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

Written by: Spencer Greenhalgh

Primary Source: Spencer Greenhalgh


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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Hi there! My name is Spencer Greenhalgh, and I am a student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology doctoral program at Michigan State University. I came to Michigan State University with a strong belief in the importance of an education grounded in the humanities. As an undergraduate, I studied French and political science and worked as a teaching assistant in both fields. After graduation, I taught French, debate, and keyboarding in a Utah private school before coming to MSU, where I plan to study how technology can be used to help students connect the humanities with their lives. I have a particular interest in the use of games and simulations to promote ethical reasoning and explore moral dilemmas, but am eager to study any technology that can help students see the relevance of studying language, culture, history, and government.