I’m taking two classes through Coursera right now: Comic Books & Graphic Novels and Video Games & Learning. I’ve already read Persepolis and American Born Chinese for the comic book class. I’m really excited about supporting our 8th graders as they read Maus (and teachers as they teach it) this year and working with our art teacher on creating resources for teaching visual culture.
The Video Games & Learning course is closer to the thinking I’ve already done about the use of video games in education, but I’m excited to hear more about the research, particularly as I apply for graduate school in this field. Kurt Squire, one of the course professors, gave this diagram in one of the first videos this weekend. It charts the course from newbie to designer. I immediately saw the application for the open inquiry project that I’m designing right now with the middle school science teachers. Interestingly, the first application from this course was not actually about video games.
You can see my comments in red above, but I want to expand on one particular thought: asking students to jump from competent player to designer. The dashed red line is where I think most curriculum stops, because if we were to add a line graphing teacher control, it is inversely proportional. When students become masters, tinkerers, and designers, the adults have less and less control over the outcome. In our science research program, we ask students to design their own investigation, but they’ve not gone through master or tinkerer stage, thus are not actually ready for the autonomy of being a designer. The open inquiry project I hope to design will allow students more time to develop beyond competence, with less emphasis on a perfectly designed outcome.
As a final note, I love making schematics. I’m realizing how important this is to process my understanding. I usually start with all my notes spread out on a table and then work to diagram everything I’m thinking. I did this recently for my personal statement and quite awhile ago for the essential competencies. I love the drawing and layout as a way to organize my thinking.