Why? (aka FAQ)
This page is designed to answer some questions and document why I designed this work for students.
Who are you? Who are your students?
I am a sixth grade math teacher. I teach at a Title I school in a suburb of Dallas, Texas.
Why design this work?
In Texas, the state standards communicate that developing proportional thinking in the middle grades is extremely important. After our standardized test, I wanted to design work for students that engaged them in some real world application of ratios and proportions. I also wanted the work to connect deeply with my students. Children today are very drawn to technology yet my students are still typically in a consumer role. I work to put students in the creator role when it comes to technology. This is just another way I try to accomplish that shift.
Why an alternate reality game in the math classroom?
Alternate reality games (ARGs) have a low technical threshold for entry. In other words, they do not require the technical expertise required to create a commercial type game. However, they can be equally as engaging to play! Another aspect that I like about ARGs is that they are based on a narrative. The story will make or break the game experience. So, it gives students a very important reason to write. Finally, because of the reality part of the game, I think students will be able to make real life connections to ratios and proportions in a variety of ways.
How many other teachers are using alternate reality games in their classrooms?
Very few teachers are using ARGs right now. Most work that I am familiar with is being done with undergraduates. Dr. Scott Warren created an ARG as a course redesign for an undergraduate Introduction to Computer Applications course. Another colleague, Dr. Mary Jo Dondlinger, led students at Richland College to create an ARG as their culminating project for their Associate’s Degree. I do not know of any young students (besides my students) who are playing an ARG in a K-12 classroom or creating an ARG based on important knowledge in state standards. If you are aware of any or would like to share information about students playing or creating ARGs, please contact me at julie (at) juliemcleod (dot) org.