Cities on Wheels

The other day, I was about to take a long drive and wanted an audiobook to entertain me on the way. I opened up Libby, the hugely convenient Library app, and searched the sci-fi category. The most intriguing title of those available was one called “Scrivener’s Moon” by Philip Reeve.

Little did I know that this YA author is actually quite popular. Friends told me that one of his series is being made into a film directed by Peter Jackson. Pop culture and I don’t hang out much. But that aside, the story made me think of cities and nature and the naturalness or not of engineering.

One of the main themes in this series is that of the mobile city. It’s a tiered city that is built on enormous machines that power its engines and drive its wheels forward across the Earth. All of London, in this book, is being torn down and rebuilt as the first “Traction City.”

traction2bcity-mortal-engines
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Handholding your Learning, or what FFXIV has to do with my (real-life) job

I’ve played games since I was a toddler, and I’ve been teaching either myself or others since not long after that. Games and teaching/learning are both intricately woven into who I am, so rather than try to separate them, I’ve decided to embrace this delightful marriage. I’m starting today by talking about Final Fantasy XIV in the context of education, technology, and the human process of learning.

Much of my educational work has recently centered on online learning, including massive open online courses (MOOCs) in the form of Coursera or edX, where millions of individuals take university courses for free. In these classes, video lectures guide students through content while quizzes and exams test their progress. What does this have to do with games? Well, if you’ve ever heard the term “theme park” applied (negatively) to an MMO, I’m about to explain just what MOOCs and other online education platforms similar to them have in common with MMOs.

Disney Theme Park

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