#games4ed – Leading My First Twitter Chat

Last night I moderated the #games4ed live chat. Little do anyone know, this was my first time to host a Twitter chat. O.o I’ve had a lot of fun on Twitter recently. First I remotely participated in a conference and then I published my first set of open Twitter data. Not to mention joining the #games4ed live chats and meeting many awesome people: Melissa Pilakowski, Steven Isaacs, Mark Grundel, & PBJellyGames, to name a few. With all of these experiences, I felt prepared to moderate a Twitter chat for the first time.

Preparing to Moderate a Twitter Chat

1. Brainstorming topics & questions – After Melissa asked if I wanted to host a night of #games4ed, I started thinking about what subjects I wanted to do. Eventually, I decided on Open Educational Resources (OER) and Game Design. John Stewart and I had just recently finished GOBLIN, which was built as an OER table-top game to teach professors about gamification and game-based learning. All of these ideas were fresh in my mind and I wanted to hear other educators contribute to this conversation. I am glad I selected this topic because #games4ed has not covered OER yet. So, I was excited to be the first!

#games4ed QAll
Final list of my #games4ed questions shared under a CC-BY 4.0 License

2. Creating question graphics – #Games4ed uses images to showcase the questions each week. The advantages of this approach means questions can be longer than 140 characters and graphics are easier to see among a sea of tweets. Additionally, I wanted to emphasize the OER theme for the night. So, I ended up using artwork from the public domain game Glitch to build the graphics. Some of the assets were used in GOBLIN, so I was familiar with the resources at my disposal. Finally, to edit the graphics, I used Pixelmator (a streamlined photoshop-like software) and I believe the graphics turned out great!

Example question graphic shared under a CC-BY 4.0 License

3. Scheduling Tweets – One of my major concerns for moderating was getting overwhelmed by the number of tweets I felt required to produce. Therefore, I removed all of this stress by using Tweetdeck schedule tweets feature. First, I calculated how to spread seven questions across one hour—I determined to start questions at 8:05PM ET and reoccur every eight minutes. Next, I scheduled other tweets I thought were relevant for the chat including an introduction and links to OER resources. In other words, I intended to limit my focus to the tweets of the participants.

List of my scheduled tweets in Tweetdeck.

What I Learned from Moderating

Scheduling tweets is the only way to keep up with the conversation. As a moderator, I want to welcome and make as many people feel at home as possible in the Twitter chat. Between being hospitable and attempting to hold a dozen conversations at once, having my own questions and answers running in the background helped me stay on track.

Begin moderating Twitter chats in small circles. The #games4ed live chats are sizable with anywhere from 25-60 participants. (Last night included 37 users.) In contrast, there were nearly 400 participants #oklaed on Sunday evening. If you want to host a Twitter chat for the first time, I recommend starting with a smaller community. A manageable live chat let me practice moderating and I had a positive experience hosting.

Inviting friends makes the event more fun! I gave some of my friends access to the questions for the night and although they couldn’t be present, they scheduled tweets to sync with my questions. This generated more ideas and their support was encouraging during the live chat (shoutouts to John Stewart and Jason FitzSimmons).

I need to practice keeping up with the conversations. During the chat, I fell behind a couple of times as I was attending to earlier tweets. I know this is inevitable in a Twitter chat, but since hosting I want to improve my response time in future sessions.

A core group of participants helped engage more users. Since it can be difficult keeping track of everyone, I am grateful to the regular participants for helping supplement my engagement. Melissa and Steven, were especially helpful during this session as they insured participants didn’t slip through the cracks.

I enjoy live tweeting! This was an awesome experience. From brainstorming questions to connecting with educators, I discovered that I value the process of moderating Twitter chats. I can’t wait to host another!

#games4ed Open Twitter Dataset

Finally, I am releasing all of the Twitter data from last nights session as an OER! If you would like a copy check out the following link:

Open Twitter Data Google Sheet

If you want to analyze this data I suggest a tool like Voyant-Tools 2.0. For more information on collecting or visualizing tweets check out my post on Open Twitter Data.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 9.47.23 AM
Tweets from this #games4ed Twitter chat in Volant-Tools 2.0.

