The Kingdom of Diddorol behind-the-scenes Podcast
Reflections on the experience of introducing a multiplayer game overlay into a public middle school classroom
Diddorol Podcast, ep.12 - Reflections on the piloting of Diddorol
August 12, 2012 01:02 PM PDT
Time flies when you're having fun. Or for that matter, when you are busy. I was far later getting to this, the last podcast about the running of the Diddorol game overlay pilot, than I had intended or hoped. I finally had an open moment and seized it, in order to share some of the lessons learned and to share feedback from the students (ie, players).
I did include a few images to go with some of the statistics mentioned, so if you are interested in visual aids, you may want to run this with pictures enabled.Diddorol Podcast, ep.11 - Since Lo'Ni, troubles have emerged in Diddorol….
March 18, 2012 02:41 PM PDT
A lot has happened in the Kingdom since Lo'Ni, from wild chickens falling from the floating city of Lumina to a cave-in at the word mine in Rocklor. I try to summarize the plot--and the actual underlying academic standerds that are driving it--in this episode, recorded 3/18/2012.Diddorol Podcast, ep.10 - New article, and much more on Lo'Ni
January 14, 2012 08:24 AM PST
The January 2012 issue of NEA-NH's "Educator" publication features Diddorol on the front page...and page 3...and page 10. It is a long, accurate, and detailed profile of the game layer I'm using. See scans of the article here.
I give a few details about what happened during the Kingdom's winter holiday analog, Lo'Ni (Longest Night), and I mention a brand new blog set up to share completed writings by players. See the new blog here. (There isn't much in it at the time of this posting, but it does have two "histories" of the first trimester, aka Run One.)
Main site: www.diddorol.orgDiddorol Podcast, ep.9 - Changes for Trimester 2, Lo'Ni, and survey responses
December 11, 2011 10:22 AM PST
Having gotten a sense of what was working and what was not, I have begun to revamp elements of the overlay to improve overall performance of the game. Meanwhile, the newest storyline involves a winter holiday in the Kingdom, and students and parents are offered an opportunity to provide feedback about the experience so far.Diddorol Podcast, ep.8 - News spreading, end of Trimester 1, grading & calibration
November 26, 2011 08:59 AM PST
Now that the first trimester is coming to a close, I have a better sense of how and where I was successful and unsuccessful in the initial design. Most of this episode talks about this.
That's not where I begin the podcast, though. News of this pilot project is spreading, and I first talk a bit about that. Note: Forgive the redundancy at the beginning of this episode. I am rushed for time this weekend (as mentioned in this podcast, I've a lot of leveling-up and planning to do), and hadn't remembered that I'd already talked about Vicki Spandel's blog post in episode 7!Diddorol Podcast, ep.7 - Scareaway, Progress reports, Conferences, Rules, and News
November 12, 2011 08:18 AM PST
It's been a month, and so this podcast is a bit on the long side....
First up, an overview of the "Scareaway" event that happened in Diddorol around the time of Halloween.
Next, some comments on how progress reports and conferences raised questions from parents.
Then, a few words on how the rules of the game are being modified as I get a sense of what works.
Finally, news on how word of this project is being spread. In this part, I reference a blog article by Vicki Spandel. You can find that article at this URL:
October 10, 2011 07:49 AM PDT
Standardized testing (the NECAPs) disrupted the majority of this past school week, but one event of note occurred worth sharing about: Open House. A brief overview is contained herein for your listening pleasure.Diddorol Podcast, ep.5 - Reflections on Week 3 (and part of 4)..and NECAPs
September 28, 2011 02:37 PM PDT
Now that the students know, more or less, how the game works, the workload is increasing: Not surprisingly, more and more of them want to "level-up" in order to progress in the game. That means nightly (and weekend-ly) grading and calculating. So far, it's still novel for me (not to mention the kids), so I don't mind the work, but I am thinking hard about how I can make the process more efficient. Novelty does, after all, wear off.
In this episode, I talk a little about that, and I also explain what's been going on. The annual standardized testing (the "NECAPs" in this state) begin tomorrow, and I address how that reality is affecting the mythology of the Kingdom of Diddorol.
As I say in the podcast, questions are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.orgDiddorol Podcast, ep.4 - More on the Roll-Out of the Game, and a Bit about Students' Responses
September 18, 2011 11:24 AM PDT
Trying not to be too redundant, I talk more about what I introduced when, as I think roll-out is critical for the game to be successful. Then, I briefly touch upon how students are responding to the game.
What I *forgot* to mention in this episode is that EVERY student completed a 1 1/2 page write-up of their avatar on time -- for the Kingdom census, that is -- and that already about 10% of the students have "leveled-up." (Leveling-up is turning in completed writing for assessment, and reaping the "rewards" associated with movement through the levels.)
One student wrote 22 pages of quality prose in less than a week, and ended up moving more than 3/4s of the way to Level 10 in the game. At level 10, the student is passing, with a D-. He reported that this was the longest story he had written to date.Diddorol Podcast, ep.3 - The Roll-Out of the Game
September 11, 2011 11:24 AM PDT
A synopsis of what happened during the first four days of the "roll-out," that is, during the introduction of the game to students (now known as players).
The Kingdom of Diddorol is a fictional kingdom that serves as the setting for all English Language Arts activities in Barrington (NH) Middle School's Room 244. It is the geographical component of the storyline of a game overlay, which presents and contextualizes all the usual ELA content in an alternative way. Each of the six provinces in Diddorol have a corresponding area in the classroom. Each province also symbolizes one of the Six Traits of Writing, and has a "mythology" of its own.
In this podcast, I'll share about my experiences in using a game overlay to change my delivery of the standard public school curriculum. Insights into what is working, and why -- as well as what is not, and how I'm coping with that -- will be explored, in the hope of encouraging other educators to experiment with this teaching method. A tip o' th' hat to Lee Sheldon, author of the text "The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game," the rulebook I used in developing Diddorol.
I teach English Language Arts at Barrington (NH) Middle School. My students, who are in grades seven and eight, are now players in a rich and immersive multiplayer game.
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