There are 3 things I did that I think helped with student engagement here:
- Shake up the group dynamics. I forced all students to show their thinking on a white board space first. It made students formulate a plan, got students off their seats, and ensured that everyone had access to the ideas. There is something about physically re-arranging spaces that causes a disruption in student's actions. By making them move, I could shake up the dynamic.
- Create a space that promoted collaboration. I was able to bring in larger monitors. Thanks to a colleague who wasn't using them, this was HUGE at the end of the project when students are combining code and working out kinks. I had students who worked on a larger display in the library the whole time which worked for them. Ideally, I think if every group had that opportunity each day that would have been best, but it worked for now.
- The prompt. Students had so much space to make it their own AND since it was a game, they wanted to make sure they could be fun. One group got "done" with theirs and then started racing each other for who could get the highest score. One person in the group said "We could add more words, or make it so that there was sound also, or a high score board, or... There is SO much more we can do with this!". When two of them were racing, one student said "that's not fair 'remote control' came up like 3 times for me, and you had the word 'kid' and 'hat' pop up a ton, 'remote control' is WAY harder to do". It's these sort of problems that now students WANT to resolve to make the game better.
Also, now I need to figure out a way to structure the share-out. I think I want students to demo it for students and then also play each others and give feedback.