Sam Chaltain is co-producer of a PBS online series called 180 Days: Hartsville that looks like it’s definitely worth watching.

Along with the documentary, Sam and his colleagues have created a “game” called 180 Days: Challenge. In it, you choose the role of a teacher, principal or parent and are then asked ten questions — in effect, problem-based scenarios — that each have very well-thought out potential options as responses.

At the end of a game, you’re given a “personalized” analysis based on your answers but, more importantly, a very realistic and sophisticated analysis of how it all fits into the education landscape. For example, my personalized analysis was:

Based on your answers, your teaching style gave a slight preference to the emotional needs, slight attention to the social needs and strong focus on the intellectual needs of your students.

Here’s a portion, though, of what followed it:

That’s not a score as much as it is a barometer for where you believe the greatest attention in schools should be placed.

The challenge, in real life, is finding a way for schools to be balanced in providing attention to the different developmental needs of kids.

The reality, as this game illustrates, is that it’s almost impossible to do that consistently well in the current K-12 landscape.

This raises a subsequent question: How do we foster the practices and policies in American public education that will encourage all schools to foster a more balanced emphasis on each child’s development and growth?

Sam wrote more about the game here.

Playing the game only takes a few minutes, and I think having a group of colleagues play and then discuss it could be a very useful professional exercise.