A few weeks into the Coronavirus pandemic, the incomparable Amanda Sandoval shared a board game-inspired resource on her Twitter feed to show fellow educators how she’d “flipped” her latest unit of at-home instruction to provide students with a clear one-stop-shop of a visual overview of the work that laid in store for the week. Take a look:
Reformatted the layout for my weekly activities for students. Each square would link to the assignments in GC. Did you know you can link directly to assignments in Google Classroom. You can! https://t.co/ix9nnFWeyR pic.twitter.com/jtwUPEK1Y1
— Amanda Sandoval 🍎 (@historysandoval) April 2, 2020
In addition to being visually stunning (Amanda’s resources are consistently outstanding), this template lends a welcome thematic consistency to the work that laid in store. Rather than forcing students to chase down a half a dozen separate assignments scattered about an LMS, the “dashboard” style presentation to the work for the week came loaded with hyperlinks which gave everyone a very clear sense of what all was due, where to find it, and in what order to do it.
I talk about this quite a bit when discussing game-based learning and gamification techniques, but one thing that board games (and video games) do REALLY well is that they constantly provide users with a mounting sense of step-wise progress towards a clear end goal. So level one moves to level two, then level two moves to level three, and on and on we go. And as the proverbial road map unfolds, the content in your rear-view mirror expands to the point where you see more and more things behind you as you inch closer to your final destination. In short, you get a clear visual sense of your momentum and start to feel like you’re getting closer to the big finish!
In effect, you’ve used a mounting series of microcredentials (completed spaces along a game board) to provide a sense of mastery and totally replace the need for micromanagement.
It’s SUPER helpful for building the confidence of students at any age when they can see that they’re making progress. And just like a video game, they enter the “next level” (aka the following week’s instruction) *that much more confident in their abilities*, knowing full well that the proverbial “game” will invariably get increasingly difficult as they progress through it.
Inspired by Amanda’s awesome board game-like unit plan, I decided to put my own twist on a multi-level version of the same. So what you’re looking at in this template is a sort of “interactive packet” for my Southern Gothic unit that doubles as a three week remote teaching plan for self-guided short story analysis. The idea behind it being that each week students are tasked with “starting the next level” (reading the next assigned story), and then leveling up their skills throughout the week by completing a series of increasingly demanding challenges until the ultimate showdown with “the final boss” for each level. In the case of my classroom, a dial-in Zoom call or online Discussion Forum conversation with small groups of their classmates.
This slide deck uses a series of embedded .gif images as backgrounds for each new level of the “game,” so you might find that it runs a bit slower than most other slide templates when you download it. If you’re looking to streamline your digital game board’s load time (and decrease the likelihood of overwhelming your students with too much information at once), I’d recommend only sending out one week’s worth of content at a time.