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Transcript of Critical Thinking:
In Games and Beyond
What is Critical Thinking?
Critical Thinking as a Process
Understand the obvious/surface (learn)
Lay out the basics as concisely as you can (you aren't necessarily writing yet, but can be)
Start looking for depth
Process Part I: Challenge Ideas
Start out with any interesting notions/ideas
This is a game for X
The goal of this game is Y
People play this game because of Z
Think about them in context
Is group X really appropriate? Is it really who plays?
Is the goal in the game something other than winning or enjoying the gameplay?
Why would YOU play this game (or not)?
Process Part II: Challenge Yourself
Look at your own assumptions
This game reminds me of X
I'm learning this game because of Y
I did/didn't enjoy this game because of Z
Think about them in context
How is the comparison to X accurate/inaccurate
How did learning/playing the game change your perspective?
How did learning/playing change your motivations and appreciations?
Process Part III: The Dialectic
(n) "The art of critical examination into the truth of an opinion"
(adj) "Of, pertaining to, or of the nature of logical disputation; argumentative, logical" - both OED
Critical Thinking Example: Checkers
A combat game
Similar to chess
Chess with only pawns
Simple to learn
Checkers Assumptions: True or Not?
Challenge the obvious/surface
A combat game or a territory game?
Similar to chess or similar to backgammon?
Chess with only pawns or is that even significant?
Simple to learn but perhaps strategically sophisticated?
Checkers Biases: What Do I Really Know?
I haven't played checkers since maybe 3rd grade
Which means I never played good players
Do adults play checkers? If so, why?
A 3rd-grader can learn the rules of checkers, but is there strategy beyond the comprehension of a third grader?
It's played on a chessboard, but does that mean anything?
Dialectic in Practice
Thesis: checkers is chess (a combat game) with only pawns
Antithesis: checkers is principally a territory/blocking game, like backgammon
Synthesis: checkers combines elements of combat and territory games
Dialectic Outcome in Application
Checkers combines elements of combat and territory games
Great, so what?
Need to explain in more detail
Need to explain why this is interesting/important
Dialectic and Relevance
Checkers combines elements of combat and territory games, but what is interesting about this?
This makes checkers more like backgammon
Strategy for this game must derive from multiple sources and be adjusted to the rules, OR
Strategy must be native to the game
More like modern combat games than chess, which focuses on protecting key assets, not on territory
Net Product: Idea 1
Like many games, checkers derives its complexity from strategy, rather than rules. However, since it bridges between combat games and territory games, successful strategies must address gaining control of a significant portion of the board, in addition to being able to attack. In chess, territory control is useful, but neither necessary nor sufficient to win.
Net Product: Idea 2
At least one subset of modern combat games, first-person shooters, rely on territory control and attack, as least in story-play mode. The goal is to rid the virtual world entirely of the opposing force, and to push control of territory "forward". While this is partly necessitated by the linear narratives, it means that these games are less like chess, where there is no obvious territorial imperative, and the goal is to protect a key asset (the king) while capturing the opponent's. The one exception is capture-the-flag play, but this is not dominant.
Process Part IV: Apply The Dialectic
If you've done the process properly, you now (hopefully) have a novel/critical (not necessarily negative) idea. What do you do with this idea?
Is it important?
If so, how?
What does the new information change?
How might a reader learn something from this new idea?
In a word: IMPACT