I had the pleasure of attending Hack to the Future #h2df on Saturday 11/2/12. A mammoth event in terms of ‘goings on’ during the day and the interest stimulated, @teknoteacher deserves all the plaudits he has received and more.
I was determined, I as always am, to involve myself in such an event. So, I delivered a session on something that I am passionate about and believe should be looked into by teachers. For this event, the extensive amount of my own time I have spent on Interactive Fiction, www.textadventures.co.uk and Quest, at last came to fruition. Here are my thoughts on this area recorded just prior to my session by @eyebeams: http://audioboo.fm/boos/663440-nick-jackson-largerama-at-hack-to-the-future.mp3
I have sung textadventures praises on Twitter, promoted this area at TMtakeover 2012 BETT and remotely at TMHalifax. I have collaborated with @kristianstill, @alexwarren and @andygoff regarding this. I have also shown it to the Head of English at my school and plans are under way to run a scheme of work on literacy using text adventure games. Yet, this was the first time I actually experienced students in a classroom working with text adventures and briefly with Quest.
I can only say that seeing the students enjoy text adventure games surpassed my expectations. Students really enjoyed playing the game, solving puzzles, being annoyed by getting stuck and overcoming hurdles even if they had my help along the way. One student said during the session: “this is so frustrating but I love it”. Isn’t that what most people find addictive about games? In the session with about 20 students, there was not one student who did not spend all given moments playing the game, trying to get as far as he or she could.
As for developing the games, the short time I gave to a brief introduction to Quest and setting up a couple of rooms, exits, objects and descriptions around these, I feel, was just enough of a taster for the students to go away and pursue developing their own games. I feel I planted enough of a seed in the balance given between playing and a small taste of developing in Quest. Here is what one student said after my session (again provided by @eyebeams): http://audioboo.fm/boos/663994-students-reaction-to-hack-to-the-future-sesssions.mp3?source=list)
So, given all this, in my view, it is essential that as many educators out there can replicate or adapt my work to classrooms and events elsewhere. Hence, I have put together what I did into a lesson plan with supporting work in the form of:
- Notes for playing the game to get to a stage likely to be achieved by students in the session
- A map of the some of the game again to a point likely to be achieved by students in the session