Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Critical thinking and The Sims 3

Thanks to Costas again for sending me a link to a fascinating blog that is looking at what happens when you decide to play a homeless family in The Sims 3 (see pic below of Kev and his daughter Alice, created by Robin Burkinsaw).

While it's pretty interesting in itself, it reminded me of some of Gonzalo Frasca's work which discusses Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed in relation to video game design and how this could be used to encourage critical thinking. In an article on the same topic (based on this thesis) he discusses a hypothetical, open source version of the original Sims that would allow players to have much more control over character creation (which seems to have be part of the latest one). He argues that this control would allow players to create characters with the traits they want and gives an example of someone playing this version of the game and comparing the effects of these different traits. His main argument seems to be that by reducing immersion (in this case, the term seems to refer to attention and the suspension of disbelief, as opposed to the feeling of inhabiting a virtual environment) through allowing players more control, you will encourage critical thinking and reflection. I'm not sure whether providing more control , on its own, automatically leads to a more reflective stance about the game, but Robin Burkinshaw's blog does suggest how this might manifest.

And the link made me think that I should probably get a copy of the game myself...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

H809: a couple of links

Just a very short post to point to a couple of things that might be useful for the final assignment:

1) A research proposal outline - posted by Sonja
2) Assignment guide for H809 - James suggests reading from page 7 onwards
3) A link to some videos on educational theories - posted in the blogs
4) Oh, and please don't forget to fill in the course survey here.

Good luck with finishing your ECAs!