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To Quest or Not to Quest, That is the Question

by DivingRhino on Apr 12, 2012 at 11:54 PM
I am trying to determine how I am going to set up my teacher professional development utilizing 3D Game Lab. I have already discussed in the forums the issue of "many groups" vs "many quests in one group". There is a balance there that I think should be achieved to minimize overwhelming the students.

I hope to teach them such items as
1. How to maintain their websites
2. How to maintain, use, modify, get the most out of their laptops
3. How to setup, use, get the most out of their Doc Cam, SMART board, Projector, iPads, etc
4. Project based learning concepts and ideas
5. How to get their students creating on their laptops, ipads
6. Lesson ideas, web 2.0 introductions
7. etc

So, the second issue I am thinking about is what should be quests in this system to be learned through the progression, vs what should be available to them when they need the help. For instance, I want the teachers to learn to hitch up/set up their document cameras. I can include that as an element in a quest chain, but will the knowledge immediately be forgotten after the one time of doing it for the quest, and then, how do they retrieve that information the next time they need it? (finding the old quest is not really viable, it's buried.) OR, do I provide them a location where all such tutorials are available to them and they go look it up (no one would do that at the point in time where they NEED the camera hitched up ... they just call me, the easy path.)

Current thoughts

1. Yes, make it part of some "Setting up your classroom" quest chain which makes them set up the camera
2. In the quest (and at other times/places) inform them of where all the tutorials are available for reference and searching

And some of you may be thinking that this is something staff should be able to do ... I would agree! But I kid you not, as tech coordinator I spend a great deal of time, hitting power buttons and plugging wires into outlets for people that could not figure out why their device would not work.

(That's another thing, I need some good, "How to troubleshoot" quest chains ... if they don't exist, maybe that could be my contribution to the community!)
Comments

7 Comments

I am excited to see that you are struggling with the same issues I always do. :-) How do we organize our curriculum? What you've discovered is that there is no perfect answer. We need to have multiple ways of organizing it depending on our needs. Something that has been beneficial to both Lisa and I is post-its and a big flat wall. If you can write the name of the quest and some symbol for what category it might belong in, you can organize it a number of different ways to get a sense of what it might look like.

In the past, we have differentiated different lines of inquiry into their own groups. The benefits of this were individualized messaging to just that group, a single leader or teacher could be involved, and you could utilize different ranks within that group.

This time around, we elected to use one group and one ranking scheme with multiple lines of inquiry guarded by a simple entry quest (key quest). The participant would need to complete that first quest before getting access to additional quests. This would limit the number of quests and visible at any one time on last the participant completed the first quest in ALL of these lines of inquiry. To guard against that we asked developers to make small clusters of quests that would be available at any stage (1-3-5-4). This allows you to stack the curriculum without exposing all of the quest within a line of inquiry at once.

Progress in each of these lines were categories was not measured by experience points, but completed quests. Badges and achievements were created to allow for the tiered release of each cluster of quests. I'm sorry if this appears overly complicated, but with post-its and it's really quite simple.:-)

My from-the-hip reaction to your conundrum is to identify badges in each of these areas and build quests support them. You could then organize all activities into one group, with a key quest to unlock progress in that group, achievements to mark progress along the path, and a culminating badge to mark the completion of that line of inquiry.

"we asked developers to make small clusters of quests that would be available at any stage (1-3-5-4)" ... that's the advice that allows it to all be in one group, and makes good sense.

Thanks for the in depth feedback!
So here is what I see for each quest chain within a group (containing a few quest chains.)

Saint Even
Hey Diving Rhino,

That is hilarious. I am in the same boat as Tech Coordinator for my school and your comment about plugging in cords for teachers is bang on. I think sometimes people just want to have things done for them instead of having to think. The easiest path is definitely to call you up and have you service their equipment. It can be a full time job. Just reminiscing here, but I was so tired of resetting student passwords every time they forgot and having teachers send them to me, that I created a 1 minute video tutorial for teachers. Do you think that worked? Nope. They still kept on sending their students to me. I guess it is the nature of the beast. I am hoping that I can find some teachers in my school board who want to really learn 3dgl and not just rely on me to fix their problems all the time.
Saint Even
PS. Your plan looks great. I can't wait to see the quests you make. I will likely be borrowing them if you make the Creative Commons.

I like that you start off with 3 quests and then bring it back to 1 before moving on. Keeps it neat and tidy.

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