For AERA, one of my profs invited me to speak on a panel about "new literacies" on Friday when the deadline for the proposal was Sunday night. If I'd been writing about my existing work this wouldn't have been too hard, but coming up with an idea on Friday and being ready to write about it on Sunday is a bit of a stretch. (Shabbat didn't help either!) I put together a proposal that I've been kicking around for a while, though, on the theory that if I don't have a deadline I'll probably never get around to writing about this idea. The concept is analyzing why failing in a videogame is fun, but failing in school isn't - and I'm going to look at social and cultural factors as well as the design of actual games and assignments. So I'll look at things like how teachers react to failure versus how a game responds, or how clearly the challenges are laid out, or how other people respond to your failure experiences. If the teachers on my flist wanted to give me some guidance of what to look at on the school end, I'd really appreciate it!
For GDC, I cannot describe how much I really really really really want to give a talk. First of all, I probably can't afford to go if they're not at least letting me in for free (though I would probably go anyways and just be miserable about it!). Second, I think it will help me build industry cred. And third, I got really excited about the topic that Gus and I will be talking about (though I suppose there are other venues where we could present it if we don't get in to GDC). I've heard a lot of really fantastic stuff at GDC in the past, too, and I don't mind the whole shoulders-of-giants bit! Until Sunday night - for a Monday night deadline, I might add - Gus and I simply could not agree on what to talk about. She was going for stuff that was much too academic, and I wasn't really using our academic strengths. But finally we came up with something on player problem-solving types - kind of a taxonomy related to Bartle's or Yee's categories, but not looking at what players prefer to do but rather how they respond to challenges of whatever sort.
Unfortunately, I have about a dozen conferences I want to go to in the fall; I have no idea how I'm going to a) pay my rent and b) pass my classes if I do go! So I'm going to have to engage in some serious triage. Fortunately AERA and GDC are in the spring, but I'm speaking at the National Reading Conference (actually, I'm giving two talks) and I really have to go to the Serious Games Conference. If I can I'd also like to go to the Austin Game Developers Conference, particularly because they run concurrently with the Women in Games Conference. Of course, this is all complicated by the fact that I've just been invited to a "ludium" - what seems like a live-action role-playing conference, from everything I can tell - and I really have to see if I can make it to that.
Maybe I can get my department to pay for some of these, and do an independent study in "going places and doing stuff." :)
. . . now I have to ponder whether to commit to doing a second book chapter, this one on character creation in videogames. Hmmm.