Category Archives: Media Studies

Research stories: A graduate forum #hwl #yreUBC #UBC #bced

Research Stories: A Graduate Forum

 How We Learn Media and Technology (across the lifespan)
Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
University of British Columbia

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
10:00-11:30     Scarfe 1209
Year of Research in Education event

GIRLS DESIGNING GAMES, MEDIA, ROBOTS, SELVES, AND CULTURE
Paula (PJ) MacDowell
University of British Columbia

This research involved 30 co-researchers, girls aged 10–13, who were recruited into 101 Technology Fun, a series of intensive research camps offering learning labs in game design, video production, and robotics. Utilizing design-based and participatory techniques, including artifact production, mindscripting, and storymaking, this research examines how girls, through their artifact making and designerly practices, story themselves and express their understandings of technology. Highlighting the importance for girls’ voices to be recognized and given influence in research concerning their lives and learning circumstances, findings focus on the catalytic or generative artifacts and “little stories” that reveal how a team of girls analyze their experiences of girlhood-in-interaction-with technology.

MIGRANT MEXICAN YOUTH IN THE PACIFIC NORTWEST
Mike D. Boyer
Boise State University

 What are the stories of migrant, undocumented Mexican youth, as they struggle with language and acculturation in the English-speaking rural Northwest? As Michael Boyer describes, his own study of a set of such stories takes as its starting point narratives written and illustrated by students in his grade 7-12 ESL classroom some 10 years ago. Of course, these stories subsequently diverge as they continue to the present, and as these former students, now adults, connect back to their earlier experiences and reflect on the relation of these experiences to the present. The collection and investigation of these stories, new and old, and their relationship to past realities and future possibilities offers startling insights into the experiences of those othered and marginalized as “immigrant Hispanic children” in America. At the same time, it also entails the creative combination or a range of narratological, political and cultural categories and modes of analysis.

DESIGNING THINGS, PRACTICES AND CONCERN FOR THE GOOD LIFE
Yu-Ling Lee
University of British Columbia

 This research examines the complex relationship between design, the sacred and online learning, framed by matters of concern. It is the culmination of a yearlong ethnographic research project in the lives of Christian undergraduate students in Vancouver. Focal concerns in the form of things and practices have disclosive power if they are designed for the good life. The task of the designer, then, is to purposefully move away from matters of fact towards matters of concern. The interviews were open-ended and based on a loosely structured set of questions about faith background, Internet usage, online spiritual experiences, and other factors. Conversations and participant observations were then analyzed as matters of concern.

Brianna Wu: Rape and death threats against female gamers. Why haven’t men in tech spoken out? #GamerGate

Brianna Wu, Washington Post, October 20, 2014– They’ve taken down women I care about one by one. Now, the vicious mob of the Gamergate movement is coming after me. They’ve threatened to rape me. They’ve threatened to make me choke to death on my husband’s severed genitals. They’ve threatened to murder any children I might have.

This angry horde has been allowed to wage its misogynistic war without penalty for too long. It’s time for the video game industry to stop them.

Gamergate is ostensibly about journalistic ethics. Supporters say they want to address conflicts of interest between the people that make games and the people that support them. In reality, Gamergate is a group of gamers that are willing to destroy the women who have invaded their clubhouse.

The movement is not new. Two years ago, when Anita Sarkeesian tried to crowdfund a series of videos critiquing the hypersexualized female characters of video games, they threatened to kill and rape her. The movement reached fever pitch – and got its name — when a jilted former lover of indie game developer Zoe Quinn published transcripts of her life online. Gamers who were outraged over charges that Quinn’s game Depression Quest had received favorable reviews due to an alleged romantic relationship with a journalist, seized the opportunity to shame and terrify her into hiding. Now, Gamergate is a wildfire that threatens to consume the entire games industry.

The fact that Gamergate supporters went after Quinn and not the journalist says everything you need to know about the movement.

I became Gamergate’s latest target when I tweeted this joke about supporters of the movement:

BzhqC5sCYAAb8jR.png-large

The next day, my Twitter mentions were full of death threats so severe I had to flee my home. They have targeted the financial assets of my company by hacking. They have tried to impersonate me on Twitter. Even as we speak, they are spreading lies to journalists via burner e-mail accounts in an attempt to destroy me professionally.

We’ve lost too many women to this lunatic mob. Good women the industry was lucky to have, such as Jenn Frank, Mattie Bryce and my friend Samantha Allen, one of the most insightful critics in games media. They decided the personal cost was too high, and I don’t know who could blame them.