Alternatively, check out the Participate Learning transcript from the live chat:

Thank you everyone for making my first moderated Twitter chat a positive experience. I look forward to more of these opportunities to connect and discuss with other educators from across the world!

OLC Innovate: Reflections on Virtually Attending

Recently, I had the pleasure to attend OLC Innovate. Well, not in the traditional sense. Rather, I participated through the available digital mediums at the conference. Twitter was a large portion of my engagement, but I also joined a couple conference sessions hosted by Virtually Connecting and even remotely played games with several attendees. All in all, I connected with many awesome people and participated in several fruitful conversations that I am exited to share.

Virtually Connecting

My favorite part of OLC Innovate was the opportunity to attend two virtual sessions. These meetings were well executed, let me connect with others, and helped me join in dialogues from the conference.

Session 1 – xMOOC & cMOOC in HumanMOOC

Matt Crosslin presented over the dual-layer model of mixing xMOOC with cMOOC in HumanMOOC. In particular, he outlined the technologies utilized, design limitations, and challenges experienced while facilitating the course. After his quick presentation, Matt provided four discussion prompts to solicit ideas about the dual-layer model present in HumanMOOC. Following several minutes of group dialogue, everyone came back and shared the ideas they had generated in their small groups.

My group focused on the fourth prompt, “How do you grade assignments that come from such different modalities?” I was excited to tackle this question since I had been thinking about it recently. The main idea we generated was requesting student input on the assessment of their assignments. For example, if a student wants to create an instructional video as a project, they need to help establish the expectations and rubric of the intended assessments before embarking on producing the video. That way, students have the flexibility of learning any way they want while instructors are able to provide some structure to facilitate this open-ended approach. If you want to hear our discussion, check out the following video (starting at 13:32):

Virtually Connecting Experience

This was my first time to participate in a conference virtually and there were several factors that contributed toward making this a positive experience.

1. Our Onsite Buddy, Autumm Caines, was excellent. She helped make conversations feel natural by angling the camera toward Matt Crosslin or other speakers at appropriate times. Additionally, Autumm helped facilitate the discussion for the digital participants when it was time to break off into groups.

2. The presenter engaged with the virtual participants. Matt made a point to engage our virtual group. This allowed us to contribute toward the overall discussion of the session and Matt made me feel like a person rather than a computer screen.

3. Home grown and accessible technologies make me want to do this again. Google Hangouts on Air was the tool used to virtually connect to this session. Since it is freely available, anyone can use it to reproduce their own virtually connecting style session. The nature of this DIY technology setup resonates with Indie Ed Tech ideas that excite me.

4. My colleagues were attending this session in person. This session was more fun because both of my colleagues, Adam Croom and John Stewart were also in attendance. Sharing this experience made participating in the conversations more meaningful.

5. Technical limitations made the session intimate. Although we did not breach the user limit of Google Hangouts, being confined to ten participants is a good limitation for a virtual session. This restriction yields a small enough group size to allow everyone to engage in discussion.

6. Documentation makes conceptualizing roles easier. There’s a great webpage on virtuallyconnecting.org that outlines the various roles of a Virtually Connecting session. Reading over this gave me a good representation of the different personnel that compose a session.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 6.28.11 PM
My computer screen while participating in a virtual session—using Google Hangouts & Tweetdeck.

Session 2 – Digital Redlining

Chris Gilliard, Kristen Eshleman, & Hugh Culik facilitated excellent discussion on digital redlining, privacy, and information access. I have been thinking about these topics recently, but I had not heard the term “digital redlining” before OLC Innovate. I am thankful for attending this session because it introduced me to a new perspective on a familiar topic. While I have focused on socioeconomic barriers and how personal technologies play a role in university education, I have not been addressing these issues at their systemic levels. Now when I consider mobile devices as more financially accessible productivity devices, I will think more broadly about the problems facing students. Using affordable mobile devices as an example, how does the variance of cellular data prices versus broadband internet impact students?

