Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Institute of Play with MOMA

Google Hangout with staff from the Institute of Play. Panel made up of IoP staff & MOMA staff. Greg OBrian discusses how iterative design is so important, because what you plan is never what actually happens and you learn so much by watching how people actually use the game. Description of workshops they held at MOMA. Ninja Game - makes everybody look like a fool, total leveling effect. Arc: Playing games to rethinking a game that already existed to eventually creating a joint game. Emphasis on experimentation. "Creating something by actually experimenting with it,doing it  figuring out if it worked...A different way of working for us."

Brian xxx on benefits of working in teams. Having a group to playtest interactive stuff. Having the game in group memory. Shows you where the holes are. Designing interactive systems for groups of people requires people. Leads to a fuller design, taking into account multiple perspectives. Games take on a life of their own and are all about how they interact with other people besides the designer.

"I got home last night and I realized that I made a game! And it's a game that I want to play. And I never thought that I would be a game designer."

Creative, collective thinking. Creativity is a group effort. We all have good ideas, but the understanding of this collection of them is more powerful. Being in teams forces you to understand the way somebody else is processing information, and can lead to a better result. Sometimes working teams brings out unknown skills that you didn't realize individuals have.

Engaging in game activity is really hard at first - it's a totally new way for most people to interact at work. Playtest. Being part of a game is very different from planning one. When you imagine a game, you imagine a particular kind of play behavior - this is probably not what most people will actually do when they play. Iterative playtesting is essential. Experiment, fail, do it again. Without going through the testing process, you aren't going to know what works. Playtesting can be hard for game designers - watching you best-laid plans turned to chaos. This isn't what I thought would happen - this is bad - this is good, how do I get more of it - this person says they are having fun but they clearly are not. Takes practice to get good at facing it.

MOMA redesigned their meeting room. Was a big table. Now no table, various kinds of seating at various heights, one wall chalkboard wall.  Has made meetings more relaxed.

IofP is making a game for MOMA visitors in collaboration with MOMA staff. Having done the game workshop beforehand made the process of collaborating on a game much smoother - they had a shared vocabulary, some understanding of constraints and what the game could do. Ability to focus on one narrow goal. "We want people to do this in the gallery." Not "we want lazers and lots of cool stuff."

A lot fo the challenges MOMA has are the same challenges you face in any large physical game. "How do we do engagement in the museum" and "how do we make a game" seem to be very similar problems. They ahve been playtesting the game with random museum visitors - walking around the galleries, walking up to people, "Hi. Would you test this game for us?"

Their workshops are usually 3 days long. They find that is optimal to create trust and engagement. But they have done shorter workshops, perhaps one afternoon. MOMA workshop was 3 half-days - people did their normal work in morning, workshop in afternoon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

USF School of Nursing Class in SecondLife

Today Dr Susan Penner of the USF School of Nursing invited me to visit her class's SecondLife projects.

I was thoroughly impressed by how much this professor and her nursing students were able to create in a few short hours on SecondLife. What made it especially impressive was the fact that Dr Penner had only a few months experience on SL and her students had never used SL before this class.

Last February, JJ Drinkwater, CeAire Decosta, Rudolfo Woodget and I presented a workshop about using SecondLife for the faculty at the University of San Francisco. Dr Susan Penner was among the faculty who attended this workshop, and she decided to incorporate SL into her next course

In September, I visited her first inworld session. None of her students had ever used SL before. She provided them with premade avatars and brought them inworld as a group during a regular class session.

They behaved like typical newbies, mostly trying to figure out how to walk, run, and change their appearance. SL and the USF computer network were not very cooperative, and they kept crashing.

Frankly, I left thinking they weren't going to be able to accomplish much, using SecondLife as just one aspect of a one-semester course.

Today I was invited to view their class projects. I was blown away - these total newbies, most of whom spent less than 20 hours inworld, had created interesting projects with good builds.

