This March I had the opportunity to present a pair of sessions on game-inspired course design at the Arlington Diocese Professional Development Day at Paul VI High School. This week I finally received the survey results from session attendees. I’m a big believer in radical transparency, and I like to think that I thrive off of feedback.
So here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly from my day at Paul VI. All of it!
THE GOOD | This amazing follow-up email from a biology teacher at a neighboring high school, who couldn’t wait to design her own class escape room:
Thank you for the great idea. Total win with my classes today. 70-minute classes and bell to bell engagement. And yes, students asked if they could keep working after I called time.
A.maze.ing. So glad to hear that the pedagogy resonated outside of the traditional humanities courses! Bio classes are a natural fit for escape room scenarios, and I think it’s so powerful to help enrich the world of your course with a broader narrative (top secret researchers working for a government lab, award-winning scientists on the verge of a major breakthrough, wide-eyed lab technicians trapped inside a hospital with a deadly zombie virus!). So many possibilities.
THE BAD | This bit of feedback from a teacher who’s not quite sold on using hands-on escape rooms to teach calculus:
Oh man. But you totally can! Math classes are the original “word problems” of the narrative building world of authentic questions with implications outside of the academic sphere. If I’m remembering my own high school experience correctly, then calculus is the branch of mathematics that helps learners make sense of equations where variables are changing all the time. Rocket propulsion needed when entering planets with different gravity. Amount of fuel needed to launch a return voyage back safely to earth from a lunar atmosphere. There is SO. MUCH. potential here! If our courses do not have application outside of the traditional classroom, then why are we teaching them?
Guilty as charged. Always more work left to do.