I Get Knocked Down... but I Get Up Again

That statement could sure apply to my life, or to the Democratic turn across the country or to any teacher's lesson planning. Despite staying up until 2:00 watching election results, I adapted another instruction session using gaming strategies today. And, like most first time lessons, it had a few kinks - but should work out well.

Here are some of the gaming strategies used:
- Encouraging inquiry
- Open ended exploration
- Context bridging from instruction to application
- Scaffolding
- Personalization

These goals worked well and the students did a solid job of applying the research process to individual sources.

The students were given a research question and asked to find a source within the given resource. The students quickly ran through the process to reach the goal - this action makes since within the context of games. Given a specific end point the students work to reach that goal to complete the task or goal as quickly as possible. The challenge, as instructors, is to pull back the layers and expose the process more. Question the students. Find out why they took the path they took. When asked the students were able to explain the choices they made and provided good examples for other students.

The one piece that challenged the lesson and knocked me down was the struggle the students had getting started. The lesson tried to provide an open ended exercise for the student to explore and find their own way. Sounds good on paper doesn't it? The lesson did not clearly define the learning goals for the lesson. And due to the large degree of personal exploration and exploration that the lesson encouraged, the students struggled to get started in the activity.

Open ended lessons are a good gaming strategy, but the students struggle without a framework. I think that providing the students a framework for the activity does not take away from the productivity of gaming strategies. In a game, players test and discover the physics of the world/game they are playing. For the in-class activity, the students were not aware of the activities "physics."

I'm working with the other librarians to modify it and help define the "physics" and framework. I'm teaching it again in 11hours so I'll post about the success/failure again after the class.