Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Missives from the MOOC 2: Super-Empowered

A set of questions for educators:
  • Wouldn’t you love it if your students had “the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle, combined with the belief that [they] have a reasonable hope of success”?
  • Would you like your class to have a “tight social fabric”?
  • Would you like your students to be “willing to work hard all the time”?
  • Would you like to feel like your class is working on “awe-inspiring missions”?
These are no-brainers, right? Obviously, we would love our students and classes to have these characteristics.

In her March 2010 TED talk "Gaming Can Make a Better World," Jane McGonigal lists these as the exact strengths that we develop through experiences with games:
  • Urgent Optimism
  • Social Fabric
  • Blissful Productivity
  • Epic Meaning
She goes on to discuss how we need to harness those strengths in tackling the problems faced by our world, but my thoughts go immediately to the classroom. How can I use the design elements of games to help my students become “super-empowered, hopeful individuals”?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Missives from the MOOC 1

I've just joined a MOOC. As I travel on this six week journey, I want to use these Missives to share some of the best bits.

First, what on earth is a MOOC? MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. They are online courses that are available for anyone to join.

Here's a short video with Dave Cormier's explanation:

There are variations in how MOOCs are structured, but the one I've joined includes a variety of content and projects about using games in education. We will have opportunities to communicate through discussion forums, chats on Twitter, and streaming video on Google Hangout. We won't have grades, but there are opportunities to earn awards and badges. It's a great opportunity to learn alongside a group of motivated educators from a variety of backgrounds.

What are we learning about in this MOOC? In the first three weeks we are learning about apps, AR (Augmented Reality), and ARGs (Alternate Reality Games). In the second three weeks, we are applying what we have learned to create our own games using these tools.