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pounamu-logoThis coming Thursday (Aug 29) from midday we will be running Pounamu again for 24 hours. This is a free, online game set in a future world where all of us can use science as easily as they can use a computer now. We ran the game for the first time last year, in conjunction with the Transit of Venus forum and boy was it addictive. Sciblogger Michael Edmonds wrote a post about his experiences last year. Like Michael, I found it to be one of the most stimulating and exciting forms of science communication I had ever engaged in – I learnt a lot.

You play by posting micro-forecasts (concise ideas – 140 characters, like twitter) of future possibilities, or build on and reshape other players’ ideas. Here’s a micro-forecast from last time by our very own Peter Griffin:

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This provocative statement started a conversation that went in several directions:

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You gain points and move up the game leader-board by posting ideas that create more discussion, contributing interesting ideas to the game and winning awards. This year Auckland University Press are offering copies of Get Off the Grass as prizes. Peter would have scored some points for his fore-cast, but so would have those who built on Peter’s initially card.

You can play for five minutes and share one idea, or play for the whole game and post hundreds of possible futures.  Anyone can play as long as they have an internet connection for their browser – players can register here in advance. There will be some public playing hubs in libraries, museums and other places where you can drop in and get the hang of playing and share the experience with others. I will be playing at Te Papa on Level 4 at one of our public hubs.

The conversation which produced the most discussion last year concerned the teaching of science in te Reo from a Maori perspective. What impressed me most was that the subsequent discussion appeared to change many people’s minds about this idea. The conversation tree is shown below – click here to view the tree on prezi or just click on the image to download:

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So please join us this Thursday and Friday to play Pounamu! pounamu-pin