“Behind the Curtain” at MacArthur Digital Media & Learning

My initial reaction to the MacArthur Digital Media & Learning initiative was one of frustration — it is focused on kids. 

I’m into adult learners — folks who want to learn and collaboratively manage knowledge to “get things done” (as Nancy White puts it)  in the real world.

However – for some cosmic reason, I decided to look a little deeper.  I have discovered a fountain of wealth “behind the curtain” that we can apply to our own initiative = social entrepreneurs making a game together to solve the mystery of nonprofit earned income profitability.

ecologyofgamesscreenshot_edited.JPGMacArthur has organized its initiative in a set of discrete projects.  One of which is “Ecology of Games.”  Ecology of Games is headed up by game designer Katie Salen, and includes several other contributors.

I am putting together a series of posts on each of these contributors.  I’ll digest and relate the key points I think we can take away and use from each of them.  But you can check them out yourselves — you will see things I don’t see.  In fact, I’ll be inviting each of them to come and see us.  I hope they will jump into our game and tell us what they think about what we are trying to do.

My first individual post focuses on Jane McGonigal.  Jane is convinced that “Pleasure, Play, and High Performance” is the new glue for massively scaling digital communities beyond that 150 people we thought was our limit for who we could connect with.  Her work reinforces my idea that making a game together is our best bet for discovering the patterns of nonprofit social entrepreneur venture profitability hidden in our collective experience — since there are at least 550,000 of us!

Actually, let me back up a second.  First thing I did was listen to a podcast of an interview conducted by Katie Salen.  Topics covered included “modding and world-building.”  Of particular interest to me — since I’m into player/learner-made content!  A progressive process was observed, where players move from:

  1. consumption (of the game, or other people’s mods)
  2. critique (of other people’s mods)
  3. create (their own mods)

So — I want to make it perfectly clear: TRASH ME!  I have set up a wiki for us to get started.  Everything I have already said can be scrapped and start over.

I will continue to update this post as I add individual posts.  Please take a look as I go along and add YOUR comments 🙂

P.S. Clarifying Note: The contributors’ “contributions” to the MacArthur volume do not yet exist.  My source material includes extant articles, presentations, podcasts, blogs, etc.

So far:

Jane McGonigal

Ian Bogost


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