Tag Archives: Canada 3.0

Why it’s OK That my Husband Plays Video Games

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McGonigal’s  list of 10 positive emotions from video games

I used to worry that my husband’s video game addiction hobby was bad for his health. That is, until I was inspired by a presentation at CDMN’s Canada 3.0 conference last week.

Jane McGonigal, a world-renowned game designer and advocate for the positive impact of video games believes that games can help people achieve heightened emotions such as joy, contentment, a sense of awe and wonder, creativity and pride in achieving a new skill. As a result, these emotions spill over into other aspects of a gamers’ life and inspire them to become “more ambitious, feel a sense of positive momentum and make them want to keep trying to push even further” in their careers, etc.

During her keynote on day one of the Canada 3.0 2013 conference, McGonigal discussed how video games breed “super-engaged, hopeful individuals.” She said that video games have been proven to “outperform pharmaceuticals for treating anxiety and depression.” Apparently, the prescription is just “thirty minutes of gaming per day.”

To demonstrate that games create a positive state of mind, she challenged the Canada 3.0 audience to a “massively multi-player” game of thumb war. We all had to stand up, cross arms and simultaneously play thumb war with both hands with other members in the audience. The game had everyone laughing and smiling at each other while McGonigal explained that our brains were now wired to want to help the person sitting next to us because we had just played together – a great opportunity for networking!

She also described how she developed a video game to motivate youth in Ghana to create global solutions related to local social challenges. Touted as a “crash course in saving the world,” the game was called Evoke and taught gamers new skills such as entrepreneurship and sustainability. It attracted over 20,000 local gamers and some of the ideas inspired by the game received funding to launch in the real world. One example was a for-profit model (selling snacks, electronics and more) that would fund a new library in a local village.

McGonigal’s presentation was so motivational that it made me wonder if I should actually be encouraging my husband, and possibly my son (when he’s old enough) to play more video games. That is, provided that the games are somewhat positive and/or educational in nature and that they (my husband and son) don’t completely forget that I’m in the room.

In fact, McGonigal had me so convinced of the many benefits of video games that I’ve decided it’s time that I give gaming a try. After all, I’m a new mom who is constantly trying to stay mentally sharp and creative while on maternity leave. My husband couldn’t be more delighted by my sudden approval of his favourite pastime. He is now thoughtfully scrutinizing his video game library to figure out which game to teach me first. We’ll see how it goes.

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What do Justin Bieber and Canada 3.0 have in common?

I’m very excited to be heading to Stratford on May 2nd – 4th for the 3rd annual Canada 3.0 Conference. This event will be hosted by the Canadian Digital MediaCanada 3.0 logo Network and their many proud sponsors.

Check out a recent blog featured on the Wired magazine website about Canada 3.0.  Yes, it is important to note that Stratford IS the birthplace of one of Canada’s most prominent Internet superstars – Justin Bieber. So, if that doesn’t get you excited about this conference, I don’t know what will! You just might run into his mom at a coffee shop in town 😉

Last year, a moon shot goal was developed at the conference – that anyone in Canada should be able to do anything online by the year 2017. This year, speakers and conference attendees will discuss how to make that goal a reality. Just think, if Justin Bieber didn’t have YouTube to show off his musical talent when he was starting out then who knows where he’d be today?

I’ve been covering some of the hot topics that will be discussed at the conference on the Canada 3.0 blog.

There will be representatives from the Canadian government, academia, technology industry and entrepreneurs at the event. Some of the exciting presentations and break-out sessions that I cannot wait to see are:

  • The debate between professor Tim Pychyl and professor Aimee Morrison about the role of social media in schools
  • A panel discussion hosted by Kevin Newman about mobile platforms and the evolution of digital content
  • A report card on Canada’s clean tech industry
  • Discussions about e-Health and how technology can transform Canada’s health care system
  • Mobile education, and much more

I hope to see you there!

Preparing the Canadian cultural workforce for the digital sea change

In the new digital economy, the Canadian cultural sector needs workers with a hybrid of technology, management and creative skills. The Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) of Canada is conducting a major national study with Nordicity to measure the “Impact of Emerging Digital Technologies on theImage of a classroom Cultural Sector.” I spoke with Susan Annis, Executive Director of CHRC this week to learn about the challenges that the Canadian cultural workforce faces in acquiring new digital skills and what programs the CHRC is planning to help address those challenges.

According to Annis, “the Canadian cultural sector is going through a digital sea change. As a result, it is the hybrid cultural worker who will rise to the top.” The Canadian cultural industry is broken-out into eight sub-sectors including Live Performing Arts; Writing and Publishing; Visuals Arts and Crafts; Film, Television and Broadcasting; Digital Media; Music and Sound Recording; and Heritage.

Annis says that every cultural sub-sector is being impacted by the growing need for computer literacy and digital expertise.

Critical digital expertise challenges in the Canadian cultural sector

One of the biggest challenges that the Canadian cultural workforce faces is the issue of managing digital copyrights. The proposed Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-32) will attempt to address this issue. However, there are steps that the CHRC can take to help educate Canadian cultural workers about digital rights management and provide them with the skills to retain and grow revenue for their work.

Another challenge brought about by the sea change of digital technology is managing and marketing cultural exports. Annis explained that many new artists and cultural producers are now managing their own product distribution. She says that there will always be a need for large organizational infrastructures (i.e. the book publishers and record labels). However, Canadian cultural producers also need digital distribution skills at the individual level – as the cultural sector “shifts from a hierarchy to a broader base of distributed materials.”

Many Canadian artists are already on the cutting edge of digital technologies. However, Annis says that there are cultural producers in certain sub-sectors who will require more digital technology training than others – especially when it comes to managing, retaining and distributing the digital rights to their work.

CHRC training programs

The CHRC is developing pilot training programs to help address some of the digital rights and distribution challenges that the industry currently faces. Once the content is perfected, the CHRC plans to roll-out the courses to major digital media and professional associations across all of the provinces. These training programs will initially be provided online.

Some of the new CHRC training programs include:

  • Rights management in the music industry
  • Export marketing – developed at the cultural industry sub-sector level
  • Project management for the digital media industry

Annis explained that it has been difficult to quantify where the biggest gaps are for training the Canadian cultural workforce to date. She said that the CHRC is working to develop measurable data points to help get stronger support and funding in the future. However, the courses outlined above are where the CHRC currently sees the most demand for education.

Ultimately, Annis says that we need to “create standards of excellence where the arts and technology can grow together.” She believes that training needs to start at the high school level, where the arts can be integrated with technology in the classroom. The CHRC is currently putting together a list of recommendations on how to reach these cultural standards of digital excellence.

If you want to hear from Susan Annis and participate in the conversation about what digital training is required for the Canadian cultural workforce, you can meet her at the Canada 3.0 (www.canada30.ca) Conference in Stratford in May.

How do you think the CHRC can prepare Canadian cultural workers for the digital future?