During this course, I have gained a lot of knowledge related to real life issues that we are living in by reading articles and watching videos on interesting topics. Topics such as how to detect fake news and check the credibility of a source and how to use digital tools whether for reflecting or creating a game. Also, the identity and biases topics made me discover a lot about myself and brought my attention to the way I identify myself especially while creating my ALCTV video through which I discovered that my identity is shaped by the hobbies I love doing in my life and the things I appreciate the most. Also, in this course I was exposed to a lot of digital tools that I didn’t know about or just thought they can be used in only a certain way (some of these tools I mentioned in my Tool Reflection) which definitely improved my digital skills. I believe a lot of these digital tools I will be using in my other courses in university, and of course in my career life in future and I actually introduced the use of Slack on my team as I find it really annoying to use WhatsApp for work.
Working on my empathy project, ‘Spread Joy’ game, opened up my mind on a lot of stuff that I would love to work on in the future. I wondered why virtual/digital volunteering is not present in Egypt and why this idea was not implemented for how helpful and beneficial it is.
In this course, I have gotten the opportunity to involve myself in things that I have not experienced before and this made me learn things along the way and develop my own experience. A lot has impacted me in the journey, the topics covered, the activities performed and the doctor’s support yet I liked three things the most and those are the things I would show for someone to expose my learning experience and my creativity.
First of all, creating a digital narrative game: for me it was something new that I have never done before which made it more challenging for me. However, while creating my digital narrative game I experienced a lot of mixed scenarios and feelings, putting myself in the shoes of the player and thinking about the choices he had, also placing myself in the place of the founder of the institutions and how this game would benefit them. I chose to show off this game especially as an exhibit since it had opened my mind to the idea of turning this game into reality and sparked in me some thoughts of how we can help our community digitally and at ease.
Second of all, I would also show my blog post about “Me and My Biases”, as it brought my attention to the idea of being biased and made me discover that humans are unconsciously biased when it comes to anything in life which was not something I had thought about earlier .
Finally, the Digital literacy pathway reflection that contains both the two digital paths that I chose to experience and I will highly recommend for them to check the tinkering path and try some of the assignments as I find it really useful to explore my skills and creativity through practicing.
Overall I do not have many things that I see need change in this course; however, if I would change something then I would change some aspects in Solyia connect program to enrich my experience. I believe that I needed more than four sessions in order to build deeper connections with the group members.
I would also change the depth we go into with some topics such as the fake news topic since I felt that we went briefly on it while it’s an interesting topic and an issue that we are unfortunately dealing with daily.
The person who should take this course should have the desire to get exposed to new concepts and discover ideologies and facts that we are living with in our daily life, a person who’s willing to learn about new digital tools and how to use them.
Having opportunities in life is something that I really appreciate and since I joined university I had the choice to choose my courses and sometimes the instructors and then the opportunity to drop the course or not; however, throughout the courses I don’t face a lot of opportunities where I have the chance to make a choice. In this course, we had a lot of interesting opportunities to choose from. To prepare for each class we had the option to either do a reading or watch a video that are both related to the topic we will discuss in class which I found useful as sometimes I feel that I’m not really in the mood to read so I go for the video and vice versa. I even sometimes find both of them interesting and just do both of them like in the case of reading How ‘African’ is Northern Africa? article via Global Voices or watching ‘Don’t ask where I’m from, ask where I’m a local’ TED Talk by Taiye Selasi where I decided to do both as the topic greatly caught my attention and I wanted to get deeper into it. Moreover, the opportunity to have an alternative assignment that covers the material discussed in class for students who can’t make it to class is very generous from the professor. As we’re all living now in a hard time juggling between the lockdown, the online classes, the Ramadan schedule and helping in the house, it’s important to be cared for and this course was one in which I personally never felt stressed because of the support and care I receive from Dr Maha and that’s why I made sure to attend all the classes as it’s the smoothest class I had this semester and my favorite actually.
We also had opportunities to choose from when it came to some assignments such as choosing between creating a game or a poem and choosing which paths we want to go for in the digital literacy pathway. I think it’s interesting to have a lot of options to choose from as I believe every person would love to learn something different. So in this way each student will have the opportunity to choose what he/she wants to learn and develop knowledge about.
Writing this reflection helped me further appreciate the constant feedback and care received throughout the course, be it by Dr Maha Bali, or through having assignments such as writing reflections that encourage us to think more deeply and freely about our experiences. This made this course stand out to me and made me realize how much I will miss being part of it.