Every woman I know in the industry is terrified she will be next.

The culture in which women are treated this way by gamers didn’t happen in a vacuum. For 30 years, video games have been designed by men, marketed to men and sold to men. It’s obvious to anyone outside the industry that video games have serious issues with the portrayal of women. It’s not just oversexualized examples, such as Ivy of the Soul Caliber series. Games are still lazily falling on the same outdated tropes involving women. Princess Peach, of Nintendo’s Mario games, has been kidnapped in 12 separate games since 1985. Perhaps the most disturbing of all is the propensity of games to have women thoughtlessly murdered as a motivation for the male hero, such as Watch Dogs.

Read More: Washington Post

Feminist Critics of Gaming Facing Threats #GamerGate

Photo Jim Wilson, New York Times

Photo Jim Wilson, New York Times

Nick Wingfield, New York TimesOctober 15, 2014– Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist cultural critic, has for months received death and rape threats from opponents of her recent work challenging the stereotypes of women in video games. Bomb threats for her public talks are now routine. One detractor created a game in which players can click their mouse to punch an image of her face.

Not until Tuesday, though, did Ms. Sarkeesian feel compelled to cancel a speech, planned at Utah State University. The day before, members of the university administration received an email warning that a shooting massacre would be carried out at the event. And under Utah law, she was told, the campus police could not prevent people with weapons from entering her talk.

“This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history, and I’m giving you a chance to stop it,” said the email, which bore the moniker Marc Lépine, the name of a man who killed 14 women in a mass shooting in Montreal in 1989 before taking his own life.

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APIs: Is Code/Coding subject to copyright?

Can code/coding be itself subject to copyright? The answer to that question has broad implications for the unfolding of new technologies. With the binary code that underlies the infrastructure of modernity- for which presently, only a select few are able to understand, decode, or debug, the code that is used to regulate transactions of daily functions progressively moving, from desktops to portables, tablets and mobile devices- is there also a need to further define, that which is subject to copyright protection at the level of APIs running our mobile devices? The US Court of Appeal apparently thinks so; in a recent decision adjudicating competing claims by Oracle and Google. with Oracle alleging that the Android mobile operating system violated seven different Java patents. even though Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court had ruled differently, in 2012.

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Copyright in (cyber)space: Space Oddity

Here is a momentous instance: when copyright in cyberspace meets copyright from the depths of space! For according to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, copyright permission he had been granted on May, 13, 2013, when as the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station ISS for Expedition 35 , he played and recorded a tribute originally composed by David Bowie, expires on May, 13, 2014. As it appears, link for the popular culture oddity that Commander Hadfield had popularized from the depth of space, viewed 22 million times, has since expired on Youtube.

That said. a legacy remains, documenting the joint space odyssey, including the above historic transfer of space command, from Hadfield to Vinogradov, from Expedition 35 to Expedition 36, in English and Russian.

Commander Hatfield playing and recording in space

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3D Printing: Paper as media, in the 3rd Industrial Revolution

Interesting conference and expo, specializing in 3D printing technologies as the emergent third industrial revolution (perhaps Vancouver next, for its upcoming Expos?), where it has become possible, to print any content in any form (see the 3D printed guitar!) in any media- even paper, in full color 3D- dispelling possible prior preconceptions of paper, in which paper emerges as durable material, for our design considerations, that due of its unique properties, can also be coated, to extend its initial properties with the strength and properties of other as/more durable materials. 3D printing

Invitation to Mirela Gutica’s PhD Defense

Designing Educational Games and Advanced Learning Technologies:
An Identification of Emotions for Modeling Pedagogical and Adaptive Emotional Agents

by
Mirela Gutica

Abstract: Emotional, cognitive, and motivational processes are dynamic and influence each other during learning. The goal of this dissertation is to gain a better understanding of emotion interaction in order to design Advanced Learning Technologies (ALTs) and Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) that adapt to emotional needs. In order for ITSs to recognize and respond to affective states, the system needs to have knowledge of learners’ behaviors and states. Based on emotion frameworks in affective computing and education, this study responds to this need by providing an in-depth analysis of students’ affective states during learning with an educational mathematics game for grade 5-7 (Heroes of Math Island) specifically designed for this research study and based on principles of instructional and game design.

The mixed methodology research design had two components: (1) a quasi-experimental study and (2) affect analysis. The quasi-experimental study included pretest, intervention (gameplay), and posttest, followed by a post-questionnaire and interview. Affect analysis involved the process of identifying what emotions should be observed, and video annotations by trained judges.

