Readings round up

The two articles dredged up through the Proquest search were very different. The first was a short article from the designer of Deus Ex and the Ultima series games, Warren Spector. Even though it was very light on, it was interesting to read such a clear discussion of what works and doesn’t work for the design of RPGs, and it made me wonder if there might be some value in looking at a bit more along these lines at some point. I was thinking of referring to the widespread use of RPGs by students before they even get to the tertiary education system anyway. My notes are here.

The second one was a very technical sociology paper on something called ‘role theory’. This is a theory about ‘embededness’, which I take to mean long term cooperative behaviour, and has little or nothing to do with role-playing per se. This all has to do with game theory, apparently, which (rather confusingly) has nothing to do with games as such, but refers to thought experiments like the Prisoner’s Dilemma (you know the one, where Al and Bob are criminals and they have to decide whether or not to rat on one another or trust that the other will not rat on them). ‘Role theory’ is apparently the idea that “the individual should be viewed as a collection of roles” rather than as unitary actors (under rational choice theory). Interesting, but not really anything to do with my topic, so I abandoned the article there.

I also re-read a couple of articles by Margaret Riel. ‘Cross-classroom collaboration’ is the type of upbeat article you’d find at an EdMedia conference (or ASCILITE for that matter). It’s really just pointing out that computers can be used to connect school classrooms together. Anyway, I put my notes here.

The only other thing I did today was put my notes on Chapter 1 of Poster’s book online. I’m enjoying the way this works because I feel like I have easier access to stuff now. It also meant I re-read the notes, which gave me a kick in the right direction again. More on that later, I think.

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