Throughout the course we have been exposed to a lot of digital tools. Some of them I was already familiar with beforehand and others were new for me. In this blog, I will be displaying the tools that were interesting for me to use and that I enjoyed using along with explaining the impact they had on me.
Creating a digital narrative game using google form or google slide was a fresh idea to my mind since i thought that these tools are only used for creating presentations and surveys. Therefore learning about the available options in these applications and the features they offer was useful, as now I know that these programs can be even more efficient to my studies and have a wider scope. I used google forms to create my digital narrative game ‘Spread Joy’, and I was a little bit concerned on how the game will look like since i’m using google forms and was also worried that it might not give off the sense of a “game”; however, when I applied the steps stated by Doctor Maha in her video ‘How to Design a Digital Narrative Game Part 3: Using Google Forms’ the game turned out really good and overpassed my expectations.
Hypothesis is a new tool to which I have been introduced to. I usually use annotation while reading whether an academic article or not as I find it really useful to highlight a sentence ,for when something interests me or that makes me question,i feel like this makes me connect more with any reading. I used to always use highlighters and pens to annotate hardcopy readings and i wasn’t sure if i can do the same on other mediums of reading. Therefore, the mechanism of annotating digitally while seeing other people’s annotation using “Hypothesis” was fascinating and new for me. It was shocking that I cannot only annotate digitally but also have access to other’s annotations. This tool should be advised for professors around the word as it’s more interesting to annotate a reading while being able to read other people’s annotation which opens up our minds on others’ point of view and may also clear misunderstanding. Tools like this also help to save our environment by letting people have the same advantages and control over their documents as ever but without destroying trees and printing papers.
WordPress is also a new tool that I have been introduced to for the first time in the beginning of this course and that I have been using since. Word press allows you to post your blogs in various forms, whether through video, writing or image. It was my first time to use word press, in the beginning I struggled a bit with the design and blog posting since it was the first time for me to use such a platform and it was a little complicated as each time i was trying to figure out something and watch youtube videos for it, i find people using different versions of word press than the one I have.
WordPress has helped me share my ideas and demonstrate my activities throughout blogging reflections. It allowed me to improve my reflection skills and I really enjoyed reflecting and blogging about different topics.
Zoom is an online communication tool that offers video conferencing for people to meet virtually, see and hear each other, share the screen together, and even chat. I have used zoom before this semester while organizing virtual meetings with my team at work.
Zoom has been our life saver since the start of the pandemic and quarantine. Everything is done through it, I have been using zoom this last period for my online university classes, for working out and yoga classes, I also attended religious sessions, meetings with my team, presentations and I even celebrated my birthday for the first time through zoom. Zoom has been accompanying me in most of the activities I do throughout my day. It is the most used app on my devices nowadays and I’m wondering how will I stop using it after we go back to normal life.
I had previous non academic experience with slack before this semester, while interning with a marketing agency. During this semester I used slack for two of my classes; Digital Literacy and Media Writing.
My experience with slack for the digital literacy course was really enjoyable as we had a group where we all share random stuff and anything we want which brought us closer especially when physical classes stopped. Also, I always thought of email as a professional tool unlike chatting so being able to chat whether in the class group or privately with the doctor made it easier for me to contact the doctor faster and through a friendlier tool. We also had a group for assignments in order to be updated with the due assignments along with blackboard yet slack was more accessible and easier.
However, in my Media Writing class I didn’t find slack as useful. We started using it with the transition to online learning and I guess it was the first time for the doctor and the whole class to use this tool except for me. The doctor didn’t explain the process of accessing it to us and the class was a little bit lost until the end of semester there were three students who were not even with us on slack and they didn’t know about it. Also, the professor wasn’t really active on it so it was easier to reach her through email.
Digital Literacies Pathway
I chose the twisting path from the digital literacies pathway which is mainly composed of two different paths and I decided to do the second option that will make me explore the theory and tinkering paths. I chose this option as I learn the best from practicing and tinkering path is all about small practices, I get to choose from ds106 assignment bank that consists of hundreds of assignments about many topics. I had to complete four assignments using whether the advised tool or the tool I prefer and reflect on each task. I also wanted to learn something new and what a better way to gain knowledge than by reading. Hence, I chose one article to read and reflect on it from the “theory path” by Mozilla internet health report that consists of number of articles revolving around the question: How healthy is the internet ?
I did a design assignment called Wishlist Kids Donation Design Post by Sarah Elnaggar.
