Plans are in the works on a system for making this work, but I wanted to reflect on the basic idea first.
So far, I see it working like this:
1. All students start at Level 0 on each learning target (LT). Yes, they have a level for each LT instead of one overall level. I haven’t thought about how to combine their LT scores to get an overall score, or if I even need to.
2. To reach Level 1 on a LT, a student must gain a certain amount of XP, but it is up to them how to get there. XP can be gained in a variety of ways, but mainly will come from “Missions” (activities, labs, etc) and “Status Checks” (short quizzes). The XP will be divided up to push kids toward certain activities (the more I want them to do it, the more XP I offer for it), but the path is still up to them.
3. To reach Level 2, students must create an entry in the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Physics”. Here again, the students have choice in how to create the entry. They could complete a paper/pencil task, make a screencast, or create a lab report. The students will have more choice at this stage, but the tasks will mostly still be teacher made (with instructions and a rubric).
4. To reach Level 3, students must create another entry in the guide, but this time they will play a much bigger role in designing the task. They could create their own multi-skill problem and then thoroughly explain it. They could complete a goal-less problem (Tell me everything you know about energy conservation in a _____ situation.). Or they cuold come up with some other way to prove their mastery of this skill AND its connections to other skills in the unit.
Level 1 will be clearly defined, but I know it will be tough to determine what exactly counts as a Level 2 or 3 entry, so that will require some careful planning.
I need to start thinking about story line and how I can tie in the various activities and tasks with it. I think this will be very important for motivation, if I can make it interesting we’ll all be better off I think!
Having choices at each stage is going to require a butt load of activities, quizzes, and tasks! Getting these prepared ahead of time may prove to be impossible, but I’m going to try.