“active, critical learning should lead to learners becoming designers, either by physically designing extensions to the game or by cognitively extending the game design and using that to inform their play.”
Gee, J.P. 2003. What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
A few days into this; and I’m thinking about an overall learning framework for the game that will allow professional development; on-going development of shared-lesson activities though an alternate reality game.
In essence, if you want teachers to learn about enquiry/technology then use this as something to ground it.
They are then adding to an authentic project; contributing ideas and resources in a safe-fail supportive learning community – bigger than one school or system – and driven by a web-group, not individuals in a school. Over 6 months … a project to call home, and a place to learn and sandbox ideas about 21st Century Learning.
The alternate reality for this of course is that no one will participate; and that in 2010, we’ll have no more answers than we have now. But you get that with social media types. This is a community of task, interest and vocation – using social media.
It begins by asking questions (we’re great at that)
- How to engage teachers in the development of their own professional practice and skills?
- How to get them to develop these in an authentic, supporting personal learning network?
- How to allow students to assist teachers in shaping the learning activities and not be ‘creepy treehouse’?
- How to allow ‘expert’ tech savvy teachers – to use the project as a professional learning environment?
- How to allow rote/didactic skill development activities (how to, tutorials) with in overall constructavist approaches?
- How to allow off-line and low access to technology students/teachers to develop and create activities in full participation?
- What are the assessment and evaluation resources needed to work out if this worked?
Why choose an alternate reality game as a model for professional learning?
They have a number of advantages over commercial games or developing fully online games from scratch. They are lo-fi, in that they can use a range of web technologies that are accessible in the local context so, while they do require some expertise and creativity to design, they are far cheaper and faster to create than developing high-end software, and can ensure that specific learning outcomes are met. A this point, I’m thinking that a central platform is needed as a hub, and in that I’m leaning toward Grou.ps – which is open source, social and seems to have connections to a range of services that even the Twitterati would be soothed by. The alternative is Ning, but open to other offers.