In this assignment, we were meant to design a donation poster, but I put a little twist on it and designed posters for a new campaign in Ramadan called Ashaab El Saada, which is all about spreading happiness, which I’m working on with my community service team. We have a designer in the team; however, it was really interesting for me to design a poster and I liked it a lot that i decided to create two posts. At the beginning I wasn’t familiar with the applications or websites that I should use to do this task, but I saw previous assignments done by others and read the websites they used. I chose to use a website called Canva and I just discovered a lot of amazing options in this tool. I’m actually really happy that I got to choose this assignment as it made me learn a lot about designing a post and I’m glad that I bumped into a website like this one as it is very useful.
I chose 2 visual assignments :
The first assignment is called Places Of Peace, by Kasey Mayer
In this visual assignment, I had to create a collage of photos with all of my favorite spots where I feel relaxed and at peace. The picture on the right of my dogs is in the balcony, I usually have some quality time with myself every morning to meditate or just connect with myself and they always happen to join me. The left picture on top is the park under my house I just love taking walks there and connecting with the nature. The one beneath is one of my favorite places in Spain that I visit whenever I’m there, it’s a port in Barcelona called Rambla De Mar, this place is a very close one to my heart as I went there several times and each time with the people I love the most. The last picture consists of my forever go to place which is the sea, I just find myself and feel the best when I’m swimming or just sitting on the beach. I felt really good while doing this one as with all the anxiousness we are experiencing nowadays with the COVID-19 and the lockdown it’s good to look back into your image gallery and see the pictures of the places where you feel calm and happy, it gave me hope and it reminded me of my blessings. For this task, I used a collage application on my phone called PicCollage Photo & Grid Editor.
The second visual assignment is called Create a silly movie poster , by Richard Barnes.
In this assignment, I learned to have a creative look at normal things such as movie posters and add my personal outlook on it. I did not use a specific program other than world to create the altered movie poster and this made it easier for me since I was working with a medium that I already had experience with. Overall , this assignment was fun and I loved how it unleashed my creativity.
I did a Web assignment, called Create your own room by Gabby Christie
A minimalist’s dream
One’s dream is to always have their future homes as they’ve always imagined it but for a 20 year old like me having my future dream home seems a little farfetched now but then I thought of reimagining only my room and thought about what would I really want to have in my bedroom? I know I want it to be minimal cause that’s what I am, I wanted to be detailed yet simple and most importantly inclusive of everything I would need cause its the place where I’m gonna be spending most of my time in if not all of it. So now that I’ve gotten a broad idea of what I wanted and a few keywords to feed the webs headed to my inspirational guide, Pinterest application is the holy grail of design and inspiration. Now after gathering a few ideas of what I wanted let me take you through main aspects of my so called “dream room”.
A dream room for me starts with two words, comfy bed. Simple white sheets, hard mattress and soft pillows. No more. If you think about it its basically what you need in a piece of furniture that you will be laying on for 8 hours or maybe more of your day. I prefer simple beds like this in the picture than any custom made wooden masterpiece.
And of course, nothing compliments for me a perfect bed better than a perfect view, my dream room needs to overview a wide window conveying the beautiful nature and seamlessly toning the inside and outside words, a room with a wide window brings a lot of happiness to me and makes me more creative. Alongside the view, I would prefer a seating are or a comfy couch to rest on and maybe unleash my creativity while writing or doing school work on without the need to sit on a lame desk that does nothing but aches my back.
A minimalist’s dream like mine isn’t complete without the combination of nude, earthy colors. Walls, floors and ceilings all in eye relaxing colors that are the perfect imitation of nature and serve the peaceful purpose of the bedroom.
Now let me be real with you no matter how minimal and simple I might be, a girl’s dressing room can’t be anything but big, bright and perfectly organized. Its the place I will most certainly invest my time in decorating and organizing. It has to be organized and divided to fit each category of clothes, accessories and shoes.
Moving on to a very important part of my dream room, the bathroom. Bathrooms are generally the most underrated areas of rooms but for me it says a lot about my personality. A wide bathroom that has the essentials and that is surrounded by yellowish ambient lights complimenting the wood and marble mixture of walls and floors. A very simple outtake on my dream bathroom is the one in these pictures.
All of these elements joined cohesively are the building blocks of my dream room and minimalist dream.
