#DAPP162 session 4 >>> 1+1=20

Yesterday, was our last session.

I was full of excitement and had prepared a double surprise. I couldn’t wait and despite the rain, we went ahead. Dr Nikos Fachantidis from the University of Macedonia (Greece) joined us who is a valuable collaborator on the #creativeHE course with his students and it was a great opportunity to share some of the work we do and enable him to get a flavour of some of the work we do with our academics.

I based the ‘session’ on a game I have played before. It is a mix of PBL and game-based learning. I have played it many times. Each time it is a unique experience and it always seems to be valuable for those participating. This time there was no cash for getting an artefact/object/resource that could help turning something tricky into something exciting and make learning memorable and stick.

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in action… image source

It was very interesting that this created an additional challenge, which was however overcome through collaboration and resourcefulness that did develop through the conversations and explorations, it seems. Colleagues from different disciplines worked together and helped creatively problem-solve a teaching situation that didn’t work well. I was amazed at the ideas and the result and it was definitely time well spent outside the classroom that will lead to specific changes to practice. There is really something about changing environment and getting outside! I am really looking forward to find out how the ideas will continue to grow and how they are implemented in the classroom. 

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findings… image source

I would like to share two things I learnt today.  

  • The game works with really large, medium, smaller and really small groups, which is good to know. Adjustments have, of course, to be made and were made. My key question, is how can we make such experiences buzz-full regardless group size?
  • Examples don’t always work. They seem to be channeling thinking… and leading… and directing… we need to find more sophisticated ways when using them. I need to think about this a bit more. (Often) It is not what you do it, but how and why…

Only one out of 20 #DAPP162 students came to this class. How would you feel?

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Thank you Niko for joining in. Image source

This was our last session today. 

Missing you all already. 

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Game over? No, it isn’t… or week 2 thoughts #creativeHE

On Thursday was our second #creativeHE session… well not really a session. This word takes me to a very restrictive definition of learning… if learning happens exclusively in sessions which we design for learning…. or teaching perhaps, I should say, does learning often happen outside of these sessions? An interesting study found that walking increases creativity. Walking is probably not the only activity that fosters creative juices to flow… The reality is that learning is an uninterrupted and liquid process and happens in multiple physical and virtual spaces, with and without others, with external and/or internal stimulations and often while doing other things. From multitasking to multilearning? What does this mean when we we design activities for learning to happen?

I love to surprise learners and help them make their own discoveries! I hope that colleagues saw the potential of breaking out of walls, out of stuffy rooms, out of dark and boring spaces and seek light, oxygen and inspiration in the outside world. Learning happens everywhere and all the time. Unzipping our minds from time, geographical constraints and lack of resources will help us spot opportunities for learning and teaching, in a very different and refreshing way. I think participating colleagues realised the potential and were able to experience the fruits of joined-up thinking and collaboration. We are not alone! Sharing opens up so many new and exciting opportunities. Active listening is vital. Too often we talk to hear our own voice, our own ideas but actually when we listen, when our own voice moves into the background we connect with others, discover and grow and are more able to discover common interests with others. We don’t know it all, actually we know very little, and often thinking that we know best blinds us and doesn’t enable us to spot the gems in front of our eyes.

I have been playing the Sell you bargains game for a number of years now and the first iteration when I was still living in the North-East and was a teacher trainer for adult and community learning. We transformed Newcastle City centre into a playground… for the last five years it has been Manchester… The game has changed and evolved over time. It was far too complicated to start with. Now I am thinking of changing it again. What triggered this is the measuring or scaling creativity. The game is deliberately collaborative and to neutralise competition but then there is the bit where the group collectively, and I stay out of this, votes for their favourite team based on criteria they defined. Should we get rid of this part? One of my colleagues questioned the usefulness of this. The process of establishing a way to do the voting for the best ideas, did distract a bit from the activity itself and the sharing of ideas. So could or should the voting be scrapped? Would it be better to celebrate more all ideas equally? Would this create a more inclusive atmosphere? And I am thinking now, doing this with some cake would I am sure be much much better! While I am writing this I am making the decision to try this next time but what I do need to find is a suitable place off-campus. Bringing in students would also be useful and actually I could buddy up students and lecturers… New ideas are emerging, new and old are coming together while I am typing all this with one finger on my iPad in notes. I am excited and can’t wait to see where these changes will take us next.

