Re-imagining Media for Learning

Tracy Fullerton is an experimental game designer and associate professor in the Interactive Media Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she directs the Game Innovation Lab. Her design research center has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, and The Night Journey, a collaboration with artist Bill Viola. She is on the conference committee for the 2012 Digital Media & Learning Conference in San Francisco, Calif: “Beyond Educational Technology: Learning Innovations in a Connected World.” Fullerton is heading up one of four important sub-themes in the conference, “Re-imagining Media for Learning.”
dml2012.350 Author of Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games and holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment, Fullerton is a strong advocate for the use of interactive games in learning and education. In a video interview (below), Fullerton describes how learning is re-enchanted when students collaborate and participate in problem-solving and gaming environments. Here are just a few provocations from the video, but the full interview with this Emmy nominated educator and thinker is well worth it:

Our challenge today is to imagine how those particular technologies (games, mobile technologies and social networks) and situations that can allow us to re-think the learning experience itself and the dynamics of that experience and the outcomes we are looking for, the way we measure learning.

We’ve created a game where students are prompted to immediately begin working in teams together in creating all kinds of different media…the attitude of these students towards learning has changed so dramatically from what we’ve seen in the past. They are completely taking on the responsibility and the activation for their own learning onto their own shoulders.

The kinds of things that you want to learn are too complex for any one person to hold the keys. What you need to learn is how to learn from other people and how to find the people who have the knowledge and the skills you need and to seek them out and build relationships with them and learn from them.

One of the really great things about imagining media situations for today is that we can have a light touch; we can create these social environments where students are self-motivated and driven by their own desires to figure things out and learn, but we are tracking what they are able to do and what they aren’t able to do. There can be an intervention only where it’s required.

When you have a group of kids playing a game together, they are more apt to ask each other questions and answer each other’s questions, so peer-to-peer sharing isn’t always about who has the knowledge, but it’s about creating an environment where it’s ok to ask.

Banner image credit: Sklathill http://www.flickr.com/photos/sklathill/2202227573/in/pool-52242390554@N01/