Game-Based Learning Talk

A quest to transform education through game-based learning

Posts Tagged ‘elearning

Educational Alternate Reality Game – Executive Order 9066

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(This is the next post in my description of the Finding Identity alternate reality game.)

The game continues with another email to all the players from John Takahashi, Jr. :

Hi again.  Because of the attack on Pearl Harbor, you’ve seen that your life in Reedley has suddenly changed.  Please try to persevere and help the others in your family cope with whatever negative situations come their way.

Here is what happens next: http://www.goforbroke.org/learning/arg/scenarios_eo9066.asp.  Read through the scenario and see what you’re supposed to do.

Good luck in getting through to the next scenario.

Best wishes, John Takahashi, Jr.

P.S. Look for a mention of my father in this scenario.

This scenario leads to the next collaborative puzzle (http://www.goforbroke.org/learning/arg/scenarios_eo9066-start.asp).  In this puzzle, each player is emailed three separate clues to find three single characters.

Here is a sample clue:

On the Smithsonian Natural Museum of American History’s A More Perfect Union website, go to the Removal section and find the “Constitution and Executive Order” sub-section. Read the transcript of Mary Tsukamoto.  Find the sentence that starts, “We couldn’t believe that they would need all of us to quit our work to produce our _______, food for victory”.  The character is the last letter in the missing word.

The puzzle have been designed with two purposes in mind:

  1. Engage the group in challenging, collaborative exercises
  2. Expose the players to a variety of web resources that they can utilize in the various assignments

After all the characters are found, the group must then rearrange the characters to create a web address (URL) that links to their next assignment, which will be discussed in the next blog post.

Written by randyfuj

June 4, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Education

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Educational Alternate Reality Game – Blog Assignment

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(This is the next post in my description of the Finding Identity alternate reality game.)

After finding all four words in the Pearl Harbor puzzle (the answer to the example clue is “ethnicity”), the players are emailed a link to their group’s assignment for this scenario: http://www.goforbroke.org/learning/arg/scenarios_pearl-harbor-assignment-blog.asp.

The group’s task is to:

Create a BLOG POSTING that answers the following question:

“In the days following December 7, 1941, how has your life in Reedley, CA as a member of the Takahashi family changed?”

The main learning objectives of this assignment are as follows:

  1. Players will research the effects of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Japanese Americans living on the mainland
  2. Players will collaborate to synthesize their thoughts on the subject
  3. Players will create a group collaborative blog using an online blogging tool

Here is an example of a blog that demonstrates the fulfillment of the learning objectives: http://mystoryinletters.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/letter-01-jane-takahashi-to-sue-isonaga/

One other thing to note about this and all future assignments: The group score is not only based on the quality of the work (10 points) but also the group discussion (10 points).  Emphasizing the discussion portion of the assignment makes the group focus more on their communication in their group’s private discussion forum.

The next blog post will be the start of the next scenario: Executive Order 9066.  Thanks for reading and providing any feedback!

Written by randyfuj

May 27, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Posted in Education

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Educational Alternate Reality Game – Pearl Harbor

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(This is the next post in my description of the Finding Identity alternate reality game.)

The next scenario in the game begins with an email to all the players from John Takahashi, Jr. :

Hello again.  Now that you know the other people who will be helping your survive through the war, you can now see what happens when the war first started in the U.S.: http://www.goforbroke.org/learning/arg/scenarios_pearl-harbor.asp

Read through the scenario and see what you’re supposed to do.  Remember that you are going through this adventure as part of a group, so please support your fellow group members.

Good luck getting through to the next scenario.

Yours Truly, John Takahashi, Jr.

This scenario immediately places the player in December 7, 1941 right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The player is playing as a member of a Japanese American family living in Reedley, California and so must now try to imagine what life is like when the news of Pearl Harbor is announced.

