Version 2 (modified by acarter, 2 years ago)


<Script for Andrew's monologue. Order is flexible and ad-lib was generally

successful in practice, so this should only be a guideline. This script is light on

the concrete fractions example.>

Let's talk school. Meta-school. So you go to school, you sit in class, you "listen"

for a while. Maybe the teacher shows some slides. They might even be clear and

visually interesting, like this one. But you still aren't paying attention. Let's

say it's a class on fractions. The teacher shows some examples, multiplying and

adding things, and it sort of makes sense, but it still hasn't quite clicked.

Then, you walk out the door, and bang! You've forgotten everything the teacher was

talking about. Sound familiar? Actually, studies have been done on this, you REALLY

DO forget things when you walk out a door.

So anyway, you get home having forgotten all this stuff, then you have to do your

homework. You sit there, stare at homework, and you can sort of see what it's

saying, but it doesn't quite make sense yet. You know you're supposed to combine

these fractions somehow, but do you multiply the denominators or add them? It

seemed so much easier when the teacher went over it in class. But at home, you

can't just go ask the teacher about it. Let's say you decide to add them, put down

answers, but you're not completely sure about all of them.

So you stumble through the homework, turn it in, you're still not quite sure what's

going on. Now you have to wait a day or two before you get the homework back. You

don't know yet whether or not you did it right, and you probably have another

homework assignment. You don't even know whether the first one was right, so the

second one isn't much better.

A day or two later, you finally get back the homework and find out what you did

right and wrong. It takes a day or more to get any feedback.

And bang! on to the next topic. Half the class is bored, half the class is lost,

and the teacher has to move on.

We're stuck in this rut where it takes days to get feedback on whether you've

multiplied these fractions correctly. Things are explained in class and they might

make sense, but then you get home and it's so much harder. You work on it at home,

then get back to school and forget why the homework was so difficult. The response

time is between a day and a week just to find out whether you were supposed to

multiply those numbers or if you should have added.

But alot has changed even in the last 20 years. Maybe now, we can do better.

</Andrew's script>

<John's script, with occasional interjections by Andrew.>

How can we improve this situation? What do we want? Well, we want something fun.

Homework is boring, lectures are boring... we want it to be interesting, something

that will keep us awake. We want feedback, instant feedback. I want to know RIGHT

NOW whether my answer is right or wrong. I want to know RIGHT NOW whether I should

have added or multiplied those numbers. And we want to learn stuff. That's the

point, after all, we want to learn better.

<Andrew> Fun, feedback, and learning... How can we do all this? </Andrew>

What if we take all the content from the lectures, all the content from the

homework, and put it in a game? Now it's fun! Now we have instant feedback.

<Andrew> I see, now I can click a button and find out RIGHT NOW if my answer is right.

Even more important, if it's wrong, the game can explain how to do it correctly. </Andrew>

Exactly! It's there exactly when you need it, when working on these problems in the

game. Plus, it's a game. It's fun. You get points, you get cool graphics, and best

of all you get a theme song. Let's go check it out.

</John's script>

<Zack's script (first half of game walkthrough)>

Now we're going to walk through our game. I'm going to start it... (Start game. Theme song will play for a few seconds, then Andrew or John will turn

it down.)

You just heard a little bit of our theme song there. To start, I just hit the "New

Game" button. (Hit "New Game")

This is the opening sequence, which explains the plot of the game. We have the

sound down right now, but the general idea is that you're an elephant and you need

to find parts for a racecar. We're going to skip the rest of the opening and go

straight in to the first minigame.

(Hit "Enter"; John/Andrew turn up speakers; wait for minigame intro to complete) I'm going to try matching some things randomly here and see what happens.

(...narrate actions...) Now I hit "check" and... not right. But the lines did

change color. So I can see that the lines in green are correct, and I just need to

change the lines in red. This is the instant feedback we were talking about, I know

right away that (example). Now, let's do it right this time (...narrate actions,

hit "check" and continue to overworld).

Now we're seeing some new stuff. This is the "overworld". This is the 3D world

where all the characters and the racecar parts live. There's a prompt at the bottom

of the screen explaining how to move around. These prompts pop up in the overworld

pretty often, in case we need a reminder of the controls.

If we look around, we can see some red rectangles, which are locked doors. We play

minigames to unlock the doors. Our character is an elephant, so you can see the

trunk. Right here in front of us is a crate. If we approach the crate (approach

crate), there's another prompt here... and we found a map!

The map shows us here, and it shows where all the crates are with the racecar parts

we need. These red lines show all the locked doors we'll need to open. Now we know

where we need to go, let's close the map (close map) and Dietrich is going to take

us through the rest of the walkthrough.

</Zack's script>

<Dietrich's script (second half of game walkthrough)>

I noticed one of the parts we want is off to the right, let's go take a look. (Go

right to door). Here we're prompted to unlock the door. (Start minigame; let

minigame intro play).

Alright, so we want to balance this scale. We can drag and drop these blocks. Let's

put them somewhere random and check it. (Put weights somewhere wrong and click

"check"). Ok, so that didn't work, the scale is still tipped. If we move these

around, it will tip one way or the other. (Demonstrate). If we have to, we can keep

trying combinations until we find one that works. But let's do it right this time.

(Put weights in the right place and click check).

So now we're back in the overworld, and we're on the other side of the door.

There's another crate here, let's see what's in it. (Go open crate)

A chair! The chair is now in our inventory. While we're here, let's check out some

of these other buttons. We have the encyclophant, which is currently empty but will

eventually store information accumulated from minigames. The inventory holds all of

our racecar parts. The map from that first crate is always available here, and we

can stop the game up here.

We have a few more rooms to explore, but we don't want to ruin all the surprises

and bad jokes in this demo, so that's it for now. </Dietrich's script>

<Future work (John and/or Andrew)>

That's our game so far. We'd like to talk for a minute about all the shiny things

we plan to add.

Of course, the graphics are incomplete. Over the next month, we'll be adding loads

of art for walls, doors, floors and everything else in the game.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. We'll also be adding lots of minigames.

Right now, we have minigames in development with energy transfer puzzles (like a

Rube Goldberg machine), a wind tunnel, heat conduction, and heat convection, and

there will be even more.

Finally, we hope to add statistics to the game. The teacher will be able to see

graphs showing what minigames were most difficult, so she can focus more on those

topics in class.

</Future work>

<Closing (order arbitrary)>

<John> That concludes our talk. Before we go, I'd like to point out that our speakers were

well-prepared, engaging, and spoke. Also, our slides had minimal text. I'm John... </John>

<Andrew> and I'm Andrew... </Andrew>

<Dietrich> and I'm Dietrich... </Dietrich>

<Zack> and I'm Zack. Thanks for listening. </Zack>