Saturday, February 19, 2011

Half Baked Idea

I have an idea!

There's a lot of hypothetical talk at the moment at school. We're investigating a 1:1 laptop program and so a lot of thought, research and discussion has been dedicated to this possibility even though it is as yet only a possibility.

One of the directions of the thought, research and discussion has been a possible pilot program with a small group of students. How best to launch the new paradigm? How to train the students, excite the students and encourage them to really put the laptops to the test to make the pilot worthwhile?

I have had a brainwave. It started as a small kernel of the possibility of an idea which involved teams and a task based competition of some kind and now it's growing into a half-baked idea.

What if we could get a day? An incursion day for all the students in the laptop pilot program. We could break them into small workgroups or teams (possibly along house lines, definitely mixed ability) and run a game.

There's a lot of talk lately about MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) games for learning. The Horizon Report 2011 mentions it and IBM and the Smithsonian have launched their own for children. My idea is similar to the Smithsonian Pheon idea in that the students will have a menu of tasks to complete from which they have to choose a set number but not the whole list.

I'm going to slightly diverge here as I expound upon the menu. It would be an interesting idea to grade the tasks according to difficulty to give teams an incentive to choose tasks that might take more time in order to get them closer to their goal.

OK, back to the tasks; I have brainstormed a list of tasks that might suit the requirements for the launch of the pilot. It's important that the tasks explore the capabilities of the laptops and the wireless internet. They should also introduce them to the concepts of digital collaboration and project work.

Here's the initial list I came up with. It needs some serious fleshing out. Please feel free to comment with any additions.

  • Use Google earth and geo tagging - might need to ensure there are enough phones with geotagging - maybe we can get them to triangulate GPS coordinates
  • Video your team performing a cheer you created
  • Take a picture of your team in a human pyramid - can change this pose
  • Draw and label a diagram of an invention idea - must use stylus
  • Complete a long division show all working use stylus
  • Plot a graph
  • Crack a cypher
  • Research a great scene from history and recreate a still life of it.
  • Write a poem and record it to a beat
  • Create a piece of music -
  • Create a cartoon character and illustrate a cartoon strip

We'd need teachers to assist with supervision and checking off tasks but this should be manageable as these students will be off other classes for the day.

If this ever comes off it's going to be fun!


  1. I love your brainwaves. Great idea for getting the students excited and comfortable using the tech.

    How will you deal with those students who say and believe 'I'm not good at computers'? Will they allow the other people on the team to do the work?

    I reckon this would be a great Year 7 induction type activity, but I realise it may be too late for that.

  2. Good question, I'm struggling to think of how to break the ambivalent set. I want to believe that by the time they've got the machines in their hot little hands they'll be excited enough to use them and I'd like to try to design the tasks in such a way as to make this more difficult.

    We do small group challenges for year 9 camp so I might talk to some people about how that went for keeping all team members engaged.

    I agree that this would be great for year 7 induction and if the pilot occurs and the pilot works this might be able to be floated for year 7 to get them acquainted to the school.