Final Affinity Space Presentation

Embedded here is my final presentation for my project of joining a fantasy football affinity space at FFToday.com’s fantasy football community. Enjoy the screencast below:

Follow this link if you would like to view the google slide show from the screencast and to have access to the links form the presentation.

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Final Affinity Space Presentation

19 thoughts on “Final Affinity Space Presentation

  1. Hi Darren- Great work on your affinity space presentation. It’s been fun seeing how different everyone’s project and presentations are! Based on your presentation, I’ve learned that there are several “insider” levels: experts who post articles, novice who read articles, and seasoned participants who utilize tools and leverage discussion forums for player news, strategy tips, and updates.

    I appreciate your boldness to dive right into the discussion forum and bring up a unique topic– FF in the classroom. These diverse comments helped you gain a different perspective and anticipate what potential roadblocks you might have with parents and staff if integrated. Strategy here moves beyond football.

    Based on your presentation, I gathered that although it’s fairly easy to join, there are distinctive levels of participation as noted earlier, which is the space’s biggest strength. This allows for participants to, as you mentioned, engage in competition and learn valuable evaluation and strategy skills. Your connection to the Jenkins reading said it best: FF simulation and looking at data help fine-tune participants ability to think with reason, anticipation, and make sound predictions. These skills are so important in real life!

    Nice job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike Burgoyne says:

      Dang it! I wish I had thought of doing something like this for my project! I love Fantasy Football and you presentation has my thoughts racing a mile a minute. I think this type of game format could be very engaging for a classroom setting with statistical analysis and mathematical operations. I also think about cyber metrics in baseball and how that can be used to help students perform analysis on numbers.
      Being an avid fantasy footballer myself, I can agree with the strengths and weaknesses of the space. I am a little surprised at the willingness of others to teach as I would have assumed that many would keep information close to their vest in a way.
      I can also appreciate how you tied in your experience to the readings which helped me to paint a clearer picture of Gees and Hayes’ principles. I was already interested in the subject matter but your presentation definitely gave me a lot to think about. Nice work!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. loganpriess says:

    It’s interesting to see how you initially divided this affinity space into a variety of different levels before even talking about the forums, including the greatest level of membership (where you ended up joining) in the forums to talk about football. From there, you further mentioned that membership in the affinity space did span a huge spectrum of different possibilities. It seems like quite a varied community.

    From the presentation, it looks like you jumped right in and started asking questions that got a ton of responses. Over time, it’s clear that your questions garnered many responses that helped you gain a better understanding the community and the wide array of different people and opinions that existed across the community.

    From all of this, it would seem that the strengths of the space are in the wide variety of people that participate in the space and the many different ways they choose to take in the affinity space, whether that is in the forums, writing articles, or simply reading articles to learn more and gain an advantage in the game.

    From Gee and Hayes, you mentioned that group membership was a spectrum, that there was a level of competition and status in the community, that sharing of knowledge was encouraged, and finally that people got encouragement and feedback from one another. Those are all crucial parts of a solid affinity space.

    Great job overall!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comments Logan. I am looking forward to seeing how the activity in the community picks up as the NFL season approaches. I was expecting that the interactions would be muted because of the NFL off-season, I expect that with the draft later this week there will be a flurry of activity.

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  3. According to you, there is a lot to know if you want to be an insider. It is more than just knowing the players and how football works. Other people didn’t respond unanimously positive and that is not surprising. There are a lot of preconceived notions about fantasy football. People see brackets and competition and for whatever reason this sparks an emotion in certain people. I just saw a burrito bracket for Denver so, not all brackets are created to win money. Some people just want a delicious breakfast burrito.

    I think your experiences with the affinity space were probably so successful because you enjoyed fantasy football before you even started. I admit, I had a really different experience. I jumped into Minecraft, not knowing a single thing about the game. I was pretty frustrated for several weeks when trying to engage in my affinity space. It is great to see the other side of this. You combined a passion you have with your career that has to be pretty rewarding. I enjoy your idea of trying to connect fantasy football to the classroom! Whatever you can do to keep the students engaged and interested. Your not in a lab coat and googles (like our reading), but I think children appreciate fun activities like this!

    Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. I am a Browns fan (there’s always next year?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Annie,

      Thanks for the comments, I have not commented on your pretension yet but I watched it when you posted it and could tell that your interest in MineCraft had grown out of your struggles while interacting with the community. I definitely hit a low point in my interest, not necessarily in FF, but in the affinity space after I received negative comment, but, like you, persevering in the community has helped me clearly see the benefits from the affinity space.

