Brian Winn

BIOGRAPHY

Brian Winn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media, Co-Director of the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab, and a Principal Investigator in the Communication Technology Lab at Michigan State University. Winn designs, creates, and researches interactive media design, including game design, digital game-based learning and interactive health communication. Winnís award-winning interactive media work has been presented, exhibited, and experienced around the world. Winn is also an accomplished teacher who became an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2001 and a Lilly Teaching Fellow in 2005. Winn serves as faculty advisor of the MSU SpartaSoft game developers student group and a coordinate of the Michigan Chapter of the International Game Developers Association.

ABSTRACT

How Do I Get in the Game?: The Papers, Projects, and Practices of Teaching Educational Games

When people teach classes about educational games, what are they doing? What articles and books do they use? What do their assignments look like? What kind of projects do their students complete?

Starting with solicited contributions from individuals who teach educational games design classes, including those of the panel participants, we will create a publicly accessible wiki. Solicited contributions will be parsed by theme, and contributors invited to participate in the ongoing development of the wiki.

Using the exiting wiki as a starting point, participants in the workshop will collaborate to update and improve the wiki, adding resources they believe to be appropriate for each section. Contributors will lead a discussion of the originally synthesized syllabi and call on audience members to provide brief summaries of items they are adding to the wiki, updating the online wiki during the session as changes are made.

In the context of discussing and developing the wiki, we hope to address such questions as:

  • What are the approaches we take in teaching, related to the class' instructional goals?
  • What are the resources we use in our classrooms?
  • What kinds of projects make sense for our students?
  • What kinds of backgrounds do our students have them seem to make them more/less successful in our classes, and what implication might this have for our programs?
  • What is the future for these students after they leave our class?
  • What depts. are the classes in, and what types of certifications/degrees offered?
  • Does the cross-disciplinary nature splinter the field, and if so, how do we create a focus?

Prior to coming to the meeting, we will solicit contributions of syllabi from several individuals who teach educational games design classes, including those of the panel participants. We'll parse these out by theme (assignments, readings, rubrics) and place each of these pieces on separate pages on a publicly available wiki (clustered by instructional goals, assignments, readings, rubrics, etc.). We will invite everyone who contributes a syllabus to participate through the wiki, expanding the areas to include literacy-oriented approaches as well as more traditional instructional model approaches.

For the workshop, we will present attendees with the wiki address, and walk them through the table of contents. We'll then ask them to hop onto the wiki and add resources they think will be appropriate to each of the sections. Contributors will lead a discussion of the originally synthesized syllabi and call on audience members to provide brief summaries of items they are adding to the wiki as each contributor encounters them (the attendees will be editing the wiki *during* the presentation). Our discussant will monitor the wiki during the presentation, providing support to attendees who need it, and will play the role of respondent after the panel finishes the presentation of the new syllabus materials.

The resulting wiki will be kept available for the indefinite future, creating a space of resources, practices and discussion that we intend to be helpful to other instructors of games and simulations.

At the end of the session, attendees will have the experience of a participatory session that they can relate directly to the classes they teach, and access to what we hope will be a rich collection of teaching and learning ideas and resources categorized in ways that make them easy to incorporate into their own course syllabus.

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