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Intellectual Production #4

Tran, K. (2017). ‘’Her story was complex’: A Twine workshop for 10 to 12 year-old girlsE-Learning and Digital Media.Vol. 13(5–6) 212–226.

Image result for twine gaming Tran states that their research is important, because most videogame research looks at playing games, not designing them. Tran’s research is also necessary, because women and girls are excluded from gaming culture, and are largely underrepresented in the videogame industry as creators and designers. Tran states that this is representative of the lack of women in computer and technology industries. Through this research, Tran hoped to gain a better understanding of how girls practice game making and that these experiences would develop into deeper involvement and interest in programming. Game making is seen to help girls develop digital literacies and close the gender disparity in gaming and technology industries.

To conclude, Tran states that while the girls enjoyed making the narrative games, it did not lead to an interest in programming. Tran emphasizes that Twine was a useful creative tool, an engaging literacy practice, and  a way for students’ to engage in a truncated participatory culture. The girls did not engage in online game design culture, as they were considered to be too young. Examination of why this research did not address the problem, was absent and suggestions for further research only included older students to study how they engaged online and to work with youth without access to digital technology. Tran suggests that further research look at how girls engage with online gaming culture. Tran also sees gaming in school curricula as a way to lessen the digital divide.

Jenson, J. & Droumeva, M. (2017). Revisiting the media generation: Youth media use and computational literacy instructioneLearning and Digital Media.

Jenson & Droumeva also state that most videogame research is focussed on playing games and not designing them. They suggest that game making could be the answer to the ongoing and unresolved discourse about 21st century education and what that entails. The researchers also look at the widely used assumption of young people being ‘digital natives.’ Game making is also seen to have the potential for developing digital literacies and greater involvement with technology. Game making in school curricula is seen as perhaps closing the digital divide.

To conclude, Jenson and Droumeva conclude that ‘digital nativeness’ does not universally exist, and that use of technology does not correlate with being able to perform basic programming tasks. Also, they found girls were more likely than boys to believe they were capable of programming, were less likely to reveal their background knowledge to groups, and these aspects impacted their ability to program. Students with positive attitudes about and confidence with computer use, had a greater impact on their computation test performance than their familiarity with digital technologies. Jenson and Droumeva see game making in schools as a way to eliminate the gender disparity, where girls have less access to digital technologies and are more heavily supervised. Game making in education that allows for varying levels of coding, is an effective way for students to develop competencies in STEM.



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Intellectual Production #3

Image result for zen game apps


Videogames are most commonly understood as a ‘lean forward’ medium requiring intense focus and active engagement, compared to ‘lean back’ media such as television. Without this reorientation of gameplay effect, games, even when purposefully produced and marketed as relaxing or meditative, can cause tension or anxiety for players. ‘Relaxation’ games that contain stimulating visuals or sound, require precise movements, aggressive core mechanics (eating other creatures), and timed performance, are stimulating or disturbing, require player engagement, and are not truly relaxing. Garden themed games are relaxing when not paired with fear of failure. Games not marketed for relaxation can have aspects that are calming, such as Animal Crossing’s repetitive actions and open world games with exploration, but are not truly relaxing as their graphics are highly stimulating or other core mechanics require deep engagement. Videogames have the potential for relaxation, provided designers adopt a ‘lean back’ orientation rather than the ‘lean forward’ one most commonly associated with videogames. For games to be relaxing, their gameplay needs low engagement with low sensory input.

Image result for fishpond app

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Intellectual Production #2

Burwell, C. & Miller, T. (2016). Let’s Play: Exploring literacy practices in an emerging videogame paratext. E-Learning and Digital Media, 13 (3-4), 109-125.

Image result for let's play video dan tdm

3 Descriptive Sentences:

Burwell and Miller researched the literacy practices of over 20 Let’s Play videos as game paratexts, which are video recordings of people playing videogames with audio commentary, are posted online, and viewers post comments about the videos. Let’s Play videos afford the gamer and the viewers opportunities for building gaming capital through the construction of meaning by engaging in an emerging literacy practice, that includes remixing existing literacies, considering appropriation and copyright issues, production, dialogue, play, and interpretation. Let’s Play videos can be effectively used in classroom literacy instruction through the critical analysis of the videos themselves, by using the videos to launch discussions about the gaming industry, and as models for effective video production.

2 Analytical Statements:

Burwell and Miller push to broaden our understanding of literacy beyond traditional reading, writing, speaking and listening, and deep into a multimodal understanding of literacy, which considers engagement with and production of videogame paratexts as important literacy practices.

Burwell and Miller offer educators a way to transform their traditional school literacy practices by including the priorities and current literacy practices of children outside of school, which can enable students to gain greater cultural and social capital in domains they deem important.

1 Burning Question:

Does the longstanding exclusion of popular culture literacy practices, such as videogame paratexts, like Let’s Play videos in literacy education, contribute to the growing lack of engagement of students in traditional schooling and the prioritizing of academic literacy?

Image result for popularmmos

Is this book about Pat and Jen, two Let’s Play video gamers, a paratext of a paratext?

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Stop by the library to check out our latest acquisitions, praying mantis nymphs. Bring a container – I am giving them away!


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Mme. Bronwen and I ran a Makerspace experience for her grades 4 & 5 French Immersion students this year. After two sessions with recycle bin materials, we switched to Tinker Toys, building blocks, PlusPlus and other prefabricated, commercially available materials. Engagement was high and it was a great sandbox for developing social skills necessary for effective group work (not always easy).

These makerspace experiences were inspired in part by our Professional Book Club selection, Invent to Learn, an introduction to the maker movement in educational settings.

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