Welcome to "GIST": A Course about Gender, Information, Science and Technology, offered in Spring 2011 @ Bryn Mawr College. This is an interestingly different kind of place for writing, and may take some getting used to. The first thing to keep in mind is that this is not a place for "formal writing" or "finished thoughts." It's a place for thoughts-in-progress, for what you're thinking (whether you know it or not) on your way to what you think next. Imagine that you're not worrying about "writing" but instead that you're just talking to some people you've met. This is a "conversation" place, a place to find out what you're thinking yourself, and what other people are thinking, so you can help them think and they can help you think. The idea is that your "thoughts in progress" can help others with their thinking, and theirs can help you with yours.
We're glad you're here, and hope you'll come both to enjoy and value our shared imagining of the future evolution of ourselves as individuals and of our gendered, scientific, technological world. Feel free to comment on any post below, or to POST YOUR THOUGHTS HERE....
the photos from your final performances @
thanks again for being so "game"!
Anne and Liz
An Ethnography: The ‘Talking Head’ Video as a Form of Text
This paper builds upon my last paper for this class ‘My Experiment’ which took the form of a glog-and-video combination that tested out how my own personal learning as well as the learning of my audience is affected by the medium through which I presented my paper. Conversations were sparked after I published this paper to the class’ Serendip site and this paper is part, my own ‘lived experience’ and observations of user behaviours and part analysis of processing and learning from the ‘talking head’ videos that have grown in popularity over the video-sharing website, YouTube.
English, as a subject, and I have ave a tenuous relationship at best: I usually don't 'understand' English, and English seems to enjoy grinding me into Julia-paste. As other similar classes, we are parting with a healthy respect for each other and a polite hat-tip, and quietly grateful for a break from each other. In this class, I’ve been learning about labels, about information, about other peoples’ points of view.
So, guess what I found on my computer! ...yeah, I'm really sorry about this.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Class began with administrative some posts from last week.
A sizable percentage of the class posted about how labels were perhaps not desirable, but necessary.
For our final project we chose to play "Mafia" as an exercise in communication. In this game the participants have to discuss with one another who they think is the mafia. It could be anything from a funny look, to an intuition. This also tied into our conversations about information. What constitutes information? We were curious with this game to see what our classmates would chose as information to decide who they were going to accuse. I found it interesting that the people who were more vocal about their accusations were also most likely to be accused by the majority.
While planning our final performance, MissArcher2, MSA322, rubikscube, and I, thought back to the beginning of this course and the challenge we were presented with of creating an open dialogue by allowing others to speak and accepting that others may say an idea we had first. We decided to lead an interactive exercise with the class that demonstrated this process.
In this exercise everyone closed their eyes and tried to count to 10 collectively as a group. If any two people spoke at the same time, the game wool start over again at 1. It was interesting to see what patterns arose from the exercise, and why people chose to call out numbers when they did or remain silent. Our group was surprised at how quickly the class was able to complete the exercise.
At the beginning of this course, few of the topics we have discussed were things I even thought about—I had no idea there were so many genders/sexualities, I did not think about what constituted information, I strayed away from anything Science-related, and I took technology for granted but did not explore it further. At the end of this course, I have a much greater appreciation for each of these topics and the inescapable entanglement of all four! I am very pleased to have read and explored more about gender identity because I think that before coming to the Tri-co, if not before taking this class, I might have dismissed some
For our end of the year presentation, our group decided to play Mafia, a game in which a "town" of people, including townspeople, mafia members, and an inspector, must vote on which townsperson committed the last murder (full rules belo We wanted to play this game to see how people gather their information. Because their eyes are closed during the "murder," the townspeople must base their decision on information they gather through the town meetings - how can one separate lies from real information? It was interesting to watch the class play this game because the first person to get killed was the inspector - the member who actually knew who a mafia member was! The mafia members were able to convince the rest of the group that the inspector was very su
For our final presentation, kgould, m.agazaarian, Oak, and I created a GIST version of the card game Apples to Apples that used, obviously, GIST-centered words. Each round, one of the players was chosen as a judge, usually by seating order, and randomly drew an adjective card. The other players would then look through their hands for the noun they felt best ‘matched up’ with the presented adjective, and put their chosen card in the middle. The judge then chose the noun they feel best ‘matched up’ with the adjective; the player who submitted the winning noun card got to keep the adjective.