How did Dr Penner accomplish this? She used one of SL's major strengths - the willingness to share, teach and help that is such a striking part of our SecondLife culture. She teamed her students up with experienced SL builders, who were happy to share their knowledge, teach basic building techniques and help with the more advanced aspects of each project. This allowed her students to create builds that went far beyond what most could have accomplished in a single semester.

Here's what I saw:
A tatoo parlor that dispenses information about Sexually Transmitted Diseases. San Francisco recently started dispensing this type of information if real life tatoo parlors, so this build couldn't be more timely.

A tent that provides one-stop preparation for health workers being sent overseas in an emergency. Here they can get their inoculations, arrange their visas, and obtain other necessary information and equipment. If such places don't already exist in real life, they definitely should.

An ambulance that displays slides about the F.A.S.T. protocol for assessing trauma. FAST is a set of observational tests that are used by paramedics and first responders. Dr Penner created this project, working alongside her students.

An informational build for expectant mothers. It includes billboards about such topics as nutrition, fetal development, and government assistance programs for pregnant women and young children. In real life, a set of posters like this would be a wonderful addition to a medical clinic or WIC intake station. It's not possible for many nursing students to visit these facilities in real life, so visiting them on SecondLife is a useful substitute.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Two major reports about virtual worlds and education

1. EDUCAUSE Review - Back to Virtual School

Review by Lyr Lobo

2. JISC - Serious Virtual Worlds

Author: Sara de Freitas

Publication date: 3 November 2008

Publication Type(s): Reports

JISC theme(s): e-Learning1

Serious Virtual Worlds Scoping StudyThe Serious Virtual Worlds report focuses on virtual worlds for educational uses, and explores the ‘serious’ – as opposed to leisure-based – uses of virtual worlds.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Internet Librarian - Implementing Web 2.0 at a Library

Looking back, it seems like I was so focused on my presentation that I missed a lot of excellent presentations at this conference. Too bad it wasn't on the first day instead of the last day. :-)

Implementing Web 2.0
The presenters spoke about how they do this at the Columbus Public Library.
I thought their job titles said it all, actually-- I don't think any libraries had job titles like this as recently as five years ago.

Joy Marlow - Digital Experience Analyst
Sam Davis - Applications Programmer

Selling ideas to administratiors and staff
Your personal learning curve & your staff's learning curve
Keeping up with new technology
Bring customer along – if they don’t know how or don’t get what they want, they won’t use it
You’re at the mercy of 3rd party vendors & content providers – ex. Using twitter for updates on your site, when Twitter is down, your updates won't be visible to your staff and patrons
Terms of Use – copyright – for example, you are required to show attribution if you use blogger, google maps on your website
Unclear strategy – who will do it (implement) what will you do, how does it fit in, how does it fit into brand

Engage your staff
Their staff is using the training program developed by Helen Blauer – Learning 2.0 – 23 things
Response has been very enthusiastic. They put short videos up on their staff website about people who are using the new technologies and how they are using them.
Engage your customers – Powertools page (blog—post “what technologies are you using, what would you see use do?)
Library toolbar
Believe in what you do – show your passion, to aqdministrators, to customers
Beta – experiment – Their toolbar is in beta, so people know it’s a work in progress, solicit feedback from customers, perpetual beta?

Tips and tricks
Prototyping – create working models of your applications, tools – give people something they can put hands on, look at – Cigtywaall – large multitouch stouch screen == Helsinki Finland – users can interact, move photos around, crop them, interactive—mulyi-touch, multi-functional – put prototype together using youtube videos, took cardboard bos, laptop, vwebcam

Let it be torn apart, get feedback, empowers customers, let’s tool keep making itself better

Don’t be afraqid to fail
Some of this stull won’t work

Keep up with the literacy



Internet Librarian - Branding

Greg Schwarz spoke about branding. I'd expected to hear about branding a library or organization, but this was about managing your perosnal online identity. It was besed on Greg's experience with his online identites of Planetneutral (blog) and gregschwartz (twitter).