The study contributes to related research by: (1) reviewing sets of emotions important for learning derived from literature and pilot studies; (2) analyzing inter-judge agreement both aggregated and over individual students to gain a better understanding of how individual differences in expression affect emotion recognition; (3) examining in detail what and how many emotions actually occur or are expressed in the standard 20-second interval; (4) designing a standard method including a protocol and an instrument for trained judges; and (5) offering an in-depth exploration of the students’ subjective reactions with respect to gameplay and the mathematics content. This study analyzes and proposes an original set of emotions derived from literature and observations during gameplay. The most relevant emotions identified were boredom, confidence, confusion/hesitancy, delight/pleasure, disappointment / displeasure, engaged concentration, and frustration. Further research on this set is recommended for design of ALTs or ITSs that motivate students and respond to their cognitive and emotional needs. The methodological protocol developed to label and analyze emotions should be evaluated and tested in future studies.

Defense:
When: March 17, 2014 @ 9:00 am
Where: Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, UBC

Using Learning Analytics to Understand the Design of an Intelligent Language Tutor

Using Learning Analytics to Understand the Design of an Intelligent Language Tutor– Chatbot Lucy

by
Yifei Wang & Stephen Petrina

Abstract—the goal of this article is to explore how learning analytics can be used to predict and advise the design of an intelligent language tutor, chatbot Lucy. With its focus on using student-produced data to understand the design of Lucy to assist English language learning, this research can be a valuable component for language-learning designers to improve second language acquisition. In this article, we present students’ learning journey and data trails, the chatting log architecture and resultant applications to the design of language learning systems.

Happy 30 Mac #apple #google

Would it have killed Google to show some respect and do a bit of logowork to wish Mac a happy 30th? No loyalty oaths necessary here. I bought my first Mac in yes, 1984. And 30 years later I tap out this text on a Mac. Had to replace the trackpad yesterday, which exorcised the ghost in the machine, but that’s minor in the long run of 30 years. Happy 30 Mac!

Facebook waning for Teens but still popular

Of course still popular in terms of traffic for teens, currently Facebook is 2nd to Twitter among teens in terms of importance. Waning importance for teens is translating into lulls in traffic. Myspace, in 2012 less than 7% of the teens found it important, has now dropped out of the picture. Google+ is, hard to say what is happening…

See: Statista 2013 and  Statista 2012 for more

Teenagers say goodbye to Facebook and hello to messenger apps

Gradual exodus of young people towards WhatsApp, WeChat and KakaoTalk is just as their mums and dads get the hang of social networking:

Parmy Olson, The Observer, November 10, 2013– Facebook made a startling admission in its earnings announcement this month: it was seeing a “decrease in daily users, specifically among teens”. In other words, teenagers are still on Facebook; they’re just not using it as much as they did. It was a landmark statement, since teens are the demographic who often point the rest of us towards the next big thing.

Their gradual exodus to messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat and KakaoTalk boils down to Facebook becoming a victim of its own success. The road to gaining nearly 1.2 billion monthly active users has seen the mums, dads, aunts and uncles of the generation who pioneered Facebook join it too, spamming their walls with inspirational quotes and images of cute animals, and (shock, horror) commenting on their kids’ photos. No surprise, then, that Facebook is no longer a place for uninhibited status updates about pub antics, but an obligatory communication tool that younger people maintain because everyone else does.

All the fun stuff is happening elsewhere. On their mobiles.

When mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp first emerged in 2009, they looked like a threat to mobile carriers. Everyone from Vodafone to Dutch operator KPN was mentioning them in sales calls. Mobile operators are estimated to have lost $23bn in SMS revenue in 2012 due to messaging apps, which host free instant messages through a phone’s data connection, which these days is often unlimited. Now these apps are becoming a threat to established social networks too.

WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app in the UK and on half the country’s iPhones, according to Mobile Marketing Magazine, has more than 350 million monthly active users globally. That makes it the biggest messaging app in the world by users, with even more active users thansocial media darling Twitter, which counts 218 million. About 90% of the population of Brazil uses messaging apps, three-quarters of Russians, and half of Britons, according to mobile consultancy Tyntec. WhatsApp alone is on more than 95% of all smartphones in Spain. The power users and early adopters of these apps, the ones you’re most likely to see tapping their thumbs over a tiny screen, are under 25.

