Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

The View from the Center of #TvsZ 6.0

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I have like 5 blogposts in my head but this is the most urgent one because I wanted to capture the thoughts in my head (side note: wrote this post in my head while putting my 3-year-old to sleep after a traumatic day at the doctors; but this is nothing compared to all sorts of stuff happening to others on the organizing team, so am not complaining).

So… but let me start by saying that being part of the “team” who thought up and is running #TvsZ 6.0 is possibly on of the COOLEST experiences I have ever had! Thank you Pete, Andrea, Janine, Lizzie, Christina and JR for all of this!

But let me also say it is EXTREMELY intense to be doing two things at the same time:
1. Running admin for the game (as I was at the beginning of it y/day)
AND
2. Doing it as part of a class, with actual students in it

Because there is a commitment to the game itself and other facilitators, but also a commitment to support my students through it, and it’s very difficult to do both well at the same time. Yesterday my husband was trying to talk to me and I wasn’t responding because I had like 4 windows open on (his) laptop, 2 iPads open (one with HootSuite, one with twitter) and my phone and eyes switching between them frantically. It was difficult to explain to my husband that this intensity was actually umm fun?

It’s been intense, stressful, exhausting, but also amazing. Because we knew when designing this game and first sharing it with our students that it was not a perfect game. It was not the #TvsZ people had played several times before. We were changing a lot of the little things in it and they made the game different. Kevin Hodgson wrote a blogpost where he sums up a lot of the changes nicely and also asks some really good questions [most of which we had thought of but he put them really well, too – btw, Kevin, this run of #tvsz isn’t part of #digirimo but I did ask Jesse and Sean to help promote it]

But so some of the cool things that have happened are the most recent rule changes which I think have a different flavor from past rule changes (though I’d only ever played it once, actually) in that they take account of the diversity of players (with at least 20 being from Egypt) – one is the 7 minute rule instead of 5 minute – to take account of slightly choppy internet connections for some Egyptians (though as Janine says, internet varies in the US, too). The 7 mins sounds like a compromise because I remember my student suggesting 10 mins. The other cool change relates to bilingual missions 😉 This could turn really cool though of course there are lots of bilingual people in the US, too!

The other really cool thing is the rogue teams that have formed – and that the rules committee are so far mostly ignoring them. It’s funny to say this, coz umm some of the people ON THE ROGUE teams ARE part of the rules committee; so ummm hahaha what’s that again? As I was writing this I got interrupted by a tweet by Pete saying “in many ways, things that go rogue in #tvz become the standard 🙂 evolution!) [not copying link to tweet, no time…]

I need to go focus on twitter – looking forward to how this plays out over the next few hours and tomorrow!

Oh, and a note for #ccourses – speaking of co-learning, I am learning so much from our students as this unfolds and enjoying their suggestions and behavior in the game

7 Comments

  1. I didn’t have much time to talk with my students about the game because I ended up not being in class last week but the one thing I told them was, “The game is supposed to be fun and lively — so do whatever you have to do to keep it fun, even if you have to hack the game.” So when it seemed like EVERYONE was on Team Nature, they started coming up with rogue teams to keep things lively.

    • Well it’s so cool, and I am glad they got the spirit of it… My problem now is that my students kept recruiting me into their team and it makes them feel safe or something 😉 so i’m in a bit of a bind, like separation anxiety 😉 hehe

  2. I know what you mean! That’s why I was loyal to Team Dragon — they were my students.

  3. This is what I love about you: the way you totally jump in and immerse yourself in things – one minute you’re participating in something for the first time; the next minute you’re facilitating the experience! Awesome work – will have to give this tvsz thing a go one day…!!

  4. Fun times, if somewhat hectic. Nicely done, all of you game administrators. I am most interested in how you take what happened over the weekend into your classrooms for discussions on what happened, from a literary and digital perspective.
    Kevin

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