Twitter vs Zombies and Blended Learning

#ETMOOC has run quickly through these first three weeks. I’m falling behind what I wanted to do, but not so much because of the class load in etmooc, but that darn work load. I’ve just been very busy that last week or so.
Next week is likely to be even worse. But luckily I have been invited to teach a lesson on fractions to 4th graders. I’m looking forward to that.

Twitter vs Zombies #TvsZ kind of consumed my attention this week at least the last few days, the first part of the week were two presentations that I hope to post soon. My intentions were to learn animated gifs and maybe some basic design principals when creating images and movies. Instead I played games. All is not lost though. I think the experience of playing twitter vs zombies was well worth the time. The game taught me a lot about how people can interact in a truly meaningful way through a virtual game.

Sure I love MOOCs, especially these connective MOOCs, and I love games, I just hadn’t seen an effective combination of both. #TvsZ teaches the basics of twitter, but it can also teach so much more. Building networks, it wasn’t pushed much but it seems many groups knew each other or contacted each other outside of the game. I would suggest that for the next round loners like me be directed to ways and methods of reaching out to other game players to communicate strategies. Perhaps a side story of how bands of humans created a safe method to communicate  but were then wiped out because one member was infected and s/he was privy to the secret communications. Just to plant the seed that using google hangouts and other chats is accepted and encouraged. But all that is beside the point. The point is the game is a masterful method of developing not only basic twitter skills, but can also teach many more connected learning skills. 

As I say in my vlog below I think this could be a great way to get students motivated to do work at home. (you know homework. I don’t believe in it for the most part, but I don’t think extending learning in natural ways is a bonus) In #TvsZ we were encourage to write a blog post and then post it to create a #safezone. This taught us the lesson of how to write a blog and promote it using twitter. Later zombies were encouraged to comment on posts to #overrun the #safezones. Now in class if human students were given the option of writing a blog post on the topic of the day to create a #safezone while zombie students were given the option of writing a solid critique of #overrun the #safezone then that is not homework, but a game based method of getting students to do work outside of class.

Well I was sidetracked a bit, but at the end of the day I learned (or relearned) that games are a great way to break the ice and get students working together and if they aren’t careful learning. And as Benjamin Wilkoff asked early in the week, what would I do if I were Director of blended learning., well I’d start this course, #ETMOOC, with the teachers. Something to get thier feet wet with in educational technology. And I’d start that course with something like #TvsZ to build a real sense of community. Perhaps #TvsZ wouldn’t work with just one school or one district, but the LipDub certainly would.

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5 thoughts on “Twitter vs Zombies and Blended Learning

  1. Pingback: Reflections Week 4 DST | Philosophy Without A Home

  2. Brendan, I too had a hard time finding a back-channel to plot strategy with other players. Ended up doing too much solo while the game went on without me – like my peaceful river-bank safezone I never got to use. In the game they were talking about direct messaging in Twitter, but one can only dm followers and only one-to-one. Next time I’ll get some etherpads set up in advance.

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