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  • Student Postmortem: Reliving the Revolution

    [08.31.06]
    - Karen Schrier


  • FeatureWhat Went Wrong

    Technical difficulties. The biggest problem when testing RtR with groups of kids was that there was always one GPS device that didn’t work, or would only receive a signal intermittently. Despite the patience of the participants, this nevertheless frustrated their game play, especially in that it kept the technology from being transparent. After I finished testing RtR for my graduate thesis, TEP bought GPS devices that were incorporated into the handheld devices. These should be more reliable and would make the game play more fluid.

    Competition against what? The participants were competing against the clock rather than each other, so the game needed to better emphasize the time constraints. Participants had only an hour total to gather and analyze their evidence, but because there was no visual reminder of time running out, they didn’t feel enough competitive pressure.

    Roles not obvious? Participants were each playing one of four roles, and just before the game began, they were given a sheet detailing their biography. But when “interacting” with the virtual historic figures they discovered, the participants couldn’t ask questions as their role or make decisions that affected others based on their role. In other words, they couldn’t “play” their role enough. I tried to build into the evidence and testimonials more reminders of their role, which had mixed results.

    William
    Overwhelming goal? Having one large, complex goal (who fired the first shot at Lexington?) was initially overwhelming for some of the participants—they had to gather lots of contradictory data, and it was sometimes difficult for them to find a clear path. Later iterations of the game play provided smaller, more manageable mini-missions, which helped the participants better understand what was happening in the game and evaluate the larger goal. These smaller goals were distinct for each of the roles, and to solve them, participants needed to rely on information found only by other roles, which further encouraged collaboration.

     

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