quarta-feira, 22 de julho de 2009

Wesch "The machine is us/ing us" strikes again: World Simulation

Anthropologist Michael Wesch (from Kansas State University, author of "The machine is us/ing us") gives away another awesome lesson: a YouTube report on the World Simulation conducted with his students, with the help of Twitter (ok, I tweet) and Jott (don't know) through the cellphone.

They've created a fake world with lands and peoples and developed a whole history, with commerce, wars, domination from colonization to core-periphery dynamic etc. The fake world evolution described in the video is interspersed with real-world facts, for instance, about diamonds in Africa, the wars around it, the (little little) money made by extractors and cutters (25 cents per diamond cut; many sharp-eyed cutters are children in India)... Makes you wonder how can there be any glamour around diamonds.

It looks like that War (board) game but much enlarged and enriched. It is, indeed, a "radical experiment in education" that I praise and recommend watching (4:40 - be ready to stop the presentation as the captions flash in unreadable intervals). It is an inspiration for me as a professor (I've been trying things of this sort with peer review in education and concurrency control learning games) and for anyone pursuing real educational systems.

Dr. Wesch ends by quoting the cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978): "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." This prompted a Text Comment from kdcruz75: "never doubt that a small group of thoughtless, powerful committed hidden elite can control the human populace. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has". Well... the discussion catches on as the view count soars. See the video:

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