Colin's Sandbox

#etlead: The [week] 11th Hour

by on Apr.06, 2014, under #etlead

This has been a good week for our group, working on developing the game-within-Minecraft concept in order to teach the concepts of civics and teamwork necessary to prevent Panem.

The hardest part of our group is figuring out what is doable by the time the presentation is due versus what would be a super cool aspect of the game.  I have to keep reminding myself (and others): we are doing a presentation about a game we would hope to make – we don’t have to actually finish every aspect of the game itself!

This is hard in a way since we have so many creative thinkers on this team.

Some of the items that the group has worked on this week include getting together and figuring out different aspects of the game mechanics, such as having players choose a card at the beginning to determine their initial role in the game, to answering more basic questions such as: “what defines winning in this game?”, and “what happens if a player dies within the game?”.  We have a team that has worked hard on questions that would be incorporated at the end of the game in order to connect learning in the game with real world questions of power and wealth distribution.

Allow me space for another reminder: the intention is to create a set of presentation materials (movie trailer, presentation document, a starting point for a set of instructions would be great) linked together with a page hosted on  Much of this work is to be published out in the open, raising a big question this week: how do you state your intentions clearly so that your name stays with your work and any other interests are preserved?  Members of my group felt strongly that due to the amount of work and energy they put into the game to this point they would not want anyone to use it in some venture, commercial or otherwise, without due credit.  We’re still working this out but I believe at this time we’ll be releasing our work under some sort of Creative Commons license so that others can use it, build off it, and submit their modifications to the public in the same manner.

Coordinating a group this large and diverse has been rewarding and a challenge both.  Since I dedicated this semester to finishing up my master’s, I have the benefit of having some time to put to the task, which has allowed me to be available for quick IM’s, email exchanges, or Google Hangouts at the spur of the moment.  Since our course is nominally entitled “Leadership in Education Technology”, I figure I should work on the capital-L Leadership aspect of my person.  A set of traits that I personally always admired in leaders include that responsiveness factor as well as the ability to get people what they need and get people talking with each other.  I am trying to learn when to step out of the way and allow people to freely come up with new – and build on existing – ideas versus working directly on content pieces.  Above all, my main job thus far has been to answer questions and facilitating group communication as much as possible.  Most often in my professional career I have worked either small or large tasks at the direction of others, and rarely leading a group larger than 2 (myself included).  I find it an interesting space, and a position that I did not foresee two years ago.

We’re getting down to the wire in this class.  I feel confident that we will have something in a week’s time that looks great and is thoroughly thought out, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with such a great group of people whose efforts has made this possible.

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