There is much more to be learned about these topics, so I recommend checking out the available YouTube video from the session:

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

In the middle of March, as GOBLIN was coming to an end, I connected with John Robertson as he was looking for volunteers to help with a gaming event he was hosting at OLC Innovate. John and I bonded because we were both planning on engaging faculty using the game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (KTaNE). Little did I know this would lead me to volunteer at OLC Innovate a month later!

John’s event, #PlugIN Gaming Session, was a combination of several games. My colleague John Stewart led a game called Artemis while I was setup in another room playing KTaNE. I was excited for this opportunity. How often do you get to remote in to a conference to play a video game with the attendees? In all seriousness, it was an excellent test case for this type of online engagement.

If you want a quick laugh, I am trying to explain how to disarm explosives in this video:

Being involved as a volunteer remotely was a positive experience for me. I got to meet some more outstanding people and connect with them through a game focused on accurate communication. It was a fun way to be involved at OLC Innovate and I want to thank John Robertson for facilitating!

Twitter

Twitter functioned as my main communication channel during OLC Innovate. More than that, it catalyzed my involvement with the @VConnecting group and the #PlugIN gaming session. Even though I was located in another state, Twitter allowed me to asynchronously engage with the content and hold multiple “innovative” conversations at once. I am grateful to all those that live tweeted during sessions (big shoutout to Laura & Mark) and fortunate to have met so many awesome people online!

TAGS Explorer

During OLC Innovate, I setup TAGS Explorer to collect all the tweets containing #OLCInnovate. Originally, I was only interested in the various hashtags used at this conference. Overtime, my interests quickly evolved as others started engaging with the dataset. Now I want to give others the opportunity to play with and analyze the tweets from OLC Innovate. If you are interested, see my post on accessing the open Twitter data from #OLCInnovate.

What Now?

If you are interested in more perspectives from OLC Innovate, here are my recommended posts & podcast (in no particular order):

Also, I invite you to explore the open Twitter dataset from OLC Innovate that I recently posted. Lot’s of interesting information is waiting to be uncovered!

Finally, thank you everyone for making my first OLC Innovate conference delightful! Even from afar, between the virtual sessions, Twitter, and volunteering in the #PlugIN gaming session, I felt as though I was truly present!

The featured image is provided CC0 by Jay Mantri via Unsplash.

OLC Innovate: Open Twitter Data

During OLC Innovate, I setup TAGS Explorer to collect all the tweets containing #OLCInnovate. Originally, I was only interested in the various hashtags used at this conference. Overtime, my interests quickly evolved as others started engaging with the dataset. Now I want to give others the opportunity to play with and analyze the tweets from OLC Innovate.

all the tweets

Access the Data!

I am providing the twitter data in a few different formats to maximize access. You are welcome to convert to any other file formats. As an open dataset, I am assigning a CC-BY 4.0 license to this content. Let me know if you have any questions!

Google Sheet

CSV

Txt File (Tweet Text Only)

JSON – For access, open the Google Sheet Link above and click “Export JSON” in the google sheet menu to create this file. For more information on the script I used to make this possible, see this post by Pamela Fox.

Data Uses

During the conference I used this data to show which hashtags were popular:

The dataset also helped me determine the most retweeted tweets at OLC Innovate:

Beyond these pieces of information, I would love to calculate how many times “Innovate” was used at the conference. Or analyze the tweets from specific users, like the top tweeters:

There are more substantial and interesting pieces of information within these tweets—I am excited to see what you find and produce! If you want to see what I am working on, here is access to some of my personal analysis.

Where To Start?

Voyant Tools 2.0 is my first suggestion for data analysis. You can copy the provided txt file into this tool to explore many interesting data visualizations. This is a great place to start because Voyant is very accessible and informative. Also, you are welcome to share any other data visualization tools you know.

Volant Tools 2.0

For those interested, I have posted my reflections on attending OLC Innovate virtually. I am excited to share my experiences about virtually attending this conference!