My thoughts appear to be random but I can see the connections and some of the opportunities for the future. I need to reflect more on Thursday, what happened, what didn’t, why and what I would like participants to achieve through this game. I know that I am critical of myself, but in this case it is for a purpose, I am really keen to make it even better. Colleagues told me that they found it refreshing to be out and about, share practices, problem-solve collaboratively and come up with creative ideas that could and hopefully will be implemented (also see their Value Jar responses below).

Normalised use? How will you use this pic David? image source https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8603/15829018954_50b9d2e390_z.jpg

At the end of our game and while we were leaving, the online dimension of the unit was brought up by some, together with the fact that some of my messages are far too long and tasks are text-heavy!!! The situation is not ideal. Not all are at p2pU yet, not all have a portfolio yet. How many feel lost and disorientated online? Did I expect too much? Familiarisation with the spaces and practices we would use during the course should have happened before we started. The opportunities were there but not used by all. How can I highlight their importance more for future cohorts? The portfolio session for example only attracted a tiny number of participants…. it was promoted as pre-course… I think this might have been the problem. I will have to rethink!!!

 

  • Loads of pics from the day and the unit can be found here.
  • Mini films in which colleagues share their ideas are here.

The Contributions to the Value Jar from this week, below. Couldn’t read all handwriting… And need to check the post-its again. But here comes what I could read and hopefully this makes sense.

Talking was really useful – sharing ideas. Enjoyed being out and about! Being creative and having time to talk to others and enjoy being creative.
Don’t concentrate on the leaves, concentrate on the roots.
How amazing to get out of room with walls and walk!
I found problem solving two ideas at once great because when you ran out of ideas for one problem, you could switch to the other one, unblocking the mental block.
Emphasis on process understanding how to structure tasks (practice) which emphasise process. Walking… I am inspired by this as a methodological approach.
It was useful to walk and talk. It’s always a good way to get ideas flowing! Great to be in a new environment with my peers too. Not keen on voting though!
Collaboration works! Especially in a different environment, with people with similar passion and different view points.
Not at all … what to expect. Very creative session. Got lots of ideas for teaching and some positive reassurance for tackling some of my present challenges. It became very clear in the discussions, that challenges we face are infoliated and need collaboration s a solution. Creativity is everywhere. You go looking was another form I
I enjoyed it engaging in conversation in dynamic environment/settings. Sharing our problems with others and finding resolution. Surroundings definitely enhanced our ideas and brought interesting topics to our conversations.

Before I forget, I would also like to add that a complete stranger approached us and wanted to know what we are doing. When we asked him what would you advise lecturers, he said the following:

Stop thinking that you know everything!

On Sunday morning I had a Eureka moment for a new activity, which I think would be of value. It was triggered by something that happened when we shared ideas at the final stage of the game and it confirmed to me that we need to listen more to what other say as this will help us make re-adjustments to our own thinking and practice. I am working on this activity now and it does involve flower pots. I think I will need the help of a designer to come upMore soon. I will make it available under a creative commons licence so others can use and adapt 😉

I or we? We or I? I and we? Glues for my flower pot activity… image source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/30000/nahled/old-flower-pots.jpg

… I would like to share here also that we had our very first badge awarded via pspu which went to our Ellie, Very well done!

Speak again soon,

Chrissi

p.s Draft version 2.

saying yes to learning through play or week 4 reflections #lthesep12 @pgcap

Well, I planned to capture my reflections on Tuesday the day after our face-to-face session and started writing this post a few times in my head but I just now managed to click on create new post. This was Sunday morning. Then a disaster happened… and I had to abandon my half written post and start again on Sunday evening… anyway…

It feels somehow late and my reflections are not fresh anymore in my head. I have already gone through the emotional ups and downs and re-living what happened on Tuesday but also many times before when I used a game approach, so it will be interesting to see where this reflection takes me. My fingers have started hitting the keyboard and finding the words and phrases my mind is telling them. Where should we start?

Ok, I guess I should start from what this week was all about. Creativity, everyday creativity when it becomes an everyday habits can turn our teaching and learning practices into exciting and stimulating experiences. And while I usually use habit as a in bad habit, this time I feel that habit, as in establishing creative habits is actually a good thing for us.

