The Community, telling the tale

I said I’d return to the subject of text. Over the weekend, I’ve been wrestling with the words that we should use in our app. The challenges are threefold:

  1. We want the text to be an adventure story, that motivates the user to want to discover more through completing the game
  2. We want the text to be minimal – our tutors are not going to want to read a thesis, and it has to fit on a mobile screen
  3. We want the text to be accessible, and that includes not being a barrier to play. All sorts of things might prove to be a barrier, for example the tribal metaphor that I was worried about using when first brainstorming our idea.

So, instead of building a tribe, I’ve to exploring an inhabited island. (Yes, it is still rather colonial, but lots of communities around the world have reached new lands by sea.) Thus, rather than gathering the tribe on the first level, we’re getting to know the crew, and building our ship.

How about this:

Title screen

The Adventurers!

Welcome Captain! Are you ready to gather your crew, build your ship, explore the seven seas and built a new settlement, your Community of Practice?

Time is short and there’s so much to do.

Start screen

Your backers have hired you a crew, and given you money enough to build a ship. But time is tight, you must discover land and build your community before the rations run out.

Name your ship (course name):

Count the crew (total number of students)

When you set sail (course starts)?

When must you finish?

Alternatively, we could have a plain English input screen, and then translate the input data into something like this:

Your backers have hired you a crew of <total number of students>, and given you money enough to build a ship. But time is tight, the good ship <course name> must set sail on <course starts> and the rations will run out buy <course end>.

Check the [ship’s papers: link to task list screen] to see which tasks you must complete before you can properly start exploring.

VARK screen

You need to get the measure of your crew. Do you have people who can be look-outs, depth sounders, navigators, riggers and jacks? Get them to work out their [preferences: link to VARK questionnaire] and share their preferences. Tally the numbers of each here:

Look-outs (visual)[]

Depth-sounders (auditory)[]

Navigators (Read/write)[]

Riggers (kinaesthetic)[]

Jacks (multimodal)[]

(if total <(numbers of students)) Have you got the measure of ALL your crew?

(if total =(numbers of students)) Task finished! Your crew manifest is complete. Now its time to plot your voyage.

What do you think Nashwa? Should I continue in this way?


3 thoughts on “The Community, telling the tale

  1. Good morning Mathew,

    Thanks for yesterday Skype meeting, was not that long, but informative and we could brainstorm inspire of the yaoning by the end lol.

    Here is a summary of what we agreed on

    Login form
    The top part ( no change)
    Suggested to add tutor name and upload his/her photo
    I will use the wording in your blog ( I will call your wording the gaming wording and mine tutorial/technical wording) and insert the boxes such as : course name, start date…. In between.
    The lower part will be removed, instead short statement of your gaming wording.
    Alternatively , for each of the other three blocks , a count down clock and alert of the remaining times( today’s date- number of task assigned date).

    Other forms
    Learning styles , no change
    Pedagogical plans, no change
    Technological plans, the browsing window will be separate window and will be triggered by I.e” browse your applications” buttons
    Creating wiki framework
    This form Will hold summary of the selection of the three previous blocks
    Learning styles
    Pedagogical plans
    Technological plans

    Based on these selections , a check list of suggested elements to be created/added to the wiki. Then a button to be added I.e”create your wiki” a new window will be promoted of suggested I.e 3 frameworks ( one is working) it can be an a image of a created wiki.

    Final Windows where the tutor ,with his uploaded photo is awarded the behaviourist crown and congratulation to move to level two tears the constructivist level

    The standards of all windows

    All windows have to be same size, format, color….. We can create a logo for the game , I am ok with Photoshop, need this gaming mind , if you like the idea

    On each window there will be:

    1-Invisible diamond and next button, will show visible if the tutor done the required task
    2-Intrusions button, can’t remember your gaming word for this, your gaming mind is needed for these windows
    3-Awards button to take the tutor to the awards panel
    4-Alert with tick-tick count down clock

    Gosh, we done a lot in this one hour meeting, I think there is more but can remember .
    I am in Southampton airport, sunny promising day, my flight to Newcastle is boarding now, will have a look at the post this evening, if you have time to go though mine, sure you would have a lot to add.

    Enjoy your day


    1. Typing this from Soton, on my tablet waiting for a Post Doc training session to start.

      I’m wrestling with the gaming wording for for the Pedagogical planning. How about

      Planning the voyage

      Now you have the measure of your crew, you need to plot a course that will steer them towards rewards that will keep them motivated to explore further. Can you sail towards marvellous views for your look-outs to spot and point your navigators towards intriguing documents?

      But I’m also wondering if the game should lead the tutor through a process that begins:

      Most of your crew are [learning preference], which of these plans do you need to think about to motivate them?” And then a “quiz” style challenge: a list of plans, some of which are suited to that learning preference, and others not. The tutor selects the ones s/he thinks are most suitable for her students. What do you think?

      And then, more importantly perhaps, what about when the subject matter of the course suits a particular pedagogical approach? (The crass example here being no-one ever learned to ride a bike by reading about it.) is there room for that in your scheme?

  2. Some more thoughts on game text. For the technological plans.

    So, Captain, you have plotted the islands you want to visit on the voyage, to keep your crew motivated. Now you must find the materials and tools you need to fit out your ship. Once again, Keep your crew’s preferences in mind. A motivated, happy crew will explore more.

    and for the wiki building:

    Well done Captain! You crew are ready, your course plotted and your stores laid in. One final task awaits before you can properly set sail for uncharted waters. You must build your ship! Select the design that will best serve the crew you’ve recruited, the journey you intend to take, and the materials you have chosen.

    And after the Wiki is built:

    You have launched the good ship [Course name]! And already discovered treasure! The first island you explored yeilded a treasure chest, left by a previous generation of pirates. It contains a gold crown, set with the sparkling, legendary Gem of Behaviorism!

    But what is this? The crown has settings for two further gems. Your voyage is not yet over. you must still explore the oceans and find a deserted island where you can build your Community of Practice, and on the way you should seek out the two jewels that complete the crown. Sail on Captain, and see if you can discover the Chrystal of Constructiveism!

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