jeudi 27 octobre 2016

The RPG Classroom: Re-Purposing Game Mechanics for the Gamification of Education [chapter]

Crocco, Francisco. “The RPG Classroom: Re-Purposing Game Mechanics for the Gamification of Education.” In The Role-Playing Society: Essays on the Cultural Influence of RPGs, edited by Andrew Byers and Francisco Crocco, 278–302. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2016. 
In this chapter, the concepts of gamification and flow are explained through some major works in the field of education. The author details 7 core RPG mechanics that can be applied to learning:
  • role-playing (situated learning : taking on the identities and behavior of professionals in context)
  • narrative (from the global frame of a campaign to quests)
  • quests (customizable and specific objectives to be achieved)
  • collaboration (work and grow in a group)
  • specialization (every one have different responsabilities and habilities)
  • experience point (fluid currency of reward as incentives)
  • level (and/or badges, allowing new powers, new challenges, new status)
  • game master (a special player, organizing and regulating play)
Some examples of successful RPG gamifications are reported (in which one of the author). Most of the focus is about the scoring/rating mechanics. A shift of curricular paradigm is evoked, replacing the classical lectures & exams by questing & XP scoring.

So you want to build a knowledge base?

You can also call it : document management system, technical documentation center, collective shared library, information repository, data collection, etc.

Principles :
  1. Make it simple to design, use and maintain
  2. Make sure you answer a specific goal (one or more)
  3. Target it for a specific audience only
  4. Make it even more simple
Why :
  • You want the cost of using it (in "real" work time) is lower
    than the cost of not using it if it didn't exist
  • If not, expect it to be ignored and abandoned
My priorities of easiness :
  1. add and modify stuff
  2. save the whole thing
  3. find and retrieve stuff
  4. manage authorized access 
  5. clean the whole thing
  6. monitor use (stats)
I think :
  • directory > search engine
  • shared folders and files  > local html webpages > wikis > content management systems, forums,...
  • spreadsheet (Excel,...) > database (Access,...)
  • make sure regular saved copies of the whole system are safely stored
  • don't forget to date and attribute (ex: created... updated... by...)
If you choose a directory of folder and files :
  • Open formats & open software > proprietary formats
  • Adapt type of format to the users : sometimes some photo pictures > texts
  • Create folders named archives in every folders if you want to store ancient copies of current documents and if you want to store (but hide) less relevant informations
  • Naming of folder and files: no space, no accent, no ponctuation mark
  • Naming of folder : the important (most used) folders are written in CAPS LETTERS
  • If shortcut: only shortcut folders, and then don't move the folders anymore
  • Create a key document in ASCII at the root of the directory to explain how to use it
  • Create a folder for the users, each user can put their own shortcuts in their own folders
  • The logic of directory structure can follow known topics, known processes, or known institutions (or a clever combination of them)
 If you choose a hyperlinked textual system (webpages) :
  • 10 big linked webpages > 100 small linked webpages
  • Write in bullet points (or numbered list) like this post. Learn to love lists.
  • Follow the 3P structure: write the main idea in 1 Phrase, then develop in 1 Paragrah, then in 1 Page or more. Like in (good) newspaper or encyclopedia articles
  • Be careful ! It can become very quickly complex (software, tools, ...) to design, use and maintain

vendredi 21 octobre 2016

"Jeux de rôle" article in scholarly encyclopedia on Barbarians

Cuvelier, Pierre. (2016). Jeux de rôle. Bruno Dumézil (Ed.), Les barbares (p. 813‑814). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
RPG and fantasy are inviting themselves in a 1500 pages scholarly encyclopedia on the Barbarians.

Values of barbarians are explored: truth, energy, simplicity, paganism, freedom, honor, fighting spirit and courage; and also : at the margin and doomed with failure.

He is opposing or visiting temporarily the lying, decadent and soft urban civilisation. There, he can be a figure of transition, acculturation, integration or regeneration. Sometimes he is a line of defense against a civilised elite corrupted and seduced by magical technology. Other times, defining a person a barbarian justify its destruction or its opposition, unless a common ennemy turn him into an ally of opportunity.

Beowulf: 4 pages, Alban Gauthier.
Conan le barbare: 5 p., William Blanc
Games of Thrones: 2 p., William Blanc
Gladiator: 2 p., William Blanc
Heroic Fantasy: 4 p., Frédéric Ferro
Jeux de rôle: 2 p., Pierre Cuvelier
Prince Valiant: 3 p., William Blanc
Star Trek: 2 p., William Blanc
Tolkien: 3 p., Bruno Dumézil
Le 13e Guerrier: 2 p., Pierre Cuvelier
300: 2 p., Pierre Cuvelier
World of Warcraft: 2 p., William Blanc

(almost 500 articles in total in the encyclopedia)

vendredi 14 octobre 2016

Empathic Features and Absorption in Fantasy Role-Playing [peer-reviewed article]

Rivers, Anissa, Ian E. Wickramasekera II, Ronald J. Pekala et Jennifer A. Rivers. « Empathic Features and Absorption in Fantasy Role-Playing ». American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 58, no 3 (12 janvier 2016), 286-94. doi:10.1080/00029157.2015.1103696. PMID: 26675155.
Tabletop RPG gamers scored higher than control group on empathy measurement tools. There is also a positive correlation between empathy and absorption (r = .43, p < .001). It doesn't mean RPGs increase empathy, nor empathic persons are more incline to play RPGs. But, it can refute some negative stereotypes associated to RPG gamers. It's possible the level of education of the players influenced positively the score of empathy.

This study (n=127) uses 2 tests: the Davis Interpersonal Reactivity Index (for measuring empathy) and the Tellegen Absorption Scale (for measuring absorption). Even if the definition of empathy is debated, empathy is an important ability according to psychologists. It's the ability to understand others, put yourself in someone else shoes, to identify yourself to them. Empathy reduces prejudice, racism and bullying. It leads to more satisfying relationships and it's a first step to companionate actions.

Absorption is the ability to be focus on a task, to be immersed into a fiction through an empathic link with a character. In RPG, this link asks the players an high level of openness to the experience suggested by the gamemaster. This special relation is similar to the relation in hypnosis. « We hypothesize that the way in which the gamemaster describes the visual imagery and physical experiences of a player in an RPG may be quite analogous to how a hypnotist uses imagery, experiential language, and suggestions in hypnosis. » (p.289)

lundi 3 octobre 2016

Making Meaningful Worlds: Role-Playing Subcultures and the Autism Spectrum [peer-reviewed article]

Fein, Elizabeth. « Making Meaningful Worlds: Role-Playing Subcultures and the Autism Spectrum ». Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 39, no 2 (27 mars 2015), 299-321. doi:10.1007/s11013-015-9443-x.  

The author studied a summer camp for youth on the autism spectrum. The camp is based on RPG because the founder discovered participants were attracted to them. The structure of the community, the stories in game and the relational commitments between participants are bringing positive outcomes.

However, it seems the dynamic of role-playing games themselves is especially positive. Indeed, the autists are confortable in the camp because the social informations exchanged are explicit, top-down and systematic. They follow a set of shared abstract rules. Interpreting the implicit social informations of daily life is difficult for a person on the autism spectrum.

Informations added on the Wikipedia page Sociological and cultural aspects of autism