WoWinSchool Day 1 Reflections
I am reminded of the sort of cliche’ scene from a military movie where you see the new recruits arrive at boot camp and their drill sergeant, sputtering and screaming, has a short time to whip them into a cohesive fighting unit. Yesterday was our first day of the WoWinSchool Project. We had about ten students and expect a few additions in the coming days. For the sake of time, because I have to be at work shortly, I’ll share a few reflections:
- I was reminded today why I went into education. The interaction with students was something I’ve missed since leaving the classroom to take the Instructional Technology Coordinator position for my district. Working with this after-school program will fill that gap.
- Throughout the development of this project, I’ve tried hard to keep my expectations in check. Yesterday I was reminded why. These are middle school kids. They are not necessarily the most academically motivated ones nor the stereotypical teachers’ pets, either. That has to frame everything that comes out of this experiment.
- The number one challenge, yesterday, was encouraging students to be thoughtful about choosing their character’s class. Normally, a player simply picks a class and starts playing, but thinking long-term, we’ll need balanced groups for grouping and raiding later as the students advance in level. In the same way everyone can’t be the quarterback on a football team, everyone can’t be a mage or rogue. We started by giving the students the game manuals (yeah, I know, no one reads game manuals), and asked them to spend about ten minutes reading about what each class can do. Did they do it? Nahh… Perhaps a better approach would be to simply put all the needed choices in a hat and have them draw them out. Then, you could let them trade as needed.
- Having Arik, our high school senior, who’s volunteering with the program as part of his senior project, was a huge help. The kids seemed to respond really well to him.
- While we were explaining the project, the expectations, the idea of choosing your class and such, the kids were chatty, giggling, and largely not paying any attention. Really, who can blame them? They’ve been talked at by teachers all day. However, once they got into the game, their attention transformed. It was really remarkable.
So, going into day two, I remind myself of this: learning is messy business. The best laid plans become something altogether different when you’re in the trenches. Remember, this is a grand adventure. I can’t wait to see them form groups and run their first dungeon…