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Last week of crowdfunding for autism video game research

Hi everyone! We have now hit the last week of the crowdfunding campaign for my research lab’s autism video game intervention project (it ends on Friday, December 14th!). These last few weeks of sharing my autism intervention research with all of you has really been incredible! I have had so much support that I can’t express in words how awesome this community is. As of this morning, we have reached $3,785 towards our goal (38%). The last week of the crowdfunding campaign is always the most important, so please take some time to support my research and spread the word to your social networks!

Lissanna’s druid leveling live stream on Monday, December 10th.

  • The mighty druid Lissanna fought for nearly eight to defend Azeroth from great evils. After slaying the mighty Deathwing, she laid down her staff for the last time and went to slumber in the Emerald Dream.  What could wake this mighty druid from her slumber? On Monday, December 10th, Lissanna the druid will dawn her fighting clothes and resume the battle in Mists of Pandaria once more. This time, she fights for improving Autism Intervention Research! Come watch Lissanna and Martiean level up from 85 together!

To celebrate and promote the last week of my research lab’s crowdfuning project, I have teamed with Martiean from the WoWMartiean youtube channel.   Martiean and I will be inviting some friends to join us and live streaming our leveling party  on Monday, the 10th, from 8 to 11 PM eastern (5 to 8 Pacific). I will be bringing my druid (who is still currently level 85) out of retirement for the night to level during the live stream in support of my autism research project! What better way to support video game research than with playing video games? You can watch the stream live on Monday at the WoWMartiean Youtube Channel.

Other news: Lissanna’s Horde House podcast guest appearance

  • Earlier this week, I joined the Horde House podcast for an interview about my gaming experience, my research project, and more! You can listen to the Horde House episode recording here. The guys are a little silly, but overall I had a lot of fun doing the interview. The interview part is in the first half of the episode.

One more week to go! Thank you all for helping to make this research on autism video game interventions possible, and for showing how amazing the video game community can be! Together, we are truly showing the world the positive side of video games!

Here is the video recording of last night’s stream. You can fast forward through some of the laggy bits. Youtube isn’t the best streaming platform some days. Most of it recorded fine!

Posted in Leveling, podcast, Research on video games, Written By Lissanna

15 Minutes of Fame and some druid news

Hi everyone! I have a few things to cover today.

First, I was featured on WOW Insider’s 15 minutes of fame blog series. You should read the article about my experiences with WOW, my real life research, and more!

There are a couple of other things for druids I’d like to cover, as well, since I haven’t said a lot about druids lately.

  • Team Waffle Cast episode from Friday wasn’t recorded live, but you can catch the recorded episode here!
  • In addition, with 5.1 out now, there weren’t really major changes for resto or moonkin druids, except for swapping around a couple of symbiosis abilities. I have heard from various restoration druids that there are still some weaknesses in druid healing, especially in the case of dealing with burst damage. Posts about restoration healing problems, especially in 25-man progression raiding, have recently come from Beruthiel (Falling leaves and wings), my guildie Juvenate (WTS Heals), and Alison Roberts (WoW Insider). All of these druid bloggers are essentially saying the same thing: Blizzard didn’t solve resto druid healing problems in terms of how we scale from 10-man to 25-man and handle incoming burst raid AOE damage.

Fortunately for Juvenate, we’ll likely keep him around in raids, especially since we can lite his tree form on fire with our campfires. 🙂

Posted in Achievements, patch 5.1, podcast, Research on video games, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna

After 8 years of WOW: What I am thankful for

When I first picked up the World of Warcraft box almost 8 years ago and installed it on my computer, I told my friends that I would probably play for about three months. I suppose I was quite wrong about that. In reflecting back on 8 years of being part of the World of Warcraft community, I wanted to talk about what I am thankful for and what this game means to me.

