Meaningful Play – part 3 #mplay

So this is my third post about Meaningful Play. I prefer to give small chunks or takeaways when I reflect on a conference as there is a lot to consider and pack in. I also like to take a bit of time to think about what I really did learn or develop greater understanding about.

The first thing that stands out is something that has resonated across a number of conferences I have been to lately and that is providing time to tinker, to play, to immerse, to explore and have fun with tech tool/apps/ideas/concepts etc… Again this became evident at Meaningful Play. Sometimes I wonder if it is due to the very nature of it being a gaming focused conference. However, I see it as something that is important beyond gaming and something that is beneficial for educators. Identifying time to tinker, play, immerse, explore and have fun with a range of resources is vital to being able to incorporate them in the classroom and determine their value with regard to learning.

The second thing that hit my radar was that of #gamergate. I love playing games, yet I am not a serious gamer. I love the opportunities that can be provided through playing games on a range of levels whether it be in the classroom or socially. I have had the incredible opportunity to see people become respected for their knowledge and skill through entering the game space. This is powerful. It highly disappoints and disturbs me that similarly people can be demoralised within the game space as has been highlighted through #gamergate. I believe that the gaming space is a reflection of society, and exists as a subculture . Is this the sort of thing that we as a society see as ok? I was intrigued to listen to research presented that consider gender at the conference, Amanda Cote’s presentation (see her paper) which discussed:

a gender-based case study, drawing on interviews conducted with female gamers as part of a broader project on gaming culture. The resulting work may not be representative of all marginalized groups, but it serves as a starting point in exploring this issue more fully. Furthermore, many coping strategies and design recommendations apply broadly, as they protect control over one’s identity as a whole rather than gender alone. With this knowledge, developers and individuals worried about gaming’s cultural influence can both broaden markets and encourage reassuring change (p. 1).

I wonder what it is that leads someone to viciously attack another person in the gaming space, what is it that empowers them to think that this is ok and acceptable?  This I believe goes beyond the gamer space. What is it that suggests that this type of behaviour is acceptable in any space – whether it be face to face or online? Our identity follows us, our online identity is meshed with our face to face “real world” identity. We often move from one environment to another and take on different roles and participate in different ways to suit the space we find ourselves in. All these different roles held in different spaces make up who you are. Does the way you participate online make you proud, does it support the person you want to be known as?

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