Gaming the Unconference

November 17th, 2010 |

Hi folks,

My name is Anastasia Salter, and I’m currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in Information Arts and Technologies at the University of Baltimore. I recently finished my Doctorate in Communications Design at UB, focusing on emergent communities of interactive narratives that have followed in the wake of classic adventure games. I tweet as MsAnastasia.

“Gamification,” (or “gamefication,” if you prefer, either way spell-check isn’t going to like it) is a buzzword right now that, for better or for worse, suggests that the motivation systems of games can be used to all sorts of purposes. I’m interested in going beyond the replication of achievement systems or the inclusion of experience points for mundane activities and thinking about the ways that game structures, particularly narratives, can be used to give actions not only clear rewards but also greater meaning. (I’d also love to talk about how the ThatCamp model encourages playfulness that traditional conferences decidedly lack, and what we can do about that disconnect.)

One of my current projects is modifying a BuddyPress install to run my spring Social Media and Games course as a meaningful social game–it’s a riff on the many approaches to trying gaming in the classroom, and I’d love to discuss ideas with anyone else trying similar projects. I’m constantly integrating technology in the classroom, from Twitter to wikis to blogs to Prezi, but this will be my first time running a class as a game despite several years of teaching game design and digital culture courses. (Perhaps the closest I’ve come in the past is running a WoW guild as part of a Myths of Cyberspace class–ask me about the “Fuzzy Wuzzy Friends” :-)

I’ll also be collaborating with J.J. Pionke on the Intro to Omeka BootCamp session. We co-moderate a small project, HackGender, using the Omeka platform and experimenting with different ways to examine and encourage marginalized gender voices online. Our latest attempt is a holiday themed contest that we just launched this week.

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