Friday, September 15, 2006

September Life

Through a MacArthur grant by Squire, Steinkuehler, Hayes, and Shaffer, I've been hired to help out. This is pretty cool because it involves the most fun of the things that I love.
  1. Greenbush Game: I get to continue work on it, and various configurations of it. This is cool, and the most closely related to my own place-based research.
  2. Star Schools Games: I get "affiliated" with the Star Schools grant, and am working with the Wisconsin team on creating AR games to teach reading and math (not what AR games are *best* at, but certainly viable) to Milwaukee and Madison area school kids. Currently we're trying to come up with a paper-based version of the tech-based games -- a real challenge since paper is not as location-aware as GPS...
  3. Interior Design: As part of the larger MacArthur grant that is funding the research projects for all four faculty. I've been grabbed to help design and stock office and collaboration area, including a gaming lab, and some research rooms. I love this stuff.
Outside of the "work" component of my life, I'm
  • visiting Christine in Grinnell whenever I get an extended weekend,
  • working on my own research -- currently trying to get video interviews off DV tape and into nice manageable Quicktime chunks. Unfortunately, my office computer (circa 2002) isn't up to the task. It churns for a few hours and gives me an "unknown error" -- very very frustrating.
  • Last night I'd decided I'd taken enough abuse from my office computer, and ordered a new 20" 2GHz Core Duo iMac. The 250GB HD should handle the video, and the built-in camera can only help Christine and I better communicate over long distance. (Rumors point to a new MacBook Pro on Sept 25th. If so, I expect she'll get that).
Anyway, Mark Wagler coined the term "Local Games" to both broaden and focus the place-based aspects of the games we create. And the development of that term (web, brochure, papers, etc.) has become one of the roles that merges neatly with my own research interests and needs. He's also the has taken on the role of a project coordinator, and asked that we get a solid version of the Greenbush game done as soon as possible (alternative configurations to be developed later). Additionally, I'm working on creating a "paper-based" port of the South Shore Beach game that Jim Mathew is heading up. This is an ASAP project as well. Finally, I'm working on the GLS space, which is -- you guessed it -- an ASAP deal too.

So, I'm having a bit of trouble divvying up the 20 hours/week I can work, among the four projects, and have been feeling a tiny bit guilty because I'm not producing 20 hours' worth of work for any of them -- for some reason I expect that of myself (4x20=8o hour work weeks), but really only need to dedicate 5 hours to each -- I've far surpassed that. I've also been banking hours beyound the required 20, as I expect that the GLS space time requirements will drop significantly once we get a lab finished. At that point I can dedicate more time to the Local Games work, but still have hours to take off to Grinnell.

Hopefully, this all works out well.


At 3:17 AM, Anonymous Reva said...

Hi,my name is reva and I actually don't have any comments about your Sept life but I want to tell you that I find your site fascinating. At one point you spoke about bending discourses - I want to talk about that idea if you have the time. Like you I am a postgrad student in Malaysia -planning to finish in May 2007. You can contact me at
Hope to hear from you.


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