Archive for December 21, 2009

Going Beyond Good: Computing4Good Considered Harmful

My colleague, Beki Grinter, has just posted to her blog her concerns about the term Computing4Good that I’ve written about previously (e.g., how could education not be “good”?).  I really like her issues about religion (is it good or is it so important, complex, and worthy of study that we are naive to use that label?) and about how others view us for labelling something “good.”  (I guess this is what faculty with blogs do when on furlough — write posts! 🙂

Third, there’s an intellectual risk. Words like good (and modern FWIW) suggest a naivety about the intellectual agendas that frame our research. The research communities who are the targets for the products of our intellectual efforts as well as the source of our intellectual inspirations, have developed a rich understanding the transfer of technologies from one place to another. … Intellectual discussion within these communities does not begin or include good (bad or evil), but focuses on the rich detailed interactions of these contexts and how they are embodied in technologies and the methods, practices, theories and commercial contexts in which those systems are made, as well as how they flow from their source to their destination, and then how they are not just adopted but appropriated into people’s lives.

via Going Beyond Good: Computing4Good Considered Harmful « Beki’s Blog (there’s an original name).

December 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

Fewer high school students taking computer science classes –

If it’s still dropping in high school, hard to believe that the undergraduate enrollment crisis is over.

It would be hard to find a student at Stone Bridge High School who has never used the Internet for a research assignment, socialized with Facebook or played a video game.

But few know much about how computers and the Web actually work.

via Fewer high school students taking computer science classes –

December 21, 2009 at 10:23 am Leave a comment

How deep are video games?

I’m excited about the article in this morning’s Atlanta Journal Constitution about games courses in college, with references to two of my colleagues, Blair MacIntyre and Ian Bogost.  I was particularly struck by Ian’s comments.

Georgia Tech professor Ian Bogost teaches students and is co-founder of Persuasive Games, which focuses on social and political issues such as airport security, flu epidemics and tort reform.

Students, he said, are looking for ways to match games with their life passions. One student is trying to meld religious activity with games, he said.

“Games are like folk music of the 1960s,” Bogost said. “They grew up with it. They identify with it. And it isn’t something really co-opted by institutions of power.”

via Gaming courses popular in Georgia colleges  |

Another article in Parade magazine this weekend, Can video games teach kids? includes this quote:

“We’re starting to see agreement that video games are the new liberal arts,” says Kurt Squire, a professor in education communications and technology at the University of Wisconsin. “This school is the first implementation.”

I have Ian’s Persuasive Games but haven’t finished it yet.  Games are “the new liberal arts”?  Games as the “folk music of the 1960s”?  My experience with games don’t go that deep.  I find if I think about them too hard, there’s nothing there but the assumptions and world-view of the game author.  A great example of the bottom not being too deep is the SimCity game player who famously told Sherry Turkle in The Second Self, “If you raise taxes, people riot.” Can games really be as deep as great literature, or great music?  I suppose it’s possible, but I haven’t seen it yet.

December 21, 2009 at 10:20 am 10 comments

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