I'm hooked! And I think I know
I will own up now… I spent too much money on apps from the iTunes store. My two and a half year old's new interest in my iPhone prompted a recent rash of spending on apps for little fingers – to paint things, to tap things that go moo, to swipe things that go zing and so on. It was at the end of that rash that I decided to throw "Angry Birds" into the shopping basket. A game that was chriping at me from the No. 1 position in the paid apps. So, after little miss 2.5 had successfully slimed and dirtied the screen of my iPhone it was my turn to investigate the whim that was Angry Birds. Fast forward one week. I have not been able to put this little sucker down! Wake up in the morning – "let me have one more shot at that level." Sitting in the car waiting for little miss 2.5 and mummy to return – "maybe if I try it that way it will work." It was only today after reading one of David Warlick's posts that it occurred to me why I have become hooked. There are no instructions. The concept is simple. It is difficult. You don't die! What engages me is the challenge! I have some birds that I shoot from a slingshot at a structure sheltering the nasty green birds. If I manage to knock over the structure and flatten the nasty green birds I get to the next level. As the levels progress I have birds that do different things – drop exploding eggs, explode on impact, hit with extra force, etc and it is completely up to me how I use these options to destroy the nasty green birdies. The fact that I can attempt each level as many times as I wish, even if I have completed it, is key – I am never told I am not good enough, I simply try and try again. If I complete the level I have the option of trying again to earn a better score. As I have been thinking about it I am wondering if this is not the sort of approach we should be taking with our students. Set a challenge. Make it difficult. Let them try for a solution using approaches they come up with themselves and allow them to fail and fail again and again but reinforce the fact that they can keep trying until they succeed, and when they succeed they can try again to succeed even more! That being said, I'm on scene 3, level 5 and it is really bugging me, so I've gotta go!