he or she wants or needs to resolve in imaginary form
desires that can not be immediately gratified. In play, we
participate in a simulation of a world we want to inhabit, and an
epistemic game is play that gives learners access to a particular
form of innovative thinking. When it succeeds, it is fun, not
because fun is the immediate goal, but because taking on a new
set of values are an essential part of an epistemic frame, and
thus of an epistemic game.” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 20)

Role of the Teacher

- [ ] “The structure that supported learning these skills and abilities
was built into the design of the game, and supported by adults
who held the players accountable to professional standards of
excellence” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 17)
- [ ] “schools, as currently organized, make it difficult to prepare
students for innovation through epistemic games. Teachers can’t
spare the time from getting students ready for the next
standardized test, and, not surprisingly, innovation is difficult
to accomplish in 40 minute chunks of time, spread from room to
room and subject to subject throughout the day… But schools
could be about epistemic games rather than assessment games—and
solving the innovation crisis in our educational system through
epistemic games would also address other crises that plague our
schools: crises that have received more publicity in recent
years. For example, research has shown for some time now that
even students who pass typical school tests cannot actually apply
their knowledge to solve problems” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p. 21)

Conclusion

- [ ] Re: The World is Flat: “So now here’s the good news—the first
good news we’ve had about our education system in quite some
time: The very same technologies that are making it possible to
outsource commodity jobs make it possible for students of all
ages to prepare for innovative work.” (Shaffer & Gee, 2005, p.
14)

Reference

Shaffer, D. W., & Gee, J. P. (2005). Before every child is left behind: How epistemic games can solve the coming crisis in education. Under review by Educational Researcher.

Shaffer on Pedagogical Praxis: The Professions as Models for Postindustrial Education

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Pedagogical Praxis: The Professions as Models for Postindustrial Education. (Via David Williamson Shaffer.) It may be hard to take much away from some of these quotes without the context of the full paper… thus the length of some of the quotes… and, of course, thus the link here. :)

At any rate, this too used Dewey’s work as a foundation and built into the 21st century. I’ve captured a few quotes I hope to draw on for my own work. And guess what? Yup, these quotes are categorized based on the section of my own paper they might appear in. They appear with minimal annotation, and they appear sans any formating – I’ve dragged and dropped from my outliner.

Introduction

- [ ] “Dewey’s work, written in an industrial era, cannot be applied
directly to educational practice in an age increasingly marked by
social and economic transformations of new technology… What
would it mean if we took this program seriously today? What new
relationships among learning, technology, and citizenship emerge
if we ground educational practice in the postindustrial
technologies of communication and information? What would such a
program look like, and what would its implications be?” (Shaffer,
2004, p. 1401)
- [ ] “It is easy to forget after almost a century that Dewey’s lab
school in Chicago was precisely this: a laboratory for experiment
in education and democracy. A critical research problem today is
to develop such laboratories in an information age, when the
school is no longer the only (or necessarily even the primary)
focus of education and when the boundaries of cognitive, social,
and moral development are more complex and porous than even 30
years ago. To develop such a laboratory, pedagogical praxis turns
to the broad learning contexts of young people, centered on
environments designed for formal education but not restricted to
schools as currently structured. Rather, the focus is on learning
and the conditions and processes that facilitate learning in
technology-rich contexts writ large.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 1402)

Content-embedded

- [ ] “new technologies make it easier for students to learn about the
world by participating in meaningful activity.” (Shaffer, 2004,
p. 1403)
- [ ] ” new technologies support Dewey’s vision of bringing the ‘‘life
of the child’’ into an environment for learning (Dewey, 1915, p.
30)” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 1404)
- [ ] “pedagogical praxis seeks to create environments that are thickly
authentic. Resnick and I (Shaffer & Resnick, 1999) argued that
authenticity is an alignment between activities and some
combination of (a) goals that matter to the community outside of
the classroom, (b) goals that are personally meaningful to the
student, (c) ways of thinking within an established domain, and
(d) the means of assessment. Thickly authentic learning
environments create all of these alignments simultaneouslyFfor
example, in the case of pedagogical praxis, when personally
meaningful projects are produced and assessed according to the
epistemological and procedural norms of an external community of
practice.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 1406)

- [ ] Transfer (Shaffer, 2004, p. 1411)

Socially Negotiated

- [ ] “computers and other information technologies can make it easier
for students to become active participants in meaningful projects
and practices in the life of their community and suggests that
professional practices such as architecture, mediation, and
journalism can provide constructive models for helping students
learn from such experiences. In this vision, new technology
reinvigorates Dewey’s (1915) idea of linking school with
society.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 1401)
- [ ] “using the ways in which professionals are trained as a model for
learning environments” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 1404)
- [ ] “Because professional learning practices have evolved into
coherent systems over time, pedagogical praxis suggests that
professions such as accounting, architecture, mediation,
engineering, journalism, law, and medicine can provide
particularly powerful models for developing technology-based
learning environments in which young people can learn important
skills, habits, and associations (Shaffer, 1998, 2002).”
(Shaffer, 2004, p. 1405)
- [ ] “enacting professional learning practices helped these students
think about ethical dilemmas using the epistemological framework
of professional negotiation and dispute resolution. In this case,
learning through simulated negotiation supported both a change in
perspective taking and the devel-
opment of conceptual understanding.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 1414)
- [ ] “(a) pedagogical praxis can be used to design effective programs
for students from a range of cultural and socioeconomic
backgrounds; (b) environments based on professional learning
practices can support learning in a range of domains (including
mathematics, biology, ethics, communication arts, and civics),
leading to significant changes in attitudes and mores as well as
the refinement of cognitive skills; and (c) learning practices
from a range of professions (including architecture, me-
diation, and journalism) can inform the development of learning
environments for middle and high school students… teachers,
curriculum developers, and other practitioners might borrow from
this work in developing new and innovative curricula to expand
the range of pedagogies used in traditional classrooms, which has
in fact happened in several instances.” (Shaffeer, 2004, p. 1416)
Game designers could heed this advice too. :)
- [ ] “by participating in professional learning practices, students
can internalize and transfer these epistemological norms to new
situations… Thoughtful enactment of a practice necessarily
involves making decisions about ways of knowing, ways of deciding
what is worth knowing, and ways of adding to a collective body of
knowledge and understanding. In learning to participate in a
practice, students internalize these ways of thinking, which they
are able to apply in other venues. ” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 1417)

Conclusion

- [ ] “Learning environments such as those described here, based on
professional learning practices and deliberately constituted
outside the traditional structure of schooling, suggest a way to
move beyond current curricula based on the ways of knowing of
mathematics, science, history, and language arts. Pedagogical
praxis asks us to imagine a system in which students learn to
work (and thus to think) as doctors, lawyers, architects,
engineers, journalists, and other knowledge workersFnot to train
them for these pursuits in the traditional sense of vocational
education but rather because learning to work in such professions
provides students with an opportunity to learn about the world in
a variety of ways that are fundamentally grounded in meaningful
activity and well aligned with the core skills, habits, and
understandings of a postindustrial society… pedagogical praxis
may be one way to return to Dewey’s intellectual program… in
another era of dramatic social and economic transformation
brought about by new technology.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 1418)

Reference

Shaffer, D. W. (2004). Pedagogical praxis: The professions as models for post-industrial education. Teachers College Record, 106(7), 1401-1421.

Shaffer on When computer-supported collaboration means computer-supported competition: Professional mediation as a model for collaborative learning

Friday, March 31st, 2006

When computer-supported collaboration means computer-supported competition: Professional mediation as a model for collaborative learning. (Via David Williamson Shaffer’s Papers.) This article was not explicitly game related, but dealt with many of the issues I’ve been exploring… and there were more Dewey references to boot. :)

Everything from this piece fell into the same category, but here’s the customary explanation… These quotes are categorized based on the section of my own paper they might appear in. They appear with minimal annotation, and they appear sans any formating – I’ve dragged and dropped from my outliner. With any luck, these will be helpful to someone else, and in the meantime, it’s motivating to me to post them as I go. :)

