Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Sleep-Deprived Mom Game

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

The shortlink to play is: http://bit.ly/SleepMom

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 🙂

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!

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