We’re deep into the implementation process for the game-based educational technology referenced in the previous post, and it’s really exciting to see the plans become reality. Trying to force the course management software into tracking and doing things it was not designed to do is a major challenge, but fortunately I’m working with some very smart people.
I’m especially grateful to the University of Arizona’s Wayne Brent, for the opportunity to do such ambitious work, and to Gary Karstensen, the programmer who made my graphs and character stat sheet come alive—screenshots are below. Compare them to the mockups, and you’ll see that nothing has been lost in the translation. Note that this tool is written in Flex (Flash), and when finished will automatically parse .csv data files exported from our course management software’s grade book.
It was very important to me that this feedback be interactive, and not simply static images that the instructors update periodically. The idea that students should receive clear and frequent feedback whenever they perform an action is central to this experimental course design. The smallest aspects of a UI, like the ability to hover over a data point for an explanation, are much more important than they seem. (Can you tell I’ve been a Mac user for more than two decades?)