Educational hack: “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes”

explosive-98646_960_720Welcome back!

Today I want to describe a successful gamification activities that I and some teachers (them, mostly) created and tested last year in Italy.

The game itself, even if it was only a game (not a gamification activity) get pretty good result, and after this post, you will be able to use this same games in classes, to empower specifically skills about comprehension and analysis of a written text.

It is particularly interesting because, differently from what usually happen, we haven’t “modded” a game for a school activity.

On the contrary, we take a game and used it exactly as it is, exploiting the best environment and delivery method to empower its inner properties.

The game is “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes“. It is an interesting game either from a design perspective (for many reason: for example, it’s a board game played by a computer and a manual, somehow like Artemis – The Spacebridge Simulator) or from a functional perspective (it’s easy and fast to implement)

Keep Talking and nobody Explodes Logo

We studied (and played) extensively the game to exploit its goal: it tests both your comprehension and communication skills, specifically when under stress.

We observed that after we translated the first pages of the manual (equivalent to the easier challenges, or “tutorial” if you prefer) and used it in the context of an action role-playing game laboratory.

What we understand is that, for the most part, students (we’re talking about 12-14 years old) find a lot of difficulties comprehending a text when you need to be fast (on the other side, we also noticed that they managed pretty good to communicate one with each other proficiently).

That’s make sense: it’s perfectly plausible that millennial generation are more skilled in fast reading and overview, being so exposed to the unstructured reading that is typical in the Web… yet it seems that they lack the attention and focus required to find out a relevant information or an exact procedure from a written text.

So, how to create a hack of this game for your students? Few simple step:

  1. Buy the game. It’s pretty cheap, and comes in form of a self-extracting .exe without need to install it. So it can be located in a USB or SD drive and used easily on any computer (yes, since you don’t have to install it, you can use it freely).
  2. Translate the game manual (or part of it) if you’re student aren’t proficient enough in English. You can find the manual here. Eventually, use the English manual itself (or translate it in language) to test their comprehension skills with a foreign language!
  3. Determine the difficulty. This is made simply by choosing a specific level in the game. The game itself will add progressively new schemes (2-3 with any new difficulty level), so you will know (roughly) how many manual pages you will need.
  4. For the first game, use the Tutorial. It’s always the same bomb. Further levels will have always the same component, but the bomb will be created randomly, so it’s better for the first explanation to have something you know exactly how it’s made.
  5. Play the game, recording the results your student will achieve.

Today is all, but any comment or additional idea is welcomed.



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