Creativity is important to keep our offer fresh and engaging and make our students think outside the box. Creativity is a necessity and needed in all disciplines, all professional areas, all aspect of our lives. In order to encourage and enable creative thinking and hopefully trigger lasting changes in thinking, we played a mixed-reality game. Playing games in Higher Education? Yes!

This game is not a new idea, but and idea that has evolved semester after semester and changes have been introduced based on own observations and on feedback. I have played previous versions of this game in teacher education in Adult Learning and Further Education but when I took the idea to Higher Education, I was shocked with the resistance I was confronted with. Comments such as “inappropriate”, “childish” and “patronising” still echo in my mind. But maybe this is a good thing. Maybe the more critical comments helped me see things from a different angle and push me to think deeper and put my own practice to the test and evaluate the game and get some evidence that the game real works! The criticism also pushed me to refine my idea and underpin what I thought was a useful, worthwhile and fun learning activty with literature. My rationale for playing the game is now more clearly formulated and together with the findings of my research linked to this help me to convince others that there is value in learning through games but I am not convinced that it should be this way. I think there is a lot of value in discovery learning and trying new things, immersing ourselves into different learning experiences, immersing ourselves in the unknown and finding out for ourselves and with peers the value of such activities. The key elements, I think, to make this happen, is trust. Trust in our teacher, trust in our learners, trust in each other but also the will to be open to experimentation.

LTHESep12 week 2

vital

1. How did I feel?

Excited! This week is always my favourite one!!! I was happy to discover that my current students embraced the “Sell your bargains” game. The same happened with the last cohort and I am now seeing much clearer why this is the case!

I was very pleased that they completed Stage 1 and had thought about a threshold concept before meeting in Manchester on Tuesday. I am also very happy that they did their research around threshold concepts despite the fact that we didn’t touch this in class. It shows again, that we can and should trust our students that they are able to study on their own and try and make sense of theories. I think this is easier if coupled with direct link and application to own practice, which we did in the case of the game.

There were some more skeptical students but that is fine. I think as the game progressed, they warmed to the idea and the usefulness of the game. All students who partcipated, worked well with their partner and came up with some really innovative learning and teaching interventions. I don’t think many of these ideas would have been generated in an ordinary classroom. I think we need to get rid of ordinary classrooms anyway. Learning can happen anywhere and most of the learning happens outside the classroom anyway…

LTHESep12 week 3 Sell your bargains game

learning together through sharing problems

I was very pleased how the pairs worked together and I think my rationale for pairing worked well. I had a number of criteria for paring and I would be interested to find out what my students thought about this and what they think the criteria were. Anybody?

2. What did I learn?

I am pleased that I keep pushing myself and my students to actively experiment with ideas and concepts in a more playful way. If something doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. We will work on making it work better the next time. We learn so much more when things don’t go according to plan. Difficult situations make us think. They make me think and re-think but also un-think. And if we learnt something from something that didn’t work, it was a great learning opportunity. Too often we focus on the result, but what about the process?

I learned that we do need to do this to discover what is possible and remove misunderstandings and misconceptions about play and games for learning in higher education. I learned that reflection is a vital ingredient of creativity as well, if we want to create something new and of value, something that is alive and dynamic. Something that can evolve and inspire learners and teachers to be resourceful, creative, ask questions, do the unexpected and surprise themselves and others to engage in deep and profound learning that is owned 150% by the learners themselves.

3. What would I do differently?

Loads of things! I think it is now time to change location for Stage 2 when we meet in Manchester City Centre. The Big Wheel used to be there. Now it is gone ;( I am thinking of Bury Market or Salford Quays and will investigate other areas too, with loads if cheap shop for next time. But if we go for a no-money approach, I might be looking for a completely different location…

LTHESep12 week 3 Sell your bargains game

Where did it go???

Also, the £3 spending money to get a resource is too much. I am thinking of NO money or just one pound per person. At the moment, I am thinking to play it with NO spending money next time.

