Language of Games

For example, he said English-speaking developers inherently understand the language of games. Game code uses words like “if,” “then,” “while” and “for” — common for anyone who knows English.

“If you don’t, these are abstract ideas and you don’t know what you’re typing besides what it does,”

I’m often struck by how small the world can get through language, tower of babel be dammed.

This article is about a video game developer conference that welcomes contributors in their first language. From reading, I gather this is a new concept, but likely will be commonplace in the near future, especially where the industry is global, like video games.

Language is often the final barrier to the coming together of communities, to the spread and sharing of culture. I think of anime and how much it has spread due to translations (often the result of hobbyists) after video sharing technology was refined. Anime is full of culture.

I also think to my own class. We spend time in class looking on Google Maps at the hometowns and countries of my students. I’m always so amazed at these people who have come together in this class because of language.  


OER and OER Infrastructure

One of the questions that I’ve been percolating and discussing with my  OpenETC  collaborators is the extent can you do open and engage in open education practices without open infrastructure.

Here’s a blog post I want to reference here for myself because of several links in the article.

Honestly, I find it difficult, not only to get past the forces of infrastructure in trying to use OER, but to also soften the active and direct resistance against OERs.

I know I can do more to build an OER presence in my work, but damm does this take a lot of patience and a lot of determination. Often more so than my workload as a teacher allows. For the most part, I act locally.


Japan as They Saw It

Lately, I’ve also been exploring the Internet Archive’s rich collection of books written by British and American visitors to Japan in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Until the 1850s, Japan had been shut off nearly completely from the rest of the world for more than two hundred years, and people elsewhere were eager to learn about the mysterious country.

The most recent email from the Internet Archive highlights a book being written about the impressions of long ago foreign visitors to Japan had on that country. A fascinating idea, that showcases the usefulness and entertainment value of old books.

The website for the book is here.

Literacy is Recognizing Patterns

Literacy, of any type, is about pattern recognition, about seeing how art is like physics is like literature is like dance is like architecture is like …Literacy is not about knowing where the dots are. Literacy is not about finding dots about which you may not know. Literacy is about connecting the dots and seeing the big picture that emerges.

This quote about literacy got me thinking. I love the connection to patterns. I do think that literacy is about knowing where the dots are, except that it is not limited to that. There are two sides to a literacy, the reading and the writing (in the grand sense of each). But this idea about patterns is great, I wonder if staying in the realm of “patterns” is too abstract to be practical though.

Last week my students came across the word “pattern” and to my slight surprise many of them asked me what the word means. A slightly bigger surprise, is that I had immediate difficulty explaining it to them. Usually I’m very good at providing examples on the spot. However, I found that “pattern” just has too many apt examples to make it an easy concept to quickly grasp. Any example would highlight the example, not the concept. Maybe this is why it fits well with “literacy”, a concept that stretches across differing landscapes.

Unfortunate that there doesn’t seem to be any way to find the original source for this quote. Imagine that, a resource not out on the web somewhere.

Rob Wall. What You Really Need to Learn: Some Thoughts. Stigmergic Web (weblog). June 3, 2007.


More: The quote is taken from a series of posts following Jenny through Stephen Downes’ eLearning 3.0 class. They are a great read if you didn’t take the class, but were still interested in it peripherally. Stephen is always thought provoking.

The intro video is a good overview. I don’t know if the Q&A is included in the video, but at one point Stephen uses the phrases “You can always go more fundamental”, which I think undermines his emphasis on experiential learning, because it’s the more fundamental stuff that is great for classroom and structured learning. Like I said though, thought provoking.

Link to the first post (includes the video):

On the Outer Side of Places

But we live near the Oakland end of the Bay Bridge, whose other end is in San Francisco, and it happened that on the anniversary we walked along it in the rain. The bridge is divided into west and east spans by Yerba Buena Island, which it tunnels through. The eastern span was badly damaged in the 1989 earthquake, and after many delays and overruns, its replacement opened two years ago. It’s the widest bridge segment in the world, with five lanes of traffic in either direction on one level. And on its south edge, an eleventh lane, for cyclists and pedestrians.

Charlie Loyd is a person with a tinyletter, and the most recent delivery of this newsletter is a fantastic read.

I once visited the bay area, and was impressed as rode a rented bicycle across the Golden Gate bridge. However, it was when I peddled over to the Bay Bridge, that I was stopped in my tracks. I was stunned at the scale of it. It was like standing at the base of the CN Tower, trying to imagine that humans could have constructed such an object.

The piece of writing jumps from the Bay Bridge to Hokkaido tunnels, to Polaroid cameras, and it then enters into deeper matters of large human endeavors. Enjoyable read.

Time Lapse Galaxy


I love time lapse videos. My favorite part in this one is at 1:42 when I can see the movement of clouds sped up. I understand clouds a whole lot more from this image.

Mass Mediated

Tsuyoshi Anzai’s Distance adopts an optical illusion inducing a media anachronism. He conceived a New Video Player which induces the viewer to perceive a video, even if it is just an object nearby projected through the “camera obscura” mechanism. The resulting dualism of visibility/invisibility of the object is then a perfect analogue analogy to the digital screen.

An art exhibit about mediation, with an accompanying video that gives a more powerful sense of being mass mediated without all of the distractions of everyday life. This feels like an updated version of “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

artist’s website: