Our hybrid, playful media, games and toys project Hybridex carried out yesterday a joint workshop in Lisbon on ideating new concepts for future services and products that innovatively combine the strenghts of physical materials with the digital functionalities. Headed by Annakaisa Kultima, c. 40 European researchers from multiple disciplinary backgrounds experimented using the IDECARDS approach – and I think that we got valuable feedback on the method, as well as some very interesting new product or service concepts. Link to the COST Action FP1104 info page is here.
Category Archives: travels
(Speaking about online game world & Internet research in a panel in Jyväskylä today)
Tieteen päivien Verkkomaailmat-sessiomme on herättänyt sen verran mielenkiintoa, että se on tilattu myös osaksi Jyväskylän Tieteen päivien ohjelmaa. Tervetuloa tänään puolilta päivin Agoran Martti Ahtisaari-saliin, tässä puheenvuorot:
Klo 12.00-13.45 VERKKOMAAILMAT
- Puheenjohtaja, professori Frans Mäyrä (Tampereen yliopisto): Pelit, pelimaailmat ja fantasian kautta voimaantuminen
- Yliopistotutkija Janne Matikainen (Helsingin yliopisto): Identiteetti verkossa – keksittyä vai todellista?
- Professori Raine Koskimaa (Jyväskylän yliopisto): Virtuaalimaailmat – koodattua todellisuutta
- Professori Tere Vadén (Aalto-yliopisto): Kuinka monta ensimmäistä Internet-vallankumousta maailmaan mahtuu?
I will be giving a keynote in the interesting IADIS Mobile Learning 2013 conference in Lisbon this year. The conference takes place 14-16 March, in Portugal, and you can find more information from here: http://www.mlearning-conf.org/
Having spent some time travelling to the other side of the world recently, I have come to think about the role of Internet, content and technology a bit differently than before. The key lesson has been how useless the promises of various media and service ecosystems are, if you cannot access them. You might have bought access to a streaming media service that would be really useful for you and your family while you are away from your friends and family, but you cannot use it, since streaming media is just extremely expensive. Or you might go out and buy a DVD or Blu-ray, but you cannot play it on your device, since it is coming from another “Area” than that of the content you just bought. It is no matter if you try using your iTunes content, something that you could buy from Google Play, or from Microsoft – all those shiny devices and smart services are inherently fragile, dependent on whether there is an open Wi-Fi hotspot somewhere (probably with a 50 megabyte/30 minutes download cap), where you could try to make them run for a moment.
Having to admit that living with unlimited Internet broadband in a well-connected Western country definitely frames this issue as a “First World Problem”, but the lack of a global, pervasive Internet backbone is an issue larger than that. As long as our network technologies are based on high-speed access that is restricted to few urban centres, the true usefulness and radically democratizing potential of Internet and connected services remains limited at best. We need much more ambitious endeavours to get the entire planed connected: this is an issue that can be backed up by commercial, political and even ecological reasons. Establishing solid, reliable links between people living in their villages in the South and the North as well as in the East and the West, can promote local empowerment as well as global collaboration and exchange that is qualitative leap over the current situation.
Satellite data is prohibitively expensive today, but if the initiatives in this area would be given a high enough priority, there is no stopping us having a truly networked world where the global “infosphere” of sharing and communication would be available on equal basis, regardless of the geographical location.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all readers of this blog!
Our visit in New Zealand is soon over; after Christmas we will start packing and then return to the land of snow.
The visit has been an inspiring and memorable experience. Many thanks to Gareth Schott and his colleagues in the department of Screen and Media Studies of the University of Waikato for hosting the visit. Thanks also to the Nokia Visiting Professor grant and the Marsden Fund for making the visit possible.
In addition to Hamilton we have visited several other places in New Zealand, particularly in the North Island. Volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, waterfalls, kiwi birds and kiwi fruits – we have seen it all.
There has been a couple of special visits: I gave a talk about the game research in the Classification Office and we took the opportunity to do sight-seeing in Wellington for a couple of days. Another major trip was to the South Island: we flew to Queenstown via Christchurch, with the aim to do a day-trip and cruise to Milford Sound. Unfortunately the road to Milford was closed and our day-trip cancelled. We spent two days in Queenstown instead. Finally, there was kind invitation to come and see the work of game art and programming students in Media Design School in Auckland. Interesting demonstrations and a lively, interesting city.
There is much to write from all kinds of interesting experiences in New Zealand, but since I am typing this with the small iPhone keyboard, I have to stop now. (Good and affordable Internet connections are not among the strengths of this country.)
Merry Christmas – Meri Kirihimete ki a koe me te whānau!
I have sometimes used that my office is in the Tampere-Helsinki train, and this week it has felt to be true. Three consecutive travel days:
- Tuesday: Skene games program start event in Korjaamo
- Wednesday: short talk about contemporary game studies and discussion in the Suomi 2015 panel in Digi.fi event, Palace
- Thursday: short talk about playfulness & gamification in business simulation game (Liikkeenjohdon SM), Kämp Kansallissali.
The discussion is the salt of these kinds of quick visits, and luckily there were opportunities for that during this week. It is interesting to see what kind of different perspectives to games and play there are among game developers, researchers and business people from non-games related fields, for example. On the other hand, these discussions are also opportunities to get updated on how awareness of games and playful ways of doing things are spreading in new and different fields of society.
I will be breaking my vacation next week to travel to Seattle, where Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2012 takes place. I will be the iSchool representative for our School of Information Sciences. Quote from the event home page:
Each year, Microsoft Research hosts an annual faculty summit. Leading academic researchers and educators join with Microsoft researchers to explore the latest research results, collectively discuss the challenges faced by the community, search for the best approaches for addressing those challenges, and identify new research opportunities. The participants’ range of interests and the breadth of the technical areas covered in the program ensure a unique experience and provide a venue for meeting with colleagues and friends from a wide variety of computing disciplines.
Link to the event home page: https://research.microsoft.com/en-us/events/fs2012/
In addition to acting as the opponent to Ulf Hagen in the examination of his interesting Licentiate Thesis, “Lodestars for Player Experience: Ideation in Videogame Design”, I also made a talk in a seminar of Mobile Life Centre at the University of Stockholm in Kista, Sweden yesterday (1st June, 2012). My talk was titled “Socio-cultural research into games, play and society” and I took the opportunity to discuss the need for interdisciplinary and multi-method approach in game studies (necessarily rooted in the dual and complex character of games, I claimed), as well as for the construction of disciplinary identity in this field. My case studies were introducing experiences from game research projects we had run in the Game Research Lab at the University of Tampere. There were many really good comments and interesting discussion — I’d love to visit them again, with better time. Many thanks to Kristina Höök and Annika Waern for the invitation and for the nice event!
I will be giving a talk in the “Työkaluja nuorten hyvinvointiin” seminar (Tools for the well-being of the Young People) in Oulu, 26.4.2012. My (Finnish language) talk is focused on the many roles of games and social media in the lives of today’s young people, and titled “Pelit, sosiaalinen media, internet – nuorten hyvinvointia edistämässä vai heikentämässä?” Link to the web page: http://www.tuunaamopo.fi/sivu/fi/koulutus4/
I am honoured to be invited to act as an examiner/member of the examination committee in several interesting thesis works this Spring. My upcoming events include these:
- Karl Bergström (PhD), University of Gothenburg, Sweden, 23rd May 2012
- Ulf Hagen (Lic.), Stockholm University, Sweden, 1st June 2012
- Johanna Lilja (PhD), University of Tampere, Finland, 15th June 2012
- Douglas Rushkoff (PhD), Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 25th June 2012
There is much to read, but I always find this kind of examinations also learning processes for myself, so I’m looking forward to them all.