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Posts Tagged ‘emergent

I participated in a Pokémon Go exclusive raid of the Mewtwo boss yesterday. I did not plan on leading the charge, but that is what happened.

It was my first exclusive raid, but after reading in forums, chatting with a few Mewtwo veterans, and watching YouTube videos of the social gatherings from such raids, I was looking forward to it.

My ExRaid Pass to the Mewtwo battle.

I arrived early at the raid venue and it was already crowded. I asked people if they were already grouped by team colours — this maximises the number of Poké balls you receive to catch Mewtwo — but most people milled about.

I was not about to leave such an important catch to chance, so I asked teams to form and people started self-organising. As I busied myself with making sure that there were enough people per group, I also took the advice of two veterans.

One player told me that we did not need to form teams of 20; about 10 players per team would do. So we divided large groups into smaller ones and checked the numbers. Another veteran reminded me that the quality of the player mattered — level 20+ players needed to be put in groups with high level (35+) players for maximum effect. So we checked again.

My battle party for Mewtwo.

I took the precaution of reminding everyone in my group to bring the optimal Pokémon to the fight (Dark types like Tyranitar) and not engage in selfish behaviours like using a Blissey (very tanky but offers little damage). I told everyone how we would use the private group function to exclude spoofers and cheaters.

I had to do some people management when one member of my team walked away for a smoke, another was distracted with multiple accounts, and yet another panicked with his choice of battlers. Then I offered words of encouragement before we started.

Thankfully, my group’s battle went smoothly and we beat our Mewtwo with about half the time to spare. Only my first three Tyranitars were spent from the battle.

Everyone in our group managed to catch their own Mewtwo after that. I managed to catch a 91% IV Mewtwo with ideal move sets. Now I have to decide whether or not to use Rare Candy and stardust to power it up for other battles.

Screenshot of my Pokémon Go app's journal showing evidence of the Mewtwo raid and capture.

My 91%IV Mewtwo with ideal move sets.

Our partner group of 10 players had more high level players and they completed the battle about 20 seconds before we did. Unfortunately, two members of that group could not catch their Mewtwos despite the team and damage bonus of Poké balls.

As a result of the extra work, I forgot to activate a Lucky Egg (to double the XP from the catch and get the New Catch bonus) and a Star Piece (to get 50% more Pokémon stardust). I also forgot to activate the video recording function on my iPhone.

If I get the opportunity to do this again, I would:

  • Try to get a team of solo account players (they are more focused)
  • Ensure an even mix of low and high level players in each group
  • Remind players to set up battle parties in their phones prior to fighting Mewtwo
  • Remind everyone to activate Lucky Eggs and Star Pieces if they wished
  • Screen capture the process

I am glad that I did my homework on battling and catching Mewtwo from game sites, forums, and online videos. The emergent social leadership was something that just had to be done, but I was inspired by stories in social media.

Emergent leadership is not just about one person and the start of a journey. After I started the fire, the groups were self-sustaining because at least one member was experienced or had done their homework. After the group-based battle and individual attempts at catching, there was also the need to congratulate those that got their Mewtwo and console those whose quarry fled.

A few strangers thanked me for organising the group. One person even shook my hand and said he hoped to see me again at another battle. I am just thankful the group listened and offered timely advice.

There are some nasty or selfish people in Pokémon Go, but this experience showed me that there are nice ones too. And even the not-so-nice ones put their unpleasantness aside in pursuit of a shared goal.

Yes, my mind goes off on tangents.

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I can watch a video like the one above about someone using candy like pixels and think about how it applies to teaching.

If you did not notice what the still grab of the video was, you would not know what the eventual artefact looked like. You would have to wait till later in the process to get an idea where the work was going. Despite this, you might continue watching to see how it ended because you enjoy discovery.

Looking at the thumbnail is like revealing the outcomes of a lesson before teaching. This lets learners know what to expect and do. However, this also removes other possibilities and might reduce the need for the process since the end result was already clear.

Sometimes teaching does not need to be preceded with outcomes. Sometimes the outcomes are emergent to allow for alternatives, good surprises, learner-defined outcomes, and unexpected but no less valuable results.

The first approach focuses more on teaching. This tends to be reductive and about the expert view of an issue or problem. The second approach is more about learning. It is about discovery and enjoying the process as it happens. While the approaches are compatible, they are also quite different, which might explain why teaching does not always lead to learning.

While learners are diverse, kids who go to school can be divided into at least three groups.

The first two groups are obvious: Those that school well and those that fall through the cracks.

Societies favour the first group. Most kids, irrespective of who they are or what they might do, learn to be schooled. If schools are like factories, then these are the kids that pass quality control.

The second group is those that cannot make it through the factory door or are thrown out the back door. These could be kids that have special needs, end up in prison, or are marginalized in school for whatever reason. Some people label these kids non-traditional learners.

There is a third and less obvious group of learners. These are kids that find their own way without conventional schooling or despite it. These are the real non-traditional learners.

These kids are self-directed, aware of who they are, and more driven to self actualize. They are typically born into family or support structures that enable them to operate this way.

For this group of kids, school is often boring and an inconvenience to tolerate. They know where they are going or must go; they are sidetracked to school because of the dictates of society.

Why are this type of non-traditional learners emerging now? Like germinating seeds, they are doing so because certain conditions are right.