In this assignment I was supposed to use the Pinterest app, which I was familiar with and created various mood boards on. The assignment was very pleasing for me since it touched down on one of my areas of interest like design which made the assignment an enjoyable one for me. Before doing it, I had to overlook previous assignments submitted by people and thus I learned how they incorporated their Pinterest boards along with their blog posts in a way that would grab the reader’s attention.
I have chosen to read an article under the digital inclusion section in the internet health report 2019 issued by Mozzila. The article of my choice has the title of “Recognizing The bias of artificial intelligence”. As per the title entails, the article discusses the problem of inaccuracies and biases of gender and color that come along with automated artificial intelligence systems that are causing problems since AI (artificial intelligence) Is taking a greater part of our lives each day and is now integrated in many aspects of day to day tasks. In the article, I was introduced to an advocate for gender and race rights and the founder of the “algorithmic justice league” initiative, Joy Buolamwini. One of the things that gained my attention throughout the article is how powerful people can be by expressing their voices and going out of the norm to face for instance big companies like Amazon and tell them that they have bugs and inaccuracies in their systems and actually change the point of view of many AI experts, which is something I did not think was possible for a young woman like Joy to do. I was interested while reading the article since it discussed a very important issue that needed the right to be shed on and showcased the work of a young woman in solving the problem biases that I may have not faced in my life however now I am more aware of the roots of the problems.
Soliya is an international connect program that offers online discussions through Exchange Portal. It helps people from all around the world to connect together and get involved into discussions in which they discover different cultures and discuss many topics with the freedom of expressing their own point of view and beliefs. The program consisted of four sessions each session two hours per week and we had to choose the time slots that suit us best so we can be assigned to a group on a certain time and day. I was really excited for this project as I love getting to know new people and I always aim to represent for the world the true image of an Egyptian muslim woman to mitigate the wide misconceptions. I had the opportunity to attend only two of the four sessions and my experience had its positives and negatives.
The dialogue in connect express differed from other types of online communication that I’m familiar with as it was done in a very professional way. We were asked to fill a survey before attending the program and I think this survey helped the responsible at Soliya in assigning people in groups in which they will learn and connect the most. Being in a group with people from different countries and backgrounds makes it very interesting which distinguished Soliya from the usual online platforms I use. While having an online communication with friends, colleagues, family and individuals who you already know is easy, being part of a group with people from different countries and backgrounds makes it much interesting and mind opening. The online discussion sessions in Soliya are really different in the sense that they are well organized, each person’s given the time to talk in his/her turn without anyone interrupting him/her and each one can freely express himself/herself and can be listened to and respected. There’s also a facilitator and a sub-facilitator who monitor the discussion and guide the topics discussed and I admire this a lot as in most of the online discussions I participate in, the conversation is usually not monitored by anyone which I find annoying. Having a facilitator or a meeting monitor assures having a respectful discussion where everyone can express themselves freely and for people not be in a position where they are disrespected or feeling offended. Usually the online communication platforms I use apart from my university classes everyone talks whenever they want, and it ends up really bad since not everyone had the chance to be listened to. Moreover, nowadays many people use online communication platforms to spread rumors or fake news and to promote negativity which makes me feel that I want to avoid being in this communication group which I didn’t feel at all in Soliya’s session.
Soliya made me discover what communicating online can be like. During the sessions I felt that it’s good to connect with people from other nationalities and share our diversity as my group mates were from Italy, Lebanon and the United States; however, I would have liked more if I can meet them in person. As I have always preferred face to face communication over any other type of communication and I find difficulties expressing myself digitally. My mind does not really accept the idea of communicating with someone through a screen. I don’t feel or connect easily with others through social media or any of the online communication programs especially if I don’t know the people I’m talking with beforehand. And nowadays, especially with the current pandemic situation our lives have become digital as if we are living in a digital world literally. Everything we receive is delivered through a message or an email, everything we watch or see is through a screen even people. As an anti social media person, it’s becoming too much for me and I’m just trying to cope with everything that is happening. It’s hard to neglect the fact that the internet is the only tool we have today to connect with each other due to the situation the world is living; however, I’m really worried that the world would transform completely digitally one day.
After being self-quarantined for almost two months now, I feel that I’m going to value face to face interactions more than ever before. Being able to see the person you’re talking to, have eye contact with, see their posture, understand their tone of voice, listen to their words and see their real expressions is a blessing. I think these aspects are the ones that I’m going to foster more when having a face to face conversation with a person when we go back to our normal life. This past period and Soliya’s sessions have assured me that I’m not into online communication. However, if I have to conduct an online communication, I would provide more activities to help the group break the ice and engage together more, as I felt that was missing from my Soliya’s sessions.