The featured image is provided CC0 by Bill Williams via Unsplash.

I am Jealous of My Sister’s Technology Footprint

Over the last year, I have become increasingly interested in low-cost technologies. I have explored the potential of $50 smartphones and am currently researching sub-$200 computers. The capabilities of these devices amaze me. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on phones or laptops anymore. In fact, you can get similar functionality from thousand dollar technologies for fractions of the cost. This is how my sister’s technology footprint has inspired me

Currently my youngest sister is using a smartphone and laptop that cost her less than $300…combined! Specifically, she has a Blu Vivo XL that she got for $99 on its release weekend sale and her laptop is an Asus C300 Chromebook that she got for $199 from Amazon. So, $298 covers all of her technology needs as a college student. This blows my mind! When I think about all of the students who spend $2000+ on Macs or windows PCs and $700+ on iPhones or Android phones. (Not to mention if said student owns a $300+ iPad or Android tablet.) Combined, this technology bill easily approaches $3000, ten times what my sister is currently using. Thinking about this reminded me about what Jessie J & B.o.B would say about the money:

Now, I understand my sister is a special case. Some students require expensive laptops to run specialty software such as AutoCAD, Photoshop, or Final Cut Pro X for their coursework. And studying programmers need to setup virtual machines or use their iPhones to test apps they are creating. But, how much longer will costly computers be required to complete these tasks?

When thinking about this question, I am reminded how we are moving toward a cloud computing world. Company’s like Amazon, Google, & Microsoft are aware of this and investing in cloud-enabled futures where users do not necessarily need the most powerful equipment to be productive. In this world, individuals only require devices that can communicate with (and are assisted by) other computers across the web. Chromebooks are increasingly common examples of these technologies at work; and they are opening new possibilities for what users can accomplish on a budget—more people doing more!

This is why I am jealous of my sister. Not only is she operating on under $300 worth of equipment, but her technology footprint is more aligned with what I believe to be the next era of computing. Her familiarity with future productivity tools and workflows keeps inspiring me to reconsider what technologies I use in my own life. So, thank you Bee for keeping technology in perspective for me!

The featured image is provided CC0 by Vadim Sherbakov via Unsplash.

Recovering KeeganSLW.com

My normal website has been inaccessible due to ERROR 500. Essentially, there is some kind of disconnect when WordPress attempts to query the database for the website. It has been an adventure to say the least.

Anyways, this post is just letting you know that I am in the middle of recovering content and the website might go through some drastic changes over the next few days.

In the mean time, I have recovered most of my content from April 13th and previous. So, you are welcome to view those posts if you are interested.

Here’s to getting things back on track in the next few days!

The featured image is provided CC0 by 贝莉儿 NG via Unsplash.

My Last Apple Computer Upgrade

I just finished upgrading my last Mac. My wife’s early 2011 MacBook Pro was really starting to show its age. The full 320GB hard drive was making this computer inoperable and needed to be replaced.

The Upgrade

To breathe new life into her MacBook Pro, I added a massive 960GB SSD. I wanted to kill two birds with one stone here: triple her total storage and increase her computer’s performance.

Before I started the upgrade, I used this USB 3.0 to SATA cable to setup the SSD. Unfortunately, this cable was not backwards compatible with the USB 2.0 ports on the 2011 MacBook Pro (which was weird). That meant I had to use another Mac to go through the following setup process:

  1. Download the El Capitan installer from the Mac App Store.
  2. Install El Capitan to the SSD (using the mentioned cable to mount the SSD).
  3. After the installation is completed, setup OS X on the SSD. I used the Migration Assistant to move all of the data from the original hard drive to the new SSD.
  4. Replace the old hard drive with the new (now identical) SSD.

To replace the hard drive on the 2011 MacBook Pro I followed the guide from iFixit since it was straightforward and provided a video demonstration:

Anyways, here are the photos to commemorate this upgrade:

After the new SSD was installed into the 2011 MacBook Pro, I booted up the machine to make sure everything was working properly, then immediately enabled TRIM for the new SSD since I wanted this hard drive to perform optimally for the next few years. The guide from OSXDaily provided me with clear instructions on how to do this.

