Saturday, May 14, 2016

Learning Reflections of Games and Learning Part 3

For the final learning reflection in Games & Learning course INTE 5320 with Associate Professor Remi Holden I have selected a few things to highlight based on key participation this semester. Works featured include blog posts, annotations via, and affinity space participation and presentation.
I chose to highlight the Hearthstone play journal blog entry for many reasons, but primarily to share what I learned about crafting a game and the value of affinity spaces to learn how to play a game well, or competitively. I learned that this game is relatively easy to play, however at a certain point the player inevitably hits a brick wall and must turn to affinity spaces to come up with deck crafting strategies. Or, risk being so frustrated the player quits. I made it over the “curve” and turned to affinity spaces to learn how to play the game competitively. The affinity spaces I participated in were both nurturing and essential to understanding game mechanics and strategies better. “Expert knowledge is pooled”, game decks are curated by professional players (Gee 2008). Newbies have opportunities to try these decks out and critique their play experience. This is the most critical example from Gee and Hayes that was experienced in the affinity spaces associated with Hearthstone. I discovered that I have never played a game that required reliance on the affinity space and much as Hearthstone.

Annotation via this semester was one of the greatest challenges and greatest rewards. The best benefit to using was the ability to directly express inquiry and discussion to the highlighted text in the document freely. This was more engaging than perhaps a Canvas discussion, but the “open” quality made it somewhat less mentally freeing because of self doubt or wanting to look “smart.” Overall, the peer interactions and inquiry changed the way I looked at discovering critical concepts in course literature. Additionally, I discovered a few ways to be more “loose” with annotation rather than Canvas discussion because of the nature of the medium. However this took some getting used to, the experience ultimately changed the way I imagined theory, literature, and peer interaction as it comes together.

Reflecting upon the affinity space project for Unity Community, I experienced many things through participation. Through observation, I was able to notice how members engaged the space, and who was contributing the most, and how they were contributing. When I contributed to the space, I was able to see what members actually responded to best. I also noticed personal growth in myself. I learned some interesting things about game design, focus, time management. These are all things I can relate to as student and professional worker interested in games and gaming cultures.

As I experienced personal growth by participation in the affinity space, it became clear to me the value of learning in an informal setting such as an affinity space. Perhaps the most valuable characteristic of nurturing affinity spaces I experienced was a connection to John Sealy Brown and personal trajectories by committed involvement in an affinity space or informal setting. I shared this connection with the space, although I don’t think it was very relatable to them as their focus was on games. I hope a few members did watch the video I linked and appreciated some connection to their personal learning.

GEE, J. P. & HAYES E, Nurturing Affinity Spaces and Game-Based Learning