Saturday, November 3, 2007

Skills 2.0

So the drawing game my son and I started with "My Team, Your Team" (MTYT), was turned into the site/blog "The Superest" by professional artists, and from there became the open MTYT blog, "Bayou Battle."

It's an interesting progression, from an activity/skills perspective. The original game was played on paper (the back of Bob Evans placemats, to start) with crayons, and so the skills involved were imagination (of course), drawing and tactics. Those same skills are used by the artists at The Superest, to which they add whatever necessary technical skills blog creation/operation require. We might include some PHP or SQL knowledge, the ability to design the site (it looks real nice, eh?), some promotional skills involved in getting folks involved, the digital art skills that you need to either create a picture for the web or get it there, etc. A whole buncha stuff.

But they still involve drawing. And, since The Superest guys are artists, pretty dang good drawing. Better than I can do, for sure. Give my boy a few years and he might catch up. But me? I'm a hack. I'm a crafty guy, but certainly no artist.

Enter Bayou Battle.

The highest compliment an egoist such as myself can pay to an idea is, "I should have thought of that." Well, when it comes to Bayou Battle... I should have thought of that. It's a mashup of MTYM and LOL cats. Rather than start pictures from scratch... start w/ a web graphic, maybe Photoshop it a bit, add a caption (or, in the case of MTYM, a description of your power), and voila! MTYM for the MySpace age.

So... looking forward. What I'd love to see is a Facebook or MyPage applet that lets you play MTYM with your friends, back-and-forth on your profile pages. So if anyone here is that kind of creative, get crackin'! Just remember to send some link love back to Tinker, eh.

All of this being another (small) chapter in the book relating to what you need to know to thrive in the networked world. If you haven't read the MacArthur white paper, "Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century," do it now. I mean it. Right now. I can't stress strongly enough the importance of this piece.

According to Henry Jenkins (the primary author, blog here), the new skills required to flourish in a culture of participationare:

  • Play— the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving
  • Performance— the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery 
  • Simulation— the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes 
  • Appropriation— the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content 
  • Multitasking— the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details. 
  • Distributed Cognition— the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities 
  • Collective Intelligence— the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal 
  • Judgment— the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources 
  • Transmedia Navigation— the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities 
  • Networking— the ability to search for,synthesize,and disseminate information 
  • Negotiation— the ability to travel across diverse communities,discerning and respecting multiple perspectives,and grasping and following alternative norms. 

As far as these Skills 2.0 go, the original MTYM promoted play (for sure) and (possibly) performance, in a fuzzy sense of the word. Add in the requirements for The Superest, and you've got simulation (drawing that moves from pen-to-web), distributed cognition (understanding the web/blog tools necessary to put the pics "out there"), collective intelligence (you need at least two players) and networking (duh). Bayou Battle takes that and adds appropriation (modding pics), transmedia navigation (finding pics in places other than the original blog/site), and (probably) negotiation, since it is an open blog.

I find this absolutely fascinating. And not just because me and the boy came up with the original game. That's just a good excuse for why I'm paying attention to this nanomeme. It makes me wonder what would happen if teachers took any learning activity and tried, consciously, to adapt it such that it addressed as many of the above skills as possible. If something as simple as MTYT can move so fluidly and effortlessly into 2.0-Land, what would happen if someone with real pedagogical chops took a swing at the classic curricula?

Makes me wonder what I could do with TaleWeaver to turn it all 2.0-y.  

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