Permission to Adventure

Snug and warm in a tiny café off the Royal Mile, we met up with the Adventure Author team: Judy, Cathrin and Keiron, to catch up and to discover what everyone had been up to since we last met.

The Adventure Author Project has finished, and the intrepid three are moving on so it was a good time to recap and talk about what they had found out and where they might go next.

Judy shared some of the newer features of the Adventure Author software:

1.    Comment Cards – which allow comments to be made and shared between students and the teacher

2.    Evaluation Page – specific criteria to be evaluated

–       star rating

–       attach evidence option

3.    To Do List – to keep track of what has been done and what needs to be done next

And we discussed how they have been used by students how they might be used by teachers to scaffold and support writing (as well as game making).

Judy and her team insist that students are at the centre of their learning – that students need to drive their own learning, work together to explore and discover and then share what they have found out.

This approach seems to give students the permission to take responsibility for their actions/plans, gives them the structures to develop their learning around and the confidence, time and expectation that they will then share and evaluate what they have done or discovered.

We discussed how this approach works in various settings (with undergraduates and Primary students) and all felt that an unexpected bonus was the creative way students could (and did) respond to the challenge of being in control of the what and how of their learning.

As always, some wonderful and thought provoking ideas about creativity ensued – eg does one create and then find a purpose for the creation or does one create for a purpose or does one create because they can?????? (Maybe all at different times).

Thanks team for a great afternoon and night of interesting, provoking and thoughtful discussions and sharing. Looking forward to hooking up with something new in the not-too-distant-future.





Haluz and Narrative Writing Part 1

 In May, Australia is undertaking, for the first time, national (as opposed to states-based) literacy and numeracy testing for students in Years 3, 5, 7 & 9. In the follow-up information received after last year’s state based testing (the NSW Basic Skills Test) my school identified a variety of areas we needed to focus on this year to improve our school results.

In the Literacy – Writing area our Areas for Focus were identified as:

  • Text Processes: Effective orientation
  • Text Processes: Effective resolution
  • Topical language
  • Figurative language
  • Paragraphs
  • Sentence structure
  • Punctuation

The genre of Narrative is the only text type required this year, so my time has been spent working on my students’ narrative writing.

Last year I explored the use of the on-line “point and click” game Samorost with my class, and used it to work with my students on their writing skills. The results were inspiring and very exciting – you can read about what we got up to here ….

I was keen to use a computer game again to explore writing, and to motivate, engage and involve my students in writing narratives. However, I didn’t want to/ couldn’t just repeat what I’d done last year (two thirds of my class this year were in my class last year) as I was interested in a number of areas:

  • to explore what other areas of writing lend themselves to using a game
  • to investigate if more structured, text-based writing skills could be learnt/taught/practised using a game

Fortunately I came across another post from Ewan , who threw out a link to Haluz – a “point and click” game in the same genre as Samorost – which has meant that I can explore some more with my students  ……  and teach writing as well   🙂 

You gotta love that don’t you?

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