Sunday, June 18, 2006


As someone who was once associated with a project called SPIDER, designed to encourage sharing of pedagogical materials in higher education, I did find it amusing to discover that the Navy runs a program that also uses the acronym SPIDER, which ostensibly has instructional aims as well. It is particularly ironic because the Armed Forces SPIDER features topics that I write about now, not as a developer but as a critic, such as military-funded videogames.

At the time that we chose the name, participants and funding agencies were critical of the choice. Spiders were associated with many negative qualities like cruelty, deviousness, and poisonousness. Even if they were associated with the "web," it didn't suggest a collaborative environment or online pedagogical community. Nonetheless, the Navy's SPIDER wasn't scared off by the name either and set out to publicize "best practices" and new "serious games" like Ambush!

Then again, based on the fact that the last posting was a year ago, maybe it is a doomed name.



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