The Teacher's Role, Part 1
You like the idea of Lure of the Labyrinth and think it might actually help your students. But there's a good chance you've never used a digital game as a teaching tool before. And you might need a little help getting started in this brave new world ...|
What is your role as a teacher supposed to be in relation to Lure of the Labyrinth?
Here are some ways you can start to answer that question.
Use the resources
The resources on this site will prepare you to use Lure of the Labyrinth with your students. Check out the Educators' homepage to see the overview of all the materials that are here and how they can help you. And definitely go here to learn why you'll be more than a little like a farmer when you use Lure of the Labyrinth with your students.
Start s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g ...
We know that teachers have a wide range of teaching styles and incredibly busy schedules. That's why we designed Lure of the Labyrinth to be flexible and easy to use, both for you and your students. In fact, we believe the biggest stretch you're going to have to make when using Lure of the Labyrinth won't involve your schedule or your classroom configuration ... it's going to involve your thinking.
And just how can you do that? Here are some ideas to keep in mind
- Most of your students are card-carrying members of the game culture. They're used to launching themselves into games without knowing what they're supposed to do. And they have tremendous resources for solving all kinds of game problems.
- Demonstrations of how to play digital games are almost always ineffective. Your students will not learn how to play Lure of the Labyrinth by listening to you talk about it or even by watching you play it. They'll learn to play the game by playing it.
- You're likely to find that your students may actually get more from playing Lure of the Labyrinth when you do less. This may seem counter-intuitive. After all, what are you supposed to do during this whole exciting process? But the fact is that, particularly during game play, your students will be the ones doing the majority of the work - exploring, digging around, making new connections. Don't worry, though - there's going to be plenty for you to do, too (look a few bullets down to see a brief description).
- Lure of the Labyrinth is primarily meant as a mental warm-up for your students, a bit like a set of calisthenics (more stretching...) before the big road race. When used as we recommend (before you teach the relevant content), Lure of the Labyrinth will introduce and visualize pre-algebra concepts for your students and build up their intellectual muscle around those concepts.
- Kids are almost always more inventive and experimental when they're playing games than they are when doing homework. And Lure of the Labyrinth is designed to tap into that game-playing/learning alchemy. If you can help your students to feel like they really are playing rather than doing another school assignment, they're likely to unleash talents and skills that may surprise and delight themselves ... and you, too.
- Regardless of how you decide to use Lure of the Labyrinth, it obviously can't do the work of teaching your pre-algebra curriculum. It is ultimately your job to connect your students' experience of the math in the game with their more formal studies in your classroom. You are absolutely indispensable in this process; in fact, without your efforts, your students' work with Lure of the Labyrinth will be of relatively little use to them. (And we do offer ideas about the shapes your efforts might take throughout these materials.)
- You read new textbooks before you have your students use them. So of course, we recommend that you play enough of Lure of the Labyrinth to at least get a feel for how it works and what your students will experience when they play the game.
So why do we call this particular article "The Teacher's Role, Part 1"?
It's because we can only offer you a starting point - a "launching pad," if you will (analogous to the way Lure of the Labyrinth is a launching pad for your students' learning). Your work with Lure of the Labyrinth and with your students ... your problem-solving skills ... your creativity ... We know that those are the things that will help you write all the remaining chapters of this story.
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