Although I have missed two Soliya sessions due to the sudden make up exams and classes that came up because of the holidays and I would have loved to experience it fully, I was fortunate enough to attend two other online classes through zoom provided by my instructor that I found really useful. One of them was related to wellbeing in times of COVID-19 which I felt I relate the most especially that everyone in the world is passing through the same situation and we are all feeling down and anxious, so it was really helpful to hear from other people that they were having the same doubts and shared this anxiousness, which shows you that you are not alone. During the session we all shared what wellbeing meant for us and it was interesting that we all had the same concept about well-being, but each one of us reach his/her own state of well-being in a different way. The other class was about caring for students, and what was interesting about it is that the discussion involved students and professors which was useful as both parties get to understand each others’ needs and points of view. We students seemed to share the same concerns and needs and many professors shared their way of caring for their students and some of the strategies were amazing actually and I wish professors all over the world develop this mindset of caring for their students and not only deliver the course content. This session raised up an important question for me about what my life as a student will be like after this semester ends if we’re still lockdown and I’m a little bit concerned honestly.
My overall Soliya experience was good although I wished I could have attended all the sessions to experience the full outcome and reap the benefits. However, it definitely assured me that face to face interactions can’t be forever replaced with the digital tools we are living with these days.
Final Draft of the Digital Narrative Game
The feedback I received was that some of the scenarios are missing consequences when the player make a choice. Therefore, I replayed my game and observed which circumstances should be added or modified of the choices available for the players. A couple of scenarios in my game were not perfectly complete and needed addition of a few more steps. The scenario of the designer volunteer at a cancer hospital needed some adjustments, so I focused on adding feedback to the player’s choices throughout the game. Also, one of the logistic member scenarios was missing feedback on the choice made by the player so I adjusted it.
When I submitted the first draft of of my game I wasn’t really satisfied with the pictures I added especially that I knew I was violating the Creative Commons license as most of the images were not copyright-free. For my final draft, I reviewed the copyright law presentation and went back to the doctor then I rechecked all the photos to see if they are copyright-free and ended up changing most of them since they weren’t. In my current game, the visuals are from many sources, I used pictures from pixabay.com, Flikr, Alamy, and from an instagram page of an animal shelter called Animal Protection Foundation. I cited all the images and made sure to add a reference link.
If I had more time and the situation in the world wasn’t that bad with the pandemic and lockdown, I would have liked to collaborate with some of the non-profit institutions I work with and make the players contribution in the game more real and effective. I would have loved if I could discuss with the organizations and ask them to take pictures of the rooms or available areas that needs innovation and include these images in the game so the player can really see the place that he’s asked to design for instance.
I would have also liked to make the game more professional and make it all about real contribution digitally as I believe many people would love to have this opportunity to serve and make a difference through the internet because a lot of them don’t have the chance or time to commit to the role of being a member in an organization. Having a game that can help you do good from your place would be very beneficial for institutions in which members can lack ideas and would be a great chance for those who can’t be part of a committee while they want to help or contribute in enhancing their community.
When I first knew that we will create a game all what came to my mind is that we will do a physical game or a digital one like the ones we used to create in school using simple coding. However, when we played the previous games I was surprised that the games done by previous student were created through google form and google slide. Also, when I watched the doctor’s videos in which she explains how these two applications can be used I was amazed by the amount of features in them that I never knew existed since I thought that google forms’ sole use is for academic purposes like surveys and questionnaire and that google slides can go beyond creating presentations.
Moreover, during and after the process of game creation I wondered why aren’t we making use of the technology around us in beneficial services like community work. It crossed my mind if it would be possible to have people that aren’t either members of NGO’s or any volunteering committees being able to temporarily or on longterm help out and volunteer digitally, depending on their preference. Willing volunteers would be able to provide help digitally and offer their temporary help as freelancing members and in this way both parties will benefit. The volunteers experience different opportunities without feeling the need to commit and the community service committees receive help without recruiting and gaining various chances of help.
Lastly, I encourage you all to play the game several times with different options in order to experience it fully!!
