GPS Enabled Learning Games
As part of their professional development teachers at Windywood School have been researching the benefits of both outdoor learning and games-based learning. They are keen to engage their students in a learning programme that uses both of these approaches as well as developing subject learning.
They devise a two part project involving two classes of students, the second part of which runs 3 times throughout the school year using an action research type model.
Part one: The teachers design a treasure hunt for the students around the school grounds (or could be local town/playing field). The students work together in small groups, using GPS devices to locate certain waypoints at which are located either a physical object containing a curriculum related puzzle that needs to be solved or a QR code that, with the use of a QR reader, directs students to a webpage with a curriculum related puzzle to solve. The solving of the puzzle leads the students to the next waypoint on the treasure hunt. Students record their progress, uploading specified photographs at certain waypoints to a shared file on Google Maps/Google Earth.
Part two: The teachers then ask the students to use their experiences of taking part in the treasure hunt to create their own GPS, outdoor-based, live game (based loosely on the notion of Location Based Games and Alternate Reality Games). Each of the two classes of students works together to create a game for the other class. Native language teachers work with the students to identify a text which can be used as the basis for quest type/adventure game, so that the game has a narrative and use students’ experiences of digital games as a starting point for identifying what makes a good quest game. The students work to devise a game that takes place over a set period of time and involves their peers in a quest either around the school grounds or local area. As with the treasure hunt the students use GPS devices to locate waypoints and record their progress. The problems to solve are either delivered hidden in physical objects or presented and solved using digital technology (e.g. clues in the form of diary entries, websites, online games, blogs, message boards, photos etc. linked to from the waypoint using links from the map or QR codes).
The students feedback to each other on the games and use that feedback and their experiences to feed into their next cycle of game production. The games gradually get more complex and progress to involving real-time gaming in as in Alternate Reality Games with some students acting as ‘puppeteers’ responding to participants actions to change the game as it progresses.
POSSIBLE APPROACHES TO TEACHING AND ASSESSMENT
- Games-based pedagogies, peer assessment, collaborative learning, self-assessment, constructivism.
- Subjects: Flexible e.g. geography, technology, languages (could create game in another language), maths (puzzles could be mathematical), history.
- Connections between ‘real-life’ and the curriculum.
This post is also available in: Turkish