Pacing “Do you have to write down the point of the game here?” “Yea, but you can do that later, right now we’re only supposed to be doing backgrounds.” “Okay” –Clearly established goals, but these don’t dominate the learning environment
Responding to students’ ideas –Positive –Specific to the project –Language is informal and connects to background of students “Is he going to have a weapon or jump on them?” “ I was going to have him throw a Ninja Star.” “That’s cool.”
Combination of patience, guidance, involvement “What kind of attack do you want?” “Now we have to give your character rules,” and “We need some door rules” - Instructor can easily connect to ideas of the student; they are drawing from similar background media/cultural experiences “Does Dark Spike fire at you?” “Is it going to be a maze or are you going to go around and kill stuff?” - Their role is to help the students complete their goal, i.e., completing the game
Instructors actively problem-solving, asking advice of others - instructor needed to go to the tutorial to learn how to use the keyboard to move characters; she models using tools for learning
Respect for students’ ideas; garner respect from students by showing their knowledge and expertise “I want to make a rule that has a sword moving, so the character can kill the octopus.” “Just add this rule, like this. Sweet!”
Instructors provide visual as well as oral support as the students develop their games.
Instructors recognize the importance of dialogue, to share ideas, give feedback about the students’ ideas, provide alternative solutions, discuss the limitations of the software or the students’ own expertise…
Instructors show appreciation for the work created by their students; they take pride in their contribution to the students’ games that are shown on the final day of the course.
Although the instructors and The Game Academy owner have attempted to make these courses or “camps” as un-schoollike as possible, there are recognizable components of formal learning: Lesson plans
Notebooks or journals
However, the instructors have the flexibility of adapting the “lesson plans” to suit the needs of their students. The students have the option of using their notebooks/journals to write notes, create visual maps, draw characters, or not to use them at all.
Video game creations
Instructors became producers, not consumers
What did the instructors know from playing videogames? Need to explore and experiment; take risks Draw from multiple sources (draw, import, borrow, adapt) Significant learning requires time, effort, practice, commitment
What the instructors demonstrated in their teaching: ZPD Need to establish and develop relationships, based on respect Need for goals; student ownership of goals Acceptance of difference – of ideas, of goals, of ways to get there Effective language for communicating with students (fluid, informal, respectful) Modelling of learning
What did the instructors learn in order to help their students most effectively? Structure (for the day, for the week) Setting expectations for work completion and for appropriate behaviours Communicating with their students; listening to them Many ways to help their students to learn; instructors needed to try more than one way
Teaching is challenging and complex; it is always changing –Students change their minds –Students don’t show up –Dynamics between students affects the learning environment
Our Concerns Addressed Not attending to the knowledge and experiences that students bring to formal educational settings, i.e., school Not enabling students to engage with each other in peer learning situations Not providing students with opportunities to articulate their learning Talking with students about what makes a good teacher