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And Scholars do play!

“If you drop it, you’re buying drinks,” said Shailendra. He was talking about the tower we built while playing Jenga. “Yalla yalla,” the Lebanese word for “come on,” was repeated to each scholar trying to keep the tower from crashing down. 

Save the tower

Frank Russell Chair Julia Wallace from the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication led a session about Journalism Entrepreneurship, and she wanted us to play Jenga, a game that requires skill, strategy, and luck. She asked us to think of one thing that contributes to the decline of the media in our countries, and share it with everyone before pulling the block. Government control, the lack of sustainability, fake news and lack of trust… these were all among the answers to the question by scholars from different countries.

“Do you want to be a slug, an intrapreneur or an entrepreneur?” asked Wallace, while explaining how the world of journalism is changing, becoming in need of more and more “journopreneurs”. As new media continues to evolve, five years from now people won’t be typing on their phones and laptops to find news. That’s motivation for journalists to start now on acquiring the tools to make their career sustainable and innovative.   

Innovation, that’s the key! Have you ever imagined it was possible to go on a virtual field trip, exploring many areas and living the whole experience virtually? Well, I had the chance with many scholars to (virtually) cross a bridge on Mount Everest. And I admit that I really cannot do this in real life!

It’s cold on Mount Everest

PhD student Thomas Ruberto from ASU’s Center for Education Through exploration guided the second session, and gave us insights about best practices for shooting with 360° technology. He explained how virtual field trips are a blend of storytelling and virtual experiences. (More on the website http://vft.asu.edu/). 

An interactive, immersive, virtual field trip reproduces visually stunning and scientifically accurate locations into active, student-centered learning experiences. “Science has just realized we have to be storytellers,” said Ruberto. He also pointed to the newer concept of “gamification of education,” and showed us how games are becoming storytelling vehicles. 

Afterwards, we scholars discussed entrepreneurial ideas that we will be developing into games or virtual spaces. 

After all, we are storytellers who love to play, and games, when done well, are not child’s play. 

One last thing; Shree had to buy us drinks!