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  4. Hi Darren!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Fantasy Football. I’d certainly heard of FF before, but I’d never gotten a truly thorough explanation about what it entails. Thanks for that! I had no idea that actual math went into the generation of point either…so this also seems like a way to have kids that perhaps aren’t engaging in their math class actually find something to enjoy. With statistics and predictions available, it seems like an awesome learning opportunity, just like you mentioned.

    I really appreciate how you started your own forum! I think it’s so great that you went out on a limb and engaged with people with your passion on both fronts: teaching and football. I’m so glad you got so much response! As to the negative responses, I can see their point, but I would argue that perhaps this person is conflating “laziness” with “inventiveness”. This is a concept that we hadn’t really gotten to explore this year that much, (that is…the pushback that using games for learning might create) but I’m glad you kept at it! I know that I had to adjust a lot of my thinking this year, coming to terms with what I think “traditional” teaching should and should not be.

    This is the first presentation I’ve seen so far that the competition is actually related to “status” in-space. It’s interesting, and I’m sure it made for interesting responses as well.

    I also appreciated your going back and using older texts we used this semester. The connection to #gamergate was really interesting. I so appreciated how you reached out to the negative poster, and as the posting died off, this is encouraging for me, as truly bad behavior on the internet should not go unmet.

    Also, so glad you dressed up for your presentation :)Thanks so much for sharing your presentation with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments! I originally got really down about the negative comments I was got, diving into the gamergate readings, however, help me a lot. First I think the readings put a lot into perspective for me, compared to what those women went through one troll calling me a lazy teacher was NBD. Also I saw that there are underlining issues that may be masked by the anonymity of the online forum, and that the proactive approach was to try to reach out to the detractors.

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  5. Melanie Sokol says:

    Darren, you did a great job on this project! Just from watching the beginning of the video, it was quick to realize that there is a lot that goes into being an “insider.” You defined being an insider into different levels – experts who post articles, members who read articles, and participants who utilize tools and discussion forums for different types of updates.
    I’m very impressed with how quickly you jumped into the affinity space discussions and brought up a topic. You got a lot of comments right from the beginning and overtime as you got more responses, you were better able to understand the community itself. From here, it was clear to tell that the strengths of the affinity space would be the wide range of people that participate in the space itself and the many ways that they chose to participate. Some participants are in the forums while some just read the articles to gain a stronger understanding of the game. The fact that there are so many different things you could do in this space shows a strength because it can be so beneficial to one in so many different ways. competition
    Your connection to Gee and Hayes was very strong in that you mentioned that group membership was a spectrum, that the level of competition was there, and sharing of knowledge was encouraged.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words, you are right about the range of the discussions was immense, I did not get to discuss, because of time the magnitude of non-football discussions that took place in the forums, everything from other fantasy sports to movies, music, news, etc.

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  6. Great presentation, I liked the video intro at the beginning. It helped add a personal touch. Is it easy for football newbies to join this space, or would you need some sort of football knowledge previously to get the most benefit. If you were to incorporate fantasy football into your class, do you have an idea of how you would do it? What if not every student enjoyed football?

    I also found it interesting that you didn’t hear back on one of your replies to that user that disagreed with you. I think that’s one limitation of an affinity space, threads can be abandoned at any time without any further responses. I know Ben P showed how his affinity space is slowly dying. Great connections to your scholarly critiques and GG as well. Did you experience any other harassing besides the one user? I received some negative replies during my affinity space exploration, but I typically just ignored them all together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robert,

      Thanks for the supportive comments. To answer your questions, I think that the FFToday site has lots of resources for new players of FF, including how to draft articles and tips for beginners but joining the community and participating in the forums is best left for the experienced players.

      My thinking for FF in class is for one specific small group of math learners I will be working with next year (5 fifth grade students). I have worked with these students (4 boys and 1 girl) through out this year and have already developed a bond with these student over football, so this will be then next step. If I were teaching a whole group, I would make FF one of many optional activities.

      I only had the one troll some seemed to think it would be better to learn math with memorization and drills but thought that there was some room for fun engaging activities to practice math that had be taught traditionally.

      Thanks again,

      Darren

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  7. Darren,
    You begin with a very informative overview of the FF game-play experience. Co-workers play and since I’m a rugby fan rather than a football fan, I haven’t really delved into the ways and means of game-play, so thanks for that.

    I think it is a great idea to bring this to the classroom. There are some really connective applications you can use with kids: math, writing, problem solving, creative and critical thinking, decision making with consequences. Football really connects with prior learning of many students. What ages do you teach? You can easily take out the “gambling” aspects by doing it just within the classroom and offering other rewards besides money. It is no different than rewards linked to schoolwork. You can really leverage the intrinsic motivations for the students. But, what about the students, like me, that aren’t into football? What could you do? Leveraging real-world connections with students is never to be overlooked. Engagement is key. But don’t just limit it to Math. There is so much more to be applied.

