From the DistrictDisptach.org website – a very cool ARG program for teens, or other fun-loving tech fans!
“by Elizabeth Bonsignore, Katie Kaczmarek, Kari Kraus and Anthony Pellicone from the University of Maryland; and Derek Hansen from Brigham Young University
Ms. Edmunds is a middle school librarian running a #ReadyToCode after-school club that has been playing The Tessera, an interactive online mystery that introduces teens to foundational computational thinking concepts and key individuals from the history of computing. Her 8th graders have just entered a room within the game world that contains materials curated by members of a secret organization called the Tessera.
Here, they discover an old library catalog whose cards contain “book ciphers” that, once decoded, will reveal a letter from Ada Lovelace, a Tessera leader who is known today as the author of the world’s first computer program. The teens must work together to find the books listed in the catalog cards, then follow the encoded clues to locate the words within those books that comprise the contents of Ada’s letter.
Ms. Edmunds helps her club members to find several of the books in their media center or online via resources like Project Gutenberg. They page through the books together, compiling a growing list of words that disclose the letter’s contents. Once complete, Ada’s letter rewards players with key details about the Tessera’s secret mission against the evil “S.” During after-school sessions, Ms. Edmunds shows her teens how they can share their questions, frustrations, and successes with others in-game, through the Tessera players’ forum. She also encourages them to contribute their own findings and musings on the public-facing Tessera community wiki.
Like the teens in her club, Ms. Edmunds has a player profile, which she uses to respond to players’ questions and share her own thoughts. Over the course of 8-12 weekly after-school sessions, Ms. Edmunds facilitates online and face-to-face meetups with teens in her media center as they tackle the multi-level computational thinking challenges in this interactive, multiplayer mystery.”