Reflecting on Online Games

Our class have been discussing the empathy and bias theme through the past couple of weeks, but since discussions are never enough; the Dr. asked us to engage in online games which put the players in certain situations and make them take decisions upon these situations. The good thing about these games is that they give an opportunity to the player to live someone’s story; therefore, they will help people to understand how crucial some cases are and try to make a change by helping others. However, the thing I didn’t like about these games is that they offer limited choices and they don’t give the player a chance to make his/her own choices. I personally thought that if I have ever been in one of the games’ scenarios, I would react differently from the choices they provided. For instance, in the first game I have tried called Spent, I was given a situation where my pet needed treatment and I had to choose between either paying for the expensive treatment or letting my pet suffer. In reality if I went through such case, I would giveaway my pet to any caring friend or animal association who would give my pet needed care and treatment. Especially if I am responsible for my family as I were in the game, then I will be taking decisions giving priority to my children’s needs. Although I got bothered from the limited choices given by the game, still I enjoyed playing it and I felt like I am living real life situation where I had to make best use of my salary in order to make it to the end of the month.

Another game that I have tried in class is the BBC Syrian Journey game which was made to help people understanding the Syrian refugees’ daily struggles. The good thing about this game is that it is based on extensive research and real stories of Syrians, but this is not reflected on the game as it seems short and shallow. BBC Syrian Journey game makes the player choose from very tough choices where the player will be forced to scarify in any decision he makes. The heartbreaking fact about the game is that some Syrians have to make one of these tough choices every day in real life. An example of the tough decisions that I had to make while playing the game was choosing to stay in a flat without food and getting starved, or to go out with probability of being recognized as an illegal immigrant. I liked playing the game, but I couldn’t enjoy it knowing it is true.

These were not the only choice games that I liked, I also liked the Sleep-Deprived Mom game which was made to help understanding how mothers usually suffer. The name of the game name grabbed my attention, so I wanted to know more about it. What I liked about this game was how real the given situations were. While I was playing this game, I found that I can relate to my mom and I in many cases. However, I believe that such issue cannot be expressed in a form of game, because moms’ reactions will be different based on their kids’ attitudes. Overall, the game was realistic and fun.

Domestic violence in Egypt was another game that I have tried, which meant to expose the problem of domestic violence in Egypt. The thing that annoyed me while playing the game is mainly the limited choices; as I felt that if I ever been in such situations I wouldn’t react within the offered choices. The good thing about it is that it forces people to think about how crucial the problem is and that it is escalating, so hopefully someone raise awareness and make a change.

Finally, I tried Get Bad News game  which was made to help people know more about fake news that we read everyday. The Thing that I loved about the game is the measure of credibility and number of followers which are calculated for the player while proceeding through the game. However, it forces the player into certain choices, so the probability of getting different results is too small. The game made me think about how some famous bloggers (who have millions of followers) might have started with fake blogs and news, so now I know that I shouldn’t trust any piece information so easily.

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Empathy and Bias

Before starting this activity, the Dr. asked us about how we define empathy. I realized that some people had a misconception about the definition of empathy; as they mixed up between empathy and sympathy definitions. The significant difference is that sympathy is simply feeling sorry for someone’s loss or pain, while empathy is living someone’s loss or pain experience. One website called Vocabulary highlighted the difference between sympathy and empathy through an example; send a sympathy card if someone’s cat died; feel empathy if your cat died too. However, I think the misconception was cleared after starting the activity. It was basically playing two online games by which certain situations were given to the player where the player has to make his/her own choices, and the results are shown based on the choices made by the player. These games helped in clarifying the meaning of empathy, as it gives an opportunity to the players to experience others’ stories. Before playing these games, we had class discussions about what would bother us if others do and what excuse would make us forgive them if they do it. This discussion was so beneficial to me because I got to understand that there are differences between people’s priorities. For instance, I shared with my class that I may get bothered when someone ignores my call and doesn’t call me back, but it didn’t seem to bother others in my class.

