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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Day 2 - IN "the diary of a digital immigrant"


Day 2 went much better. We arrived and Kathryn at the cafe had also compared notes with her 10 year old son at home, and gave us a quick run down of what he had said. She explained the training island and showed us some of the controls, to make a party a guild, how to make your character sit down etc. See the Player Guide. We were able to quickly get the remaining unregistered player registered by making a temporary e-mail address at yahoo.com.

On the way down in the van I sort of managed to explain my idea of getting us all together in the game, since I was only using my screen for video capture.The thinking behind this was economy of video size; even though all the computer have the software installed, 1 hour of recording makes a file about 6 gigs in size, so the logistics of acquiring and transporting 42 gigs of video in each session was prohibitive. So I made the decision to use just mu PC for video capture...However the interesting thing from today was that the kids were much faster than me in doing the first 8 levels!

They all managed to get through the first 8 levels and be teleported into the main game much quicker than I did. The "digital natives" just learned the game and played the game at a pace I couldn't match! I had the idea of being a kind of Vygotskian mediated instructor, although as it turned out, the kids did most of the instructing! Consequently the first hour of my desktop real time video capture was just my character running around trying to score enough points by killing the lionesque creatures in the training land and collecting money. The others were all off in the main game having fabulous adventures and teaching each other how to play.
I knew my only chance was to concentrate and try and get to level 8 as quickly as possible.We had to go half an hour over time for me to eventually be teleported into the main game where to my astonishment the other had all gathered at one point waiting for me, biding their time by collectively teaming up and taking on a series of more powerful opponents. They had mastered a strategy in my absence - that was that you could beat a bigger more powerful opponent by force of numbers.I was astounded.

Scott, the leader from the 1st session had formed a "party" and the final few minutes of the session I managed to find them on my map, move rapidly to find them, join the 'party', which I had to be
invited to do by the founding member - and we were able to actually get some video footage from my screen cam of the whole group gathered together on top of a hill. We experimented with some commands like emotions etc and managed to all sit down! We were one, a group - finally united.



There was no objection to my character "Kandorf" being part of the group and I was accepted as an equal. In the van on the way back to school we excitedly discussed the possibility of doing some "quests" together. We parted ways in a very excited mood, as I rushed off to my next meeting. I am excited about the next session, becoming united with the group was a huge achievement. I can't wait to play again - am I "addicted"?


4 comments:

Derek W said...

Gavin - thanks for the detailed write-up of your 'journey'. Day two certainly appears to have gone better than day one - perhaps because of the reflection you did?

I'm interested in your comment about the way the students appeared to get through the first 8 levels much more quickly than you did - and then label them 'digital natives'. While I'd acknowledge that this sort of observation is entirely consistent with the sort of expectations that people like Prensky and others attribute to the so-called digital natives, I'd be interested to know whether, through your interactions with the students, you are able to identify in more pragmatic terms what exactly it was about these levels that they found so easy - what enabled them to navigate through them so quickly etc? (eg - previous experience, trial and error, watching each other, hidden cues and clues etc)

Gavin McLean said...

yes exactly - here we can move towards some of the issues involved in how I have decided to do my research in the sense that I have placed my self as a learner in the same situation as the students, and my slowness at the game meant that I was not seeing what the were doing. I have the session on video, and while I have my desktop on video as well, It would be great in future to have the ability to view all the screens simultaneously somehow and be able to switch to the one where some interesting interaction was happening relative to the dialogue in the room. As I said the issue of recording on video in real time each screen separately then going back and capturing different sections would be a huge task. I am hoping to be able to shed some light on your point when I analyse the video of the room to get some clues from their dialogue what is happening in the game. Some kind of screen system which allowed me to switch to the each PC would be fantastic.

To answer your question, I think it was very much prior experience, they knew instinctively to immediately start killing creatures and amassing points as fast as possible, whereas I stumbled around looking for different clues admiring the landscape, checking the camera etc.My approach was not as aggressive and fast. They played at a much faster pace than I did and understood the controls a lot faster.

Gavin McLean said...

Also - They also tended to multi task better than me - while they were playing they were also playing with the map settings, trying different commands, exploring menus etc They would then announce to the group generally " the ...does..." or " try doing this"..as I said the language transcripts will reveal some rich data on this I hope...G

Derek W said...

good thing that you have that video footage, Gavin - I'm sure you'll find it very insightful. It's the problem with 'practitioner research' like this - not always able to see everything you need to when you are so involved.
Re your comment on prior experience - that would be my hunch too - the challenge from a research perspective is to discover how you can prove that - what evidence can you find to validate that hunch?

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