Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

My #tvsz #antidote post

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This post is a case of doing something “because I can” not “because I want to”… And also “because I was going to anyway”… I am also using it to create my “list” for #clmooc round 2

By writing this post, I give myself (currently a zombie on tvsz) the chance to use the new #antidote rule, which allows me to get back into human form. I had written a short (I would not consider it substantive) blogpost on tvsz earlier briefly explaining why I am doing it and what I thought I might get out of it.

The creators of this game, Jesse Stommel and Pete Rorabaugh, wrote describe it as:

“an epic zombified experiment in Twitter literacy, gamification, collaboration, and emergent learning”

Here is my list of reasons for joining:
1. It was one of those things I kept reading about but could not get my head around, and I know that for me, the best way to learn about them is to try them, immerse myself in them, as I did with #edcmooc and #rhizo14 to get a feel for connectivism and rhizomatic learning


    The people

. I find myself now joining all sorts of MOOCs and online experiences for the people. It’s like when you know your friends are going to this new place, and you decide it must be fun because they are there, not necessarily because of anything else related to the place itself. The people make the place πŸ™‚


    The people (again)

. I find myself wanting to join events that draw a certain kind of person who is a complete stranger (or partial stranger, if I have “seen” them around but never connected directly – e.g. Have read their blog, seen them on twitter chats), and participating in events like this one helps start new connections. What kind of person do I think #TvsZ attracts? I can’t be sure, but definitely people who are competent (or wanting to be) on social media, which to me also means people leaning towards openness and connection. They are also people who don’t take themselves too seriously, so the less fuddy-duddy of academics…


    The people (yet again!)

. This time I am talking about Pete and Jesse. I’ll probably do anything these two are organizing because I know it’ll be both fun and critical. There are a few people I’ll follow almost anywhere, and these two are among them πŸ™‚ The #readmake thing organized by Sean Morris and Jesse was my first such experience of “following” πŸ™‚ Also doing the #makerphysics thing with Dave Cormier. Also joining #clmooc following Terry and Kevin. One thing I might call common among all these people is a term I just read in Pete and Jesse’s article on tvsz – “democratic pedagogy”. It’s strange because I had read that article a few times before but couldn’t get my head around it but it all makes more sense now that I am in the game, and I also know almost all the people referenced in the article!

5. My “educational games” module class. I’d love to be able to play this game with them, then have them, if possible, be involved in e.g. Rule-changing, or even participate as regular participants but have a chance to deconstruct the elements of the game later, and to use it to inspire them to create their own games. Not sure if I’d suggest they create a social media game, but it could be an option, of course! Last semester all of them created board games,but I still think they did a great job. Maybe the game can be made more substantive by slightly modifying some of the activities. Currently, some new rules allow people to write blogposts or post photos for extra “powers”… But in my class, I guess those could be adapted to be photos of something related to the course, or blogposts that incorporate something else…

Here is my list of interesting things I am learning

1. The game does sooo promote twitter literacy, and the more you stretch your twitter usage, the more powerful your playing will be

2. The game promotes reflection on inequalities, etc.,

3. The game promotes reflection on power and rule-making

4. The game frustrates me with

5. As someone said on twitter y/day: the game is a ruse, the meta-game is the point! Many of us here are doing it to look at the meta-game rather than play the game itself

6. The rules rule… There is so so so much discussion of the rules using the hashtag, about their fairness, about how we’d like them changed. There are discussions of subtleties (like can you #bite someone who was tweeting without the hashtag?) and lots of “sticking to the word of the law” like if someone misspells a hashtag or forgets it. Pete and Jesse say of the game (another quote from the article about tvsz):

“The fact that the rules begin as a simple triptych but evolve via crowdsourcing allows players freedom within the frame but also the power to hack the frame itself. The crowdsourcing is integral to the play”

7. Community is key. The game embodies this, as Pete and Jesse say:

The most successful connectivist MOOCs, rhizomatic learning, and mass collaborative pedagogical experiments endeavor to promote methods over tools, communities over canons, and agency over assessment. Our work in classrooms, in professional learning networks, in open access publishing, and in Twitter vs. Zombies reflects our respect for the rigorous commitment to learning that a community can leverage for itself.

My list of surprising things I am learning
1. 5-minute rules are almost as bad as synchronicity for me. I like extended semi-sync events like is, because absolute synchronicity kills me, what with electricity cuts, and a toddler to take care of (esp in weekends). Y/day the rule of uploading photos didn’t sit well with my choppy internet connectivity, so each time i wanted to do an #xtrabite from my iPad i risked missing my 5-min window to bit the person within the last 5 mins they tweeted

2. Being a zombie is liberating. Being a human, if you are cautious, means you stay careful whom you tweet to and how often you use the hashtag. Being a zombie you are part of the team hounding the humans and you can talk as much as you like (apparently i was a top tweeper at some point y/day when it was early time in the US timezone)

3. Using various tools for different things to exert power in multiple ways. We (some zombies and humans) wanted to talk outside twitter to avoid making the human vulnerable (but ended up doing so anyway, coz i was not being a polite zombie and there were others not ‘in on the niceness’) and ended up moving between twitter, google docs and google plus.

I need to stop now coz I am almost at work.

Sigh, human again now. Being a zombie was so much fun, though!

One Comment

  1. It was great to be playing the game with you, and I love how you lay out so many ideas here, with the emphasis on people interactions being a key to the engagement. I agree. Now, I am wondering if there is a way to adapt the game for CLMOOC, as one approaching Make Cycle is about games. Hmmm …

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