Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Place Puzzles by Bernie Dodge

NECC Session: Place Puzzles
by Bernie Dodge

Dodge's Outline from NECC website:
"The purpose of this session is to describe a lesson structure called place puzzles. This structure is designed to be simple enough to be used by novice teachers and flexible enough to cover a wide range of learning outcomes. It takes advantage of the growing availability of hand held devices with GPS capabilities and internet access. Place puzzles represent an improvement over field trips as typically implemented because 1) they require prior reading of web-based resources before going into the field; 2) they include 2 to 5 puzzles or riddles that combine knowledge from prior reading with close visual inspection of the environment in the field; 3) they assign roles to learners to create interdependence and involvement by all participants; and 4) they require creative problem solving, analysis and synthesis rather than just factual recall and visual recognition. The format can be applied to learning from the elementary grades up through graduate study. By the end of the session, participants will be able to describe the place puzzle concept, identify areas in their curriculum to which it can be applied, locate existing place puzzles online and use freely available templates and guides to create their own lessons in this format."

My notes from the session:
Google Wave – the next Google

Tricks to writing good clues and riddles:
http://tinyurl.com/cluewriting

Will write the clues for you:
http://www.riddleme.net/

Curricular Opportunities:
Historical events
Distance, area, shapes
Literature
Language Learning
Current Events
Field trip prep
Campus Orientation

Implementation Possibilities
Timed Special Event
Self-Promotion
Interschool competition/collaboration

Motivation:
Novelty
Uncertainty
Concreteness
Time pressure
Competition
Cooperation
Social recognition

Design Steps:
Pick topic
Identify resources
Pick locations
Write clues

Setting the Place: Interface to build place puzzles

Launch of website by Dodge will take place later this summer: placepuzzles.org