Upcoming Invited Presentations: TYCA-PNW and Boise State THATCamp

The month of October will be a busy one.  I have been fortunate enough to be invited two give two presentations on my work in video game studies.

The first is a “featured session” for the TYCA-PNW/PNWCA Conference (Two-Year English College Association of the Pacific Northwest), October 12-13, 2012, which will be held at Highline Community College in Des Moines, WA:

“Gaming Writing: Teaching (with) Video Games”
Ed Chang, University of Washington
Friday, October 12th, 3:30-5:30 pm
Highline Community College
Building 8: Mount Olympus / Constance

Description: In Gaming (2006), Alexander Galloway argues that “video games are actions” (2), that video games “come into being when the machine is powered up and the software is executed; they exist when enacted” (2). Might then this provide an opportunity to formulate a homology between gaming and writing? Might writing, in a sense, function as a kind of algorithm? The mind is powered up, critical thinking and language routines executed; writing only exists when enacted, when pen is put to paper, idea turned into word. But how do we get students to thoughtfully engage video games much less their own writing? Central to this workshop is a definition and demonstration of video game pedagogy, specifically the practices of close playing, play logs or “plogs,” and gaming as/for writing. We will also consider the challenges of using any new medium or technology in the classroom to think about developing different kinds of “literacy” and careful integration of games and gaming. It is not enough to assume that students are “digital natives” and always willing to think about or work with video games. In other words, before we can take video games as serious “tools” and objects of study, we need to develop ways to frame them, study them, and to play them.

The second is a workshop and keynote for the Boise State THATCamp (The Technology and Humanities Camp), October 26-27, 2012, in Boise, ID:

“The Seductions of Gamification”

In this talk, I want to address the recent “gamification” movement in business, education, and digital media.  Gamification put simply is the application of gamic elements—things that make games “fun” and “engaging”—to things that are not traditionally considered games such as quests, rewards, and points for weight loss, frequent purchases, even grades.  By looking at games like Zynga’s Frontierville, I want to resist the technoutopian desire to see gamification as “saving the world.”  We must develop and demand a more critical and nuanced approach to games that reveal gamification’s logics of commodification and exploitation and the ways that game spaces are often what I call technonormative.  Therefore, I want to imagine a kind of radical gamefulness that remains hopeful but insists on alternative and critical modes of game play, design, and scholarship.

I am excited in the first place to have been asked (these are my first invited talks) and to be recognized as someone whose work and interests are worthwhile!  Thank you to TYCA-PNW, particularly organizers Sharon Mitchler and Prairie Brown, and to Boise State University, especially organizers Alicia Garza, Dawn Shepherd,and Memo Cordova!

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