Notpron – Far too frustrating
I chose the Notpron from the list for activity 3.2 because the word puzzle was next to the name, and I normally like puzzle type games. I say normally. I hated this one, it was extremely frustrating. If left on my own, I would not have got further than the first level, which was easy as you just clicked on the door. This ‘puzzle’ was far too hard for me. You needed a degree in computing/programming and a very creative imagination to work through this, I have neither of these. Hints were provided, but these were insufficient to help me. When thinking of this in terms of learning, it reminded me of Vygotsky’s (1978) Zone of Proximate Development (ZPD). This ZPD stretches students to learn new things, but within their capabilities with guidance and providing suitable scaffolding for this to happen. This was way out of my ZPD, and the hints provided were not sufficient scaffolding for me to guess what to even try to do to get to the next level. I suppose this is a lesson learned in making sure that that enough scaffolding is provided for all level of student, and it provided me with the insight of what it felt like to feel way out of my comfort zone. In my case, I could just give up on the game (or cheat – see below) but what if it was someone’s degree course and they felt like that?
I didn’t give up straight away, as I don’t like to be beaten. I asked my son, who enjoys that type of thing, and together (mainly him) we worked out a few more levels. I also Googled the game and found a walkthrough, which provided the step by step answers up to level 10. Then we gave up – as it was way too hard and the hints and walkthough stopped at that point (no scaffolding at all). I didn’t feel that I built on my knowledge from one level sufficiently to get to the next one, it was all really hard and far-fetched. May be others with more creative minds found it easier but I just found it frustrating.
So lessons learnt were to build learning activities that build up knowledge (slowly if necessary), provide enough support and guidance to assist students to work within their ZPD, and that if students feel that the tasks are way out of their comfort zone, they are likely to give up.