May 24, 2011

Thinking about Gaming as a Gateway to Computing and IT Careers

from tiltfactor
by @ 9:52 pm

In a time when women are increasingly prominent in fields such as medicine, law and business, why are there so few women scientists and engineers? The situation in Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology fields has prompted a variety of investigations into how we might best attract women and girls to more technical fields, especially computer science. Today, I was on a panel at the annual NCWIT conference (National Center for Women & Information Technology) with Mitch Resnick, of the MIT Media Lab and known for the innovative programming software program Scratch, and fellow panelists: Kevin Clark and Tobi Saulnier. The panel provoked an interesting discussion with the audience, and I want to continue my thoughts a bit further here.

May 18, 2011

Tiltfactor announces Postdoc Position, 2011-2013

from tiltfactor
by @ 12:30 pm

The Digital Studies initiative at Dartmouth College is seeking applications for postdoctoral position in Learning Sciences and Assessment. The Postdoc will be affiliated with The Tiltfactor Laboratory (, the leading game design research group in values-conscious design.

Tiltfactor at Dartmouth College designs, creates, and studies games. From social activist games, where we examine empathy, to games for health where we study if players are learning about immunization, we focus on what we call ‘critical play’ that fosters human values. We also encourage the artistic and innovative place of games in culture. Given the multidisciplinary nature of our projects, the candidates will likely have interests that span several disciplines, such as psychology, gaming, and learning; or machine learning, social games, and HCI. Technical expertise among candidates is highly favored.

May 13, 2011

POX now sold out

from tiltfactor
by @ 9:44 am

Wow! In less than two months, we are SOLD OUT of the 1st edition of our Pox Game! But do not fret! The Tiltfactor team is publishing a 2nd edition. Pre-Order Edition 2 now! Expected ship date 9/1/2011. We’ll have some at GENCON in Indiana this August as well at our BOOTH!

Thanks to everyone who bought a set and helped -ahem- spread the word about POX.

November 8, 2009

Procedural Literacy is the New Black

Hulu: Simpsons, Season 21 : Ep. 2, from 7:44 to 9:26.
Teacher uses technology to engage students.

It has to have been 4 or 5 years since I’ve seen a recent Simpsons episode.  After catching up on the last few episodes, I can really appreciate how “with it” the Simpsons have been.  After all, it’s gotta be relevant if being parodied by the Simpsons.    Particularly relevant is episode 21, where Bart’s teacher is replaced with a younger, hipper instructor.

Bart: “Then Zack skyped us, live blogged our spelling bee, and friended us on facebook!”

September 28, 2009

Nordic Digital Culture Network Launched

from Scott Rettberg
by @ 1:31 am

Nordic Digital Culture Netwrok I’m pleased to announce the launch of the Nordic Digital Culture Network, a Nordplus Higher Education network which we have been working to develop for the past year. Linking together digital culture programs from the Nordic and Baltic region, the Digital Culture Network facilitates curriculum development, student and faculty exchanges, and innovative teaching ideas and best practices. Students studying in the programs in the network will benefit from increased student and teacher mobility and enhanced opportunities for study. All the programs in the network — the University of Bergen in Norway, Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden, IT University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland — are leaders in the field of digital culture in their respective countries. Network participants will facilitate student and faculty exchange ranging from express visits to semester or yearlong exchanges, joint programs and master’s degrees. We are launching network activities this activities this fall and spring with faculty exchanges between the institutions, and will add programs, such as student exchanges and a summer school for digital culture, in coming years. I also encourage students from other countries in Europe, North America, and elsewhere to explore the exchange and M.A. program opportunities detailed on the site. For instance, both Bergen and Jyväskylä welcome applications to our M.A. programs in digital culture from well qualified international students. While international students are responsible for their own living expenses, they are not required to pay tuition.

August 25, 2009

Blog collaboration recognized

from tiltfactor
by @ 5:38 pm

How nice that Grand Text Auto, a collaboratively written blog to which Tiltfactor contributes, is recommended in the 100 best blogs for new media students. This nice long list should serve as an excellent resource for students and scholars alike!

