I've got this wild idea and would like to see if others have attempted it or have resources.  If I can get it developed in time, I'd like to pilot it during / after state testing and work out the kinks for next year.

The premise is to run the class along the lines of World of Warcraft.  Students can "roll" an avatar, and customize it to a limited extent.  The curriculum would be set up as a series of challenges, where students would have to research and explore the concepts, then create an artifact that would demonstrate mastery.  Experience "points" tallies would be kept on a website to foster competition and cooperation.  Students could "group" for challenges, but would have to create individual artifacts.  Challenges could be done in any order, and content could be "zoned" to group it together.  "Cheat codes" or "hints" would be resources like podcasts with step by step instructions.

There are some pros and cons that I foresee:
1.  As an engagement piece, I think this is a winner.
2.  Having students explore and solve the challenges on their own would be effective than lecture.  Lets face it, kids want to learn, not be taught.
3.  I am concerned about the differences between boy and girl gamers.  Lots of butterflies and tinkerbells among my artsy girls, and I am sure the first time a boy chooses a girl avatar there will be cause for comment.  Not to mention the first sexy avatar from a developing young lady...
4.  Some curriculum lend itself to this sort of inquiry.  I teach digital media and art creation tools, so having challenge where a student demonstrates how to use the pen tool in Illustrator is not difficult.  Creating those higher order projects can be challenging, but fun!
5.  Pacing.  The hardest part about Warcraft or other role playing games is grinding away at repetitive tasks.  So, having students go yet again to ask.com to search for a resource will get a bit obvious and tedious.
6.  Grading.  I need to figure out the XP ratio for scoring (on a 0-4 scale, is a 3 worth 300 points?, when do you "level up"? What prizes do you get for leveling?)  Need to be able to speak coherently during parent conferences "Sorry, Mrs. Smith, your son is still only a level one n00b..."

So, this is my crazy idea.  One would think that as I go into my fifth year of teaching I'd have this all figured out by now, but nooooooo.......

Any feedback, war stories, anecdotes, resources, etc would be greatly appreciated.

Charles "For the Horde!" Harvey

Tags: Challenge, Gaming, Learning, Theory

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So, state testing is upon us, so I'm implementing the inquiry / challenge part (steps 4-6) of my idea starting this Friday. The game play aspect I'll pilot in September. All of the info below is posted on a secure wiki, so I've extracted the salient parts. The functional aspect is that students will create a wiki page, either solo or grouped, and choose a quest to complete by June 18th.

Here is the list of "quests":

Available Challenges by Subject Matter

* Prog01: Automator Learn how to use Automator
* Prog02: Processing Create an artifact using Processing and embed it into your website
* Prog03: Flash Game Create a game using Flash
* Prog04: Create a PHP database site Create a php based website using a database (text or mysql)

* Create a scale model of a building in SketchUp
* Create a scale model of a building or vehicle in Blender

* Create an animated story (2 minutes, with sound) using Flash
* Create an animated story (2 minutes) using Blender
* Create a fly through animation using SketchUp

* Create an interactive movie with Flash
* Create a 2 minute animated composition that addresses a social issue using After Effects
* Create a 2 minute animated composition that uses chroma key (green screen) to simulate far away places and tells a story

Print Design & Marketing
* Create marketing material (poster, banner, flyers) to promote a the yearbook, culmination, and other events (collaborate with leadership)
* Work with yearbook staff to recreate the yearbook as an interactive website with multimedia
* set up club photo pages for year book.
* Create 4 pages (2 class pages for the yearbook, with student photos & names correctly spelled, two other pages)

* Investigate and write about school clubs and afterschool programs for yearbook
* Investigate and report on the summer school program.

Here is an example of one quest description (Prog01:Automator):
workflow |ˈwərkˌflō| noun: the sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion.

Automator is a very powerful workflow tool that automates common tasks in Mac OS X. It is object based; you drag a series of objects from a list into your workflow, adjust the options and outcomes, then test your workflow.

The Automator Help ( Automator Menu Help / Automator Help)

1. Create a demonstration script (can be from a tutorial).
2. Identify a problem that Automator can be used to fix.
3. Write an Automator workflow to address the problem, test and demonstrate (via iShowU movie).
4. Create an iShowU tutorial that introduces a student to Automator and demonstrates how to use it. The tutorial will be used in the future on the Video Tutorials wiki.


All tasks should be completed and a conference requested no later than June 18th. You will need to have submitted all artifacts to your wiki page, scored your work according to the rubric and posted your projected score to your wiki. If you are in Miami, Kentucky or Florida, send your request for a conference to mrharvey@coronacharter.org no later than June 18th. Missed deadlines may result in a zero score. Projects completed early may result in an efficiency bonus score.

I'm in the process of writing the rest of the challenges, then I'm going to go back and refine the rubrics to meet any task specific requirements.

I'd love to read any comments and / or suggestions :-)



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