The project that I chose to explore was Fuzzy Chronicles: Newtonian Dynamics (ID: 14445). This is a physics lesson aimed at students grades 9-12 and requires about 4-5 hours to complete. I was drawn to this project particularly for a couple reasons. First, the layout is like a space mission where you have to watch tutorials, play missions to try and navigate spaceships through obstacles in order to save Fuzzies, and complete multiple choice responses to check your understanding. I was also intrigued how this project was different than many of the others I explored as it was completely based in Flash. In the editor view for this project I was completely overwhelmed because, unlike some of the other projects, the different steps were not discrete and pages didn’t completely reload. Nevertheless I explored this project and did notice changes I would make in order to improve the overall experience. I did also explore Investigating Planetary Motion and Seasons (ID: 20964) in order to become familiar with what the editor view looked like in a more traditional lesson; text, images and other media could be manipulated directly allowing for a lot of flexibility.
Flash allowed The Fuzzy Chronicles a unique approach to teaching Newtonian Dynamics through a game; With this platform also came some challenges. The lessons and tutorials all ran on a loop and were not able to be paused which to me seemed a bit fast. I found I had to watch a lesson at least three times to get all of the information I needed – I would add the functionality to break each lesson into smaller bits and then either replay, or move on to the next section. Further, I would supplement the mini-lessons with a question period or additional explanation on the course content; For a physics 11 student, the pace may be correct, but science 9 or 10 (or even younger) would require a little bit more explanation. For the multiple choice knowledge checks at the end of each mission, more feedback is required. Hattie and Timperley (2007) state that student feedback is most effective when it notifies the student where they can improve and how the error may have occurred as opposed to just praise or consequences. If a student gets the question right or wrong, some meaningful feedback needs to be provided.
Finally, in the spirit of inquiry, I would add functionality to the game that would allow students to simply play through all the missions without having to view the lessons – once students mastered the game, coming back to explore the theory behind it could provide very meaningful and deep learning.
I’ve included a link in case any of you want to check the game out!
Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/stable/4624888
Linn, M. C. (07/01/2003). Science education (salem, mass.): WISE design for knowledge integration John Wiley & Sons Inc.