For this last week of the course, our job was to scout around through our classmate’s blogs and find interesting stuff to share on our own.
The first one I found that sounded interesting was Quandary, which I located on Bev McLean’s blog. Quandary is billed as a maze in which decisions lead you through to the end. That sounded like fun. I used to draw mazes on graph paper to share with my friends. From time to time, I’d get more creative and build a puzzle into the maze. Letters along the correct path would allow the solver to spell out a phrase or would get a proper solution to a math problem or something like that. I was hoping Quandary was a web-based version of that.
I was a bit disappointed. Rather than a maze, the closest analogy would be the old Choose Your Own Adventure books. In the sample mazes, you read a bit of text and make a choice based on several options. Depending on your decision, you then get the next screen with a bit of text and another decision.
The examples were definitely short on details which made Quandary a guessing game. Fortunately, you could restart the scenario any time you wish with push of a button.
Quandary is unsupported freeware. Download it (2.5MB). Play with it. Make scenarios for it. You can then upload those scenarios back to the Quandary site if you want.
I downloaded it, ran the install, and launched the program. It’s not exactly intuitive, but there is a tutorial set up using the Quandary software.
To use this in a class, a teacher might create a step-by-step process with right and wrong decisions to make. A satisfactory conclusion would be reached by making all the right choices. For example, a math one could involve step-by-step problem solving. Following the correct procedure would yield the right answer. This could be used as an assessment to find out how well the students understand the process.
Students could also generate their own, with a little direct instruction to show them how the program works. In a literature class, for example, students could create a Quandary file to explore how simple changes in the basic plot of the story would affect the characters later on.
Students could also write their own Choose Your Own Adventure story using the Quandary software to help them stay organized, quite a challenge with that sort of work.