These stories were successful, but I also learned some valuable lessons. I had students work on them in groups of 2-3. They had to include 7 or 8 elements in their story. That was too many elements because with the complicated nature of the story, it took the project way too long to complete.
The storyboard that I required was absolutely essential. Without this these would have been a dismal failure. Whenever groups would become frustrated, I would ask if they had consulted their map and inevitably they wouldn't have done so. One glance would be all it took to get them back on track. So I did learn that this was a good investment of a class period. My principal was a former English teacher and she helped me understand that writing better endings takes exchanging the maps with another team and having them help write the endings and starting with the ending first and then writing backwards. I think I'll try that next time.
Hyperlinking was easier than I'd imagined. And you can't design all the documents beforehand like I thought you could. Groups were able to get the biggies done, but just not all of them.
It was very hard for groups to tie their storylines into the vocabulary. They tried in most cases, but I could tell when their understanding was vague right off. In some cases, being "cutiesy" hampered their understanding, so I will not be as generous in allowing creative license with the story next time. It seemed that the more experience students had with game playing, the better the quality of story and ability to understand how the hyperlinking should work. It was the branching that confused most groups. If they understood branching, then they were all set in creating a storyline to work with the idea....otherwise the story just had hyperlinks that took you to the reference vocabulary pages.
For a first effort assignment, I'd give myself an 80%. Not great but OK. There's lots of room for improvement and most students learned how a computer worked, they learned the computer vocabulary, they learned how computer networks worked and how to create hyperlinked documents. With the next chance to do this assignment, I know how I will improve my instruction and make it easier for students to write their stories and make hyperlinking incorporated into the storyline more seamless.