I’m really interest in the amount of time younger members of the family put in to watching videos of other people play Minecraft. Minecraft is a game, a pretty good one too; wouldn’t they be more interested in actually playing it instead? I’m not the only person wondering what it is about Minecraft that attracted the billion video views on the subject. I’m not the only one wondering how it affects us as people, there are many papers, posts and experiments on the subject.
Reading some of these articles and their take on the situation I realise that I am not interested in Minecraft itself at all, but I am interested in the people involved and how they feel about their relationship both within the Minecraft community and to its leaders. A common theme for people working in educational technology, particularly for developers like myself, seems to be to have this sudden moment of clarity that the term ‘educational technology’ includes the ‘educational’ in the phrase, and that also involves people.
I discussed this subject with my professor, I did try to frantically make notes as he spoke, but my technology has failed me and now I am left with my memories, the shame. He put it something like this: as a lector in my University I would inhabit a world. I read lots of things, play with lots of technology, code with languages and somehow I see these things as related. When I teach I try to somehow let my students inhabit the same place. The way to make it engaging is to try and make them inhabit the same space I do, hopefully as post grads they will do research and play the same game that I do.
This idea of ‘being in the same world and playing the same game’ interests me. As soon as my professor uttered the words I could see it all around me, is this what Minecraft videos allow? How do fans see the relationship between the well know Minecraft/YouTube vloggers and themselves? How does this differ from fans of Britney Spears? Are shows such as X-Factor a way of allowing people in to this world, allowing them to play the same game?
Looking back on my blog posts for the previous year there a recurring theme in my posts, I think that this theme is slightly tweaked each time I come to write about it, but it can be summed up as along the lines of ‘beware! There is a relationship between enslavement and emancipation in technological play! I think this is one of these posts.
What is Google doing by allowing anybody with a copy of Minecraft and a Mic the ability to upload a video? How does that affect the relationship between the gamer and their YouTube idols? Are they one of them now? What is Syco Entertainment doing when it lets a new artist through its doors via the X-Factor? Is that the same thing? The slight tweak to the theme this time is: perhaps there is a relationship between enslavement and emancipation in widening participation through technology.