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An Education in History Education

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All I Ever Really Need to Know I Learned from Starcraft II

[x-posted at Videogames, Learning, & School Design]

With the end of the semester comes reflection and reflection papers, and I’d like to share this little nugget from my final reflection paper for Dr. Fishman‘s Videogames, Learning, & School Design class:

I’m sure Robert Fulghum would not be pleased with my misappropriation of his famous text, but…Dr. Fishman…encouraged me to repurpose others’ work in order to express my ideas in a manner that both denotes learning and enjoyment. Here goes.

Most of what I really need to know about how to manage, and what to time, and how to be tenacious, I learned from Starcraft II. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain [how apropos], but there in the sand dunes of Mar Sara.

These are the things I learned: Harvest everything. Play quick. Don’t inadvertently hit your units. Redirect SCVs back where you found them. Clean up the Dominion’s mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours…unless you have superior firepower. Say you’re sorry when you hurt your teammate in multiplayer. Wash your hands of Zerg guts before you eat their lunch. Flush traitors out the airlock. Warm cannons and cold steel are good for you. Produce a balanced army. Learn some new battle techniques and think about how you spend your resources and draw conclusions based on that thinking and paint the screen purple with Zerg blood and sing and dance on the graves of hydralisks and play Starcraft II and work at playing Starcraft II every day.

Let Tychus take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into interstellar space, watch for alien traffic, hold your fleet, and fire together. Be aware of warp prisms. Remember the little SCV in the metal exoskeleton. The wheels go round and drill goes down and nobody really knows how or why these guys do it, but we are all like that.

Ghosts and Helions and siege tanks and even the little SCV in the metal exoskeleton – they all die. So do we.

And then remember the book about the Terrans and Kerrigan and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: ZERG. Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. An eye for an eye and interspecies love and basic genetics, bioethics and corrupt politics and insane living.

Think of what a better world it would be if we all – the whole galaxy – had cannons and steel 24 hours every day and then got up with our mechanized warriors for a brawl. Or if we had a basic policy in our little rebellion to always put things back in order by overthrowing the Terran Dominion and cleaning up Arcturus Mengsk’s messes. And it is still true, no matter how grizzled you are, when you go out into interstellar space, it is best to hold your fleet and fire together.

My first semester in University of Michigan’s Teaching and Teacher Education PhD program was great, and I’m looking forward to more of the same in the coming semesters!

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Heading to Ann Arbor!

Valentine’s Day 2011 proved to one of the best in recent memory for yours truly.   Not only did I bask in the glow of a lovely weekend with my fiancee, not only did I find out that the new Radiohead album is coming out in less than a week, but I also received word on Monday that I have been accepted into the University of Michigan‘s PhD program for Teaching/Teacher Education!

I’m very excited to begin working with the faculty at UM, especially Bob Bain, whose article, “Into the Breach,” helped reinvigorate my teaching practice a few years ago and inspired me to apply to Michigan.

Now, I just need to learn what the phrase “ice storm” means…