Socially Negotiated

- [ ] Shaffer explored”collaborative learning in a setting marked by
competition as much as cooperation” in which the “processes of
collaborative learning… were fundamentally similar to
collaborative learning processes observed in more cooperative
contexts.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 2)
- [ ] “Collaborative learning environments reflect the fundamentally
social nature of the
learning process, and the importance of developing contexts that
foster constructive and
productive interactions in support of learning—whether or not
those interactions arise in the context of working towards a
shared goal.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 3)
- [ ] “The pattern of collaboration in the studio was for students to
exchange reciprocal consulting on one another’s projects. Each
student had his or her own project, and in both one-on-one and
more public critique sessions, peers and experts offered feedback
on—and often co-designed elements of— those individual projects.
As a result, students were able to develop important
collaborative skills of giving and accepting constructive
criticism without simultaneously having to engage in the complex
process of managing a shared project.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 4)
Single player games are often played ina similarly social way.
- [ ] Apply or relate to other skills, including games “learning naval
navigation is inherently collaborative because it takes place in
an open, distributed system where different parts of the larger
task are delegated to different members of the navigation team.
The social organization of the team reflects the cognitive
structure of the task, in the sense that the person in each
particular role is responsible for a specific part of the process
of navigation.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 4)
- [ ] novices learn by observing and getting feedback from peers
(Shaffer, 2004, p. 5)
- [ ] “Dewey (1958) argued that any expressive endeavor involves
overcoming obstacles in the expressive medium, and that
understanding develops when those obstacles are relevant to the
expressive goal . DiSessa (2000), Erickson & Lehrer (1998), and
Shaffer (2003) have extended that argument, suggesting that
social interactions can similarly function as a productive
constraint on activity. These theorists suggest that as with
obstacles inherent in tool and task, working within social norms
demands reflective thinking.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 6)
- [ ] Simulated Negotiation (p. 8)
- [ ] “How did collaborative learning unfold in a competitive context?”
(Shaffer, 2004, p. 13)
– [ ] “First, interviews with students suggested a strong
relationship between the system of utility points that
structured the negotiation and students’ ability to enact the
role of one of the stakeholders in the simulated dispute” (p.
14)
– [ ] “Interviews further suggested that students came to
understand their own role better from the challenges
presented by peers in the competitive process of the
negotiation—and from the anticipation of those challenges”
(p. 14)
– [ ] “Finally, interviews suggested that exposure to multiple
perspectives in the process of the negotiation helped
students understand the issues” (p. 15)
- [ ] “In other words, simulated negotiation helped students understand
[the issues].
The system of utility points helped students adopt the role of
their assigned stakeholder.
Understanding of that role developed through preparation for
critical challenges from peers in the negotiation. And dealing
with other stakeholders in the negotiation helped students see
multiple perspectives on the issues.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 15)
- [ ] ZPD: In cooperative activities “a learner develops understanding,
in part, by observing work done by his or her peers within what
Hutchins refers to as the horizon of observation of the learner:
the parts of the task he or she can observe from his
or her role in the activity.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 16)
- [ ] “understanding also developed through the need to respond to
critical challenges from peers—what Hutchins refers to as error
correction.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 17)
- [ ] “Because the processes of collaboration are similar in
collaborative and cooperative contexts, such a tool— and, indeed,
any tool to support collaborative competition—would still need to
support (a) mapping between conceptual and social spaces, (b) a
broad horizon of observation that allows learners to see the work
of peers, and (c) error correction that provides learners with
feedback from their peers. In other words, many of the same
features that make the CoWeb (and by extension other
collaborative tools) good at supporting cooperative work will
also be important components of computer-supported competitive
activities.” (Shaffer, 2004, p. 17-18)
- [ ] Shaffer studied a “a computer-supported collaborative environment
marked as much by
competition as by cooperation” and concluded that
“computer-supported collaborative learning need not always be
synonymous with cooperative activity; however, the design of
tools to support collaborative competition may share many of the
properties of tools that support cooperation” (Shaffer, 2004,
p. 18)

Reference

Shaffer, D. W. (2004). When computer-supported collaboration means computer-supported competition: Professional mediation as a model for collaborative learning. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 15(2), 101-115.

