In Character Challenges

In character challenges are those which directly relate to the narrative created by the student and the tutor. Like puzzles and challenges encountered in video games, they  emerge as the narrative develops.  They combine the needs of the character and the academic goals of the student.

Here are examples of in character activities:

  • Janet is struggling with learning about the continental congress in her history class and her character is a psychic in love with  sparkly vampire (yes I am basing this off of those books, but whatever works).  Her character is told that an evil vampire infiltrated the continental congress, and that her vampire love needs to know who it was.  She is assigned the task of figuring out who in the continental congress might have been a secret vampire, and what that persons secret goal might have been.  She has to investigate the real history in her history book or through reputable online resources and earns points for coming up with a plausible answer.  Her new experience points improve her characters abilities bringing her one step closer to saving her sparkly beau from his vampiric foes.  Upshot: on the test, Janet knows who was who in the continental congress!
  • Bill is trying to learn quadratic equations, and his character is a baseball player trying to win the world series.  His character is given the task of identifying how long it will take a fly ball to land using the quadratic formula and a basic equation for an object in flight.  The result if the student succeeds is that their character catches the ball in a big game, earns experience to increase their stats, and moves a little closer to being MVP of the World Series!  Upshot: Bill’s understanding of the quadratic equation is a little more real and grounded in something that he cares about.
  • Alexandra is interested in computers and her character is a musician trying to top the charts.  Her assignment: using web research write a one page explanation (using a short essay format) of how a computer and a microphone together can convert analog to digital formats.  Result, the character learns how to use her microphone better, gains experience points, and moves a little closer to being a superstar.  Upshot: Alexandra improves her writing ability understands some of the basic challenges of digital audio recording and comprehends a major technology of the digital age.

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