Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Re-Thinking Twitter Scavenger Hunt

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

I had a heavy dose of reality y/day as I read students’ blogposts on the Twitter Scavenger Hunt. It occurred to me before that asking students to reflect on blogs might produce overly positive responses as students try to please me or would not want to publicly critique me, but some of them actually did, and I am glad they felt comfortable doing so – I’d only met them three times total, so that’s a big achievement in and of itself.

So here are the most important things I learned (many seem obvious in hindsight, but now I am thinking of how to use them to my advantage as we go forward with students designing their own games):

  1. No one activity is likely to engage ALL students equally. That’s OK. What is important is not to have ALL our activities done in the SAME way so that the SAME students are always the ones engaged… or not. So I am glad our first class had a bit of a kinesthetic aspect and addressed multiple intelligences; our second class had board/card games designed by an Egyptian and our third class was a Twitter scavenger hunt. That’s three quite different types of games. It’s also interesting because one student said something during class that implied it engaged him but then he blogged a really well-written critique of the game, suggesting we do some more physical “hunting” during the game. I think I’ll try that next year!
  2. The Twitter addict thing. Being a Twitter addict I don’t usually think of it as a bad thing. But I’m not a college student. I learned that a few of my students were recovering Twitter addicts who had had the willpower to uninstall or leave Twitter for some time and they had to go back to it because of my class. I feel bad about this. In future, I might give some people an “opt out” option and an alternative assignment. I’m not sure. There is an element of me wanting people to go outside their comfort zone (so I don’t want people who have never used Twitter not to try it) but on the other hand I don’t want my class to harm anyone (e.g. by getting them back on Twitter and distracting them just before final exam time!)
  3. Reading. Some students understood why we were searching for resources and actually read them. Others obviously didn’t. It’s so obvious in their blogs. I need to do something about this. Like ask them to blog what they found useful in the readings (as I had done in the previous assignment).

On the plus side:

  1. Most students did actually enjoy the game, and many were particularly excited about interacting with people from all over the world and happy to find Egyptian people writing about educational games. Those were two of my own goals as a teacher
  2. Some students clearly did read some of the resources they found and wrote thoughtful blogposts about it
  3. I think I can see that students have, on average, done more reading in my class this semester than in previous semesters. Beforehand, when I assigned one or two readings, I didn’t check if they’d read (not essential for my class) but this time I knew which students had read and which hadn’t
  4. I found new resources I would not have found otherwise!!! In students’ quest to find articles related to Egyptian educational games, someone Tweeted a list of companies that do it (other than Weldana which I knew) and a student found this e-book about ancient Egyptian games (not free but I’ll get it at $5). Here is the Tweet with other edu game designers in Egypt:

Next steps

  1. Have students blog their game ideas for feedback from the digital public (on Monday)
  2. Remind students their games will be played on campus on the last day of class (Monday 18)

My slides for today are here (loving Haikudeck)

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