I’m doing a unit right on about plagiarism, scams, spam, phishing, urban legends, and all sorts of other things that can get you in trouble online. Students are fascinated by anything that’s illegal, so it’s actually going pretty well. Today, I’m using a game developed at CMU, Anti-Phishing Phil, to help them learn about phishing. I wish I had activities like this for everything in my curriculum.
Until you’ve seen students learn something unintentionally, it’s hard to believe that it works. But like the classic sleight-of-hand, attention goes one place while the real action happens in another. Even with a minimal game structure, students focus on the play and don’t seem to notice that they are being taught a whole set of skills and knowledge. But when it’s over, they can answer my questions. Great stuff.
The only downside is that some of the machines here in the lab still have Flash Player 6, and the game is pretty broken on that version. I should email the developers and tell them to put a version check into their preloader.