Games • Learning • Society [classroom strategy guides?]

[Written yesterday at the airport]

Some educators take a break at the conference to play games.

I’m back at the airport, Madison, Wisconsin, on my way back home for a few hours and a good night’s sleep.  Then off to Louisiana.  I just saw Deborah Fields walking down the concourse and was reminded of her talk, at GLS, about cheat sites.  These are web sites created to collect and make available strategies and shortcuts for playing various video games.  The ones that she has studied were developed by youngsters who play Whyville, a MUVE for tweens.

I often suggest to teachers that they help their students to collaboratively create their own test study guides, using a wiki, instead of handing out teacher-made study guides.  They would work on their wiki pages as an ongoing part of the progressing unit of study.

While I was watching Deborah’s presentation, it occurred to me that study guides for tests are a lot like strategy guides for video games.

So, if I might take this to what some might say is an absurd conclusion, might my students gain something useful, if I allowed them to collaboratively create an online study guide for their test, and then allow them to use that web site as they take the test — and open-web test, so to speak.

OK, it will never work.  Too easy for the kids.  But I would suggest that if allowing students to create a strategy guide to use when taking their test would make the test too easy — perhaps we’re asking the wrong questions on the test.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.