The Mac Lab

TAG: You’re It! (Week 1)

by on Sep.06, 2011, under Blog

Game developers know better than anyone else how to inspire extreme effort and reward hard work. They know how to facilitate cooperation and collaboration at previously unimaginable scales. And they are continuously innovating new ways to motivate players to stick with harder challenges, for longer, and in much bigger groups. These crucial twenty-first-century skills can help all of us find new ways to make a deep and lasting impact on the world around us.
— Jane McGonigal / Reality is Broken

Want to make a deep and lasting impact on the world around you? Welcome, digital warriors, to the 2011/12 school year in the Mac Lab where each and every one of you will become a game developer, facilitating cooperation and collaboration at previously unimaginable scales, innovating new ways to motivate peers to stick with harder challenges, for longer, and in much bigger groups. The Artists’ Guild (TAG) is poised to change the face of education as we join forces to fight the insidious forces of apathy and wasted potential.

Are you game?

This Week: We’ll be planning the initial phase of our game together. Today we’ll split into teams and begin brainstorming about expanding and modifying these initial plans. The Open Beta of The Artists’ Guild begins right now. TAG: You’re it!

We have an epic adventure ahead of us. Dive in and make a splash.

Wonderful Email: Yesterday, after writing that he wanted to play TAG too (and offered to record 3D tutorials to help you guys), a former student shared something very surprising:

PS: I’ll drop a quote I said to [another former student] the other day, “I would much rather be a Lab Rat in the Mac Lab then at the Art Institute.”

I laughed after I said that. The Mac Lab was just such a fun environment to work in, glad to hear it’s only becoming even more fun.

He’s the guy who modeled stuff like this. 😛

Homework: Read, print, and sign this year’s forms. Completed forms will earn 10 XP — next day only. (If your family doesn’t have a printer, just ask and I’ll print a copy for you.) One or more days late = 1 XP.

Optional Homework: Play the first 20 levels of World of Warcraft (WoW) for free. We’ll talk about why in class. (No XP.)

No Slime Zone: Do you want your computer to look like this? THEN DON’T TOUCH THE SCREEN! 1 XP

International Update: Visitors from the Gabonese Republic, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands—dropped by over the summer bringing our international visitor count to 176 countries and/or territories (plus all 50 states). Click the small map to see where they’ve come from.

For those new to the Mac Lab, Google Analytics began tracking visitors to our class blog on 040309 (April 3, 2009). We celebrated our 1,000,000th page view on 050611. It seems that some people are curious about what we’re up to. Student work is featured prominently so everyone will have a chance to show the world some seriously killer work.

Kudos: Thanks to Aren Fikes for the very splashy image to set the stage for our new adventure.

0907: Welcome to day 2, TAG Team! I’ll be interrupting you to show a short video early in the period but in the meantime, who’s earned their first 10 XP? Show me the forms! (I’ll collect them during class.)

Gravatar + Comment Quest: Pay attention to the instructions. (Consider me one of your obstacles.) Hint: Click the links for video instructions.

  1. Sign up for your Gravatar account |
  2. Create your Gravatar
  3. Upload your Gravatar
  4. A word of advice
  5. Make a comment (stay positive)

57,000 Gamers Co-Author Scientific Paper: I love these two excerpts from this article (that also references this one from Forbes).

A few years back a team at the University of Washington took cues from both the phenomenon of massively multiplayer online role playing games and the concept of crowdsourcing scientific problems and developed Foldit, a protein folding game. Foldit presents protein folding as a visual or spatial challenge to the player, whose goal is basically to arrange an on-screen protein into the smallest possible shape that obeys all the game’s rules.

As the article notes, the top scorers were not biochemists, in fact none of the top five scorers had any chemistry beyond high school level classes. What mattered was (as noted below) intuition adaptivity, collaboration, self organization, and that great driving factor for all gamers: competition.

Quest Completed? Please read this post then continue brainstorming and commenting (if you have more to add). Please add comments to our current post and not the older one(s) so classmates will have the opportunity to read and feed off your ideas.

0908: We’ll be choosing seats and setting up accounts today. Details in class. Meanwhile, if you didn’t finish the day 1 or 2 Quests (including the reading), do that before continuing.

Today’s Videos: The Clipboard (Novice) | The Clipboard (Apprentice) | Cell Phone/Electronic Device Policy (Expert) |

Quests Completed? Only a few of you have read this post and continued brainstorming and commenting (if you have more to add). Please add comments to our current post and not the older one(s) so classmates will have the opportunity to read and feed off your ideas. And if you’ve done all that, get a jump on personalizing your new account.

0909: Since school’s out, this might be an excellent opportunity to try out World of Warcraft’s free trial. When playing, think of how we can leverage some of that “blissful productivity” (see the 0826 update in this post) to make TAG more fun. (BTW: I play in the Khaz Modan Realm.)

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