Technology enables learners of all ages to learn beyond text, reach out to experts, connect with others, and create on the world stage. These are things that schools do not emphasize enough and some even take punitive steps to prevent.

Another condition is progressive research and pedagogical innovation that reveal how we learn and explore more effective ways to teach. We have started to question established but ineffective ways of doing things and think of ways to change them.

Still another is how quickly new information spreads to educators via open and social online platforms. Take the explosion of educator tweet chats for example.

All these will help the learner of today (and tomorrow) to help themselves, define their own professions, and shape their own careers. They need not be told by the results of high-stakes assessment of their worth. They need not be told by content experts that they are unable or stupid.

Never before have learners been so potentially empowered. That might be what scares parents and teachers alike. But I hope that more adults overcome this fear and guide their kids on their journey. For like a germinating seed, there is no growing backward.

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This is the fifth and final part of my series on informal and emergent learning with Minecraft.

It is not obvious in the video, but writing with Minecraft is not limited to preparing signs for others in the virtual world or messaging collaborators.

Outside that system are Minecraft wikis, blogs, discussion groups, Google+ circles, and other communities that write about Minecraft. Learners have rich opportunities to mine and create the resources here.

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In this 3.5 minute video, my son and I illustrate how Minecraft might be used to practice arithmetic and put a plan to action.

This video is probably the shortest in our series so far on informal learning with Minecraft. But I think the exchanges of when I teach him and when he teaches me is the most obvious in this video.

Viewers might note that my view of Minecraft sports a different look. I apply the Sphax texture pack to make things look a bit less blocky.

I shot the time-lapse sequences with an iOS app called OSnap. My “camera” view of Minecraft was screencaptured with Quicktime and all videos were processed in iMovie (OS Maverick).

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Today I share another part of my series on informal and emergent learning with Minecraft. This episode focuses on opportunities for connecting and collaborating with other players.

This video is different in a few ways.

First, instead of presenting it as one continuous video, there are a total of five smaller parts (including the introduction above).

Second, this video was a combination of videos recorded and edited over a few weekends. I typically try one-take wonders because they are easier to edit. But the new version of iMovie in Mac OS Maverick is more usable than the previous version so I am flexing a little post-production muscle.

Third, this video does not include the usual CeL-Ed lead-in and lead-out video segments. This is to prevent confusion when selecting which parts to watch.

I recommend watching the videos on a desktop or laptop web browser so that you can click on hotspots. But I provide links to the video segments in the video descriptions in YouTube should you be on a more mobile device.

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In this episode, my son and I illustrate how you can start with a tiny plot of land and few resources in Skyblock in Minecraft to create whatever you can imagine.

One of the things my son wanted to do was make some money because he spent some buying resources and even got some stolen when a few unscrupulous players discovered a bug in the system.

So he created a store. At first it required close monitoring and manual exchange of money for goods. Combing the processes of observing, discovering, and tinkering, he figured how to automate the selling process.

But while he was technically adept at this, he did not know how to advertise, sell items for reasonable prices, or even ensure that the previous store did not burn down!

Yes, the store in the snippet I featured in the introduction of this series no longer exists because of an in-game fire.

So building the store and maintaining it created opportunities to learn basic entrepreneurial principles and that prevention was better than cure.

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Last Monday I provided a sneak preview of my short video series on informal and emergent learning with Minecraft. I called that part 1.

This is the actual part 1.

In this part, my son and I explore the use of coordinates for path-finding. We also talk about importance of being persistent whether in a game or in life.

I have already been asked if I script videos with my son. I do not.

I might have an idea of concepts I might want to bring up or things I hope to discuss. But I leave it to the rather messy process of emerging dialogue and the time-consuming process of video editing to present something coherent.

An adult worries about time-on-task, objectives, and measuring impact. A child just gets on with the learning, finds ways to enjoy the process, and shows off occasionally.

It is a very humbling and valuable experience to co-learn with my son and I enjoy every minute of it!

Every work day, I go by a sign that says Thow Kwang Kiln. I tell myself I should visit because I have never seen a traditional kiln before. That is, until Sunday, Dec 7. And believe it or not, something I spotted there reminded me of educational Web 2.0!

I was invited to have breakfast at the kiln compound by a fellow alum from Arizona State University (ASU) whom I had never met in person before. Carolyn had emailed me for information on ASU, where I had done a Masters in EdTech, while I was in Indiana University pursuing a Ph.D. She returned to Singapore about a year ago and we decided to meet.

Carolyn is part of a group of artists who gather regularly at Thow Kwang and they have breakfast in a treehouse in the compound once a month! She is a brilliant photographer and maintains a few blogs. Here is one on the Thow Kwang group.

So I finally met her and her associates. I enjoyed a meal and some very stimulating company on a pleasant Sunday morning.

Carolyn brought my family and I on a tour of the place. Something that caught my eye was a form of pottery called saggar.

I learned that saggar involved a pot being fired within another pot. Sometimes other elements such straw are added to the mix and the result is “organic”.

It occurred to me how much this was like incorporating Web 2.0 into education. An educator might have certain goals in mind for blogging, podcasting, social networking or using wikis. But some of the outcomes are unexpected. They are emergent, but they are no less valuable.

And like the pottery, the outcomes can be beautiful too.


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