At this point, I was finished with her 2011 MacBook Pro, my last Mac to upgrade.

Why is this my last Mac upgrade?

Mac upgrades have always been a big part of my life. Lots of Macs have seen RAM upgrades (more appropriately: maximizations) by my hands over the years.

But, we are at a turning point. We are coming to the end of the era of (easily) upgradable Macs. Many of the newer Macs do not allow access to internal components like they once did. In most cases RAM and SSDs are soldered directly onto a Mac’s mother board. Combine this with several Apple computers that are difficult to upgrade, and there are now very few Macs that are upgradable by non-professionals.

As the few remaining serviceable Macs are aging, I wonder how much longer these computers will be supported by Apple. Very soon, the components of most Macs (possibly excluding the Mac Pro) will have to last for the entire life of the device.

There is a tradeoff in this new era of non-serviceable Apple computers. No longer will I have to worry about upgrading computers, but at the same time, I will lose the valuable learning experience of servicing a Mac. Not to mention having to pay a premium for the permanent parts of any Apple computers I purchase upfront—I hate to imagine the price of a 960GB laptop SSD in 2011….

This moment is rather melancholy. Although I am excited to bump my wife’s spinning hard drive to a newer solid state drive, I am saddened by the fact that I may have just finished my last Mac upgrade.

Chromebook: Manual for Mac User – 2016

I’ve been exploring the current state of Chromebooks this past week and I wanted to document all of the analogous softwares and workflows I use to be productive on a Chromebook if you are coming from a Mac. From word processing to photo editing, here is my list of recommended software alternatives if you are switching from a Mac to a Chromebook:

Mail

Chromebook: CloudMagic

Mac: Mail

CloudMagic offers similar functionality in terms of adding multiple accounts and sorting emails to their respective inboxes and folders as the Mac Mail client. On my Chromebook I added Gmail, Yahoo Mail, iCloud, and Office 365 emails to the CloudMagic app in a couple minutes. So far, I’ve been really pleased with the performance of CloudMagic, not to mention it is a nice looking app to use for reading and writing email.

Calendar

Chromebook: Sunrise Calendar

Mac: Calendar

I needed a way to access my iCloud calendars, Google calendars, and work Exchange calendars from one app on my Chromebook and Sunrise Calendar allows me to easily do this. However, first you need to sync your calendars from another device, and if you need to use iCloud calendars, you have to install the Sunrise Calendar app to an iPhone, iPad or an Android device first (this will not work from the Mac version of Sunrise Calendar). Once, you overcome this syncing hurdle, Sunrise Calendar works well and looks great for organizing meetings and events. Unfortunately, this solution may not be viable in the future as the team behind Sunrise Calendar is now working for Microsoft and does not plan to provide updates to their Sunrise Calendar product in the foreseeable future. For now, it is my recommendation, but be aware it may not be a permanent calendar client solution for Chomebooks.

Office Suite

Chromebook: Google Docs Suite –> Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides

Mac: iWork –> Pages, Numbers, & Keynote

My go to office software on my Mac is Pages, Numbers, & Keynote. Although you can use iCloud.com to access these apps, the Google Docs suite loads much faster for me on Chromebook. If you prefer using Microsoft Office, you are also able to use office.com on a Chromebook if you have an Office 365 subsription. However, the Google Docs suite still loads faster for me and benefits from the Google Drive integration that is part of the Chrome operating system. All that to say, you can always export documents, spreadsheets or presentation slides to their most universal formats (.doc, .ppt, .xls) with any of these aforementioned office suites on a Chromebook.

Music

Chromebook: Google Play Music

Mac: iTunes

If you are not already using Spotify (or another music service), I recommend Google Play Music on Chromebook. Before you move from your Mac, use the Google Play Music Manager app to upload all of your iTunes music into Google Play Music. Once complete, you are able to stream all of your music to your Chromebook from music.google.com. As an added benefit, from this point, you will be able to stream your Google Play Music to your Android phone, iPhone, or any computer that can access music.google.com.

