I am a mediocre Scrabble player at best, but recently I’ve discovered Scrabulous, an online knockoff of Scrabble offered through Facebook and I found my inner bionic Scrabble superhero. Full disclosure: I don’t play the game online the same way I play sit-down, face-to-face Scrabble games, where, according to the rules that you have to keep all of the words in your head and have the pressure of the person sitting across from you to move. Online, I approach the game differently.
I take advantage of every tool at my disposal, which is to say things like the 2 letter word list and dictionary built right into the application. Someone also went and whipped up a nifty little webpage that even looks for patterns from your letters and suggest words. I know, it’s cheating you might say, but here’s what I say, it’s learning. I learned more about how to play the game by 1) playing with players who were much better than me, and seeing what they do, 2) trying to emulate their play – I never realized just how quickly multiple little words add up and 3) by using the resources at my disposal to discover patterns that I didn’t know existed, and I think, making me a better player for the next time I sit down to a real board. Though I wonder if I would enjoy the game as much if I didn’t have my bionic abilities.
As Csikszentmihalyi writes in “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,” [learners should have] "a sense that one’s skills are adequate to cope with the challenges at hand, in a goal-directed, rule-bound action system that provides clear clues as to how well one is performing."
Scrabulous meets these conditions. Go on, play a game. Not on Facebook? Head on over to http://www.scrabulous.com/ With the power of the internet, you too can go from drab to fab!