Where were you when we began this process?
My mind was a bit less broad and I think I had a better sense of the world.
Where are you now?
I’m not terribly sure. The mind, like the universe, is ever expanding? That’s if there is a universe. That’s if I have a mind.
What’s been happening in between?
Kgould, Oak, J.Yoo, and I decided to do a version of Apples to Apples that we dubbed "GIST to GIST." We picked a game because we wanted something that would be interactive and fun that the whole class could participate in. Apples to Apples is composed of nouns and adjectives. Each round, a judge puts down an adjective. The other players anonymously submit nouns, and the judge picks the one that has the best association, whatever that means for them.
So naturally, we picked words that we've been using all semester long.
The most helpful thing to do when compiling them was for me to go through my class notes (all on the computer) and pick out words that either our professors used or that I used in commenting about something. A quick run of some nouns we used:
For our final performance, my group created an online chat room about sex robots in which each of us took on anonymous personas. We participated in the chat from separate locations, and only one member (the one who created the chat room) knew who each of us were. This was both a fun and frustrating process. First of all, it made me realize the inefficiency of technology. I thought that creating my screen name and logging in to the chat would take but a few minutes. I was wrong. I had to have at least three people help me create an account, download the correct program, and figure out how to connect to the chat. Technology was not working for me. Because I have a Mac, I had to download a specific type of AIM, which then didn't seem to work with other members.
Instruction of the game
Our group is planning to split the class into two groups and play a few rounds of a game called Mafia as part of our presentation tomorrow. In case you have never played or need a refresher, it'd be great if you read the rules so we don't have to take time explaining it tomorrow:
Basically, there are three roles you may take on: Townsperson, Mafia, or Inspector
Before we begin the game, we will pass out cards: whoever gets a King will be a member of the Mafia, whoever gets a Joker will be an Inspector, and the rest will be townspeople.
In our game, we will have 3 mafia and 1 inspector.
When I found about the course, I was really interested in taking it because I have never taken a class dealt with gender issues. I figured the class would be even better because it also incorporated science and technology that I really enjoy studying. I was very curious how those subjects will be coordinated together as well.
For the first part of the class, gender, I was fascinated by all the new materials I was learning. I grew up in a homophobic society where gender diversity was not acknowledged, so I felt that I understood where gender diversity comes from and why it is important to acknowledge it for the first time of my life.
GIST Final Reflection
My group decided to play the game mafia primarily because it is a fun and engaging way to get the class involved. Mafia is always a popular game which I find really interesting, particularly within the context of GIST’s section on information and noise, which was the section we drew from in our reasons for playing the game and our subsequent analyses of the process. The most interesting thing I noticed with my group was the specific reasons players gave when accusing people of being the mafia. As usual when playing this game, people made it silly and almost nonsensical by basing their accusations on arbitrary triggers, such as: “they’re quiet” or “they just have that look”.
Here is the video that I showed on the last class.
There was not a lot of audience participation needed for this one, which means I don't get to write about games in this explanation.
Sometimes it doesn't show when embedded, probably because of the privacy settings, so a link:
Anyone who has ever played more than a few video games has probably noticed the hypersexualized female figures that are present in most games. Even as someone who plays videogames once in a while, I cannot help but stare at the unrealistic female bodies every time it bounces (literally) across the screen. These characters have tiny waists, round hips, never ending legs and immense breasts. Initially, these images annoyed me, as it portrays an unrealistic ideal of the female form to a wide male audience. How are women supposed to compare to these scantily clothed computer generated figures? These images provide men with information on what is the ideal female body, and supplies women with a look that they are expected to achieve.