ARG, or Augmented Reality Game(s) have always sounded interesting since I first heard about them. Augmented Reality Games take games beyond your computer and console and into real life.  The characters exist; they have websites and emails, phone numbers and places they have been. They have voices and can interact with people. Clues are found online and in the real world, leading participants through a maze of intrigue.  The game adapts to player input and is fluid, changes occur based on what people find – or don’t find. Coded messages, puzzles and mysterious figures guide efforts to discover the truth.

Now take this idea and think of how it could be applied to student learning. Do students need to have better library skills? Include challenges that take them to the school library, where encoded messages are found using books or the ISBN. Take them through the city library where messages are displayed on a public board with only an iconic image to let them know what is the right message to read.

The image shows up at school, and is associated with a QR code taking students to a cryptic message.  The more savy students look for more places where the image shows up, doing searches online for it and find that it is tied to a specific organization online. A domain whois look up reveals a name and finding the person leads to more questions as the person’s twitter feeds and Facebook pages reveal more clues. More adventurous students call the phone number listed on the organizations website and receive an actual answering machine for the organization, asking them to leave their information.  Emails students write to the email address listed on the website are responded to.  The mystery builds as the story becomes more involved… but where does it lead to and who is actually behind it all?

Think of all the great 21st Century Skills students would develop with an adventure like this; problem solving, collaboration, group work, using technology, the list goes on and on.  Tie in your educational components, writing letters, researching, any number of possible curriculum links and you have an amazing learning opportunity that students are participating in outside of the school day.