Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dispositions, Weapon Bags, and Toolbars

I thought the Thomas and Brown article was incredibly informative to our classroom discussion regarding design and pedagogy. Through engaging with the World of Warcraft and reading this article, I was reflective of the learning processes occurring in my quest. Here is my central observation: awareness of the toolbar is a key dispositional ability and this connects gaming learning to software composition.

I logged onto to WoW and the first thing I saw was a bar at the bottom of the page; I logged onto Photoshop, Comic Life, Word, etc. and the first thing I saw was a toolbar. In Thomas and Brown’s article, they discuss disposition and awareness of the learning environment. Action in the learning environment is accomplished through the toolbar. What am I selecting? What is the tool I am using? What will it do?

A game like WoW encourages the user to select and place things in the toolbar and experiment to find out what these tools do. If you can’t use it, the game indicates when and why you can use. (ex: certain weapons cannot be used until you reach a certain experience level). In the same way, a palette in a design software program encourages experimentation. The main difference between Wow and a program like Photoshop is that WoW starts you in a world and gives you direction while Photoshop gives you a blank digital page. Both encourage imagination and both require dispositional knowledge. So how do we combine creating and playing? Is that the big question in this class?

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