Systems

I have recently enrolled in a Game Theory course https://class.coursera.org/gametheory-2012-002/class/index     Mind you, this is an online course and not really ‘for credit’, but I’m not one to turn down free structured knowledge. More on that later.

Game Theory focuses on ‘systems’ and predicting preferences and analyzing the system and its participants. There was an interesting theorem (proved) that states something along the lines of “in a system with finite actions and its participants play to win, the outcome and actions can be predicted”.

There is a ‘game’ that was introduced in this course, during this time, called Keyne’s Beauty Content. I decided to make a work sheet for it and play it with my students (Note: NOT gamification). Here is the lesson in short:

* Discuss definition of the theory introduced above.
* Stress the concept of playing to win, and get feedback on what that means to the students.
* Play game (with accompanied worksheet)
Each player picks an integer from 1 to 100. You (or all depending on the capacity of the students) calculate the mean of the integers, and then you take half of that result. This is the target number. The player with the number closest to the target number wins a prize. Players tied all get a prize.

After each round, have players record both target number and winning number. Repeat the game. After round 3, ask if any players see a pattern emerging (the numbers begin to drop). Continue play.

When the numbers spike for some reason (some students not playing to win), remark how the predictability of a system is disturbed when people don’t play to win. Ask, or comment, about what happens in a system that can’t be predicted, and some other examples of NOT playing to win and the consequences of those actions, not just to the players that chose that, but to others that were playing to win.

Continue play. At around round 7 to 8 the numbers are close to ‘1’, and several people might have all won by choosing 1. At this point I get very energetic and I start a lecture

“In a system, if we all play to win, we can predict it. We can set up a system, a school, family, business, government, able to predict and PROVIDE. If everyone plays to win, everyone will be educated, have clothing, food, a decent job. But when people DON’T play to win, they mess everything up. Some punk picks on another student in school, disrupting the whole class. Some students cheat on their homework, slowing themselves and lots of other people down at the same time. People steal. People assault people. Some crazy person comes into an Elementary school with guns and shoots a bunch of KIDS!!! If EVERYONE plays to WIN, we don’t have these problems. So on this NEXT round, what number do we chose to play to WIN?!? (point at a student)”

They’ll answer “1”. You point to the next student and say “we are WHAT?” and they answer “1”.

At this point, if you’ve played the drama correctly, they all say 1. At this point I picked my prizes up, put them away saying “OK, so the play to win of school is to learn. PLAY TO WIN!”

Free Structured Knowledge

My school has a lot of students that don’t do their homework, or don’t do what was not stated. None of them ask for work, I ask THEM to DO work. To this, should we instate a leveling system?

Each assignment is worth at most 10 points. At the end of the grading period, out of 300 points, you will be given a grade. I will only ever GIVE you an assignment if you ask for it. I will only ever GIVE assignments up to 250 points worth. YOU must find something to do that will make up the 50 points different. YOU must ask for the work. YOU must earn your grade, or remain at level 0.

Too harsh?

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