August 13, 2009

The Great Flu: Pandemic Education for the Masses

TheGreatFluIn my last post, I discussed how games are being used to communicate, not just to entertain.  Today, I want to discuss The Great Flu, a game recently released by Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.  The game attempts to educate the public about the dangers of and difficulty in containing flu pandemics.

August 6, 2009

Learning from Games

I don’t need to tell this audience about the momentum building behind educational games.  Even when I was an elementary student, going to the computer lab to play Math Blaster, Odell Down Under, or Oregon Trail was a special treat.  These days, kids grow up on video games: game consoles are nearly as common as TVs in households; cell phones are standard issue for kids of all walks of life; the internet is available to everyone, with its countless easily accessible, free games.

July 29, 2009

Edutainment and Lessons “Learned” from Commercial Video Games: Jazz Band Revolution

rock-band“Jazz Band Revolution” …. Trust me, this is a great idea. A fellow EIS labmate recently gave a class presentation about the “Edutainment Fail.”  To its credit, edutainment is responsible for my first interactions with desktop computers.  Games such as Oregon Train, Logo Writer, some lemonade stand game, and that typing game were widely used in my early primary school years.  I suppose as games became more commercially available, the novelty of games in education were upstaged.  Still, it’s apparent that there is a great deal of learning that goes into playing some of the most popular games today, so it begs the question… Why aren’t games used for educational purposes more? Many bridges are in process being built to overcome the gap between the motivation to be entertained and the motivation to learn.  Similarly, there are many educational avenues from the experiencing to building of interactive experiences– whether it is to learn about the technology itself or to be engaged by the technology to learn.  Let’s be honest, everyone knows that games are more than just entertainment, yet why are they mostly seen as entertainment– If I am willing to learn for the sake of being entertained, surely, I am willing to learn USEFUL things for the sake of being entertained (if nothing else).  Being entertained should be assumed for all games; asking for a game that can entertain is like asking for a drink that will quench thirst.  Albeit, not all drinks will quench thirst, but we have more options than just water to quench our thirsts.  So listen up Activision, Harmonix, and Konami: Games are for more than just quenching my thirst for entertainment.

July 23, 2009

Learning in Games

Kodu Game LabThis summer, I’m working with Matt MacLaurin at Microsoft Research on Kodu Game Lab.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, Kodu is an environment for people with no programming experience to quickly create games.  Its visual programming language is designed to be intuitively understandable and its library of characters and objects facilitate rapid game development.  If you’re interested in checking it out yourself, it’s currently available for the very reasonable price of $5 through X-Box Live Arcade.

 One of my goals for the summer is to introduce some interesting AI features to the characters of Kodu.  Among those features is learning.  We want Kodu characters to be able to adapt their behavior based on their experiences.

June 2, 2009

Digital Dartmouth – Summer Courses!

from tiltfactor
by @ 6:03 am

Starting June 25th 2009!
Practicum in Digital Culture & New Media – 10A


In this workshop, we conduct research in developing, understanding and advancing a real-time rendering and video production technique based on video games. This special topics course will allow a group of students to study the techniques of Machinima. Throughout the term students will examine film techniques and story creation techniques that apply to the traditional film form, examine Machinima on a technical and aesthetic basis, and critique current examples of Machinima films. Outside of class, students  will collaborate, putting  forth a large amount of effort to write and produce their own Machinima.  Our course aims to investigate the underlying concepts of this new form of media, examining the relationship to animation, traditional cinema, and forms of popular culture. During the course, we will create Machinima projects while developing the theoretical framework around this approach as it relates to film and video, games, play, and participatory media.

June 1, 2009

Video Game Literacy

from tiltfactor
by @ 1:22 am

In his 2009 speech at Dartmouth, Jesper Juul argued that the list of games people choose to play is itself a form of self-expression. His “video game literacy” really does exist. People read, experience and cite games like they do printed text. Yet we don’t consider gamers to be ‘well-read’ just quite yet.


Why we don’t spend more time playing games? Why is experiencing games viewed as less beneficial than spending the same amount of time reading a book?

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