Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

#TvsZ 6.0 – student feedback from Cairo

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I just came out of class with my students. Note that this is only the SECOND official class I have had with them, but because of our interactions on Twitter, I felt really close to them and already knew most of their names.

I voted at the beginning of class on whether they wanted to spend the entire class time discussing #TvsZ (most participated but some asked for extensions to finish up missions and stuff; a couple didn’t do much at all so need to get some work done ASAP). Or whether they wanted to spend the whole class time playing a Jeopardy game (i call it “name the game game” that I created and improved upon from last semester). Or whether we could play jeopardy and discuss #TvsZ briefly. They opted for the middle way (reminds me of a DM discussion with Pete, but that’s another story).

So we played the Jeopardy game. One of the categories that I added was “#TvsZ terms” so that was also a fun indirect way to see how involved each had been in the game. I did also use TAGS Explorer before starting class to recognize the most frequent tweeters but explained to them that it was not about the numbers, but about what they learned doing stuff. And that even though I would be looking at their tweets as well, their blogpost reflecting on their learning, as well as links to any artifacts they’d done for missions they’d done, would all give a clearer view of what they’d learned playing it.

After the Jeopardy game we discussed #TvsZ in like 15 mins. Most of them were really confused at first (who wouldn’t be?) but quite a few felt they got the hang of it in the end and really enjoyed playing. Some are still confused. However, even the one who remained confused participated in the discussion of what they had learned. Mainly the collaboration, learning to use twitter in different ways, learning to change rules and switch strategies when new missions came about, and learning to use some new technologies to do the missions.

More than just this brief discussion, however, I look forward to seeing their reflective blogposts a week from now, and seeing how we can reflect back on this shared experience as we learn more about educational games in the semester. I want to see whether it will help them get more creative in the games that they create themselves, and I look forward to their final end-of-semester reflections.

The students also seemed to enjoy it when I talked about how I ended up participating in the game design of #TvsZ. I told them how I, like them, had a slight “authority” thing, in that when I thought to “hack” the game without Zombies, i talked to Andrea then DM’d Pete for permission. I did not feel I could continue discussing a no-zombie option without Pete’s blessing. I am now unsure why 😉 We talked also about their reluctance to break rules. I mean, one of the things they felt they learned was this whole “keeping up with the rules” thing. And they loved that they were able to participate in changing the rules. One of them who had wanted to create a new team was frustrated that it never came out as an official rule and by the time he noticed my DM about rogue teams, it was slightly too late. Well he still created a “nature with tech” team but they’d not done many missions, so 🙂

One of them from team tech was the only one from class who stayed on it, and so he talked about how he had to login really late so his team members would be awake and he could participate. They laughed when i told them about my 1am hangouts with the admin team.

They talked about how they think the whole “recruit” thing should focus on persuasion and it reminded me of something Pete was saying y/day about a player who tried to persuade him and never actually used the #recruit action. And it seems that this game worked like that, in that if you recruited someone who was unwilling, they could easily find another to rescue them or recruit them back. There was little force involved. Most of my tech students moved to team nature and stayed probably out of peer pressure, in that they did not want to feel alone in the twitterverse by being on a dissenting team or something. Worth analyzing later…

For my students, we are studying neither language nor digital anything. We’re studying educational game design in a course on creativity. And so I could definitely see the impact of this game on the way they were seeing creative game design.

I’ll stop here for now….

7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Non-Violent Twitter vs Zombies - Rhonda Jessen.com

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