Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 18 seconds

Sleep-Deprived Mom Game

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 18 seconds

I had a brainstorm… and I created this Sleep-Deprived Mom Game

The shortlink to play is:

flickr photo shared by landotter under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

The back story is… well, I wrote on my blog about why I don’t sleep much... but I am not sure everyone “gets it” unless they’ve lived through it?

I also wrote earlier today about two games that are “choose your own adventure” style and both of which promote empathy (SPEND promotes empathy for those living in poverty in the US; and DepressionQuest promotes empathy for depression).

I wanted to ask my own students to create their own game of that type… and to use a simple tool like Google Forms to do it… so I thought of the sleep deprivation idea because it’s something I know well (haha) and I tried the new Google Forms quiz option (at least, I think it’s a new option; it’s new to me anyway) – with branching questions. The branching questions are important so that each choice takes the user to a different place; however, the quiz tool didn’t work perfectly; I wanted to assign different scores for each option chosen (in terms of hours of sleep lost) and I couldn’t exactly do it; answers were either correct or incorrect… maybe I’ll tweak with different answer options… but I liked that the quizzing meant I could provide “feedback” after the “quiz/game” was over and people could look over their answers and see the feedback… so there’s that.

It took me about 2 hours to create because I’m familiar with the topic and I’m familiar with Google Forms – so I expect it would take someone more time if either of these were new… but it was still relatively simple and straightforward, especially that I wrote out my brainstorm questions on EverNote, emailed them to myself, then copied/pasted parts onto Google Forms (not a simple process but some thinking/typing saved there).

Update. Thanks to some discussion with Michael Weller on Twitter and exploration of how different parents would have totally different responses… I am thinking of asking students to

  1. Individually pick a theme
  2. Blog a prototype game based on their theme and tag the blogpost 
  3. Based on their prototype game, then decide if someone else in class has a similar game or one that could benefit from merging into one bigger, fuller game

My main idea would be for them to develop a game that fosters empathy for some cause. So…street children. Refugees. Particular illnesses or disabilities. Orphans. Maybe even less severely marginal (but still needing social justice) groups like campus security guards. Adjunct faculty. I am just wondering if the students are mature enough to go out and do the research properly or if some of thos might end up being an exercise in imagination… Or if they might benefit from working with AUC offices like the disability office or career office or student mentoring… Like creating scenarios for finding jobs after graduation. Or for navigating campus when you have a certain disability. Or for managing your time when you’re a freshman. Or fitting into Cairo when you’re an international student. Something like that… Depending on what they’re mature enough to do. I want to trust them to do more but I haven’t met them yet and this is meant to be a warm up type of assignment not the big one šŸ™‚

What if

  • What if I opened up the call to anyone in the world to develop games at the same time as us?
  • What if my students could collaborate with people outside of our class on this? Anyone in the world?
  • What if other classes were doing something similar?

Anyway – I’m also embedding the game here if you’d like to play it without leaving… there’s space to leave feedback at the end of the form/game, or you can leave comments here on my blog. Thanks!

12 thoughts on “Sleep-Deprived Mom Game

  1. Hi Maha – I already tried commenting once and it all corrupted so apologies for the potential brevity. I like this concept and apologies if I am reading into it wrong but I see it as a tool for someone to be able to reflect on their position within an issue/concept/community/group/situation etc? Sort of like a self-surveillance and reflection tool? However, it would be important to make sure that there isn’t a scale applied to the outcome (as you elude to) so that there isn’t a good/bad right/wrong better/worse and so on.

    As a tool for self-reflection, I would suggest that it is important to respect a student’s (or marginalised person’s) privacy. Having the space to think about the questions, reflect on themselves and answer puts us in a vulnerable position and I would feel reluctant to use Google Forms as a means to collect this data. Perhaps Brian Lamb has other suggestions that will better support this notion?

    sorry – I hope the ramblings make sense!


    1. hi Kate… I think you’ve taken it partly like what I intended and partly not… it’s mainly not for the “player” to reveal anything about themselves, as they are “playing” to empathize with the game creator. So data collection isn’t actually the objective… though I could use something more secure like Survey Monkey, that’s not going to be free for students to use (and something like Twine is more complicated for them to learn about). One could use an offline PowerPoint presentation or Google Slides and not collect any data… the advantage of the “quiz” option was that I could give feedback after the fact… but again, feedback can be on the actual responses in some other way that would not collect data…

      So for example… if one were to create one to empathize with refugees, you would possibly know stuff about refugees but anonymize it completely into scenarios that aren’t pointing to any particular person… and the player would take on a role and try to make decisions… I just found such a game, actually:

      I will write about it soon

  2. Someone shared that you can now use an Image as one/more of the Answers in Google Forms, which might be a way to “play” a game like this in a more visual nature .. just thinking ..

  3. Interesting self-reflection approach, I can see the very personal context though. I should create a version for working moms and work-life balance with 3 boys! Thinking about how empathy towards working mothers in the workplace in gaining ground. Although for example moms who sacrifice for kids seem to get less acceptance than men who do the same and are labelled SuperDads. But maybe the dynamic is starting to change
    I’m a proud working mom regardless…

  4. Hey Dr. Maha, Were it you who created this game? It was really fun.
    From my little experience, I knew that you have a little kid; she is a girl, Is not it?
    I also believe that bringing up children is not easy, especially if one is working. I think that when you were designing this game, you were trying to relate things from real life, especially your life, with the choices in the game. I want to mention that I am a male and I chose male in the question in the inception, but one of the choices were ask Daddy! I am supposed to be daddy, Insha2allh! So, I think you meant ask grandpa or grandma, since many families in Egypt have grandma or grandpa living nearby, may be in the same apartment!
    I want to add one last thing!
    I believe the game will be funny if it is provided with more tragic choices, such as being late that you will lose your work. The more tragic events or choices are, the more the game is influential and funny as I believe.
    Thanks for you attention to the comment! It was quite meaningful.
    It really helped me to live a depressed person’s life.

    1. Thanks Adham. Not a depressed person – just sleep-deprived. Good point about asking daddy, but the game is that regardless of whether you are male or have children, in the game, you play the part of a mom.

  5. Thank you for this, Maha! I needed a reminder that Iā€™m not alone in this dead-tired-mom adventure!

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