Friday, August 21, 2009

Games and Teaching

Here at Wittenberg we start early: Monday is the first day of classes, meaning we will have six school days before September even starts!

It also means that the incoming freshman class is moving in to campus this weekend, trying to learn how to be college students before they get into their courses and trying to figure out what they might want to do here. At the time, I was excited about doing creative writing, which I wouldn't be allowed to do until my sophomore year due to over-demand. Before then I would take four math classes and one cs class: my path quickly shifted to a math-cs double major that sophomore year.

What it means now is that today we will have department information sessions, in which each department will do their best to lure students into trying classes in their discipline. We expect to see students who already know they want to succeed in Math and CS (we have a join department here) but what about students like myself who had a weird senior year as far as math was concerned (another story for another day) and had never taken a serious CS course? My hope today is to help attract those students with games. I found a laminating machine here in my first week and have a nice Atropos board, complete with poker chips and even some cards. (Sadly I left my Atropos dice at home! Oops!)

I'm psyched to use games as both an attention grabber and a teaching tool. Although it might be too late to use today, does anyone have any advice for brief comments that tie CGT and math or cs together. Usually I try to talk about the complexity side of things, but it's not always easy to field follow-up questions while avoiding actually naming complexity classes.

We'll see how I do today... :)

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