The scenario leads to the first puzzle of the game, which is described here: http://www.goforbroke.org/learning/arg/scenarios_pearl-harbor-start.asp. The puzzle is a collaborative one in which each of the four members in each group receives an email from the Game Master with a clue to find a specific word. Here is an example of a clue:

On the PBS The War (At Home, Civil Rights) website, Asako Tokuno says, “I’d never been aware of my, you know, my ________” prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Can you figure out this out?  I’ll give the answer in the next post.

This is a relatively easy collaborative puzzle because the only collaboration required is for the groups to get together in their private group discussion forum to post each word that each person finds. I purposely made the first puzzle an easy one in order to ease the players in to doing collaborative work.

After entering in all four words correctly, the group receives its next assignment, which will be discussed in the next blog post.

Written by randyfuj

May 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Education

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Educational Alternate Reality Game – The Discussion Board

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(This is the next post in my description of the Finding Identity alternate reality game.)

At the beginning of the game, all the group members need to get to know each other.  Therefore, the game’s first task is to introduce themselves to each other on the discussion board and then collaboratively come up with a group name.  In addition, this task allows the players to become familiar with the discussion board and how to post, reply, quote, and message each other.

The discussion board is the players’ primary communication medium in this game.  In the Finding Identity game rules, I’ve made it a point to stress that all group communication should be done in the discussion board.

The main reason for this is so that the instructor (Game Master) can view this communication and provide formative feedback to individual players or groups.  I’ve found that being able to provide good, continuous formative feedback is a key difference between an educational ARG and an entertainment ARG.

Speaking of differences between education and entertainment ARGs, in creating this game, I’ve observed that there are various tradeoffs that need to be made to make an ARG educational (instead of just entertaining).  I’ll try to point more of these differences out as the description of the game continues in future posts.

Can you think of any other obvious or not-so-obvious differences between educational and entertainment ARGs?

Written by randyfuj

May 18, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Posted in Education

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Educational Alternate Reality Game – Game Start

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(This is the next post in my description of the Finding Identity alternate reality game.)

The Finding Identity alternate reality game started out with an email to all the players from a person named John Takahashi, Jr. :

Hello, my name is John.  It is March 2010.  For me.  Not for you.  You will find out when and where you are shortly.

I am here to assist you in your upcoming endeavors.  You will need to rely on those closest to you along with your own ingenuity.  In order to survive and get back to the present day in 2010, you will need to be able to empathize with others and learn something about your own identity.

Here is what has happened to you: http://www.goforbroke.org/learning/arg/scenarios_start.asp

I will be in touch soon.  Until then, good luck!

Sincerely, John Takahashi, Jr.

The overall scenario is more functional than clever.  I needed an idea to get the players to believe that they are living in the 1940s and going through life as a typical Japanese American person.  Of course, this raises the conundrum of how are the players expected to use email, a discussion board, and other computer tools if they are “living” in the 1940s.  Still, the overall scenario “works” if only to get the player’s mindset focused on life in the 1940s.

You’ll see more about how the scenario evolves in the upcoming blog posts.  Do you have any ideas for other possible overall scenarios that might work for this game?

Written by randyfuj

May 15, 2010 at 11:10 am

Posted in Education

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Educational Alternate Reality Game

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First, a definition of an educational reality game:

AN EDUCATIONAL ALTERNATE REALITY GAME IS…
a social learning experience that takes place in both the real and online worlds using various puzzles and activities tied together though an emerging storyline.

I’m currently designing an educational alternate reality game called Finding Identity.  The game is geared toward high school or college social studies students and is about the history of Japanese Americans during World War II.

I just finished conducting a field trial of the game, which consisted of 16 participants (4 teams of 4 players) playing the game over the course of a month.  Over the next several posts in this blog, I will describe the details of the field trial in order to give you (the reader) some ideas about how alternate reality games can be used as effective educational activities.

Here is the game’s learning objectives and promo (teaser) video: http://www.goforbroke.org/learning/arg.

My next post will show you how the game starts off.  Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your comments and questions about educational alternate reality games.

Written by randyfuj

May 13, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Posted in Education

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