As a small example of what I was saying in my earlier post about letting the technology lead, take a look at a fun site called Blufr. The idea is simple – you are given a statement which could or could not be true and you have to state whether you believe it or not. But it’s given a web 2.0 twist by showing how many people have been bluffed by this statement, and then you are given a score for each one you get correct. They’re being coy about their scoring mechanism, but let us imagine that it is based on the number of people who have been bluffed, ie the more people who are fooled by a statement then the higher the score you get if you are correct.
Now, let’s play the ‘how could I use that in my course?’ game. You could take the technology and create a database of your own statements in your subject area. Then you add them in to your VLE, and students get to informally test their knowledge, taking as many questions as they want. You can cash in and get your score whenever you want, so like in blufr, maybe you have a score board to throw in a bit of motivation. And now maybe you extend it out so that students can add their own bluff statements (maybe you make it part of an assessment that they have to create one). Again, you can make a bit of a lighthearted competition of it by assigning a score to the one that bluffs most people. Perhaps you could extend it again, so groups have to do the tests, and the scores are based on how few people get it wrong, so the incentive is to increase the overall understanding of the group, not the individual.
In e-learning terms it’s got some potential – it promotes that informal, periodic testing of knowledge that both improves understanding and provides impetus, it has some inbuilt motivation to take part, it creates a social dynamic, and it’s kinda fun.
Now it’s not going to be a killer app or anything, just one of many tools. But my point is it would be reasonably useful, and I can make an educational justification for using it, but until this morning I didn’t know I wanted a tool that could do this.