From Chris Bigenho, Director of Educational Technology, Greenhill
School and Rhonda Blackburn, PhD, A
Chris Bigenhossociate Provost, Educational
Enhancement, The University of Texas at Dallas

It is hard to believe that BbWorld ‘09 is next week. Rhonda and I are both excited about what this year will have to offer. We
have been attending these conferences for several years now and each year
brings new ideas and possibilities. While I am always interested in learning
about the direction of the Blackboard platforms, I personally enjoy making
connections with other educators who are looking at creative and powerful ways
of changing the face of learning and making teaching and learning more
relevant.

Rhonda IMG 349 copy This year, we have put together a new pre-conference session
that is guaranteed to rock your  pedagogical, instructional design world- Gaming
and Narration: Fact or Fiction? We argue that a good online or blended course
should be like a good book- you don’t want to put it down. This session will
introduce you to two different ways of designing narrative driven courses for
virtually any subject matter. You will explore a course that Rhonda designed
while utilizing narrative devices and role play to frame the curricular
material. In this example, all material and learning activities are linked
through story and the roles that each student assumes.

You will also be introduced to the use of games for framing
all learning activities- specifically, Alternate Reality Games or ARG’s. These
are not video games but rather games that blend fantasy and reality while
placing the student in roles that require them to solve ill-defined problems
within the subject of study. This Alternate Reality is then developed using
tools such as Blackboard Learn systems, web 2.0 tools and simple design tools
to create artifacts supporting this new reality. I have developed a game that
participants will play that teaches about learning through ARG’s as they
experience their own learning through an ARG.

Finally, all participants will join in a collaborative
effort to design a narrative driven instructional unit using principles from
each of the models presented at the beginning of the session. We hope that you
will consider joining us on this adventure and help write the future of
learning. And now…

Let
The Games Begin!

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