For the color therapy information I used a couple of sources: http://healthwellbeing.focusonuk.co.uk/cancer-and-colour-therapy/http://www.positivehealth.com/article/light-and-colour/colour-boosting-for-cancer-patients
The Great Hack Movie
The Great Hack movie sheds the light on very important occurring issues, it shows the world the tendency of misuse of power by great companies and their corrupt actions, for instance the wrongful usage of databases and these aspects makes the movie worth watching. It emphasizes mainly on how a lot of our public data might be used against us and manipulate us in different ways just like how Cambridge Analytica used it to create customized videos on how to persuade people to vote for the republicans. The corruptive environment in the company led Workers to change their values and beliefs because that is how it works in this company. You have to lose your respect toward’s people’s privacy and contribute towards significantly harming people by using their data against them. the firm has a strategy of grouping people that are in a neutral position of the voted whom they referred to as “persuadables” and brainwash them by exposing them to content that navigates their votes towards Donald Trump. “Target the persuadable” was their goal, to address people who aren’t on any of the sides to persuade them to vote for Donald J. Trump.
I never thought that all the data people provide on social media platforms would be enough for such a company to provide videos and content to persuade some individuals to vote for a certain president and that it would really work. So I continuously questioned while watching the movie, does my data and content really help them to significantly provide me with content to persuade me to do something? I also thought about how we all have a social responsibility to be a positive influence on this world yet how can the employees in the company are fine with losing all their principles in return of money and just money? One of the things mentioned in the movie was “the dream of a connected world, tear us apart”. That led me to this question, how did a dream of a connected world, became a reason for tearing us apart? The dream of always being connected even if we are thousands of miles away is not what shred us apart, it is the abuse of power of this company to gain revenue that did.
Digital Narrative game (1st draft)
The Game: https://forms.gle/JkxssALfTvFFYShj8
The digital narrative game I created is called “Spread Joy”.
I came up with this idea after having played several of these games in class and noticing that they either did not focus on my personal interest, which is community service, or they did so in a very stressful way. They did so by having short time limits or making you feel like you failed when you did not achieve your goal, and ultimately made the player feel bad or guilty. My idea was to incorporate this idea of promoting community service, while showing how fun and enjoyable it can actually be.
To do so, the game offers two narratives to pick from: one focused on an animal shelter (since helping strays and convincing people to adopt them is one of my passions) and the other on volunteering in a children’s cancer hospital. For latter, the player is assigned as either a logistics manager or a designer/color therapist member. The reason for that is that I personally am head of logistics so incorporating the challenges one might face came naturally to me. As for the color therapy, I recently found out and got into how color can help people uplift their mood, especially cancer children, and thought more awareness should be raised to color’s role and effect. What is most special about the game however is not the roles, but the fact that the small choices made in it will be reflected in reality. For example, at some point the player will write a message for a child battling cancer, and that message will actually be anonymously gifted to a real cancer patient. So, this game actually contributes to helping the community, while also enjoying the game and having fun!
For the color therapy information I used a couple of sources: http://healthwellbeing.focusonuk.co.uk/cancer-and-colour-therapy/ http://www.positivehealth.com/article/light-and-colour/colour-boosting-for-cancer-patients
Digital Narrative Game Research
After playing the six games we were assigned to a couple of weeks ago and while reflecting about how I felt both during and after playing these games I found that; during some of the games like Spent, BBC Syrian Refugees, and Project Honduras I felt a constant feeling of stress either about losing and therefore the refugees won’t be able to reach a country altogether or about losing the money like in Spent and making decisions where I had to forgo my emotions and be more logical.I was also pressured about about making decisions to help a person or not in the climate change game Project Honduras due to the very limited time and number of volunteers I had to play with. Moreover, after playing some other games such as Bury me, my love, Animal Rights, and Project Honduras I felt a little bit depressed or negative while I was aware they were just games however I also had in mind that they represent reality for many others and that I maybe able to understand what they are going through by playing the games yet I was not really of any help to them and this made me angry and disappointed. The games made me feel bad for others and led me to question my role in life and wether if was really useful to others as I always thought I was.
I believe that in order to feel empathy for someone and help him in real life we don’t have to feel bad about ourselves. I personally experienced being around orphans and playing with them while both of us were full of joy, also when I organized a one day trip for the orphans to Sokhna and many of them said they never saw the sea and never rode a banana boat and I remember them screaming “Of course I will ride the banana boat!! I will never have this chance again!!” and saying “This is the best day of my life” at this point my team and I we were filled with constant happiness and gratefulness. Seeing them happy and knowing that they will always remember this day made us feel grateful and useful. Another experience I have passed through was while standing with a lot of happy and joyful people from my community while painting the special needs kids’ school and singing together.The feeling I had at this time was indescribable because of the enormous positive vibes I was surrounded with and the feeling that I have an efficient role in my community. So what I came in conclusion with is that helping others in need does not always entail us feeling guilty, it can be a generator of good positive self actualizing feelings.
