Students begin by reflecting on their confidence in different skills, such as problem solving, leadership and curiosity (to name a few). They are tasked with distributing an allocated number of points between each skill, with 6 representing a strong confidence in that skill and 1 representing a skill which may need developing. In the same way Ian tasks his students to this activity, he challenged our Monthly Meeting participants to partake in the task too.
And then the game began…
Ian was very flexible and adapted the game, usually meant for 4-5 players, in person, to include around 25 of us, virtually! He was creative in doing this, having 4-5 players in the main room and the remaining players in a different room, connected to the main group via ‘text messages’ sent in the Zoom chat box.
Participants worked through different rooms in the Dungeon, each with a new puzzle to test different transferable/employability skills (curiosity, multitasking, coming up with novel solutions). Throughout the session Ian discussed his different techniques to keep students engaged and ensure everyone’s voice was heard, such as challenging students who were contributing more than others with in-game cobwebs to their character’s mouths! This ensures all students are able to actively participate equally. Another technique was handing students gems when they demonstrate valuable skills, but not telling them why they were being rewarded. This encourages students to make links in their behaviour and reward receiving, whilst motivating them to continue actively participating and demonstrating their skills.
And at the end of the game the students are required to prove they are worthy of returning to the real world by talking about all the skills they demonstrated during the game, a parallel to a real-life interview pitch. Though the game took longer than planned, and Ian describing our participants as slower than normal, everyone was engrossed in the session and we were all pleasantly surprised to learn about how the game is applied to a skill developing context.