Tuesday, April 10, 2012

No Such Thing as a Very Long Engagement

Bear with me...

A couple of years ago I started to use PollEverywhere in my classes, allowing the students to text in responses to questions, thoughts on topics we were covering, etc. It worked beautifully! Students were engaged like never before, I was getting instant feedback that I could use (and did) to tweak lessons in an effort to ensure maximum learning, etc. It was amazing.

For three weeks.

After a few days, participation waned. It got to the point where I'd have to say, "C'mon everyone: let's get out those cell phones!" knowing full well the vat of irony I was swimming in.

It turns out that everything has a shelf life. For today's students, you can't have engagement without change. I bring this up here because I sort of had the same thing happen with my 3D GameLab experience. I'm sure if you checked my time in the system on Monday, you'd think I was off work. On the contrary, I was doing many of the first quests on the projector in front of my classes to demonstrate the new environment I was exploring. I was thrilled with the system and my mind was abuzz with ideas for adapting lessons into quests. Over the last three days, I've been online significantly less. There were a couple of factors contributing to this (workload, week before Spring Break, large grant to finish writing), but it made me think of my PollEverywhere epiphany.

I'm now thinking about use of the 3D GameLab system itself and how it's definitely another tool rather than a complete learning environment. This sounds like a no-brainer in hindsight, but an important point nonetheless.

What are your thoughts? Can you see students coming into this environment for all of your classroom work over the course of a semester or year without becoming as jaded to the technology as with anything else? Can we make our quests engaging enough to avoid drops in level of participation? Maybe there's a balance that we'll have to discover with each class that participates...

I'd be interested to see the results of student feedback after a few weeks in the GameLab...

This is a re-post of my journal entry as part of the 3D GameLab Teacher Camp. There are some great comments in the forum where it's originally posted, but unfortunately I can't transfer them here.

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