 

https://www.vocabulary.com/articles/chooseyourwords/empathy-sympathy/

 

Two of the “station” reflection

The two of the stations I picked are the online identity and online security. In my opinion, these two are complementary because creating online identity needs to be protected and secured through online security. To begin with the online identity, the lesson is not only explaining how people create an online identity, but also it is highlighting the issues around creating an online identity and how it could be misrepresented. According to the lesson, the online identity is created out of our “digital footprint”. Digital footprint is the trace that we leave behind us like the data about our click patterns, and many other data that we give about our preferences, habits, interests, etc. Our digital footprints are not traced only by the advertisers who take our information to know our preferences and sell us their products, but also cyberbullies and sexual harassers might be able to trace our digital footprints and use them against us. And that is why learning about online security is so important, as it helps in managing and maintaining a secure online presence. There are different methods for securing personal accounts, passwords are the most important to start with. The lesson gives hints about choosing better and strong passwords which are hard to tell; as it recommends choosing long and sufficient passwords. In addition to this, the lesson explains three different methods which helps in keeping the data secured. These methods are the secure socket layer, hashing, and salting. Not that only, but also the lesson mentioned the dangers of the phishing e-mails and gave an example of how this kind of mails usually look like. Finally, the lesson mentioned the problems of the malware virus and how we can protect our devices from it through using suitable anti-virus programs and ensure the privacy of our personal data. As a student I learnt a lot from these online sessions, and I feel that I am more aware of the problem and its consequences.
 

Digital Literacies for online learning

According to Wikipedia, digital literacies refer to an individual’s ability to find, evaluate, produce and communicate clear information through writing and other forms of communication on various digital platforms. I believe that Wikipedia’s definition is perfectly describing digital literacies, because it merges between the meanings of the words, literacies and digital. To illustrate, literacies basically are reading and writing skills, while the word digital shows that these reading and writing skills are applied on digital platforms. That is why when I read the definition of digital literacies I was about to mix between the definitions of digital literacies and digital skills. Digital skills are any skills related to being digitally literate no matter how this skill is small. This means that some people might have digital skills, but they are not necessarily digitally literate.

Digital literacies, and digital skills are not everything needed to use technology. Digital fluency also is needed; it refers to being flexible, accurate, efficient, and appropriate. In my opinion, digital fluency is a guide for using the internet and technologies. To wrap up, digital skills are the minor skills that anyone could have to deal with technology, while developing these skills is the digital literacies, and the way these skills are used is the digital fluency.

Across the different elements of digital literacies, I find the cultural element the most important one, because developing this element gives better understanding to how an individual should behave while using digital platforms. For instance, my personal use of Twitter would be different from my academic use. Also, culture context should be respected; so, if I am blogging from Egypt I should be aware of the norms and values as it affects my usage of technology.

References:

1-     http://blog.core-ed.org/blog/2015/10/what-is-digital-fluency.html

I liked this source a lot, because it is so organized and highly credible since it is (.org)

2-     https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/digital-literacies

The second source was good as it provides detailed information. However, the definition it provided for the digital literacies was not strong as the other sources

3-     https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/11/09/what-is-digital-literacy.html

I liked this source also because its credibility and organization.

4-     https://www.skillsyouneed.com/rhubarb/digital-skills-modern-workplace.html

Reading from this source was interesting, because it is organized in the form of questions and answers which is not boring.

Reflection On Scavenger Hunt Activity

Scavenger hunt activity was one of the most unique activities that I have experienced. In the last semester, I had an assignment with similar name in an architectural 3D modelling course. It required us to hunt any kind of material (such as rocks, and tree leaves) and to build up 3D model using these materials. That is why when we had this scavenger hunt activity on twitter, I expected that we would be hunting/researching certain information through twitter accounts. The activity was totally different from my expectations, and it was much funnier than expected. Different people around the world were posting unclear pictures that we had to guess. I enjoyed guessing what people were posting, and I enjoyed replying on their guess on my post too. After this assignment, I learnt that we have the power to display any object differently if we wanted to, and it is not necessarily to manipulate others. One thing that I liked about the activity is that it erases the borders between countries; as we get to know the similarities and the differences between our cultures.