How To: Make an SSTV Puzzle

Apollo_11_first_stepSSTV, or Slow-Scan Television, is a picture transmission method, used mainly by amateur radio operators, to transmit and receive static pictures via radio in monochrome or color. Most famously, SSTV was used to send back some of the first pictures of Space and the Moon. The most famous picture being this one from the Apollo 11 mission which shows Neil Armstrong descending a ladder to become the first human to step onto the surface of the Moon.

I used SSTV to make the final puzzle to end the first act of my classroom Alternate Reality Game called TwentyTwenty. After solving a coded riddle, and entering the answer into one of my character’s websites, students were given another coded message and this sound file. The coded message told them the weird sound they were hearing is something called SSTV in the Scottie 1 frequency. It took them about two weeks, but they eventually figured out what SSTV was and how to solve the  puzzle. They turned the sound file into a picture, sent the picture to the main character, and brought Act I to a close!

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Proof Of Concept

CastOne of the big changes I’m most excited about this year is my classroom Alternate Reality Game. Briefly, my students are the main characters in a yearlong, real-world, classroom video game. Revisit this post if you need a refresher. I will catch you up on our story so far by sharing the recap “The Narrator” wrote for my students on their TwentyTwenty Schoology discussion thread after completing Act I.

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It’s A Dangerous Business Going Out Your Door

warningGamification will not make your kids smarter, improve their grades, nor save you if you have poor classroom management and boring lessons.

Gamification is not a Silver bullet that will fix all of your problems and inadequacies. Your colleagues won’t like it (or you), most administrators won’t get it (nor even try to), and parents (as always) will challenge you.

It is not easy to Gamify your class. In fact, it is more work. On top of that, if you do a poor job Gamifying your class, your school year will be a nightmare.

Gamification is not for the weak, timid, or soft. You cannot be wishy-washy about it, nor can you back down and stop when you meet the resistance to change that will come.

If you don’t believe in Gamification, don’t get video games, or you think Gamification is just a passing fad that might help you win Teacher of the Year, don’t do it.

Gamification is serious business.

If you truly do believe in Gamification, like I do, it will be the best change you ever make, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Here is the first round of data on my Gamified classroom.

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