LTHESep12 week 3 Sell your bargains game

Sian’s and Jo’s bargains

Too often we think we need money to get resources for learning and teaching. But there are so many freely available. Stuff that we can re-use and re-purpose or construct from items that are of no use for others. The more I write about it here, the more I am convinced that I will go with the no-money approach next time. So there will be limited time and limited and no money at all! How resourceful and creative can we be? Are we more creative when we have loads of time and loads of money? Hmm…

LTHESep12 week 3 Sell your bargains game

Rob and Helen, one of our pairs

What else? Recording the videos and a location where it is a bit more quiet. I am wondering, if we could run part of Stage 2 at location and then come back into the classroom and create the clips or the players create these within the 1h. This might be another option. Each pair then uploads the clip to our YouTube channel. But how could we then use the time when we come all together? I think we could then have an informal conversation about the process and share ideas and approaches. I think that might be useful instead of doing the filming then and would keep all the group together. So many ideas again to change for next time. This is all very exciting!

Also one of my students suggested to do the filming through images. I understand that some don’t want to be seen in the clips and I need to respect this, as the clips will go on our YouTube channel under a creative commons licence. So, images would be a great alternative and maybe drawings too? We do need to listen to our students’ voices. Many times, they have great ideas that help us move our own thinking and ideas forwards but also into new directions.

Having a second game facilitator really made a difference but if I go with the above option I will be fine, even if a colleague is not available. I just need to make sure that our students have a camcorder, smartphone or tablet on which they could record the mini clip and this might be the tricky part and needs to be checked in advance of the game.

Let’s play more! Let’s create more opportunities for playful learning in Higher Education. Plato said “We can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation”. Just imagine how much we can learn when we combine the two 😉

Voting for our most innovative ideas is still open until Monday the 22nd of October 2012

all our photos on Flickr. Click here to access them

please access our voting form where you will also find links to all participating video clips.

Do you want to find out more about learning with games in Higher Education? Read: Whitton, N (2010) Learning with Digital Games. A Practical Guide to Engaging Students in Higher Education, Oxon: Routledge.

Please vote for your favourite case study! @pgcap #corejan12

Celebrating your creativity!

Celebrating your creativity!

Hello and thank you for stopping by,

Stage 3 of our mixed reality game ‘Sell your bargains’ is now officially completed.

First of all I would like to thank all our teachers at the University of Salford who participated in this game with such passion and for their creative energy to spice up their teaching.

Today, we are inviting you to vote for your favourite case study created by teachers in Higher Education who are currently studying towards the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice at the University of Salford (UK).

Teachers participated in a mixed-reality game (a mix of problem-based learning, game-based learning and experiential learning to explain threshold concepts using creative problem finding and collaborative creative problem solving techniques) which took place in real and virtual spaces.

(Stage 1) The task was to think about a session they are going to deliver and try and foresee a difficulty explaining something that students really need to grasp.

The players then worked together in pairs to discuss ideas and possible solutions (Stage 2) and identify a prop while in Manchester City Centre that could be used in their session to make this difficult or threshold concept accessible and understandable to their students.

Stage 2: our meeting point

Stage 2: our meeting point

To view all our photos on Flickr, click here.

To watch all video clips from Stage 2, please click here.

Stage 2 winning pair: Jason and Liz

Stage 2 winning pair: Jason and Liz

(Stage 3) Players’ ideas were then developed further into a case study (using photographs and videos taken during stage 2 to aid reflection and the further development of their idea).

Please access the participating case studies by clicking the links below, study them carefully and then vote for your favourite one by ticking the box next to the name of the player. You are also invited to leave your comments in the online spaces where the stories are captured and engage in a conversation about the interventions.

Criteria

  • Clear rational
  • Innovative intervention
  • Meaningful investigation

VOTING IS NOW CLOSED. The winner is Rebecca Jackson. Congratulations!

Please click here to access all case studies.

The deadline to vote is Tuesday the 13th of March at 12pm (GMT)

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The prize for our individual winner just arrived ;o)

The prize for our individual winner just arrived ;o)

The prize is the wonderful book by David Gauntlett “Making is connecting” (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Connecting-Meaning-Creativity-Knitting/dp/0745650023/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319454048&sr=8-1) A complimentary copy was provided free of charge by the publisher Wiley (www.wiley.com).

Please feel free to forward the link to the form to others.

Chrissi (Nerantzi) the game organiser
Twitter: @pgcap
University of Salford
www.adu.salford.ac.uk

ps. If you would like to adapt and organise such a mixed-reality CPD game for your programme team to spice up teaching and learning at the University of Salford, please get in touch with Chrissi at c.nerantzi @ salford.ac.uk (without the spaces)

pps. Please note, the ‘Sell your bargains’ game will also feature in a game-based learning book published later in the year.