Photo Storage

Chromebook: Google Photos

Mac: Photos

Since Chromebooks have very limited amounts of internal storage my suggestion for storing photos is Google Photos. Similar to the process of uploading your music to Google Play Music, there is a way to upload all of your pictures from your Mac before you move to a Chromebook. Use the Google Photos Uploader software to store all of your pictures in Google Photos for free. Once your images are uploaded, you will be able to access them from your Chromebook (or any other computer) using photos.google.com. In fact, this is a great solution to combine your library of photos from all of your computers and mobile devices into one place!

Photo Editor (Simple)

Chromebook: Canva

Mac: Preview

For basic editing beyond what Mac Photos and Google Photos offer, Canva is my recommendation. Canva can be used to alter the pixel dimensions of a photo and is robust enough to be used as an alternative to Photoshop for basic photo editing. Not to mention, Canva is way easier to use than a traditional photo editor. Just be aware Canva requires signing up for an account before you start creating memes and other graphics from your Chromebook!

Slack

Chromebook: Slacky

Mac: Slack

I use Slack at work to instant message my coworkers from my phone or laptop. It is a great alternative or supplement to email when having online conversations. I prefer the Slacky app to the regular Slack app in the Chrome Web store because Slacky displays Slack within its own window. This makes it is easier to separate Slack messages from other work I am doing on my Chromebook since I can minimize Slacky.

Twitter

Chromebook: Tweetdeck

Mac: Twitter & Tweetdeck

Simply add the Tweetdeck app from the Web App store to your Chromebook and you will have similar access to Twitter as you would on your Mac. The only difference is that Tweetdeck on Chromebook is used through the web browser versus its own window like the app that is available on Mac.

Trello

Chromebook: Trello External Window

Mac: Trello Website

Trello has been my main app for tracking of projects and to-do lists for the last year. I recommend using the Trello External Window app on Chromebook for the same reasons I prefer Slacky to the regular Slack app, it has an external window interface. This makes it easier to separate Trello content from other web browser work.

Feedly

Chromebook: Feedly

Mac: Feedly Website

To access RSS news feeds, I have used Feedly for a long time. It keeps me up-to-date with education blogs and technology news outlets I follow. Like with Tweetdeck, add this app to your Chromebook and you are ready to access news the same way you would have on your Mac.

Ending

This list of 10 Chromebook recommendations covers many of my major productivity needs and workflows that I am accustomed to on my Mac. I hope it has been helpful to you! Also, I am happy to continue this list if you are interested in more suggestions, just let me know.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Tran Mau Tri Tam via Unsplash.

Testing Embedded Surveys

Qualtrics

Embedded Survey
HTML Text Used to Embed This Survey

Google Forms

Embedded Survey
HTML Text Used to Embed This Survey

Explanation

Just exploring functional and visual differences between embedding Qualtrics and Google Form surveys on a WordPress website. As a reference, I used this site to make sure I had the right HTML iFrame for the Qualtrics form.

Additionally, the “<p style=”text-align: center;”></p>” portion of the HTML is not necessary for each example—I am only using it to center each of the forms within the page.

Be sure to check the embedded survey differences on mobile devices as well! 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Dakota Roos via Unsplash.

Technology Enabled Learning – GTA Seminar

Tuesday, I had the opportunity to lead a seminar at the Graduate Teaching Academy (GTA), which is a program hosted by CTE that “seeks to promote and maintain a standard of teaching excellence amongst graduate students at the University of Oklahoma.”

This seminar started with everyone brainstorming their favorite classroom activities as Paper Tweets. Together, we generated a great list of engaging and memorable learning (and teaching) experiences. From building interactive and media-rich timelines to great icebreaker activities involving toilet paper, there were many great instructional examples to contextualize the rest of our seminar.

