Identity Accelerator #8: Easter Egg Huntmkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching
When a new semester begins, the students know the drill . . . “Update your biography. Post your introductory message in the Welcome Forum. Read your classmates’ introductory messages. Make a pleasant comment on each introductory message.” There is nothing wrong with that process except that it is the same for every class. So, here is a little twist on it.
Ask your students to put and “Easter egg” in their biography. An Easter egg, in digital terms, is a hidden treasure. They can choose anything. They could embed an image, a video, a lie, something true-but-unbelievable, something wonderful, etc. The students can be sneaky and post information in white font on a white background. They can add tiny links to videos or multimedia. The task is to read each others’ biographies and find the Easter egg is: what is that special thing that has been embedded in the message?
- Asynchronous – This task really works well asynchronously. It utilizes the learning management system’s biography feature and/or the text-based discussion forums.
- Write out the instructions carefully. If you want the Easter eggs to be of a certain type, specify it.
- Post a message in the Welcome Forum. Introduce yourself. Include an image of yourself or a cartoon or caricature of yourself. Tell us where you are from, what you like to do in your spare time, whether or not you have any pets, what sports you like . . . etc. Tell us why you are taking this course. In your message include one Easter egg (hidden treasure).
- Read through your classmates’ welcome messages. Say hello and try to guess/find their Easter egg.
- Indicate the length of time to complete this task (suggested: one week).
- The instructor should post the first welcome message and demonstrate how to do this activity.
- After the students begin to post their own welcome messages, the instructor can start guessing—again to demonstrate how to interact.
- Towards the end of the week, the instructor reveals his/her Easter egg. And, the instructor encourages the student to reveal theirs also.
I have done variations on this exercise in which I have asked the students to complete their biographies in the learning management system. Then, I told them to post something contradictory in their welcome messages. It’s a great way to ask the students to more deeply examine each other’s identities.
Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this entry.