Last week some of the @1minuteCPD Colin, Kate and I delivered an immersive escape room style professional development workshop as part of the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Festival of Learning. It aimed to enable participants to experience using the technology we advocate, as they would be used by students. Participants worked in small teams to complete a series of challenges that highlighted both good and bad practice in their use.
The session went well and we would highly recommend this style of TEL workshop. We would like to share with you some of the things we learnt along the way:
1. Trying new things is a double edge sword
We are always looking for ways in which we can make the professional development sessions that we run better. Whether that be by looking at the material that is presented or the method of delivery. We had a really good feeling about running a game-based session, the exact format of which evolved over a period of time. You never really know whether something new is going to work, even if it has been done elsewhere, so it was a scary but exciting avenue to explore.
2. It’s not an easy session to develop
Planning for this type of session is not easy! The majority of the time was spent working out the story and sequence of activities that the participants would do. These needed to link together in a clear way and the technologies showcased needed to all link to a central platform. We decided to use a Moodle quiz as a central platform, but participants needed to use a range of tech tools to get the answers. We managed to incorporate several technologies including Flipgrid, Sway, Moodle Lesson, QR codes and more. Although it was inevitable that participants would spend a lot of time at the computer using the technologies, we wanted to make sure that they also had physical tasks to do that made them interact with items in the room. We feel as though we did this to a certain extent, but it is certainly something that we would like to do more of if running this type of session again.
3. Having a theme makes it easier!
Our session was called ‘I’m an Academic, get me out of here’ and had an I’m a Celebrity theme. This made planning the session so much easier! It allowed the participants to have some common ground before they have even started. Each team represented a previous king or queen of the Jungle, who were studying for a degree in Australian Jungle studies. We thought this worked well, as it clearly wasn’t based on an actual student or academic, but participants were still familiar with them. It also meant that we had something to link of the activities to, tying them together into a story, rather than a series of individual tasks.
4. It was fun
Above everything else, this session was fun, both for It us and for the participants. It was so exciting watching (through the door) as the participants solved each part of the challenge. You could clearly see the light bulb moments where something clicked and the moments of pride when a stage was cleared. This helped to get participants to sign up to the session and I also think that it will have helped them to remember the things that the session highlighted.
5. It was worth it!
If anyone is thinking of doing this style of professional development session, go for it! It did take more preparation than a traditional workshop, but the additional impact it had was worth it. It’s a session that can be adapted and can evolve to meet future technologies and needs. We are more than happy to share further details about the session, so please get in touch with one of us if you are interested 🙂
Leanne Fitton firstname.lastname@example.org
Colin McAllister-Gibson email@example.com
Kate Soper firstname.lastname@example.org