An online collaboratory dedicated to joining education and technology, HASTAC, kicked off a discussion of play and purpose late last year with a number of questions that openly desired something more for the much-scrutinized digital exchange. More is on the way.
In contrast to some popular opinion, we now know that the experience of play takes humans into uncharted terrain, and flowing from the well designed game entertainment is not the only good realized.
So while that "more" as envisioned by the forum pivots around the question of how games might contribute to peace, immersive, collaborative experiences are increasingly seen as something akin to commerce - laboratories capable of manufacturing not only great experience, but newfound purpose. And from purpose something infinitely better, gripping questions.
This is good. Someone I thoroughly enjoyed meeting recently said that gaming will be the dominant 21st century media.
When HASTAC asks for the "ultimate implications of research into interactive media," or whether <ahem> the interactivity featured in games could be a model for scholarly collaboration </ahem>, I'm left wanting because I think they're really hunting much bigger conceptual game. The absence of conflict isn't an end, even if, wonder of wonders, it happened in the academy. It's a beginning.
Hat tip: MacArthur Foundation's Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning.