Draft scenario 2

Using GPS devices to arrange geo-located treasure-hunts on school grounds, the search will lead to a location where puzzles and problems need to be solved. Example (approximation): http://www.geocaching.com/

A reminder of the guiding questions:

  • How would you actually do this in your classroom?
  • What would students actually do?
  • What other tools and resources would you use or suggest?
  • What would students be learning?
  • How would you evaluate and assess what they are learning?
  • What else would you do and/or who else would you involve?


Narrative overview – 22 June 2012

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.

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2 Responses to Draft scenario 2

  1. carlo says:

    What follows is a summary of the suggestions and views from those who took part in the first skype discussion on Monday 7 May 2012.

    This scenario might be very motivating for students and have some cross-curricular potential. Taking students outside and involving them in more dynamic activities can have very positive effects. It might be useful in the context of several subject areas, and especially for language teaching, assuming the activities are arranged so that students are required to communicate in the language they are learning. The main problem with this idea is the availability of GPS-enabled devices. The current devices which are allowed in schools (e.g. response systems) are mostly WI-FI enabled and in most schools students are not allowed to use their own smart phones. Some schools might be provided with more advanced devices but this is likely an exception rather than the norm. Taking students outside might also be difficult due to H&S policies.

  2. An interesting app for iOS devices in this respect is ARIS (http://arisgames.org/). The site also has the source code to the app so you can hack it for other platforms.

    We’ve worked with location based game learning before for which we’ve used iPads and HTC devices (hacked TYTN II)

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