I never intended for anything I gained by being part of the WOW community to have an impact on my actual work or research.  However, after I graduated this summer with my PhD and started with a new lab (and had collaborators with much more unique perspectives), my experience as a WOW blogger is actually paying off in more ways than I could even imagine. Right now, I have earned just over $2,000 (22% of my goal) through a crowdfunding campaign (that I started almost a week ago) to fund a project where I’m  bridging my video game knowledge and autism knowledge to help design a new autism video game intervention. The generosity of the WOW community is actually changing my life and my research in ways I never could have anticipated or planned. We still have a long way to go, but I am truly and sincerely grateful for all the support.

I spent many years trying to hide who I was in real life to the WoW community, and hiding my WOW playing from my work/school. However, following my last blog post, the outpouring of support that started the day I blurred the line between gamer and psychologist has been incredibly outstanding. Even after 8 years of seeing how great this community was, you all still surprise me with how awesome you can be. I have had a huge outpouring of support from gamers, including those who either have autism themselves, or have a child with autism. I love hearing your stories, and all of your support means more to me than you may ever know.

In this case, I’m trying to explain that – being part of this WOW community has changed my life in ways I never anticipated when I picked up this funny game called “World of Warcraft” off the shelf. I think that playing this game has made me a better person, a stronger person, and a smarter person. I’m proud to be part of this game and this community.

What I am Thankful for is all of you.

Posted in Achievements, Research on video games, Written By Lissanna

The positive side of video games

Hi everyone! I’m taking a break from my normal style of posting to do one really important thing.

I wanted to introduce myself.

For all of my graduate school and into starting my new career, I have hidden behind the pseudonym Lissanna. For several years, I overall have talked very little on this blog about what I do on a day-to-day basis outside of the World of Warcraft. However, today, this is all about to change.

My name is Dr. Elisabeth Whyte (though my friends call me Lisa). I am a post-doctoral research assistant and lecturer at Penn State, in the Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience (see more info about our autism research here). My research focuses on how children and adolescents with autism understand language and how they process information from faces (eg. recognizing people or understanding emotional expressions). In addition, I am interested in understanding how to design interventions to help improve these skills in children and adolescents with Autism.

Video Games as Intervention Tools

There is now a growing field of research on “serious games,” where video game elements are incorporated into the design of health and education programs. These game elements include a sophisticated interface that is still user-friendly, increasing levels of difficulty, as well as a storyline and plot tied to the educational objectives. These games have been used for helping kids with cancer be better about taking their medications, they have been used to teach kids about healthy eating, and have been used in a variety of other applications. However, the field of Autism research has not done quite a good enough job in their use of appropriate video game elements in creating their interventions. Despite the bad reputation that video games have, it is actually possible to use elements from video games to make Autism interventions more fun and effective! As someone who has an expertise in both video games and autism interventions, I have a really unique position to make a difference in changing how interventions for children and adolescents with autism are designed.

But I need your help to do it!

Today, my research lab at Penn State has started a crowdfunding project, as part of the Scifund Challenge along with many other researchers from a wide variety of science backgrounds. Crowdfunding is something many video gamers should be familiar with, as it has been pretty heavily adopted by the video game industry. With how difficult it is to secure grant funding for science research, I decided that a unique approach to creating interventions should be accompanied by a unique approach to funding, as well.

My science crowdfunding project uses the Rockethub platform, where we ask for donations from you, in exchange for some exciting rewards related to my autism research and video games! At the end of our crowdfunding initiative, the money goes to my University and is earmarked for our lab to use to fund our autism intervention research. Please take some time to visit our Rockethub page to learn more about the specifics of my autism research project. Please also spread the word and tell your friends and family! Thank you for your support!

Project Update

We’re now on Day 2 of the project. We’ve had an amazing amount of positive feedback about the project. We have had a total of $625, which is a really amazing start! We still have a long way to go! Thank you to all the amazing gamers who have donated to the project so far, and are proving that gamers can do amazing things! If you haven’t had a chance to look at the site and help contribute, there is still time!

Posted in Achievements, Research on video games, Written By Lissanna


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