Shaffer on Multisubculturalism: Computers and the End of Progressive Education

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Multisubculturalism: Computers and the End of Progressive Education. (Via David Williamson Shaffer.) This article also contains some sections that provide a good overview of Shaffer’s epistemic frames. I was also thrilled to discover that it stands squarely on the work of Dewey, who is the starting point for the breadth portion of my next KAM (Shaffer appears in the depth). It was also nice to discover some citations of Papert, who was in the depth portion of my last KAM. Come time to pull my lit review together these connections will be important. Incidentally, I just put in my absence requests for the rest of the calendar year, including the first week of September off to finish up my lit review – and the first week of November off to finish the write up of my study! It suddenly got more concrete. I think I can tell people 9 months now instead of a year when they ask how long I have left to finish my dissertation!

At any rate, I pulled a lot of gems out of this one and I’ve shared them below. These quotes are categorized based on the section of my own paper they might appear in. They appear with minimal annotation, and they appear sans any formating – I’ve dragged and dropped from my outliner.

Motivation and Engagement

- [ ] “computers and other new technologies can help make learning
engaging and relevant in ways Dewey suggested.” (Shaffer, 2005,
p. 6)

Context Embedded

- [ ] “computational microworlds, which Hoyles, Noss, and Adamson
(2002) define as ‘environments where people can explore and learn
from what they receive back from the computer in return for their
exploration’ (p. 30). (Shaffer, 2005, p. 18) Note Papert cited
in this paragraph, too.
- [ ] “Epistemic frames are a form of knowing with that comprise, for a
particular community, knowing where to begin looking and asking
questions, knowing what constitutes appropriate evidence to
consider or information to assess, knowing how to go about
gathering that evidence, and knowing when to draw a conclusion
and/or move on to a different issue.” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 22)
- [ ] “new computational media in the form of video games, simulations,
and other microworlds expand the range of domains that can be
made accessible to students as a medium for meaningful activity”
(Shaffer, 2005, p. 28)

Inquiry Driven

- [ ] “multisubculturalism: a view of education that focuses on diverse
educational goals rather than diverse pathways to a single
pedagogical end—and thus a view of learning more suited to the
diverse ways of thinking and living that characterize our
increasingly integrated world” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 2)
- [ ] “while the Pragmatic Progressive Dewey embraced diversity
philosophically, his pedagogy allowed for only a weak form of
multiculturalism. The Pragmatic Progressive Dewey’s
multiculturalism celebrated multiple pathways to understanding,
but multiple pathways to a single form of understanding. His
multiculturalism, I will argue, was a multiculturalism of means,
rather than a multiculturalism of ends.” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 6)
- [ ] “Progressives believe that curricula must be adapted to the needs
and abilities of learners.” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 7)
- [ ] “the challenge is in finding a way to channel students’ inherent
interests into the development of ‘discipline, culture, and
information’ (Dewey, 1915a, p. 37)” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 8)
- [ ] Incidental v. Intentional Learning: “Dewey’s theory of experience
(and therefore philosophy of education) was to take a child’s
initial intentions and expressive impulses and move them down
productive lines of inquiry” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 9)
- [ ] “The Pragmatic Progressive model of learning thus depended on
channeling individual intentions into reflective media—that is,
into media in which the constraints and affordances are relevant
to the processes of inquiry being developed.” (Shaffer, 2005,
p. 10-11) Consider the relationship of this quote to the
read/write web, too.
- [ ] “”In the year 2005, it is hard to imagine that publishing the
work of students for others to read might be expensive or
troublesome. Any school equipped with a computer and printer (or
rudimentary access to the Internet) could accomplish Parker’s
goal with ease. More generally, computers expand the range of
what students can realistically do—and thus the range of concepts
that can be “experienced”—far beyond what the Pragmatic
Progressive Dewey might ever have imagined. Computers and other
new technologies accomplish this by making it possible to create
virtual worlds (Barab, Hay, Barnett, & Squire, 2001; Shaffer, in
press; Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2004).” (Shaffer,
2005, p. 16-17)
- [ ] “This freedom to explore can be both meaningful and motivating
for students, affording them a sense of control and personal
investment in their inquiry” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 28)
- [ ] Shaffer was interested in opening “multiple legitimate pathways
to learning: a multiculturalism of inclusion and diversity
(Milner, Flowers, Moore, Moore, & Flowers, 2003), in which the
different backgrounds and perspectives of students are
respected as legitimate points of entry into the educational
landscape.” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 28-29)

