"All The World's A Stage"
1. Who are we when we play a game? And what should people who want to teach other people things understand about this? McGonigal says we are purposeful, optimistic agents convinced of our capacity to make and impact and conjoin our activities with others to increase that impact.
In her book, "Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other ", Sherry Turkle begins by stating that "Technology proposes itself as the architect of our intimacies. These days, it suggests substitutions that put the real on the fun". After playing Minecraft for an hour (unfortunately, unable to get very far), I could see how easy it would be to get fully immersed in a gaming experience. And Minecraft is a game that simply requires the player to sit in front of the computer. With the emergence of what the Re:Humanities working group is calling "pervasive gaming" (the Silent History App as a prime example), I have very little doubt that gaming is/will become something that forces individuals to fully engage and immerse themselves into.
But then who do we become? While we inhabit the role that which we are playing, whoever/whatever your avatar might be, we still project "pieces of ourself" into the game. As Turkle asserts, this "virtual" space is one that is performative: we project our own psychological needs and wants into this seemingly boundless space. Thus, to say that we enter into a completely alternate form of being once entering into the game world proves false. While there might be some sort of physical interface that separates the "us" from the "game world", whatever happens on either side gets projected into the other. In other words, "you" are still "you", regardless of the pervasive-ness of the game that you are playing.
Understanding the gaming space as performative (Turkle even titles one of her sections in another book of hers, "All the World's A Stage) proves particularly pertinent, as not all game players are aware of how their gaming world/habits are influenced by their "real world". Thus, this challenges McGonigal's claim that we are convinced of our capacity to make, impact and conjoin our activities: we consider gaming and virtual spaces to simply be tools (Tools in the sense that they are "extensions" -- a la Clarke) rather than be places wherein our thoughts, feelings, emotions are projected either consciously or subconsciously.
That said, I really do think that gaming technology in classrooms really depends on where it is included in the curriculum AND what type of game it is. By incorporating a game such as Minecraft into a classroom situation, we do not account for the identity that a student might choose to perform within the space -- identities/personas (question: is it wrong to conflate these two terms?) that may not particularly be suited for learning.