Friday, April 5, 2013

ARGs and Discovery Learning

In graduate school I studied many theories of teaching and learning and was most inspired by the concept of discovery learning, also known as inquiry-based education. Students are typically provided with a problem or question, then given materials and resources needed to figure out how to solve the problem themselves. It requires a lot of exploration, brainstorming, and group collaboration. The amount of direction and structure varies depending on the teacher, the students, and the project. Learning is self-paced.

In inquiry-based discovery learning, students draw on their own experiences and the knowledge and strengths of their peers. In addition to conducting research and problem solving, students also focus on pattern recognition and critical thinking. You can see how this type of learning is the perfect fit for ARGs and transmedia storytelling.

I was introduced to ARGs in 2009. A fan of J.C. Hutchins, I stumbled upon the Unforums while reading Personal Effects: Dark Art. I soon began perusing the forums and lurking around on all kinds of ARGs. I've played or participated in (or just followed along) dozens of ARGs, including Perplex City, Odd Jobs, Test Subjects Needed, Byzantium Security International, Snow Town USA, F.F.E.Y.T., etc.

I cannot help but think about how these types of experiences can be harnessed for teaching and learning. Not only do I want to try creating educational ARGs for my students, I also want to teach them how to create them for their own students (I work with teaching majors).

Currently, in addition to creating an ARG-type experience for my students for the Fall 2013 semester, I am writing a book proposal for using ARGs as a teaching tool.

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