Thursday, December 30, 2010

Life is Beautiful (LIB)-it is a new game and you can play too

If you have visited my blog before, you probably know that I have been doing some reading for my preliminary exam, another rite of passage among many (there is no end to those, are there?). So I am reading these articles and chapters that I have read years ago--I have read some of them more than five years ago. I'm not going to lie to you I'm not thrilled about the situation. First of all, I have read most of these articles before and it is pretty boring reading them again, even though these are nice and important articles. Secondly, there are SOOO many other things I want to read. I want to read things that I find interesting at this point in my graduate study. Ah, it is such a pain in the neck!

So, I was thinking and admittedly pitying myself quite a bit in the process, I came to the conclusion that I have two options. I am either going to drown myself in self pity for the next eight months--quite an appealing option actually (it helps with socialization and bonding among graduate students so there is some secondary gain in this)--or I am going to find a way to make this fun or useful. Today I stopped trying to study (OK, fine, I read a couple of articles but that does not count) and thought about ways I can turn this rather painful process into something meaningful. Let's admit it, it is hard to see this process meaningful. But here is what I came up with:

I decided to turn this into a game. Yeap, you read it right. The idea is to make connections between tasks you have to accomplish for a project to activities you like doing. For example, I like collecting quotes from articles or writing about things I read in this blog. The next step is to create rules for yourself. Here are the rules I could come up with for my project so far,

1) Read as much as you can (surprise surprise, right? But in every game you need something to increase your score, so why not?)
2) Read one article/chapter you want to read for every five prelim articles you read (ah, of course. What kind of a game it would be without some bonus points?)
3) When you reread an article reflect on the differences between your new and old annotations (secondary gain, turn reading aimlessly (well, not really aimlessly but you know what I mean) into an empirical research project on the writing/reading process)
4) Type all your favorite quotations when you read these articles (a challenge, but I might actually improve my typing skills and at the end I will have a treasure chest of quotes. Awesome!)
5) When you read these articles look for things or inspirations related to an ecological view of language learning (well, this is actually what I want to read about so if I come across something relevant to that project of mine it would be wonderful. This is not very likely though)
6) Write about the articles you read on your blog even if it is one or two quotes from the article (I normally do this or at least try to do this but now I have a stronger motivation to do so)
7) Be positive and try to think that your blog entries will be useful to someone out there (it is a harmless self deception. Besides what do you think cognitive therapists do?) so it is not completely a waste of time. (well, this is the hardest part of the game for me. We'll see if I can manage)

I think seven is a good number. It's the magic number after all, or so says George A. Miller. Hmm, this game needs a name. Since it reminds me a movie I have seen long time ago the name of the game is LIB (Life is beautiful). The movie was about a Jewish and his son in a concentration camp. The guy tells his son that this whole thing is a game, a competition to win a tank. It's a sweet movie. Anyway, I might want to find a way to score each commandment above. I am going to think about it. Let me summarize you how I have been doing so far 

I read 13 articles
I typed my favorite quotes from 9 of those articles
I read two chapters of Cognition in the Wild by Edwin Hutchins (it's great by the way)
I began seeing some differences between how I used to interact with texts and how I interact now but I want to write about it some other time
I found some ecological ideas in Erickson's article but I wrote about it already
I wrote about 5 of them in this blog
Of course I utterly failed in being optimistic about this whole thing.

It is settled then. This new game is my new year resolution. We will see how well I will play the game. Please do not hesitate to badger if I do not play well. Thinking about it, It would be too boring if only I played the game. So, I dare you to pick a big project that you have to complete and turn it into a game. Are you in? Let's play, shall we?

PS. I wonder what James Paul Gee would think about this ^_^

No comments:

Post a Comment