Q: Where do you see the greatest potential in gaming as a part of the future of learning?
A: I recognize the duality in gaming for learning. The traditional understanding, well-established in the literature, is using games as learning experiences. I have spent much more time in the pursuit of using game-based feedback, organization, structures, and tropes as a means of supporting learning. In essence, I believe the greatest potential in gaming is not just using games to learn, but make learning more like a game.Q: When do games and simulations have the most impact on students?
A: When students have choice, refection opportunities, and can make these spaces personal, social spacesQ: What experience do you have using serious games or simulations for collaborative purposes?
A: I teach a number of classes situated in virtual environments and games spaces. These digital classrooms quickly emulate the collaborative spaces we occupy in the physical world by with myriad tools and toys to amplify the experience.Q: In what ways do you think gaming can not only utilize, but also promote or foster collaboration?
A: Most often, collaboration ceases when requirements for game-play and learning are so ridged that it becomes didactic.Q: How do you assess the effectiveness of using games?A: In student responses and artifacts related to the standards.Q: In what ways have you seen gaming enhance communication, learning, and engagement?
A: I have lots of research I would be happy to share and discuss with you.Q: Where do you see pockets of expertise, and in what aspect of serious games, worldwide?A: Often, gamers and aficionados of gaming culture serve as embedded experts.
What Is Playful Inquiry?
Inquiry is the science, art and spirit of imagination. We naturally associate Inquiry with the logical mind’s intent to satisfy curiosity, solve problems, and explore ideas. Inquiry helps us connect our prior understanding to new experiences, modify and accommodate our previously held beliefs and conceptual models, and construct new knowledge.
Antonyms found in the dictionary: Answer, reply
Playful describes a state of surrender. It involves being open, letting go, and embracing unexpected direction or results. Being playful has positive effects on the body and the brain. Problem solving ability increases after a person has spent some time laughing. This works because laughter turns off the posterior hypothalamus and allows the cerebral cortex to focus on a given task.
Antonyms found in the dictionary: Earnest, serious-minded, sober, humorless, serious, working
As one of the creators of the Lockheed Martin Virtual World Labs, Richard leads a group of innovative engineers and designers across all mission areas for Lockheed Martin to harness cutting edge computer gaming and virtual world technologies to improve human performance. Richard joined Lockheed Martin in 2007 with the acquisition of 3Dsolve, a North Carolina based computer game technology firm where he was founder and CEO. Prior to that, Richard was General Manager and VP of Sales for Virtus Corporation, where he worked for nearly a decade and where he served on the management team that created several pioneering computer gaming companies including Red Storm Entertainment, with author Tom Clancy; and Timeline Computer Entertainment, with author Michael Crichton. With computer gaming pioneer David Smith, Boyd co-wrote an industry-leading book on VRML technologies, called The Virtus VRML Toolkit, that was widely distributed and translated into three foreign languages. Boyd is also a children’s book author and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Q: What are some of the barriers standing in the way of more use of games, simulations and virtual worlds for learning today?
A: There are different barriers depending on where you are focusing. In the corporate world, training is still considered by most organizations as a cost, something to be completed quickly so the work force can get on with the actual work. In many ways this attitude is appropriate. In my talk at the Serious Play conference I discuss how the relationship between humans and the technology we create is changing to serve us on our terms, rather than requiring us to adjust to the technology and meet it on its terms as we have in the opening stage. We need to simplify the interfaces and the tools and reduce the friction between the user and the thing they want to do.
Today, with virtual worlds and games, there is still too much unnecessary complexity in the creation of the simulations. When users access the simulation, there have been too many unnatural acts required. The system administrator has to get involved to allow the installation, then, in the case of many virtual worlds and MMOG platforms, ports have to be opened setting off all of the cyber threat alarms. Then the user interfaces are all different and require learning before the user can begin to take advantage of whatever learning is in the simulation.
What we need are two things: We need simplified tools that take advantage of Internet standards and collaborative design. Essentially, we need Hypercard for simulation. And second, we need to simplify the access; allowing users to access collaborative training in convincing environments as easily as they access a website today. No plug-ins or unnatural acts allowed.
Barriers such as bandwidth and processor speed, that hindered us in the past, are essentially gone now.
Q: Tell me about some of the collaborative opportunities you see in virtual worlds
A: While artificially intelligent game bots continue to evolve, the most interesting thing you can encounter in a game or virtual world is another human being.
Designers of massively multiplayer online games like Warcraft, Rift, Eve Online etc start each design cycle by asking the question, "How do we get the largest number of people to go on the largest possible adventure" Anyone who has played these games instantly realizes the cooperative and collaborative social nature of these adventures. The level of "unnecessary hard work " as Jane McGonigal calls it, that players put into these adventures is a ripe area to be mined for training and education.