Socially Negotiated

- [ ] Shaffer discusses “virtual worlds in which students can interact
using a wide range of practices
in real and imagined spaces… computers do make it possible for
students to participate in adult
activities that are hard to access, or even inaccessible with
traditional materials” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 19)
- [ ] “[video games] make it possible for more students to learn about
the world by
participating in a broader range of meaningful activities…
computers make it possible to dramatically expand the reach of
… Dewey’s ideas” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 20)
- [ ] Shaffer writes about “learning as a process of participation in
communities of practice”
- [ ] shaffer: “learning environments can be developed based on valued
communities of practice” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 32)
- [ ] ” Pedagogical praxis suggests that new technologies provide an
opportunity to give students access to a wide variety of
communities of practice; that these communities are orchestrated
by distinct ways of knowing (and deciding what is worth knowing);
and that these epistemic frames of socially-valued communities of
practice, made approachable by new technology, may provide a more
inclusive model for learning in a technological society.”
(Shaffer, 2005, p. 33)

21st Century Skills

- [ ] “a necessary (though not by itself sufficient) component of
multicultural education is systematic opportunities to
‘investigate and determine how cultural assumptions, frames of
references, perspectives and the biases within a discipline
influence the ways that knowledge is constructed’ (Banks, 1996,
p. 21). ” (Shaffer, 2005, p. 30) Games can help… consider Peace
Maker.

Other

- [ ] Shaffer on Dewey (Shaffer, 2005, p. 3-6)
- [ ] Shaffer cites Papert (Shaffer, 2005, p. 7) See also the
discussion of microworlds on p. 18 & 27)

Reference

Shaffer, D. W. (2005). Multisubculturalism: Computers and the end of progressive education. Under review by Teachers College Record.

David Williamson Shaffer on Epistemic Frames for Epistemic Games

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Epistemic Frames for Epistemic Games. (Via David Williamson Shaffer.) I’m back at the outlining tonight, and I’ve started in on David Shaffer’s work on epistemic games. This article covers the basics of the concept and includes discussion of two case studies. I’ve pulled out a few general quotes I might be able to put to use. As before, these quotes are categorized based on the section of my own paper they might appear in. They appear with minimal annotation, and they appear sans any formating – I’ve dragged and dropped from my outliner. I hope you might find them interesting, too, and there are a few more to come tonight.

Motivation and Engagement

- [ ] “students had an intense and intensive experience playing the
role of graphic designers in this computer-based game, and that
they (not surprisingly) developed some understanding of
mathematics and design in the process” (Shaffer, in press, p. 3)

Context-embedded

- [ ] “students developed useful real-world skills and understandings
in computer-supported role-playing games” (Shaffer, in press, p.
3)
- [ ] Transfer: “games such as Escher’s World can accomplish, in a very
general but very important sense, the elusive educational goal of
producing worthwhile effects that transfer from one context to
another (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000) – in Natalie’s case,
from a summer role-playing game using mathematics and digital art
to performance in school more generally.” (Shaffer, in press, p.
4)
- [ ] “knowing that and knowing how -…declaritive and procedural
knowledge – are incomplete without the capactiy of ‘knowing with’
which [Broudy, (1977)] describes as providing ‘a context within
which a particular situation is perceived, interpreted, and
judged.’ (p. 12)” (Shaffer, in press, p. 10)
- [ ] the ability of students to incorporate epistemic frames into
their identities (or portfolio
of potential identities) suggests a mechanism through which
sufficiently rich experiences in technology-supported simulations
of real-world practices (such as the games described above) may
help students deal more effectively with situations in the
real-world and in school subjects beyond the scope of the
interactive environment itself.” (Shaffer, in press, p. 19)

