Re-posted from Ludic Learning : By Paul Darvasi
Have you lost sleep wondering how to turn your class into the most epic adventure of all time? Can you imagine your students climbing over each others backs to get to your class and collectively groaning when it’s over? If you think you’re ready to ascend to a whole new level of awesomeness, brace yourself. Today begins your initiation to learn the ancient and jealously guarded secret of how to turn your class into an alternate reality game (ARG for short). You’ve never heard of alternate reality games, or you’re not quite sure what they’re all about? Leave your doubts and hesitations at the door and enter – all will be explained and the path will become clear(-ish). All mysteries will be demystified, and all secrets will be, well, unsecreted.
An Alternate Reality Collaboration
This tale begins two years ago, when John Fallon and I met at the Games in Education Symposium in Upstate New York, where we were presenting on the ARGs we’d designed for our classes. We quickly discovered a shared appreciation for games, books and secret societies and forged an instant friendship. It wasn’t long before talks turned to designing a game to be played between our two schools. Undaunted by the international border that separated us, we Skyped, Googled, Facetimed, Facebooked, Instagrammed, Tweeted and Retweeted, until Blind Protocol was born. What ensued was an immersive 30-day game that pit our two classes in the US and Canada in a mock-cyberwarfare simulation. By the time it was over, our students were well versed in the pitfalls of privacy, surveillance and online security. And they had fun. Yes, fun. Yes, in school.
This past summer, we were lucky enough to present on our work at the International Boys School Conference (IBSC) in Cape Town, South Africa and the Games in Education Symposium (GIE) in Albany, NY. One of the many promises that were made to the session participants was that we would publish a one-stop-shop resource to help ease them down the ARG rabbit hole. So here you have it – the recipe to channel the transformative power that will let you run your class as an immersive alternate reality game.
This first post will ground you in an overview of ARGs and their uses in education, and the next post will provide all the resources you need to get started.