Saturday, June 23, 2012

History,gaming and Learning-a repost from 6AM Thoughts and below on this blog

I know that is has been almost two months since I have posted to this blog. If you are reading it I thank you and hope that your time is considered to have been well spent when you are finished. Spring has perked me up again.

I love history, to teach it, to read it, and to write it. I like to do all of those things at the same time. Modern technology has not changed history but it has changed the way we create it, explore it, and present it.

I also love games. I learn so many things from playing games, utilizing my imagination, and creating new narratives of human history with me in the cat bird seat. I have lived and fought the American Revolution more times that I can remember and will fight it again and again as long as I play or read about it. I have sat in rooms and tents with great generals and political leaders in France, Russia, and Germany and China. I have thought the thoughts of the great thinkers of my culture. I have done most of this by reading and playing games.

In life, we learn lessons by trial-and-error. We burn our hand on the stove as children and therefore learn that the stove gets hot. Over time we realize it gets hot because its purpose is to cook food. Some of us learn how the stove works and become mechanics or industrial engineers; others of us become chefs. Most of us just realize to keep our hands out of hot stuff. But we all learn by doing and by making mistakes.-Shelly Blake-Pollock
This morning I was reading the post on Teachpaperless. It made me think of history and how we can re-write the narrative over and over inside of a simulation and and learn so much about how to exist inside of a culture. When I was reading this I began thinking about teaching and learning history which has been my passion since I can remember. Teaching history is really just telling stories about our memories, our past. Learning it is the same--a pure act of imagination based on scrapes of evidence in the present which we re-arrange into new patterns and pictures as we discover more or gain new insights from what we have. We cannot touch the stove any longer to see if it is hot. We have to trust our memory for where the stoves are. Unless we simulate the past we cannot really learn from it. We have to find someway to "re-heat" the stove.

These thoughts remind me of Jane McGonigal's incredible book, Reality is Broken, which reminded me that reality is constructed and can be re-constructed through gaming, which re-heats the stove. Games

allow us to re-do the past in terms of our present and learn about who we are as human beings. Games allow to re-heat the stove without real burns. Games allow us to practice for life! Games allow us to teach!!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Hoochie Coochie Man--Sugar Blue and Muddy Waters

This rendition of Muddy Waters, "Hoochie Coochie Man" by Sugar Blue demanded a blog post all of its own. Here it is...It was created at the Bern Jazz Festival in 1995. God I love the blues.

Here is Muddy Waters doing his tune in 2009. Pure artistry!