'Accurate' portrayal of Toilet Paper Icebreaker Activity

From this point, we shifted focus to our three topics of discussion: mobile devices, choice in assignments, and crowdsourcing resources.

Seminar Discussion

Mobile Devices
Choice in Assignments
Crowdsourcing Resources

Closing

The final assignment for the participants of this seminar was to think about how to adapt one of our topics of discussion—mobile devices, choices in assignments, and crowdsourcing resources —to their favorite learning experience they outlined in their Paper Tweet.

Presenting at GTA was a great experience. If you are interested in sharing your expertise with the next generation of researchers and university instructors, please contact the Center for Teaching Excellence at teach@ou.edu and schedule a session!

Also, for those interested, here are my slides and the annotated whiteboards from this event:

IMG_20160308_181454

Team Learning: A Halo 2 Clan Story

My first experiences of online multiplayer gaming were dominated by Halo 2. This Xbox title was the most popular game of its time in my social circles. In fact, every single one of my friends either owned or played this game at some point during high school. My favorite aspects of Halo 2 were the teams and communities that engaged and encouraged me during my teenage years. In particular, team learning was a significant part of this communal experience.

The first clan I joined, Domini Corona, was the community that engaged me in team learning while playing Halo 2. Coming together as a well-oiled teamwork machine did not spontaneously occur. Instead, all of us invested a lot of time playing against each other and exploring the various maps and weapons in depth to understand the nuances of all of these game pieces. Part of this learning process involved establishing the roles for each team member. For example, there were players who would rush to acquire the sniper rifle while players that excelled at vehicular warfare would seize the tanks and warthogs. Additionally, our clan leader emphasized team communication and continuously evaluated situations and issued orders to each member. (Fun fact! Our clan leader was one of the final OG Halo 2 players before the servers were shutdown.) As for my role, it varied from game to game, but I remember supporting my team by eliminating enemy vehicles and medium range targets with the battle rifle!

Although, we played many game styles, Major Clan matches were the most memorable. This game type was usually a series of 8 vs. 8 player objective games such as capture the flag. These games were the ones that demanded the greatest level of team learning and coordination. At the beginning of our Clan career, I recall trying to figure out how to play Halo 2 with 16 players in a match while also deciphering my role as a member of Domini Corona. Gradually, I learned my peers’ strengths, the layouts of each map, and how to synchronize attacks to efficiently defeat enemies. Eventually, this team learning contributed to us being ranked in the top 100 teams for Major Clan matches in the world for a brief period of time! Without going through rigorous exercises of team learning, we would never have achieved the level of team work we ultimately reached.

I’ll never forget the fun I had with Halo 2 players from all over the world. When I think about how much learning was involved during this time, I am humbled by the energy everyone devoted to come together and be among the best teams in the world.

As I write a portion of our story, I am reminded how powerful games are as agents of team learning. They can facilitate or simulate social interactions and learning to empower individuals to accomplish more in groups than they could alone. Additionally, many games excel at intrinsically motivating players to develop communication, coordination, and strategy skills. And, as with other forms of knowledge, becoming a literate user of a game often requires understanding complex systems and their relations in order to solve problems, overcome obstacles, and succeed. As an educator, comprehending this strength of games is valuable when thinking about course design and ways to engage students.

Games Offer Bold Learning Insights Nowadays

This week, John Stewart and myself are covering Team Learning in our faculty learning community, GOBLIN. Many instructors use group work in their courses and we want to engage teachers in their implementation and design of group tasks and team learning. So far we have discussed why team learning is valuable, how to design ideal groups, and how to scaffold group interactions, especially for younger students. As GOBLIN is also a team role-playing game, it has been phenomenal to see instructors participate in team learning and then engage in discussion about this topic after playing the game. And I am excited to provide professors with similar experiences I had while playing Halo 2—back in the day!

Halo 2 © Microsoft Corporation. The Featured Image and Videos were created under Microsoft's "Game Content Usage Rules" using assets from Halo 2, and it is not endorsed by or affiliated with Microsoft.