The Equity Game: A Mobile Device-QR Code Driven Activity
I have been blogging about how I am integrating mobile technology into my undergraduate course on interpersonal relations. Since I have always been an experiential educator, I seek ways to integrate the learners’ mobile devices into my experiential activities. The questions I seek to address when designing experiential mobile learning activities include:
- What effective instructional activities did I use in the past that can include mobile device integration to make them even more effective?
- Will it be interesting and engaging for the learners?
- Will it be an authentic and relevant learning experience?
- Can it facilitate critical and reflective thinking?
- Does it have the potential for to cause a change in thinking and/or behavior? (Grant Wiggins recently wrote about this in Everything you know about curriculum may be wrong. Really where he discussed the point of learning is not just to know things but to be a different person – more mature, more wise, more self-disciplined, more effective, and more productive in the broadest sense.)
- Does it have the potential to be epic?
The Equity Game
- To explore issues related to unequal distribution of resources.
- To explore principles related to communication, non-verbal behavior, emotions, listening, and conflict.
- High School, College, and Adult Learners in Face-to-Face Settings
- The intent of the activity is for three groups to build a city within the boundaries and materials provided.
- Prior to the activity, the facilitator set ups the room by tapping off three areas – a large, roomy area for the upper class, a medium sized area for the middle class, and a small, cramped area for the lower class.
- The community resources are provided to each group via QR Codes on Index cards. The QR codes lead to Creative Commons Flickr photos of city structures, These include houses, schools, recreational buildings, etc. The reasons QR codes are used is twofold: (1) It increases the realism by linking into real images, and (2) Because groups can trade with each other, it adds an element of trust.
- Popsicle sticks are also distributed to represent roads. The upper class is given a huge pile, the middle class about a dozen, and the lower class a few broken ones.
- The resources represent those typically (and stereotypically) found in the neighbor of that social class. The upper class gets nice homes, several schools, high class recreation center and golf course, and high end shopping. Here are some examples (you’ll have to scan it).
- The middle class receives housing, some strip mall shopping centers, basic schools and recreational areas.
- The lower class receives low income housing, a liquor store, a waste disposal center.
- The group is split into three sub-groups of equal numbers. There needs to be one or two mobile devices per group to serve two functions: scanning the QR codes and communicating via text with the other groups.
- The facilitator takes the groups one by one into the set up room and are told to build a city with the materials provided. The upper class is taken first and given directions that they are to build a city, that they can request additional resources. The middle class goes next with most of the same directions omitting that they can request additional resources. The lower class is taken in last and given short directions, “Build a city with materials provided. The QR Codes lead to pictures of resources.”
- They are told that they can text the other groups with questions and requests. This is intentionally left vague with the hopes that some trading and deals with occur.
- The unspoken rules that the facilitator follows during the activity: (1) Upper Class can go outside of their boundaries, lower class cannot. If the lower class member goes out of their boundary, they are warned. If they get more than two warnings, the member causing the infraction is taken to “jail” – a corner of the room. (2) The facilitator continues to check in with the Upper Class group if they need anything. If another group has an item requested, then the facilitator takes it and gives it to the Upper Class. (3) The Upper Class can communicate with the other groups in any manner they choose. The Middle and Lower Class can only communicate via texting.
- Post-activity reflections occur via a group discussion and a VoiceThread using photos from the activity. The Voicethread allows for opinions to be shared that might not be shared face-to-face.
The Equity Game: In Action
The following is an edited video of this activity in-process. It provides a good overview of how this activity operates.
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