The focus of my Action Research project is developing digital collaboration and if technology can create effective and effective communication with participant buy-in on goals and projects. As I am not a schoolteacher, I have borrowed a fellow EDMT student’s 8th grade class in another state.
Most people enjoy playing games and in working in teams, people need to rely on creative and critical thinking. Gaming is one way to create these dynamics, especially when having to work with others to complete different levels. So when tasked with creating a game that would go along with my Action Research project I was up for the challenge. I decided to create a simulation game so the individuals would have to create teams, assign tasks and work together toward a common goal of survival in a zombie invasion. This game would be targeted towards companies as a team building exercise.
Introducing: Surviving the Zombie Invasion
This simulation game will be played as teams with three to eight members per team. It will take approximately 30 minutes per scenario. Thus, participants could play during specified times in real-time or leave tasks for one another. It would encourage people to come back and continue on the journey. Participants will be able to save the game however, they will still have their total allotted 30 minutes of play so if they played for 10 minutes when they come back to the game they will only have 20 minutes to complete their scenario and/or assigned tasks.
The game’s opening screen has a business suit zombie graphic with the title “Surviving the Zombie Invasion” written in a font that denotes horror and excitement. A set up screen will be made available where the player will choose their avatar, decide if they will be male or female, character attributes will be chosen from existing characters of popular movies or television series such as “The Walking Dead”, “Shaun of the Dead” and “Zombieland” join or create a team, and begin first scenario. Then the next screen will go to the instructions. The instructions will consist of how the player will move around the game and also the goal of the game. Once the game begins the instructions will be accessible when the shotgun icon is clicked. Because it is a simulation game players will be learning how to play as they go through the game and see the consequences of their choices.
This simulation will be played on a computer so the controls will be on the keyboard for the movement of the character and the mouse will click on the necessary items needed.
Participants need not have prior knowledge of the subject before playing the game. Their knowledge about a zombie invasion should grow as the game is played with each character they choose, however hints will be made available on screen. Each participant will meet with their team and read the attributes of other players. Each scenario will should what the ultimate outcome is needed to achieve the next level.
Working together for the optimum survival of the team is the ultimate goal. Learning the “rules” of survival and staying alive to make it to the next level is the achievement. Each time a player is on the right track they will earn points and their “survival bar” will be closer to full. If the player makes the wrong decision or goes off track the survival bar and points will go down. So achieving as many points as possible during the 30 minutes is the big goal. There will be little goals scattered through the scenario. When players meet specified mile stones the player will receive rewards such as a health pack, food, or ammunition or weapon. Working in conjunction with other team members toward a specific goal creates a time of no attacks from the zombies for five minutes.
Hidden tasks will be supplied throughout each scenario; a player could achieve “leader” status by completing an initiative that benefits the whole team. This also allows for come competition on how to improve the group. An example could be finding a hidden bunker with supplies or weapons. These points would be recorded individually with badges given to the players as they complete each one and share the bonus. All of these games will have an instruction screen that is available by clicking on the shotgun icon.
At the start of the game players choose a character. Each character has their own story based on character from of popular movies or television series such as “The Walking Dead”, “Shaun of the Dead” and “Zombieland”. The players can create an avatar that is similar to them in real life or their alter ego. Some of the character attributes would be the “Giver” adventurous and out-going, helps the group by keeping morale up; the “Rouge” aggressive, self-reliant and unpredictable, great arms master; “Compass” a wise member of the survivor group, and primary moral center for decisions.
The final game occurs when members of the group complete each of the tasks with a high survival rate (over 50%) of players and 10,000 plus points are earned through the regular scenario play and bonus actions. This is either a win-or-lose game. If the 30 minutes is up and a solution isn’t reached in each scenario then the team would be overrun by the zombies and lose. The reward of playing the game is solving it in the allotted time and the intrinsic feeling of solving the problems and completing the tasks necessary for survival.
Players will know how they are doing based on points and the “survival bar” which is directly related to the choices made during the game. The assessment is ongoing throughout the game and immediate.
This game is designed to be short and exciting. Players should be able to get through each scenario within 20-30 minutes making it possible to have a quick moving game with all participants. Players will be able to play anytime they have an Internet connection. The player’s preconceived ideas can be used to their advantage or their disadvantage. The idea is to enhance creative and quick thinking in a group environment. Communication would be used and essential in order to facilitate tasks and boost each other in the game play. Disagreements or dissolution in the group would decrease the chances of survival.
Fun and Motivation:
The game players will be learning how to properly address scenarios as a team working together towards a common goal. The scenarios the game will address will be similar to real life situations in dealing with creative thinking and problem solving in order to achieve a task or end result. The participants will be motivated to succeed because they will want to survive with the highest retention of players.
Month 9 GSM
To gather my data for my Cycle 1 I used a mixed method that included quantitative pre/post surveys and pre/post tests on the applications used in the project. I also utilized qualitative data such as their interview questions, Edmodo posts and comments to their experience and tutorials watched. All findings from the surveys were reported through the use of the Google spreadsheet tools which created a very visual documentation of my findings.
My Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 data are similar in the pre/post surveys, however the applications used are different from Cycle 1 to Cycle 2 and are reflected in the pre/post tests.
My Cycle 1 data focused on the formation of groups and use of using Cacoo to brainstorm and mind map for the project. My Cycle 2 data will be focusing on applying what they created in Cycle 1 and adding Asana to assign and track their tasks and goals in a real-time environment to the completion of a specific goal.
My Action Research project fits in nicely with Game Strategies and Motivation as we are interacting in distance learning and developing teams and working together in a collaborative environment as one can do with online and internet games. How they interact with one another in a team game affects other players.