Sunday, September 25, 2005

Place Continued

Here are links to two readings that draw from the theories surrounding sense of place and combine them with critical pedagogy, placed-based education, and environmental education. They appeal to me because I feel that they support some of the design features that have shaped the PDA designs that we have been discussing to date, Env Det, Dow Day, etc.

Gruenewald, David “The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place”

Streibel, Michael "The Importance of Physical Place and Lived Topographies"

On a personal note, I hope to mine the site-based and place-based potential of AR games in order to help students connect with and better understand their local cultures, economies, histories, ecologies, etc. I also want to research how they might be used to get students more actively engaged in shaping the future of their communities through political and social awareness and action.

Re: Tuan

After reading the Tuan chapters that Matt suggested I was excited about the potential of designing a game that explicitly explores the theories and concepts related to sense of place. I see great potential for this avenue when we talk about having students design their own AR/PDA games. For example, students could design a PDA game or presentation that communicates their own experiences related to sense of place.

Re: Tuan - Sense of Place in Environmental Detectives

The Tuan reading helps frame some questions related to role that place plays in the Env Det. Ming-Fong and I have talked a lot about this, but it is obvious that these same issues will arise in future designs, so I decided to post some questions.

Note: It is important to remember that the game alone is not designed to carry the weight of these questions. My assumption is that Env Det will be played as part of a larger unit on watershed ecology, scientific investigation, etc. that will provide a context for the gaming experience.

Questions related to space and place:

What role does the physical environment play in the Env Det experience? Is the site specificity and physical environment important to the narrative / game play? If so, to what extent? Tuan uses the example of a driver zoning out and losing sense of time and place while they drive along a highway. It seems that this happens at various points to people when they play Env Det. That is, they become focused on the PDA environment and lose connection with the physical environment. Is this an accurate observation? If so, is this a good thing or a bad thing? What might it tell us about their connection to the site / place? What else might it tell us?

How can the design be adjusted to “more deeply connect” students to the physical space? For example, in chapter two Tuan discusses the role that taste, touch, smell play in “spatializing” our world. Can the narrative include more features that clue the player in and encourage them to engage with the physical space? Can the physical environment become part of the problem space?

Do student leave the experience with a more developed sense of place? Why or why not?

How might the sense of place/space (or awareness of place/space) synthesize with issues such as identity, immersion, pacing, etc.?

Re: Streibel / Gruenewald

Here are a number of thoughts on AR/PDA design related to place-based environmental education. I am not suggesting that Env Det should do these things, but since it is the design that is up and running I am using it help me work through how AR games could promote a “critical pedagogy of place.”

Do the students leave with a better understanding of the political, social, economic factors that shape the local watershed?
Does the design (including pre- and post-discussions) encourage them to explore ways that their personal choices impact the watershed?
How does sense of place interact with and influence the questions above?

1 Comments:

Blogger John Martin said...

The Gruenwald reading confirmed my thoughts: "place-based education lacks a specific theoretical tradition, though this is partly a matter of naming. Its practices and purposes can be connected to experiential learning, contextual learning, problem-based learning, constructivism, outdoor education, indigenous education, environmental and ecological education, bioregional education, democratic education, multicultural education, community-based education, critical pedagogy itself, as well as other approaches that are concerned with context and the value of learning from and nurturing specific places, communities, or regions. In recent literature, educators claiming place as a guiding construct associate a place-based approach with outdoor (Woodhouse & Knapp, 2000), environmental and ecological (Orr, 1992, 1994; Sobel, 1996; Thomashow, 1996), and rural education (Haas & Nachtigal, 1998; Theobald, 1997). One result of these primarily ecological and rural associations has been that place-based education is frequently discussed at a distance from the urban, multicultural arena, territory most often claimed by critical pedagogues. If place-based education emphasizes ecological and rural contexts, critical pedagogy—in a near mirror image—emphasizes social and urban contexts and often neglects the ecological and rural scene entirely"

Ditto with socially-situated learning theories.

2:35 PM  

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