Spencer writes in the library, part 13: It’s a bird, it’s a plane…


This episode of Spencer Writes in the Library took place Monday, September 1st around 1:00pm

The Spot

Where am I working today?

I am in the basement of the west wing, at one of the group tables on the far west side of the floor.

What’s a perk of this spot?

Group work and a socket! My battery was drained when I got to the library, but I knew that my regular desks in the basement wouldn’t work since I had plans to meet a co-author to work on a conference presentation we’re preparing. Fortunately, I found a table that had seats for multiple people and also had easy access to a place to plug my computer in.

What’s a problem with this spot?

It’s kind of out of the way for group work, actually. I told Liz that I’d be in the basement of the West Wing, but didn’t specify where, so I was a little harder to find than intended.

What have I learned in this spot?


There’s a phone booth in the basement of the main MSU library. Not just a phone on a wall, but an actual step-inside-to-make-a-call / use-to-change-into-superhero-uniform phone booth. Pretty cool!

How would I rate this spot?

6 out of 5 dentists. (Why dentists?)

The Work

What am I working on today?

Shortly after you read this, Liz and I will be attending the Meaningful Play conference here at MSU and presenting a paper on the role of mechanics, themes, and genres in educational games. We’ve collected data from the websites BoardGameGeek and VideoGameGeek and have used them to draw some conclusions about our research questions.

What’s the highlight from today’s work?

This whole research project has been a fantastic exercise in my spreadsheet ninja skills. Google Sheets has some pretty exciting tools to import information from XML and HTML files, and we used those to do most of our data collection for us, which saved us a lot of work and taught us a few new skills. Today, though, I spent a lot of time playing with spreadsheet functions and other tricks to draw some more specific conclusions from this data.

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