Twitter as Gaming Platform

This past weekend I participated in Twitter versus Zombies a game event sponsored by Digital Writing Month. Whenever gamification comes up in my education networks and literature I usually just look the other way primarily because I am not a gamer. It also feels like it can be really hard to pull off a meaningful and exciting game without coming off as lame, stupid, boring, and otherwise uncool. Twitter vs Zombies enticed me with an opportunity to experience online gaming in, what seemed to me, a very stripped down environment: Twitter, a website, a Google Doc. I didn’t need to learn some new system, build some new system, or invest a ton of time into it.

I jumped in the game sometime on Friday and was turned into a Zombie sometime on Saturday. The game clock ended on Monday at noon central time. Here is a Storify of my experience:

  1. ganski1
    @Jessifer @allistelling Can’t figure out how to register, but willing to give this #TvsZ game a try #digiwrimo
  2. Tried to connect game with personal goals for Digital Writing Month.
  3. ganski1
    I will be counting #TvsZ tweets towards my #digiwrimo word count total.
  4. Quickly tried to jump in and help, but alas forgot the value of hashtags!
  5. ganski1
    @allistelling @digiwrimo Shall I #swipe to keep you alive?
  6. allistelling
    Worth noting that @ganski1’s swipe to protect @writingasjoe was a fumble. It was too late, but still lost the swipe. #TvsZ
  7. One of my goals in the game was to participate via my mobile over the weekend. Saturday morning I was tweeting and swiping but at some point my mobile failed me….
  8. ganski1
    @afamiglietti I hear your cry but I,m powerless. S o sorry. Anyone else out there with a swipe? #tvsz
  9. Pandonicdemon
    @ganski1 @afamiglietti I cannot resist any longer!! I MUST #bite #TvsZ
  10. …as I did not receive notice of being turned until almost 48 hours after my last tweet! Do you see the timestamps here! Unbelievable. Not sure if my app failed, my provider, Twitter, or what!
  11. ganski1
    I’ve awoken fully turned and hungry! #tvsz
  12. That’s okay though because in my absence some Zombies were organizing for peace.
  13. A Peaceful Zombie offered me something non-human to eat.
  14. writingasjoe
    @ganski1 Have a vegan chocolate cupcake. There are several left. We zombies are finding new food sources. No more flesh. #TvZ
  15. carriepadian
    @ganski1 Yes! Have a vegan cupcake and join us in making #zombiepeace! #TvsZ
  16. Having never partaken in human flesh, my hunger was satisfied. Peace became the call of the last two hours of the game.
  17. writingasjoe
    A last plea for peace. Zombies put down your teeth! Let us live in harmony with the humans! #zombiepeace #TvsZ
  18. My Twitter vs Zombie experience was brought full circle with a live discussion hosted at Duke with Peter Rorabaugh and Jesse Stomel.A really helpful treatment of using play to encourage collaboration and learning.
  19. ganski1
    Listening in on #dukehp to find out more about pedagogical insights from #TvsZ

The Duke discussion provided a framework for me to reflect on my experience and to think about other possibilities for gaming in learning. One section of the discussion I found particularly interesting addressed the issue of promoting methods over reflection. In our game method was one piece of learning (many users were new to Twitter and the game provided an opportunity to learn how to use Twitter effectively), but reflection was also encouraged through substantial writing opportunities. But I think there is an opportunity for learning that does focus solely on method or where the method is just as vital. For example, with Hurricane Sandy looming in my mind, a game about Disaster Relief would be one where method would be vitally important to learn. Some other possibilities: Stock Market Trading, Geographic Hunt/Tag, and Civilization games. What about you? What other ‘games’ do you think could work in Twitter?

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