In this paper, we report on PDP implementation for a cohort of first year gaming and computer science students. Their collective view of the peripheral nature of the PDP led to unforeseen consequences: too many students failed to attend PDP sessions, did not submit their plans and failed the module. Our solution was to re-engineer the PDP, by applying sound pedagogic principles and using an authentic assessment. The outcome, a team based design challenge, using the metaphor of a ‘Treasure Hunt’, gave 90 first year students the opportunity to create their own augmented reality (AR) game. Levine (2005) has linked this metaphor to explain ideas around engaging students with hunting, mapping, locating, discovering.
The AR treasure hunt required students to look outside the class to align their technological perspective to the real world and the needs of the users of their artefact. Students were free to find their own ways to evidence PDP criteria, with the previously arbitrary soft skills tasks being met naturally from the production of the game. Giving students responsibility for the content, management, communication, recording, presentation and interaction between groups helped mirror their future working environment. Consequently, as well as blending the formal/informal, our classrooms became ‘flipped’ and our model now ‘stretches the mould’ both physically/mentally in terms of the student centred approaches called for by Collis & Wende (2002).
Presented as a rich case study, drawing upon an analysis of the games, student questionnaires and module data, we illustrate the possibilities of enhancing the learner experience through ‘play’ and the benefits of using Augmented Reality as a creative medium.
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