Conceptual Vertigo

In their 2006 working paper “The Play of Imagination: Extending the Literary Mind,” Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown use the term “conceptual blending” to describe the ways in which players of massively multiplayer online games are able to take into account multiple worlds simultaneously, and in so doing, find “new and unusual opportunities for learning.”[i] One key to the success of these games, the authors argue, is that they are eminently social, but perhaps more importantly, the rich social fabric of the games “blurs many of the boundaries that we tend to expect such as the distinction between the physical and the virtual, the difference between player and avatar, and the distinction between work and play” (2). The essay, part of a growing body of work that highlights the potential of video games for learning and pedagogical practices, considers how conceptual blending is essentially a process for using “one’s imagination to read across boundaries” (2); it’s a creative act that contributes to ways of “seeing and making sense of the world” (20); it is a process that “does not simply project one space onto another or privilege one view and subordinate another to bring them into concert,” but instead constructs “something that is altogether new, a blended space that is able to account for the vividness and complexity of each perspective, doing violence to neither, by producing something that is undeniably true of both elements that compose it” (19); and finally, it is a process that is, the authors argue, especially pertinent to functional engagement in and with the 21st century.[ii] Continue Reading →

Graphic Convergence: Fella + McFetridge

Review of essay of “Two Lines Align: Drawings and Graphic Design by Ed Fella and Geoff McFetridge”curated by Michael Worthington at REDCAT. The piece was printed April 1, 2008 and is available here.

The Amazing Visual Language of Processing

Casey Reas, Raegan Kelly and Matthew Cullen talk about Processing, and its use in super beautiful graphic design projects…

Toward an Algorithmic Pedagogy

Colleges and universities in the United States currently face a daunting challenge: how can we transform longstanding definitions of literacy to account for not only the vast social shifts wrought by the centrality of networked, visual and aural media, but epistemological shifts as well? Calls for reconsidering literacy in light of digital tools are multiple and varied in approach and orientation, ranging from the declaration that every grade school student deserves access to a computer by then President Bill Clinton in 1996 (U.S. Dept. of Education, 1996), to the articulation of multimodal literacy outlined by Gunther Kress in his seminal book Literacy in the New Media Age to the taxonomy of skills characteristic of a new generation of students who currently inhabit a digital and participatory culture listed by Henry Jenkins in his 2006 paper for the MacArthur Foundation, ‘Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century’; here Jenkins highlights the potential benefits of forms of participatory culture, including

opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitude toward intellectual property, the diversification of cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship (Jenkins, 2006: 3).

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