Part of the reason is that gradual encroachment of the grey-haired ones on Facebook. Another is what messaging apps have to offer: private chatting with people you are friends with in real life. Instead of passively stalking people you barely know on Facebook, messaging apps promote dynamic real-time chatting with different groups of real-life friends, real life because to connect with them on these apps you will typically already have their mobile number. The trend flies in the face of recurring criticism of young people – that their social lives are largely virtual – when many more are in fact embracing the virtues of privacy and services like WhatsApp, which shun advertising.

“I only use WhatsApp to communicate and send pics these days,” said Natalie West, a twentysomething financial sales associate in London. In the last few years she has used Facebook less and less because she doesn’t want “the whole world to know” what she’s doing. When people set up events and get-togethers on Facebook, West and her boyfriend tend to reply on WhatsApp instead because “it’s more personal”. For similar reasons, some 78% of teenagers and young people use mobile messengers to plan a meet-up with friends, according to research advisory firm mobileYouth.

Another factor is the rise of the selfie, often silly self-portraits taken at arm’s length with a mobile. Almost half of the photos on Instagram feeds among people aged 14 to 21 in the UK are selfies, according to mobileYouth. Sending those photos via a mobile messaging service is safer than broadcasting them on Facebook, since they’re less likely to be seen by a boss or dozens of Facebook friends you forgot you had. Selfies are even bigger on Snapchat, the evanescent photo sharing app that deletes a photo several seconds after it has been viewed. With about 5 million active monthly users, the service has inevitably become a favoured way for teens to send sexy or even naked photos of themselves, an ill-advised practice known as “sexting”. But teens also love Snapchat because it allows them to send inane photos of themselves without fear of leaving a permanent digital footprint.The California-based app is seen as so hot, with so much potential for growth, that it has already been pegged with a $2-$4bn valuation in the Silicon Valley tech community. Estimates are even higher for WhatsApp, which makes money through an annual subscription; some observers suggest it could be worth $5bn or more.

The final, big reason why young people are gravitating towards messaging apps is that many of these apps no longer do just messaging. They are social networks. The best examples come out of Asia, with messaging platforms KakaoTalk (South Korea), WeChat (China) and LINE (Japan). All have tens of millions of users, with WeChat boasting more than 200 million, and take their services beyond offering straight messaging to games, stickers and music sharing. Before you write off digital stickers as inane, they are a decent moneyspinner for LINE: of the $58m the company made in sales in the first quarter of 2013, half came from selling games and 30%, or roughly $17m, from sales of its 8,000 different stickers. Some are free or, in Spain where LINE has 15 million registered users, cost around €1.99. Often users choose stickers instead of words when they need to express themselves, one LINE executive said; it’s known to have helped couples get over fights more easily by offering multiple stickers to say sorry.

Read More: The Observer

Video Gaming in the Classroom: Insights and Ideas from Teenage Students by Peter Halim

Peter and research participants in focus group

Congratulations to Peter Halim for successfully defending his thesis titled “Video Gaming in the Classroom: Insights and Ideas from Teenage Students”! Peter made the minor edits and closed his MA program, meaning that he will graduate in November. The thesis can be downloaded from the CIRCLE database.

Video Gaming in the Classroom: Insights and Ideas from Teenage Students

Peter Halim

For this research, four high school aged teenagers participated in an intensive one week video gaming camp, at which time they articulated their attitudes and ideas about mainstream video games and their place in education. The purpose was to explore strategies for utilizing mainstream commercial video games for educative purposes in the classroom. The participants’ insights along with observations made on their interaction with video games were analyzed through Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation and the General Aggression Model. In summary, the participants, more or less experts in gaming, enjoyed video games and described them as one of their favourite activities. Furthermore, it was found that video games played both a positive and negative role in the participants’ lives. For example, all participants seemed to have developed healthy values and relationships directly through playing video games during their pre-adolescent years. Conversely, their responses also indicated that they experienced limits to video games and did not see innovation from market and home to school as a smooth, trivial process. Rather, they provided key insights into aligning specific games with specific content, curriculum, and courses. The participants’ insights suggest that the use of mainstream video games for learning will most likely continue to be a fringe strategy implemented by individual teachers who actively discern the educational uses of video games. Game and gaming literacies are among the most recent entries into new literacies research. This thesis contributes to this research by exploring teenagers’ ideas about gaming in the classroom. In conclusion, this study finds that mainstream video games have potential to be effectively used as learning strategies in the classroom in the future pending on continued progress and interest in this endeavor.