Identity has two components:
What I say abut me
What others say about me -- this is the more important**

You do not own your online identity – but you do have ways to influence it

Personal branding – stuff you do to define who you are

Managing your online brand
1. Have a homebase. May be a blog, a website, a Ning. If you want to have your own domain, purchase your domain today, don't wait.
2. Own your username -- use a consistent username across the sites
3. Aggreagate your lifestream – provide a single place where somebody can go and find everything you do online – some sites that work well for this are Friendfeed, libraryland
4. Join the conversation – get online, get involved in various media
5. Follow what others are saying about you—Some ways to do this -- Google blog alerts (Google will email you whenever a blog mentions your name), technorati, twitter search feeds
6. Be authentic -- be yourself
Excellent presentation!!

Internet Librarian 2008 - Mary Ellen Bates

Mary Ellen Bates introduced a number of Internet tools that can be used to improve online searching.

GoogleTranslated Search
Allows searching in other languages
Very useful for those of us who only read English

Google Timelines has been improved
Now has authoritative dates
Gives timeline of mentions of word or phrase in Google news
Useful because you can limit your search to the specific time when a particular topic might be in the news

Google Graphing the news
Looks for frequency of a particular topic in news
#times people searched for wd or ph
Shows news volume
Shows where you were when you conducted the search
Relative # of mentions of search term by city
Useful for seeing when people cared about a topic

Yahoo SearchAssist
Gives suggestions for related or complimentary search terms

[yahoo brackets]=words in brackets must appear in the same order, but may have unlimited words in between

Yahoo Glue
Google India's search result interface
Groups search results into related sections
Wikipedia box is by itself
Images in right column
Major websites such as How Stuff Works may be broken out (sites vary with query)
Blogs are broken out
Search results are listed product reviews
Includes user reviews--broken out and classified Prefer
Allows you to add an extra word to change relevance ranking
Does not change results
Ex: hybrid cars prefer convertible
Not an and or an or – dies not limit or expand - just re-sorts the search results
Can help disambiguate works with multiple meanings
Ex: sun – breaks out astronomy, astrology, Sun Corp, computer, business, stocks
Runs on Wikipedia
Another sense-making engine
Extracts meaning
Contains, makes, crops
Automatic search algorithm
Can be used to expand or narrow search based on meanings shown
Recently purchased by Microsft

Groups keywords in search results
Almost like a tag cloud
Can show where to go next – use as first tool
Lets you choose the clustering algorithm
Gives up to 400 search results (Normal is 100)
Default is Lingo algorithm, or you can choose from a list
Each algorithm gives somewhat different results
Aggregates current news and tries to make sense of it
Shows hotspots on map
Related concepts
Background fact sheets on popular topics
You can narrow to just news on a particular topic (Environmental Science)
Research engine
You input your search terms into a cloud
Larger the text you put your term in = the more important that term is to you toolbar
Used to locate public wifi networks near you
Looks at your ip addres & locates other public wifi networks
Does not run on Firefox 3
Web 2.0 rsearch engine
Runs a metasearch on web 2.0 tools
Gogleblog search, youtube, technarati, etc.
Searches discussion boards

How to find conference buzz
Figure out blog tag for this conference
Search technorati

Aggregator – pulls together everything you say about yourself in various media
Put in email address
Shows items about you from blogs, photoshop, sales on Amazon, flickr, Amazon wishlist, yout ube, Facebook, etc.

Internet Librarian

I'm at the Internet Librarian conference in Monterey, California. Oddly enough, the wifi in the Monterey Conference Center is terrible. I'd hoped to live-blog some of the speakers, but there was no connection available for any of the sessions I attended. There seems to be a good one up here on the 3rd floor of the Portola Hotel, so I hope this will go through properly. They announced that they will hold the next Internet Librarian here too, so I hope there is better wifi available for that one-- seems like it would be a given for an Internet conference.

There have been some great speakers here. Howard Reingold gave the keynote address this morning, speaking about how the web, cell phones, instant messinger, etc. connect people. He spoke about "flash mobs" where people use IM, Twitter and other online connections to organise action groups. Most of what he said was already familiar to me, because I follow him on Twitter andrecently heard him speak on SecondLife. But it was marvellous to hear him live.