Play ‘n’ learn to spice up teaching in HE – please vote #CMC11 MOOC @pgcap

Celebrating your creativity!

Celebrating your creativity!

Hello and thank you for stopping by,

Stage 3 of our mixed reality game ‘Sell your bargains’ is now officially completed.

First of all I would like to thank all our teachers at the University of Salford who participated in this game with such passion and for their creative energy to spice up their teaching.

Today, we are inviting you to vote for your favourite digital story presented here and created by teachers in Higher Education who are currently studying towards the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice at the University of Salford (UK).

Teachers participated in a mixed-reality game (a mix of problem-based learning, game-based learning and experiential learning to explain threshold concepts using creative problem finding and collaborative creative problem solving techniques and possibility thinking) which took place in real and virtual spaces.

(Stage 1) The task was to think about a session they are going to deliver and try and foresee a difficulty explaining something that students really need to grasp.

The players then worked together in pairs to discuss ideas and possible solutions (Stage 2) and identify a prop while in Manchester City Centre that could be used in their session to make this difficult or threshold concept accessible and understandable to their students.

(Stage 3) Their ideas were then developed further into digital stories (using photographs and videos taken during stage 2 to aid reflection and the further development of their idea) that are now available as Open Educational Resources.

Please access the participating stories by clicking the links below, study them carefully and then vote for your favourite one by ticking the box next to the name of the player. You are also invited to leave your comments in the online spaces where the stories are captured and engage in a conversation about the interventions.

Criteria
– Innovative use of a prop
– Rich and deep reflection
– Creative digital storytelling

Participating stories
1. Neil at http://asboallstar.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/stage-3-jackanory/

2. Frances at http://francespgcap.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/frances-tale/

3. Fabrizio at http://fabriziopgcap.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/stage-3-of-the-game-behind-every-word-there-is-a-culture/ (our winner: added on the 27th of November)

4. Kirsty at at http://kirstypope.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/a-journey-of-discovery-excitement-and-challenge/

5. Deaglan at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pgcap/sets/72157628012947138/

6. John at http://johnmcmahon1.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/mixed-reality-game-sell-your-bargains-part-3/

7. Fiona at http://fionapgcap.wordpress.com/sell-your-bargins-a-digital-story-about-innovation/

VOTING IS NOW CLOSED. The winner has been announced.

Thank you very much for providing your comments and voting for your favourite story. The overall winner of the mixed-reality game “Sell your bargains” will be announced on Twitter. The deadline to submit your vote is Wednesday the 2nd of November 11, midnight GMT.

The prize is the wonderful book by David Gauntlett “Making is connecting” (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Connecting-Meaning-Creativity-Knitting/dp/0745650023/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319454048&sr=8-1) A complimentary copy was provided free of charge by the publisher Wiley (www.wiley.com).

Please feel free to forward the link to the form to others.

Chrissi (Nerantzi) the game organiser
Twitter: @pgcap
University of Salford
www.adu.salford.ac.uk

ps. If you would like to adapt and organise such a mixed-reality CPD game for your programme team to spice up teaching and learning at the University of Salford, please get in touch with Chrissi at c.nerantzi @ salford.ac.uk (without the spaces)

pps. If you would like to find out more about this game from the organiser and the players, join us on the 8th of December at 4pm (GMT) during a webinar organised by the Creativity and Multicultural Communication MOOC. We have been invited to share our experiences and first findings then with a wider audience. More info about this webinar and the #CMC11 MOOC at http://www.cdlprojects.com/. Please note, the ‘Sell your bargains’ game will also feature in a game-based learning book published next year.

ipadio: A day after stage 2 of our mixed-reality game

Visit http://ipad.io/jPG to hear my latest ipadio phonecast

Or listen here:

Note: I am still finding it so hard to focus when I create these audio files. I am using notes but I struggle so much. Maybe I should just forget about using notes and just speak naturally. I seem to do better without them and when I just record short messages. Maybe, I should go back to that. Was really happy that one of our academics started also exploring with audio and is going to use it to capture audio reflections. Any tips on how to become more confident and comfortable when recording audio would be very welcome. ;o)