Edutopia (Edutopia.org) offers a great article on teacher collaboration from the lead game designer at Institute at Play.
“Want to create a space in your school for teachers to play, design, and collaborate? To help you get started, here are eight rules of thumb that we’ve found useful to guide our collaboration:
1. Cultivate Trust
Be open and honest. Visit each other’s classrooms. Observe the dynamics of teacher to students, student to student, and teacher to teacher.
2. Don’t Be Married to Ideas
Follow the four Fs: fail fast, fail frequently. When working together, encourage all collaborators to generate as many ideas as possible early on. This creates a culture of iteration. Really push each other to think about different ways that a learning goal can be executed.
3. Apply the KISS Principle
KISS stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” No matter what you’re creating together (a game, project, or lesson plan), the more complex the rules or the structure, the more questions students will have, and the less time students will be engaged in the actual learning.
4. Playtest Often
It’s never too early to put your game or project in front of someone else for feedback. Even a very rough idea can be playtested. You never know how something will work until you try it!
5. Know When to Scale Back
Keep the product of your collaboration focused. Realize when the game or lesson is attempting to do too much.
6. Involve Students From the Beginning
Students are your target audience. They should be involved in every step of the design process, because they have invaluable feedback to give.
7. Use What’s Around You
You know what schools have a ton of? Paper. And markers. And math manipulatives. As you think about possible game or lesson components, keep in mind what materials are easily accessible. Bringing too much in from the outside can be a hassle and is often unnecessary.
8. Build on Strengths and Interests
Actively try to discover what all collaborators like and what they’re good at. Be attuned to moments of excitement and disengagement. Use each other’s passions to help sculpt the game or project.
Teachers as Learning Designers
As Mission Lab becomes a space of collaboration between everyone in our school, one thing is becoming clear to us: teachers can design games, even without the help of a game designer. They can support one another. But first, they must begin to see themselves as designers. By giving teachers a space to work together as designers, you’re giving them a space to develop, test, reflect, and iterate on their work — a space to grow. When teachers go through a design process and emerge on the other side with a designer identity, they have a greater degree of agency in blurring the line between teacher and student, and in supporting each other as they rethink what learning can be in the 21st century.”
Check out the full article here: http://bit.ly/1AhlbOC