recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : modding   8

The Minecraft Generation - The New York Times
"Seth Frey, a postdoctoral fellow in computational social science at Dartmouth College, has studied the behavior of thousands of youths on Minecraft servers, and he argues that their interactions are, essentially, teaching civic literacy. “You’ve got these kids, and they’re creating these worlds, and they think they’re just playing a game, but they have to solve some of the hardest problems facing humanity,” Frey says. “They have to solve the tragedy of the commons.” What’s more, they’re often anonymous teenagers who, studies suggest, are almost 90 percent male (online play attracts far fewer girls and women than single-­player mode). That makes them “what I like to think of as possibly the worst human beings around,” Frey adds, only half-­jokingly. “So this shouldn’t work. And the fact that this works is astonishing.”

Frey is an admirer of Elinor Ostrom, the Nobel Prize-­winning political economist who analyzed the often-­unexpected ways that everyday people govern themselves and manage resources. He sees a reflection of her work in Minecraft: Running a server becomes a crash course in how to compromise, balance one another’s demands and resolve conflict.

Three years ago, the public library in Darien, Conn., decided to host its own Minecraft server. To play, kids must acquire a library card. More than 900 kids have signed up, according to John Blyberg, the library’s assistant director for innovation and user experience. “The kids are really a community,” he told me. To prevent conflict, the library installed plug-ins that give players a chunk of land in the game that only they can access, unless they explicitly allow someone else to do so. Even so, conflict arises. “I’ll get a call saying, ‘This is Dasher80, and someone has come in and destroyed my house,’ ” Blyberg says. Sometimes library administrators will step in to adjudicate the dispute. But this is increasingly rare, Blyberg says. “Generally, the self-­governing takes over. I’ll log in, and there’ll be 10 or 15 messages, and it’ll start with, ‘So-and-so stole this,’ and each message is more of this,” he says. “And at the end, it’ll be: ‘It’s O.K., we worked it out! Disregard this message!’ ”

Several parents and academics I interviewed think Minecraft servers offer children a crucial “third place” to mature, where they can gather together outside the scrutiny and authority at home and school. Kids have been using social networks like Instagram or Snapchat as a digital third place for some time, but Minecraft imposes different social demands, because kids have to figure out how to respect one another’s virtual space and how to collaborate on real projects.

“We’re increasingly constraining youth’s ability to move through the world around them,” says Barry Joseph, the associate director for digital learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Joseph is in his 40s. When he was young, he and his friends roamed the neighborhood unattended, where they learned to manage themselves socially. Today’s fearful parents often restrict their children’s wanderings, Joseph notes (himself included, he adds). Minecraft serves as a new free-­ranging realm.

Joseph’s son, Akiva, is 9, and before and after school he and his school friend Eliana will meet on a Minecraft server to talk and play. His son, Joseph says, is “at home but still getting to be with a friend using technology, going to a place where they get to use pickaxes and they get to use shovels and they get to do that kind of building. I wonder how much Minecraft is meeting that need — that need that all children have.” In some respects, Minecraft can be as much social network as game.

Just as Minecraft propels kids to master Photoshop or video-­editing, server life often requires kids to acquire complex technical skills. One 13-year-old girl I interviewed, Lea, was a regular on a server called Total Freedom but became annoyed that its administrators weren’t clamping down on griefing. So she asked if she could become an administrator, and the owners said yes.

For a few months, Lea worked as a kind of cop on that beat. A software tool called “command spy” let her observe records of what players had done in the game; she teleported miscreants to a sort of virtual “time out” zone. She was eventually promoted to the next rank — “telnet admin,” which allowed her to log directly into the server via telnet, a command-­line tool often used by professionals to manage servers. Being deeply involved in the social world of Minecraft turned Lea into something rather like a professional systems administrator. “I’m supposed to take charge of anybody who’s breaking the rules,” she told me at the time.

Not everyone has found the online world of Minecraft so hospitable. One afternoon while visiting the offices of Mouse, a nonprofit organization in Manhattan that runs high-tech programs for kids, I spoke with Tori. She’s a quiet, dry-­witted 17-year-old who has been playing Minecraft for two years, mostly in single-­player mode; a recent castle-­building competition with her younger sister prompted some bickering after Tori won. But when she decided to try an online server one day, other players — after discovering she was a girl — spelled out “BITCH” in blocks.

She hasn’t gone back. A group of friends sitting with her in the Mouse offices, all boys, shook their heads in sympathy; they’ve seen this behavior “everywhere,” one said. I have been unable to find solid statistics on how frequently harassment happens in Minecraft. In the broader world of online games, though, there is more evidence: An academic study of online players of Halo, a shoot-’em-up game, found that women were harassed twice as often as men, and in an unscientific poll of 874 self-­described online gamers, 63 percent of women reported “sex-­based taunting, harassment or threats.” Parents are sometimes more fretful than the players; a few told me they didn’t let their daughters play online. Not all girls experience harassment in Minecraft, of course — Lea, for one, told me it has never happened to her — and it is easy to play online without disclosing your gender, age or name. In-game avatars can even be animals.

How long will Minecraft’s popularity endure? It depends very much on Microsoft’s stewardship of the game. Company executives have thus far kept a reasonably light hand on the game; they have left major decisions about the game’s development to Mojang and let the team remain in Sweden. But you can imagine how the game’s rich grass-roots culture might fray. Microsoft could, for example, try to broaden the game’s appeal by making it more user-­friendly — which might attenuate its rich tradition of information-­sharing among fans, who enjoy the opacity and mystery. Or a future update could tilt the game in a direction kids don’t like. (The introduction of a new style of combat this spring led to lively debate on forums — some enjoyed the new layer of strategy; others thought it made Minecraft too much like a typical hack-and-slash game.) Or an altogether new game could emerge, out-­Minecrafting Minecraft.

But for now, its grip is strong. And some are trying to strengthen it further by making it more accessible to lower-­income children. Mimi Ito has found that the kids who acquire real-world skills from the game — learning logic, administering servers, making YouTube channels — tend to be upper middle class. Their parents and after-­school programs help them shift from playing with virtual blocks to, say, writing code. So educators have begun trying to do something similar, bringing Minecraft into the classroom to create lessons on everything from math to history. Many libraries are installing Minecraft on their computers."
2016  clivethompson  education  videogames  games  minecraft  digitalculture  gaming  mimiito  robinsloan  coding  computationalthinking  stem  programming  commandline  ianbogost  walterbenjamin  children  learning  resilience  colinfanning  toys  lego  wood  friedrichfroebel  johnlocke  rebeccamir  mariamontessori  montessori  carltheodorsorensen  guilds  mentoring  mentorship  sloyd  denmark  construction  building  woodcrafting  woodcraft  adventureplaygrounds  material  logic  basic  mojang  microsoft  markuspersson  notch  modding  photoshop  texturepacks  elinorostrom  collaboration  sethfrey  civics  youtube  networkedlearning  digitalliteracy  hacking  computers  screentime  creativity  howwelearn  computing  froebel 
april 2016 by robertogreco
New Minecraft Modding Software Revolutionizes the Way We Teach Kids Coding
"San Diego, Calif., December 17, 2004 -- A new e-learning software, developed by San Diego education start-up ThoughtSTEM, teaches K-12 students how to code by allowing them to write mods (“modifications”) to the popular video game, Minecraft. The software, called LearnToMod, was recently tested by over 1,000 Beta users and 100 teachers, and the final release of LearnToMod is slated for Jan. 15, 2015. ThoughtSTEM was co-founded by computer science Ph.D. students Stephen Foster and Sarah Esper.

LearnToMod, a software that allows users to learn programming inside of the popular computer game Minecraft, is now available to preorder for $30/year athttp://www.learntomod.com. The software will be delivered Jan. 15.

LearnToMod seeks to inspire a new generation of young programmers by allowing students to explore their favorite video game, Minecraft, in a new way. The software allows students to learn the fundamental concepts of programming while they add new features (called “mods”) to Minecraft.

“Students have been coming into our classrooms for years raving about Minecraft. It dawned on us that the video game could be the perfect tool for teaching kids how to code,” said Foster, ThoughtSTEM CEO and lead software developer.

ThoughtSTEM has been teaching kids across the greater San Diego area how to code for the last two years. More recently, ThoughtSTEM has put their energy into developing LearnToMod, a software for teaching kids how to mod (i.e. code) Minecraft.

With LearnToMod, students learn how to code through hundreds of video tutorials and puzzles that teach them everything from how to create houses at the click of a button to how to design games within the game, like Portal or Tetris. Students can even create custom blocks and items within Minecraft by importing new textures. Soon, the software will allow students to program the artificial intelligence of entire “bot” armies.