    You make some good points about how to deal with “the silencing” of space members. What was the best feedback you received on your topic? Have you tried anything they’ve suggested yet? If so, how did it go? Did anyone suggest something you hadn’t thought of?

    Very smooth and thorough presentation. Nice job!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello Darren, Thank you for sharing your affinity space presentation. Good call on the Fantasy Football! I would have never thought of it, but it totally makes sense! I have played one season and although I am not an avid player, I really enjoyed that season immensely. I am amazed there is so much information and theories/strategies for the GM of a football team. I can see how all of the information is pooled together and moderated just like in Gee & Hayes. Sorry to hear about the sour grapes from that one poster. Kudos to you for writing that person a long response and trying to open up the dialogue. That person just does not understand that you can make learning fun. These would also be the people who complain that teachers are not being innovative, go figure. Anyway, I was just curious about the leagues that you play in, how many teams do you control in a given season? I just want to say good job again for the production of the screen cast it was great- Kyle

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Darren,

    I love a good game of football, but I have to admit I never really understood the draw of playing fantasy football. I will also admit that my lack of enthusiasm for the idea of fantasy football encouraged me to keep my ignorance of its true inner workings until now. Your presentation was very informative in helping me to understand how FF works as an individual and social game. Your description of the entire space seemed like anyone with an interest in FF could join, find resources, and chat about relevant discussion to the game. However, it seemed like the true insiders were those who partook in the forum discussions. This is a great demonstration of your first Gee & Hayes trait which showcases that members can be made up of short-term lurkers and highly active aficionados.

    Like you, I kept my first interactions with an unknown space broad and easy. I liked that you put yourself out there in the space by asking personal questions about your FF league. Your second post was even more captivating as I hadn’t thought to ask my own affinity space community about the connection to classroom teaching. I’m sorry to hear that some of your responses were less than pleasant. The person who responded with incredulity about ever wanting to make education fun seemed more like a troll than an actual participant. I could see how you really felt that sense of loss and confusion as a result of that person’s ramblings. You response was very tactful, though, and invited pleasant conversation back to the table even if the other participant wasn’t willing. Your connection with Mortensen and Gamergate really hit home here. What kinds of norms or rules do you think this space could employ to create a safer space for sharing and disagreeing amicably?

    The strength of this space was very obviously that the community is mostly supportive of the endeavors of others in the space. This is evident through the 3 pages of posts that you acquired from your posting about education. Being given all of those resources must have been a really empowering moment in your learning journey for integrating FF into your math classroom. I am also a math teacher and wonder what you have developed so far to help you include the game into your practice?

    Overall, great presentation! I really enjoyed the video/audio inception that you had going on at times as well as the glimpses into your ideas of project-based learning with FF.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comments. One other reason I like FF is that it increases my engagement with football games that do not involve or effect my hometown team. Games that I watch that I have fantasy players – ether I am playing or that my opponent is playing – I take ownership in because what happens effects my team’s score. If I am out at a bar for games I see lots of other patrons who are watching games for similar reasons. If I have a player who is having a great day there is usually another person in the bar who is also very happy about the same performance and then I have a connection with that person. You might like the community the FF creates, if you enjoy football on the whole.

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  10. Darren,

    I love your idea about incorporating Fantasy Football into the classroom. What a great example of using students’ (and teacher’s) interests to build motivation and interest in the content. Your community, Fantasy Football Today (FFT) had a variety of resources, some of which were tailored to veterans, while others were for newbies. Most of your interaction took place within the forums.

    To test the waters, your first posts dealt with strategy in team management before branching out into the more controversial topic of including fantasy football in the classroom. Again, incredibly creative idea, despite the one naysayer that kept popping up. I thought the number of responses you got was incredible. And even the negative posts you received still aided in the process by promoting more critical thought about the overall approach. Although you commented that the moderation is not quite where it should be for student involvement in the site, the overall demeanor of members seems to be positive and supportive.

    Awesome application of course content to your site. I thought the depth and scope of your connections was a huge strength of your presentation. From Gee and Hayes you focused on three elements of an affinity space that included a variety of members sharing the space, members cooperating but also competing, and the implementation of tacit and explicit knowledge. Your site is the epitome of members both cooperating and competing. Great connection.

    Overall, you did a great job with the presentation and I really enjoyed the application back to the classroom. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

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