Therefore, when I knew that we have the chance to create our own digital narrative game I was sure that I wanted it to be related to community service or raising awareness as this is what I admire the most in my life; moreover, I am very conscious that I want to make an effective game that will match the community service purpose while making people feel that they’re contributing through participating in the game not only playing while also feeling grateful and happy during and after the game.
As part of my research, I decided to ask the committee I serve with about what are the positive take outs they gain or feel from any of our visits and projects in order to see if it’s a personal thing or is happiness a common feeling between people who serves their community.
The responses I received to the question “what are the positive things you feel or pass through while serving others” were of a great push to me and encouraged me to continue with the goal of my game. This is a sample of the received responses: happiness, joy, gratitude, compassion, thankfulness, fulfillment, proud, appreciated, not to take anything for granted, genuine, worthy, and blessed with a team.
A very important aspect that I want to emphasize on in the game is the importance of making a difference, and that the player should feel after the game that they have accomplished something after playing not just trying out a game but actually leaving a footprint in someone’s lives. However, the main concept behind the game is to let players spread joy while feeling grateful and happy. I am not yet sure about what my game will include in specific yet I know that I want to make sure that every player will put his own input and try as much as possible to diverse the experience of each player.
Time Management for Online Learning
Due to the current situation that we are in, I feel really confused and I am still trying to adapt. Being quarantined and having our life routine shift from a very active routine such as going to university, meeting people, exercising in the afternoon, and hanging out on weekends, to staying at home for at least two more weeks with very little to do has been a bit overwhelming and quite a shock for me these past days. I am an organized person who prefers living with a structured routine and having my days planned ahead. A quote that really stuck with me regarding this topic is “Planning is bringing the FUTURE into the present so that you can do something about it NOW.” by Alan Lakein. It motivates me to stay focused. That’s why I chose to read Time Management for Online Learning module as I thought it may help me as I’m feeling somehow lost.
After reading this module, I felt more relaxed and motivated to take action to improve my days. I always used to plan my days as well as having a planner with me wherever I go. My mind stays more clear when I know what I need to do. To add, a couple of months ago, I took a Bullet Journaling course where we got to learn a new system of setting our goals, tracking our progress and leading our lives through personalized, creative and intentional planning. It was really beneficial at the time and it really helped shape my days and make them more productive. However, after a month or so, I stopped working on it due to my lack of self discipline and I ended up just occasionally writing in my normal planner.
The difference between the BUJO -this is what we call the bullet journal- and a normal planner is that I have the chance to plan my day, month and my life as I please, which brings us to why it differs from a normal planner: It is full of space and options. I can customize it according to my current situation. I can be as creative as I want whereas in a normal planner, I feel limited with the available space and the restricted options. Moreover, I have discovered that after buying many different planners and using them, I never found one that fits my life as well as BUJO one.
Below is an example of a page in my BUJO:
Now that I read the Time Management for Online Learning module, I feel inspired to get back to planning my days in my BUJO planner. That is something that is definitely crucial for me in a time like this where I easily lose track of the day and my priorities. I want to ask each of my professors about their plans for the online lectures and assignments so that I can plan accordingly in my journal. That way, I will be able to stay on top of my work and feel less confused and overwhelmed by the current situation.
Digital Narrative Games
Since I got to play six different games, I will be summing up my experience with each game, what I felt and learned from each one and my reflection on how it can be improved according to my point of view and preferences.
The first time I opened the game it looked very well executed; there were no bugs and the simplicity of it made it easy to understand how it works. The initiative behind the game is very thoughtful; it’s important to make people experience a situation where they have a low purchasing power due to the limited amount of money they have and that by default will have an effect on the course of action they will take in the daily situations they face. While playing the game, I felt more stressed than I thought I would be. As there were many unexpected critical situations that came along and that made me reconsider where i should be spending my money.Moreover, there were many incidents where i chose to sacrifice my necessities for other people I am responsible of in order to fulfill their needs; for instance, there was a day where I had to forgo my health and not check with a doctor in order to save the money for my beloved ones. Another obstacle I faced due to the limited amount of money I had was the emergence of scenarios that required the money but unfortunately I didn’t have enough of it; for example, when the dog got sick I couldn’t afford visiting a vet. One thing I learnt is the need to always forecast that something more urgent can come along the way that I have to be prepared for it. The overall experience of the game succeeded to convey to me its purpose; nevertheless, I felt that the exaggeration of the consecutive scenarios turned the game a little bit unrealistic.
