David Warlick Ryann Warlick Martin Warlick
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School-Based LAN Parties

I finished my presentation about an hour ago — video games.  It was a formal keynote style presentation for about 90 technology directors in the Dallas, Texas area.  We’re currently watching a presentation from Lightspeed, a network content management system (content blocker).  They paid for the lunch.  This is actually quite interesting — and the data that is generated about what users of the network are doing, where they’re going, what they’re looking for, and what they’re downloading.  It seems like information that might be useful to school principal and especially the librarian.  If I was a teacher, I’d also love to see what my students are doing on the network.  It could give me an “in.”

I started thinking about these systems and the Passively Multiplayer Online Game, developed by Justin Hall.  It’s a Firefox extension that turns Internet research into a competitive game.  Why couldn’t these network monitor and control programs be turned into a game, fashioning the point system into a competition that rewards responsible and effective research.

Playing Video Game during my presentationWhile paying attention, I moved the chat transcript that was generated by attendees with computers.  I usually try to get that moved over to the wiki right away, and then read through it and insert (wiki-style) my 2¢ worth.  Going through this, I learned about a school that is holding a monthly LAN party in their building about once a month.  Apparently it was suggested by the students, and it is shaparoned by an assistent principal — probably a young person.  The kids still beat him.  I’m hoping to find the person who chatted about this before I leave.  Would love to record a podcast interview.

Finally, to the right is a picture that I took during my presenation.  You’ll notice that he is playing a video game, Guild Wars.  That was a real first for me.

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  • http://ssik12.com/category/blog Nitin Julka

    I have heard that Lightspeed slows down a network, and that its support is not as robust as other products.

    Cymphonix, on the other hand, seems to be a solid choice for mid-range content filtering solutions.

    Barracuda seems to be a solid choice for low-end content filtering.

    I am, by no means, an expert on this stuff though. I just listen to engineers around me talk about it.

  • http://liamodonnell.com/feed/ liam

    I was thinking the same thing about pmog and student research. Having students create lamppost missions that both show their research path and invite fellow students to explore would be a great way to tie web research skills, critical thinking, media literacy and more into a fun environment and paradigm (questing for xp) that many students would relate too.

  • http://jasonpriem.com Jason Priem

    Is there any concern that such a system of points-based rewards for research is perhaps not so great for fostering intrinsic motivation? I can see that a research game might have great advantages, but at the same time seems like a textbook recipe for ‘overjustification’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overjustification_effect)

    I’m no foe of ed gaming, and I’m sure that this issue has been addressed before; being ill-acquainted with the research here, though, I’m curious to hear how it’s been answered.

  • http://www.techsavvyed.net Ben

    So wait, the guy was playing DURING your presentation? I’ve seen/heard of people playing solitaire and other casual games during a presentation, but an MMO?! For real? That takes either some serious “I don’t care” attitude, or your Video Game presentation is really hands on :)

  • ajones14

    I completely agree with Mr. Warlick! Why not turn this situation into a teachable moment? I am an advocate of student-based learning, and this would be one of the best opportunities to promote it. If students can get on board with checking their peers’ research methods, then research can become a fun thing. And we all know how much students love research in the first place, so this can really improve their motivation to do so.

    Video gaming is definitely a hobby of most students today, what with all of the technological breakthroughs, and we as educators need to find a way to integrate gaming into our teaching styles. By turning Internet research into a game in which students can compete against one another, we are rising to our students’ level of technological expertise! All too often we neglect to recognize that new technologies can become a useful tool in the classroom.

    How exciting is it that students have actually facilitated this type of gaming in their schools? We have an awesome teaching medium right at our fingertips, now all we need to do is hand that medium over to our students and let them run with it. If we teach them correctly, they will run in the right direction!

  • http://www.howeisd.net Jknowles

    I’m the guy in the photo and I was playing Guild Wars. I’m ADHD but can multitask rather well. I was listening to David’s every word and also transposing those words to the screen in the game I was playing. Almost everyone there thought the ideas he was sharing were very good. ( My guild is almost all Adults) The only problem with what he was saying was that he was saying it to the Techs and not the Teachers. Most Techs I know truly believe in what he was saying and almost all teachers I know think games are bad. Hence I hope he gets a chance to tell it he same things to teachers in the near future.

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Photo taken by Ewan McIntosh in a Taxi in Shanghai

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