Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 24 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

About My Educational Game Design Course

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 24 seconds

(the below is a copy of an email I sent to a colleague at work whom I have asked to help me out with the assessment of the Twitter Scavenger Hunt & the #tvsz hack game. She asked me what my course was about, what the learning outcomes were, and why I was doing those two activities; strangely, people who follow my blog regularly probably know all these things, but I thought I’d spell out the email here in my blog just in case people care to know!)

It’s the SEMR 1099 Creativity & Creative Problem Solving course, and I’m doing the Educational Game Design module (third of three). I‘ve posted part of my syllabus (pertaining to my part of the course, mostly, on a google doc for others to see here)
I taught it last semester but because of a scheduling mix-up, I had only 2 weeks with my students instead of 4.
The way I run the course (which i later discovered follows edu game design expert Ana Salter’s approach) is to do 3 things:
1. Play games
2. Reflect on games with my students
3. Have them design their own games (slightly scaffolded to make the games “educational”, with my feedback)
They did great work last semester in just 2 weeks and the outcome was better than anything I could have expected. Not the games themselves, but that the students gained so much confidence in themselves and in their creativity (through my module specifically, where they practiced all they had learned in the previous modules). You can see a summary blogpost here.
I intentionally do not want students to create games using tech because that would privilege some students over others, and make the others “pale” in comparison (though I have to start revising this idea based on what people like Ana Salter and Kevin Hodgson do).
I intentionally do not want students to use fancy materials to create their games, so I asked them to use recycled material last time.
NOW: even though the students created wonderful stuff in 2 weeks, I think they could get MORE creative. They needed to be exposed to a wider variety of “educational” games so they could imagine something that is
a. Different in terms of how it approaches learning (so answers are not mere “recall of facts” like many of them did; only ONE game was totally focused on non-fact knowledge; the others had large elements of factual knowledge)
b. Different in terms of format: not just board games or board-game-like games.
And then in the summer I played #tvsz, a 3-day twitter game and came up with the idea of using the game in my class. The game cover a & b above. It teaches digital literacy and things like collaobration indirectly as you play the game; at the same time, it’s format is unique but also VERY LOW TECH. Very accessible to anyone of their age.
The purpose of the Twitter game (#tvsz) I just explained. We’ll play that Nov 14-16 but the game is modified because Andrea and I (two of the game “hackers”) don’t like the “zombie” theme.
The Twitter Scavenger Hunt is just my way of playing a game as a way of introducing them to Twitter, to prepare them for the game on Nov 14-16. I feel I have failed to ever explain Twitter via a regular workshop. People don’t “get it”. I don’t think they’ll ever “get it” unless they find other people responding to them and things like that. So if you’ve read my recent blogposts on the topic, I have many people lined up to do just that.
So to re-cap. The (roughly worded) learning outcomes of the Twitter Scavenger Hunt. Students will:
–  (skill) Practice using twitter to interact with other people, find people on Twitter, use hashtags, and post photos [so it’s just a “twitter workshop” that’s meant to be highly experiential and fun];
– (knowledge) Reflect on “scavenger hunt” as a kind of educational game (which we will do later, or I might ask them to blog about it)
– (attitude) Experience the power of Twitter to connect with people all over the world
The (roughly-worded) learning outcomes of the #tvsz game. Students will:
– (skill) Enhance their twitter/digital literacy skills
– (skill) Participate in the “changing rules” of the game (happens roughly 6 times during the game time) and (knowledge) reflect on the impact of rule changing on game dynamics and engagement; also (attitude) begin to recognize power issues in gaming
– (knowledge) Reflect on the indirect learning that took place via this game and start imagining how to design one’s own game using what was learned about gaming in #tvsz
– (attitude) Experience the power of Twitter to connect with people all over the world
BOTH the above activities are meant to support the LARGER outcome for the whole course of helping students apply creativity to various contexts – in my module, that context is to design an educational game in a creative way (many educational games are boring; I will be playing many more games with them as we go along, btw).
Thanks to my colleague for asking those questions and making me spell it all out. Will post all this on my blog now for others to know!!! (err, that’s what THIS is)


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