The first meeting of the US Ed Tech exchange programme was scheduled as a formal meeting in the State Department. For it we would need to show our passports to gain entry, to dress well and the schedule noted that the ‘speaker’ would be Amy Storrow. So it was reasonable perhaps that our collective assumption was that we’d hear a welcome speech or formal presentation about our programme.
Introductions over, however, it became clear that Amy had no intention of making a speech. Instead she invited us to play a game called, Molly and Ned, where in two teams we could take turns asking Yes/No style questions until we worked out what the rules of the game were. This was no mere ice-breaker but proved to be the opening up of a fantastic discussion about the dynamics and even ethics of game based learning. The enigma of the game played out in a way to that managed to be fun and frustrating, absurd and meaningful, competitive and collaborative all at the same time and led us into a very open and rich discussion about potential projects and ways we can collaborate in the future.
Molly and Ned needs to be played to be understood (not very helpful I know) but suffice it to say the ludic approach succeeded in disrupting all our assumptions about meetings in the State Department!
But as visitors we were not alone in having assumptions since one of our hosts (perhaps Amy or perhaps another of the four women we met there) had assumed that our group would all be young people! Glad to have disrupted that particular chestnut too!