Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Four Stories to Remember from This Semester’s Class

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This hasn’t been my best teaching semester by ANY stretch of the imagination,  for various reasons including just too much going on.

But there are 4 things that were really special this semester and I want to record them for later 🙂

  1. One of our students got so engrossed in writing for reflection, that he blogged more often than he was required because he says it helped him learn better. For an 18 year old to discover this about himself is really cool! I don’t think I had that insight at that age
  2. One group in my class developed a game raising awareness of mental illness in which players impersonated a person with mental illnesses and acted out what they would do in situations the game would throw at them, gaining empathy in the role play process. I was in love with the idea of this game and it was very well-executed (which doesn’t always happen). But what really struck a chord with me was discovering, in the final reflective blogs, that one member of the team designing this game herself has mental illnesses and has family members with mental illness. This also reminded me of what I wrote of earlier regarding participatory design vs empathetic design. When someone who lives the “thing” is the one building/designing or raising awareness for it, it can be that much better able to address their needs.
  3. This was the second semester I invite students to my office to discuss their game design ideas pre-prototype. One group didn’t just discuss their ideas, but just sat and chatted in general about their attitude towards their studies in high school and at AUC. I think they forgot I was there or something, so it was a really cool window into their way of thinking and how they prioritize their work
  4. The same group in #3 designed a game that took up lots of floor space when we playtested it in the library. While I believe it wasn’t necessary to design the game like that, I concede that it helped market their game and added an extra fun element to it. I think it was the most playtested game ever since I started teaching this course!

That’s all for now!

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Maha. I must admit the first time you blogged about a game in which players impersonated people with mental illness, it made my skin crawl. My mind jumped to a winter play done at my kids school in which kids dressed in towels and banged on bongos in a disasterous portrayal of “Inuit” culture. After seeing it, I understood why my middle daughter had refused to participate. Culture is complex and mental health issues are probably even more complex.

    Hearing that someone involved in the creation of the game suffers from mental health issues this morning, softened my reaction significantly. I’m not even completely sure why, but I agree that it has something to do with participatory design. Still thinking…

    • Ahhh i worried too when they shared their idea. I asked them to visit a psychologist. When they protoyped in class first time (after psych visit) it was sensitively done but i asked them to check out DSM definitions to ensure data was good quality. They basically informed the player more and more about the illness with each “turn”. It was actually really a good learning game. Also they had played Depression Quest beforehand which i think inspired this game. That one’s also created by someone who has depression. I think now their game was done well because that student was in the group, not because they interviewed the psychologist, tho am sure the latter helped the others

  2. Nice observations and takeaways indeed, which is probably the main reason I found it on Google. Getting mad with blogging is quite useful if properly used for academic purpose. Although it can also be quite alienating at times, it does pay off if students learn the basic tenets of blogging early in their course. The blog https://assignmentessayhelp.com/ultimate-guide-to-write-an-academic-blog/ sums up quite most of the building blogs to maintaining a good academic blog as a student. Speaking of events, we had once enacted a debate based blog where two teams were supposed to blog on the same topic and the other students were supposed to promote or comment in them. It was more of a war in the comments, than what was initially talked about in the blog itself. 🙂

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