Ben & Jerry Visit North Dakota

Eric and Emilia at Ben & Jerry

I couldn’t find a photo of us from that weekend, but here’s a picture of my husband and daughter visiting the Ben & Jerry’s factory on that trip, so you know we actually were in Vermont.

Lately, I’m feeling like Ben & Jerry – or maybe it’s Snapple. At any rate, some northeastern, cold weather states consumable product where they got their company off the ground by going to all of the local stores and talking the individual store owners into trying their product and seeing how awesome it is.

Now that I think of it, though, I’ll bet with ice cream and bottled cold drinks they were doing it in the summer.

We, on the other hand, are here in Fort Totten, North Dakota at Mdewakanton Middle School and Tate Topa Elementary School to show our newest game to the teachers, get their feedback on changes they would like to see and collect pretest data.

Since this is an educational game, we’re doing what a lot of educational game companies don’t do and testing if the educational component actually works. Students who play the game, and those who don’t, all take pretests in mathematics, and, after several weeks of game play, they take a posttest.

We want to observe the pretest component also and be sure that the students are not having technical difficulties completing the test, there is not a need for further instructions and in general see if there are any problems.

We have learned a lot already. Our first teacher orientation included elementary and middle school teachers, two principals and one paraprofessional. They had a lot of suggestions for future game development. We initially thought about making the changes and then installing the updated game the next day, but we decided that since there would probably be dozens of improvements suggested over the next few weeks that we would work on them all and do a version 1.01 in about a month.

One good point so far – although our games require Windows 7 or higher, or a Mac, the pretest can be completed on Windows XP using Chrome, which is installed on all of the school computer labs. This just makes it easier for the teachers, because the school may only have one updated computer lab. So, they can test the students in any lab. In the intermediate run (which comes between the long run and short run!) this may work out great for us because some schools that want to use our game have not updated their computers yet. They could do the pretest and posttest and act as a control group. Then, when their labs are updated, we can come in and install the games.

Why didn’t we wait until April or next fall to start testing?

Snowed in againBecause we are EXCITED about these games and we want to get them into the hands of schoolchildren as soon as possible, find ways to make them better and implement those as soon as possible.

Also, as I told Dennis when we were struggling through snow drifts in 12 below weather yesterday, they for sure know we’re serious about this now.