“Kids all over the world love Minecraft. Unlike most other video games, Minecraft is completely moddable, which gives it the potential to be a great educational tool. Now, LearnToMod is teaching kids around the world to code through Minecraft,” said Esper, CTO of ThoughtSTEM. “In the past two months, over 100,000 lines of code have been written by LearnToMod Beta users. We’ve never seen kids so motivated to learn coding.”

For the last three months, over 1,000 kids from 44 countries have been Beta testing the LearnToMod software. LearnToMod is also being tested by over 100 school teachers in classrooms across the United States. “We’re developing tools to make the software really easy for teachers to use. We want to empower teachers to be able to create classroom activities and custom lesson plans inside of Minecraft,” said Foster. ThoughtSTEM is currently offering the software for free to low-income schools, encouraging them to teach coding in the classroom.

The LearnToMod software implements the best practices learned by the Computer Science Education research community in its coding tutorials and puzzles. LearnToMod developers, Foster and Esper, are PhDs specializing in Computer Science Education, with over 15 years of experience developing curriculum and writing software and games for teaching coding. The software aims to make the act of learning how to code as active and engaging as possible.

More information about LearnToMod can be found at: http://www.learntomod.com."

[via: https://twitter.com/andrewheumann/status/550736413751132162 ]
minecraft  kids  children  coding  modding  javascript  education  learning  2014  sandiego  software 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Whited00r Community: free iOS upgrades, firmware and apps
"Whited00r is the biggest community of iOS modding and firmware cooking in the world. Here you will find full support for all Apple devices equipped with the ARMv6 CPU: iPhone 2G & 3G, iPod Touch 1G, 2G.

We provide free modded Software Updates for your device. Installing the Whited00r firmware will give you a fully optimized, speedy, and fluid device in just a few minutes with a simple restore of your iPhone or iPod Touch using iTunes. Your iPhone or iPod will be fast and productive again. Whited00r is the best solution for your Apple device suitable for both beginners or power users who like tweaking & modding their iPhone 3G or iPod Touch 2G.

Grayd00r: iPad 1G, iPod Touch 3G."
ios  iphone  ipad  ipodtouch  ipod  modding  unlocking  whited00r  grayd00r  firmware  software  upgrades  applications 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Confessions of an Aca/Fan: From Serious Games to Serious Gaming
"Learning as a Process, Not a Product...spaces for exploration, experimentation, & problem solving...Games as Interdisciplinary Spaces...Serious Games and Participatory Culture...Reality -- Augmented, Alternate, & Otherwise"
henryjenkins  willwright  seriousgames  interdisciplinary  gaming  games  gamedesign  learning  education  schools  schooling  unschooling  play  problemsolving  multidisciplinary  deschooling  janmcgonigal  arg  participatory  contentcreation  literacy  media  pervasive  cocreation  collaboration  modding  machinama  mobile  multimedia  phones  online  internet  web  computers  technology  puzzles 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Freedom to Tinker
"The focus is on issues related to legal regulation of technology, and especially on legal attempts to restrict the right of technologists and citizens to tinker with technological devices. But we reserve the right to write about anything that strikes our
activism  tinkering  technology  opensource  open  legal  law  homebrew  engineering  ethics  encryption  modding  mobile  commons  censorship  anarchy  software  making  make  hacking  hardware  piracy  policy  politics  regulation  security  society  patents  copyright  anarchism 
december 2007 by robertogreco
Grand Theft Auto Japanimation mod
"The unknown hacker has modified the game so you now control a pair of giggling, uzi-toting schoolgirl anime twins who blow away gleeful Pikachu's and a bad-ass Doraemon cruising around on the hovercycle from Metal Gear Solid."
videogames  games  play  personalization  modding  hacks  gta  grandtheftauto 
september 2007 by robertogreco
E-Commerce News: Gaming: Modders: Bringing Games to Quirky New Levels
"Personalization, or modding, continues to be a growing trend in the video game industry....Modding communities have formed around popular game titles and also kids are learning how to perform such programming tricks in summer camps."
games  play  videogames  modding  learning 
june 2007 by robertogreco
Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect: Extreme Personalisation
"working Nokia phones hacked/customised by Mehmet Erkök, industrial design lecturer at İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi's Department of Industrial Product Design"
mobile  phones  nokia  design  hacks  technology  personalization  janchipchase  customization  modding  wow  wireless  unproduct  prototyping 
may 2007 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read