Inquiry Driven

- [ ] “Crowley and Jacobs (2002, p. 333) define an island of expertise
as ‘‘any topic in which children happen to become interested and
in which they develop relatively deep and rich knowledge.’’
(Shaffer, in press, p. 5)
- [ ] “Islands of expertise, they argue, develop as the culmination of
a long series
of collaborative interactions that are opportunistic and
relatively unremarkable when viewed individually, but which
collectively create a powerful linkage between understanding and
interest.” (Shaffer, in press, p. 6)
- [ ] epistemic frames “have a basis in content knowledge, interest,
identiy, and associated practices” (Shaffer, in press, p. 10)

Socially Negotiated

- [ ] Shaffer is interested in communities of practice, or groups “of
individuals who share a repretoire of knowledge about and ways of
addressing similar (often shared) problems and purposes”
(Shaffer, in press, p. 10)
- [ ] “epistemic games… games that are based on the epistemic frames
of socially valued practices (Shaffer, in press-a). Because they
develop epistemic frames of important communities of practice,
such games have the potential to help students develop ways of
thinking that persist beyond the game environment, and, as
happened in Escher thought and action more broadly. Epistemic
games based on the ways in which professionals acquire their
epistemic frames may thus provide an alternative model for
organizing our educational system. Epistemic games make it
possible for students to learn through participation in authentic
recreations of valued work in the world, and thus give educators
an opportunity to move beyond disciplines derived from medieval
scholarship constituted within schools developed in the
industrial revolution – a new model of learning for a new mode of
learning through immersive game technologies.” (Shaffer, in
press, p. 19)

21st Century Skills

- [ ] “participation in a graphic design role-playing game helped
Natalie develop key elements of the epistemic frame of a graphic
designer in looking at works of art, and participation in a
negotiation game helped students in The Pandora Project develop
key elements of the epistemic frame of mediation and dispute
resolution” (Shaffer, in press, p. 18)

References

Shaffer, D. W. (in press). Epistemic frames for epistemic games. Computers and Education.

Manager 2.0

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Manager 2.0 (Via Creating Passionate Users.) Developing a personal global microbrand is one thing, but what about when you’re working in an organization, such as an educational institution? Only a day after the question occurred to me I’ve discovered Kathy Siera’s latest post, a reflection on management 2.0. It gives me a new way to look critically at this organization (the Orange County Department of Education) and learn… and it gives me a new ideal to strive for, or at least consider (given the context), in my role as a manager here.

Public Libraries, Open Source, and World Domination

Monday, March 27th, 2006

Public Libraries, Open Source, and World Domination (Via OpenOffice.org Training, Tips, and Ideas.) Wow. Solveig has also posted a very in depth essay on the future of public libraries and open source software… many of her thoughts could also apply to schools. This is also closely related to Squire and Steinkuehlers’ thoughts on the future of libraries.

Various Good Linux Links

Monday, March 27th, 2006

Various Good Linux Links (Via OpenOffice.org Training, Tips, and Ideas.) Solveig Haugland offered these links. I actually bought two of those $179 PCs from Fry’s a couple of years ago. I replaced the out of the box Linux distro with Red Hat (and later Fedora). I did the entire first year of my phd in Educational Technology on one of them before getting a powerbook from work. Both machines are still humming along under the desk running various services and quenching my open source fix from time to time. I figure it is part of my job to stay up to date on Windows, OS X, and Linux. I suppose that’s part of my personal brand actually. :)

FeedYes

Monday, March 27th, 2006

FeedYes (Via Drexel CoAS E-Learning.) I agree with Jean-Claude. This looks powerful. I’ll have to find a context in which to try it out… maybe one of you will. Direct Link: “FeedYes.com gives rss feeds to websites without feeds”

Acronym Finder

Monday, March 27th, 2006

http://www.acronymfinder.com/ (Via Welcome to NCS-Tech!.) Kevin Jarrett, a K-4 Computer Teacher & Technology Facilitator, who writes “an online educational technology resource for teachers and staff at Northfield Community School (and the rest of the world)” pointed to this resource, which might be helpful to anyone in our field… or a host of other disciplines, I would imagine.