Second Life has shown us that people can collaborate around simple tools to create simulations and beautiful environments. By making these tools even more simple and accessible, and providing a consistent and almost ambient interface, we can harness these powerful tools for deep collaboration around simulation learning.
If the 20th century was the televised century, I believe the 21st century will be the simulated century. Simulation will become part of the scientific method. Democratizing simulation will allow us to harness network intelligence and networked collaboration to achieve new heights of understanding.
There is a deeper issue here. The Internet is all about harnessing network intelligence. Jeremy Rifkin in his book "The Third Industrial Age" calls this the Collaborative era. Investors in my former company Reid Hoffman and Joichi Ito talk a great deal about the necessity of enabling access to network intelligence. But today, many of our systems are still suffering from the industrial age idea that we can embed information in one human and have them pass it on to others in an analog lecture. Healthcare and education are the prime examples of inefficiency based on this old analog non-collaborative model. The entire health system is built around the idea that an all-knowing physician can provide all of the care someone needs. People are dying as a result.
Enabling collaboration and, more importantly, allowing teams of humans to access a knowledge base and automation and simulation is critical. Open source initiatives like the Virtual World Framework are essential enablers.
Q: Has anything you have learned surprised you?
A: I once thought that we would have to wait for the Digital Natives to implement many of these ideas. I am finding that generational issues are evaporating as more people across demographic segments become more comfortable with digital tools.
Q: What societal changes could be the result of widespread use of the Virtual World Framework?
A: If the 20th century was the televised century, I believe the 21st century will be the simulated century. Simulation will become part of the scientific method. Democratizing simulation will allow us to harness network intelligence and networked collaboration to achieve new heights of understanding.
I believe firmly that those humans and organizations, even countries, who achieve a comfortable fluency with the digital tools remaking the world will prevail over those who don't. I think that people who have full command over simulation and artificial intelligence and augmented reality, will begin to appear super human to those without that fluency. These are all capabilities made more accessible by the VWF.
I believe civilization is predicated on the ability for people to access information they don't have. As the information age advances, I see this ability to access information becoming a human right. Lowering the barrier to participation with these technologies in both cost and complexity will become critical. The VWF is a platform step in that direction.
Q: If schools, companies, and society as whole adopted VWF as a tool to engage and collaborate, what could happen?
A: I think that those who do adopt the ability to easily create and access open source simulation tools will prevail over those who do not have that capability. If one looks at sport today: McLaren racing, The New England Patriots, or just about any baseball team, one sees the beginning of this phenomenon. Shortcomings in human talent or available capital are being overcome by organizations who embrace and exploit simulation and analytics. On my wall in my office I have a blown up picture of Ahmad Bradshaw struggling to not score with 52 seconds left in the 2012 Super Bowl. This act defied all of his training and all of our human intuition. The machines made that call with a rapid analytical simulation that showed a distribution of optimal activities and their outcomes. That moment was a William Gibson nodal point for me. It is the canary in the coalmine that calls the attention of anyone not tracking these phenomena.
The quote at the end of the movie Moneyball sums it up nicely. I will paraphrase it as "Anyone who is not tearing down their old system and rebuilding it this way is a dinosaur"
Q: Knowing what you are good at, and what you most love to do, if you were given any work role you wanted, describe the people you would want on your team and what they would bring to the project.
A: Michael Crichton once told me that the most important thing to get right and possibly one of the biggest business opportunities of the 21st century and the information age will be education. I, along with a lot of other people in technology are eyeing education as over ripe for disruption. I would like to serve out whatever time I have left on this planet working with design thinkers and educators on this problem. The list would range from some of my partners over the last 20 years who pioneered computer gaming to some early pioneers in computing like Alan Kay, who invented the first laptop and object oriented programming. I would also love to work with Larry Bock, who started the USA Science Festival and invited me to speak at all of them so far. I would bring in some educators who are taking new approaches, like Rebecca Amis who created the Muse School and other education thinkers like Jim Shelton and Twom Vander Ark . There is a long list of people there.
Q: If someone wants to learn how to create serious games, where should they go to learn?
Q: What do you think are some of the challenges for the industry?
A: Still too many proprietary tools and models that require an arcane priesthood of developers to create simulations. We need new business models that encourage a democratization of the tools and access to content. This is the driving idea behind the virtual world framework.
Ross H. Kukulinski is the Director of Product Development at Advanced Simulation Technology inc. His team works to develop innovative solutions for conventional military and commercial training. Additionally, ASTi's gaming product team builds COTS voice communication and radio simulation for serious games. Prior to his product development role, Ross worked as a project engineer, interfacing with customers and gaining hands-on experience designing full-fidelity sound and communication models for flight simulators. Now, Ross is actively seeking new ways to bridge the gap between higher-fidelity training systems and serious games in the L-V-C environment. Ross earned his B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a concentration in embedded real-time systems at Carnegie Mellon University.
A: I think ‘evolved’ is an excellent term to describe the progress military unit-based training has made and continues to make. While modifications to military doctrine occur slower than their commercial counterparts, there have been a number of additions to military training that are saving lives and money. Most notably in my mind is the use of serious games to improve understanding of tactics techniques and procedures (TTPs) for new recruits prior to live training as well as combined arms training. With that said, however, I think it is important to note that serious games will never replace live training – rather serious games can supplement live as a form of blended training.
Q: You specialize in voice communication. Why is this such an important component of a military simulation?
A: I will explore this topic in much greater detail in my talk at the Serious Play Conference, but one of the fundamental requirements for teamwork is effective communication. It is essential that military training simulations include accurate communication modeling to ensure that trainees communicate as they would in the real world. For example, one of the primary duties of a convoy vehicle commander is to relay messages between his vehicle, other vehicles, and the command headquarters. The radio channels tend to be very busy so the commander must quickly determine which information is pertinent to the mission and pass it on as needed. Several instructors have vented their frustration to me regarding the built-in communication systems in many serious games. In these simulations, unlike the real world, all players are on the same voice channel. This means that the commanders are missing out on essential communication practice and this negative training is endangering lives when the commanders are deployed. The instructors simply want a communication system for serious games that models the real world for proper and effective training.
Q: What breakthroughs have been made in communication simulation in recent years?
A: Big-name vendors of voice communication and radio simulation have been providing high-fidelity radio communication for decades. Unfortunately, these capabilities are usually found only in the highest-fidelity training devices such as flight simulators.
What we have seen in recent years, however, is an expansion in the availability of these communication systems in a wide variety of training environments. By replacing expensive hardware-based interfaces with software clients, vendors have found a way to cut costs without sacrificing fidelity. Serious games can now have integrated communication systems that accurately model the real world. Furthermore, due to vendors’ experiences in distributed training exercises, serious games can interact not only with other games, but full-fidelity flight trainers as well as with live training. We call this Live-Virtual-Constructive training.
One of the outcomes of L-V-C exercises is an increase in the number of communicating players. To that end, we have been focusing on the scalability of our systems to support thousands of players using a variety of cloud-inspired techniques as well as innovating new user interfaces such as mobile devices.
Q: Besides military use, where else could this new communication product be used?
A: In commercial markets, these communication systems can be used in a variety of gaming applications, such as MMORPGs and first-person shooter games. Additionally, these systems can be used in any situation where teamwork training is required. For example, medical personnel such as doctors, nurses, and administrators, rely on effective communication to provide outstanding patient care. High-fidelity communication systems are crucial in these non-military games and training scenarios to improve the user experience and further the learning objectives.
Q: What are the challenges to the industry right now?
A: We have seen an uptick in the adoption of serious games for training in the military, but there are still a number of hurdles to overcome. While some commanders are embracing the cost saving and effective training provided by serious games, many still view them as expensive toys. It is important for industry and government to push for games that provide the best training, not ones boasting ultra-realistic graphics. Additionally, we need to take a close look at the training requirements and find one or more games that provide a comprehensive solution. I’m not convinced that a one-size-fits-all serious game will solve the complex training requirements for the military.
This week Ross will be presenting at the Serious Play Conference near Seattle, Washington, with a talk titled "The Future of Work is Play"
Ross Smith really enjoys getting a paycheck to "play" with software for over 25 years now, over 20 at Microsoft. Most of his career has been in testing and QA roles - including Test Architect. He has contributed to almost every version of Windows and Office since 1992. He is one of the authors of "The Practical Guide to Defect Prevention" and holds five patents. 42projects has aspired to promote cultural change; "bring buzz and laughter to the hallways".
Andrew Miller is an educational consultant and online educator for Edutopia. He also currently serves on the National Faculty for the Buck Institute for Education and ASCD, traveling nationally to train fellow educators and present at conferences regarding game-based learning, project-based learning, and culturally responsive teaching.
You can change your life by learning from games and play, then applying those discoveries in your life. Not only that, engaging in play can minimize or eliminate all of the following end of life regrets expressed to hospice workers:
Number one: I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
Number two: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Number three: I wish I had let myself be happier.
Number four: I wish I'd had the courage to express my true self.
Number five: I wish I'd lived a life true to my dreams,instead of what others expected of me.
This is just one of many examples of the rich content in Jane's talk.