Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A Transmedia puzzle/mystery/story thingy

doorLittle did I think that a seed I tried to plant in my students’ heads would take root in my own and become a Russian vine of an idea, if not a triffid. I mildly suggested to them that even a subject as boring as a safe password could become more interesting if part of a story about a spooky house, where locked doors could only be opened by safe passwords. My hour-long drive home obviously improved my brain fertility such that, by the time I got home, the idea had taken hold and proceeded to start its invasive action on my home life.
My wife was suing for divorce by Sunday, since she reckoned it would be little different from the desert our relationship was becoming. When, at long last, I persuaded her to take a look at what I was up to, she, of course, made some totally pertinent and sharp criticisms, but also mellowed a little. Which only goes to show that one of the keys to a successful team is communication. She was not alone in her suffering: poor circulation, sore eyes and a numb bum were just some of my physical symptoms.
I’m talking about “Who am I” which, after a completely mad week, is beginning to look a little like the thing I’d imagined on that drive home. Please do drop by view and comment on the Forum page. Some of the push behind what I described, to my Head’s surprise, as serious over-preparation  (he’s really not used to me doing that) was my determination to be able to use it in class this week.
The idea is for our students to plan and develop their own transmedia stories in teams. So what better than to get a project underway with an example to work on,  that was also a team-building challenge. I wasn’t exaggerating when I described it at the end of the afternoon as one of the best days of my career…
People whispering lest other teams steal their ideas, whooping when they found a password, striving to work cohesively, making brilliant evaluations. And the beauty was that something I made had this galvanising effect…
Three moments in all the mayhem stand out:
A very cool Year 8 boy telling his friend who’d missed the session “it was really good… really good”…
A girl reading sections aloud to a self-confessed “bad” reader who was then first in his  group to crack the password…
One boy proudly telling me he’d used Unscramble on the internet to solve one of the clues and me, biting back “but that’s chea…”,  and realising that no, it wasn’t really on to criticise someone in an ICT lesson for using their nowse and the internet to solve a problem…
And the icing on the cake?  A sore throat.