Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 17 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Reflection on my students’ games

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 17 seconds

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I came back from a really exhausting, draining day, to find that some of my (mostly freshman) students from “module 3 : designing educational games” had written their reflections on the process of creating the game as a group. These aren’t all the reflections, but just the ones who submitted their reflection before the deadline. I am so glad they did, because they made my day!

This was a really heartwarming assignment to read, especially that:

1. Many students commented on how they could not imagine doing this when they first heard of it, but doing it has made them believe more in their ability to do things they had not imagined before (including one who now wants to be a game designer)

2. Many students seem to have used what they learned in module 1 about creative thinking – my colleague, Hoda, is the one who taught this module, and I really wanted students to apply what they learned in her module, to see they can transfer that learning to many other contexts

3. That students felt able to educate others about a cause they cared about

4. That they actually enjoyed working together!

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All I did to help these students create these games was: play some games with them, ask them to reflect on what they like about their own fave games, and what might be educational about them, ask them identify a cause they care about, think of certain ‘learning objectives’ they want for their game, and work as a group to creatively create the game using low-cost materials (with some feedback from me as they thought about it, and some feedback from others in other teams). Very low scaffolding. The criteria for assessing the games (done as peer review during the last class meeting as we played the games) were:
– how clear are the instructions?
– how educational was the game?
– how creative was the game concept?
– how creative was the game design?
– overall (scores from Excellent to Poor)

It was a fun class, but reading the reflections was even more fun for me (I am nerdy that way).

Below are some select quotes from students’ blogs, with photos I took of their games before we all played them in class.

History’s Victory (or Risk it All or Old is Gold – they made the winner choose the name of the game, but they had all three name options)

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One student, Sandy, called it an “unforgettable activity”, and wrote

” I have learned that I can do many things that I thought it was impossible to do. I have learned also to do not reject something before I try to do it”

Another student in the same group, Ahmed, wrote:

“We would all have that typical type of thinking which is we don’t have the enough qualities and skills to be able to create a game and it will need a lot of money, etc. however, after starting module three and understanding the concepts, it seems to be much more easier than I though it was at the beginning, you don’t need money, plus you have the skills and the qualities to create a very nice game. Especially after watching the video that Dr.Maha viewed in class which is about the poor people who are able to make music out of trash. “

Karim, from the same group said:

“Once again this course continues to interest me and grasp my attention more and more at the time I am losing interest and wanting to be done with all my other courses. “

Poor & Proud

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Marina from this group wrote:

“Even though our classmates enjoyed the game so much and they did not want to stop, but we actually went through lots of difficulties to produce such a game with a new idea. We chose the problem of poverty because we believe that it is the main problem in Egypt and lots of poor children do not actually have games to play.”

This brought to home how important it was to let the students choose the “cause” they truly cared about.

Historian

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Salma, from this group wrote:

“It seems that I have never been inspired before about anything as I did when I heard about creating a game in Module 3”

She also wrote,

“[I] Just did not ever imagine of creating a game that would entertain and educate at the same time. I always used to believe that education cannot “MIX” with entertainment”

She now thinks she might one day become a game designer herself! I believe this is possible and that she would do a great job!

Pollutionary

Leena from this group wrote:

“The process of creating the game was fun as it involved almost nothing but hand work like coloring, cutting the cardboard on the shape of the game.”

And also,

“I realized that we can make great things using very simple material, which is great.”

Another student from the same group, Mohamed, wrote:

“this course has helped us all into being more creative people and it really helped us all in achieving a lot of our hidden potential.”

And here are photos of their game:

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3 Comments

  1. This is great Maha! This reminds me of much of my experience of cooperative work. In particular the importance of not assuming that you know what work/learning looks like. It reminds me of nature film-makers who go into a hide to observe.

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