I always hear about the wars in Syria and the Syrians refugees in Egypt and all over the world and how refugees’ lives are miserable. Fortunately, we are not one of them and of course taking the role of a Syrian refugee for once through a game isn’t even close to what reality is. However, the purpose of the game is really awakening as we tend to take for granted the fact that we are free citizens that belong to a habitable country. I played this game twice, the first time I didn’t make it to Europe and my family and I drowned, in the second trial I was able to arrive to Europe but without my family since they were locked in Turkey. While playing I found myself learning new stuff about what refugees pass through in order to go from a country to another and how they have to risk their lives in order to have a safe normal life. Also, during the game I observed that all my choices were based upon the degree of dangerosity as I felt like it was my responsibility to save their lives. After experiencing this scenario of being a syrian refugee through this game, I noticed the hardships that refugees undergo and I felt that I need to raise more awareness about this issue and be really grateful for all the blessings I have.
I am very interested in saving our planet and I always promote sustainability, so this game’s topic really got my attention. At the beginning of the game we were introduced to our role as a player which involved volunteering around the island to help in different causes within various areas. While playing I felt that my decisions are biased towards solving the issues that will yield more benefit to the whole community rather than personal benefits. Moreover, I noticed that in some cases I feel bad for not being able to help the people in need as the number of volunteers and time available were very limited. However, the scarcity of resources such as time and number of volunteers taught me to become more efficient and make the best use of what I have. I personally thought of the game as a very entertaining one, yet as a player I would have been more interested if I had the chance to get more involved in the game and find solutions for the problems presented.
This game was based on the idea that something might look reliable and trustworthy yet it might be a scam afterall. The idea of the game is initially good however the way it was set and the settings of the game were very limited that they counteracted the idea behind the game and made me bored and annoyed when playing it rather than amused and engaged. For me i thought it was like a game of “psych” where we get to choose from a variety of fun categories in which each player makes up fake answers to real trivia questions to psych the others and the winner was the one to choose the correct answer and not get fooled by how realistic the other answers might seem. The game did not give me the freedom to make up fake news and unleash my creativity, it was more of a guided setup of premade news that I only had to choose from and rearrange. From my opinion, the game was boring and long and made me feel that I did not want to pursue it. I have not learned as much as i desired to learn from the game, however i understood the idea behind it itself and for that i would suggest that the game leaves a little more space for the players to interact more and add their own input to the game as making up the news and trying to psych people in their own way rather than following a certain guide.
Bury me, my love is a model that is trying to portray the suffering in the daily lives of syrian nationals through an interactive game in the form of texts going back and forth between two characters. The idea of the game felt very smart for me that it is an alternative way to convey the message rather than the traditional ways of storytelling but rather getting people to be involved in the story itself. The game like the others had its good and its bad; it had a very simple outlay and mechanism of playing which is a positive thing and made me feel that i am okay with trying out this sort of games; yet on the other hand the game was very long with unnecessary parts to it, it was confusing for me as at first i didn’t know which character is which, and one of the most important drawbacks to it that drew my attention was that in the language preferences there was no arabic and that was weird for me as i felt the urge to include an arabic setting since the idea of the game is to portray the journey of an arab country resident. The game made me learn something that i may have not noticed which is how people that are living in such circumstances might get adapted to the situations that for instance they hear a bombing somewhere and not be terrified by it and text about it and this is something that a documentary for example could have not conveyed. What would help this game to become better in my opinion is for it to be shorter and more exact to the point with the addition of arabic dialect so that the game turns out more credible and emotional.
As a big advocate for animal rights and a dog lover this idea behind this game was really impressive for me. It’s obvious that it does not really take the form of a game and leans towards the idea of storytelling; however, the creativity behind letting the player experience humiliating incidents and the cruelty of people around him/her as a human being without mentioning that this is exactly if not less than what stray dogs pass through in their daily lives. The idea behind hiding that this is what happens to stray dogs in the first place is very smart as people get to feel empathy toward the situation and feel bad about it so when it is connected to dogs they will be able to sympathize with stray dogs and start to take actions toward this humiliation. I personally feel this game should be considered as a way of raising awareness against abusing dogs and animal rights. Moreover, I would suggest that the game might be extended to cover more issues like trading animals for money and adopting rather than buying these creatures who deserve to have the same rights as human beings.