Using Investigations in the Classroom - Important Skills

I am starting this topic based on a discussion in another Thread. I use investigations similar to WT in my classrooms (High School and community college).

I am curious if others use these types of activities or gamification in the classroom. If anyone has resources or activities they have used or know about for the classroom and lastly, what skills are good to teach for these types of experiences?

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Wow, I honestly stumbled upon this just now while searching for other ARG. It’s called Tracking Ida An Educational ARG. They were even present at E3, check their Twitter feed for more on that.


Your post reminded me of this:

A free edition of Portal 2 for educators to make puzzles that teach math, physics, logic, etc…

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I would actually like to ask questions to educators about how things are taught in school, etc. I don’t know very much, and I may sound insensitive, but if I could get the green light to just ask, that’d be great :slight_smile:

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I am up for sharing whatever I can - either here or message me! :slightly_smiling_face:

I suppose the first question to ask would be: what exactly do you teach your students regarding ARGs? What are the lesson requirements and what are the students supposed to get out from the whole lesson on ARGs?

That it is a huge question :wink: and depends on the class and the desired outcome :slight_smile: I have two main classes where I use gamification activities: Sustainability & Environmental literacy (mainly for seniors and juniors, an elective class) and New Media Skills & Online Technologies (mainly for seniors, an elective class). IN the Sustainability class, I use the ARG concept as the delivery mode for certain content and skills. In the New Media class, we have actual units on gamification as well as other technology and Maker topics. So we use ARGs to look at content, But, we also look at the concepts of making ARGs and gamification. I also use ARGs as a form of problem based learning - which means students are presented a problem and have to figure out a solution. I like how ARGs are a nifty way to teach students how to assess an issue, determine what is needed for crafting a solution, how to research and formulate plans, how to take pieces of information from assorted places and put them together, how to keep at a problem even if you fail or the solution is not automatically found, how to use technology skills in assorted ways, how to curate/organize/share information and practicing social community interaction and cooperation toward a common goal (AKA the dreaded I hate working in groups and group projects).

I start in both cases with looking at what is an ARG - I use Extra Credits and other videos to talk about ARGs and I share my experience (I have been ARGing since before the Internet existed :wink: We talk about why people use them and how people interact in these types of situations. From there, it depends on which class I am working with, if this is the first time using this method of content delivery, the level and ability of my students and what the intended outcomes are.

I can go into even more details if wanted : )

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Extra Credits is amazing :smile: They really go in depth about things which you don’t often see discussed in the game industry xD
When you talk about problem based learning and using an ARGs to teach them how to approach a problem and find out what they need to solve it, how do you go about doing it? Do you present already existing ARG puzzles, or give them simple codes to decipher? How do you determine that the problem which your students solve will teach them what is needed for the entire module or semester? My apologies if I do seem to be asking too many questions!
I won’t stop you from going into further detail about what you teach your students about ARGs, given how broad it is :sweat_smile:

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: ) Again - lots of answers - so let me start with a couple of examples and a disclaimer that things are always changing as I improve and find new resources. I’ll post the shorter, first example now and get to another later.

For my new Media Skills class - I cam across this ARG - which is for teachers (take a look at what they offer). I reached out to the creators and discussed a few things as well as using it in my class. This was the first time that class had “heard” of ARGs. I started with the class acount projected and every student was at his/her own computer and we explored the teaser video and first chapter together. So, we walked through the first two chapters “together”. I use Google Classroom and all students had a question and answer sheet I created to go with the first two chapters to help guide them what to look for. I also created a class Google Shared Doc called Walk-Thru that was a basic wiki/walk through guide the class created as we explored. All students had to add at least three things, but students could add as much as they wanted.As we went, we discussed in class how to set that up, how to do headers in a google doc and used the outline feature to jump to header sections for fast look up. Students learned how to make screenshots so they could capture how the mysterious S was appearing in the background as time went on. They found websites that had roman numerals and binary conversions to help them in the puzzles. We looked up words we were not sure about, and speculated what the different symbols and things we found might be. We discussed the content itself, which is set in Computer Tech so they learned about who is Ada Lovelace and many others as we broke down the teaser trailer before the ARG started (an example of what do we do while we wait for content to post - something everyone here has been going cray-cray over waiting for the next stations). One example of an activity we did. The opening video teaser has a Hall with all these portraits - they started learning how to copy just a snip of a screen and image search that to find out who these people were and then they were finding resources about those people and what tech they were connected to and what that might mean. In another scene we learn they used Pneumatic tubes to deliver messages, we ended up finding out what those are and who besides banks used them (had a nice side discussion about newspapers in the 40s and how they used these to send copy to different editors and such). And this is just a brief overview of what we did just with 2 of the 8 chapters. I left the rest for students as we moved on, I found out most of the students not only went through on their own and finished all the chapters, they kept adding to the walk thru over the year AND introduced it to many other students who started playing. Next year I intend to take the ARG and class activities further.

Ok - before I get to another example - questions?

Couple of questions, but you can answer them whenever you’d like xD I’m currently thinking of the effectiveness of bringing in games to the classroom with a teacher’s guidance (another thing that EC had covered in one of their videos) and man, hearing another example of this is great :smiley:
So, after coming across The Tessera, what made you think that “hey, I could use this”, and what were the challenges in introducing the concept of ARGs to students without overcomplicating things or losing their interest?

Oh thanks for the interesting read jojo! Some days ago I wondered how great it would be to use args in school. Because there is the digging into actual facts like in our case hamlet, mythology and physics and on the other hand there are the skills like the hex numbers to gif stuff, audiotools etc.