Having taken the Videogames Learning and School Design class with Barry Fishman, I really enjoyed this refresher on how to more gamefully approach learning. Something that has always resonated with me since that class was the idea that the difference between the South Korean education model and the US education model is motivation. So, the main gist of why we should gamify our learning system is because it helps to build this inherent motivation.
I look at my own personal experiences with gaming. When I was an unconventional Junior in my undergrad (meaning I was 23 at the time), I made the mistake of buying an Xbox and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Mistake because I spent more time playing the game than doing my homework (hence my C+ in Utah History), but it's a perfect example of how motivated I was to play this game. It wasn't just because it was fun. It was because every time I played something new happened. And once I "won" the game, I could go back and play again, this time completing the missions with 100% success (meaning I couldn't be seen by anyone, so a lot of patience required). If my Utah History class had been more engrossing and exciting, maybe I would have been just as engrossed.
This also made me think of Jane McGonigal and how gaming can change the world. If we take that feeling of win we get in the gaming world and implement it into our everyday lives or problems. (I'll post her video at the bottom).
Next we moved to Scvngr, an augmented reality game (meaning it's a game based in the real world, with artificial challenges). I am very impressed with the idea of Scvngr, but I'm less impressed with the execution. For example, I created my own Trek, with challenges that needed to be completed in a linear fashion, but when I went to the application on someone's iPhone, it wasn't in the same order. Definitely something that needs to be worked out.
Liz Kolb's presentation on cell phones blew my mind. Right now I"m working in a district whre they're very much encouraging "bring your own device" (byod) out of necessity. Having previously read Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology (which should be a required read for all prospective teachers), there is a time coming when we (as educators) are going to be forced to shift our ideas of technology and how it is used in education. So, instead of making it too hard on ourselves, we should start now with small steps, such as using cell phones within the classroom to facilitate polling (instant feedback/assessment!). Then you can move on. It's about deciding what is the appropriate level of technology to increase learning.
Overall, the networking and professional nature of the MAME conference was interesting. To see who were are supposed to be working with in the future, and what the current level of understanding/knowledge is of professional practices in school libraries. A very worthwhile undertaking and well worth my Saturday (although I did follow up with a pedicure, it had been a long week).
As promised, Jane McGonigal