What Games Mean to Me #9 Education I Believe In

I think there could be entire schools that are built on and around the concept of games.

This could be a total pipe dream but I have a passion for the education system. I was a bored student and I think about what it would have been like to be in a school environment that was more games based and less lecture/reading based? Would games have kept me more engaged in what I was learning? I’d like to think so.

I know there are some programs out there that are based in a game learning atmosphere, but I think the idea of a schools based entirely on game created learning are never meant to be. Just to be clear, I think there would have to be some form of teacher guided lecture so students could learn the concepts for the day, but instead of worksheets, students would use games as their method of reinforcement.

Regardless of entire school systems being based on games, I can see my children being more interested in learning a subject if there was a game involved. I would like to think I could design those games for my future children and if I can design games for them, why can’t I design games for other children in the world?

I believe that education is the greatest gift you can give a child and I believe that games, at their lowest, can reinforce what children have learned. At their best, games can give children the tools to improve their critical thinking, writing, social, math, problem solving…..you get the point.

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If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at c.renshall.tgik.games@gmail.com

6 thoughts on “What Games Mean to Me #9 Education I Believe In

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I’d love to see whole educational systems built into game-like formats – not just embedding games into lessons, but embedding learning into long-running games.

    My friends and I have a semi-realistic dream of creating a long-term roleplaying game designed to lead our kids into worthwhile learning and thinking. Imagine if instead of writing a paper on [pick a revolution/war/political philosophy] you had to convince the oppressed townsfolk to revolt against their ruler while your party-mates have the ruler temporarily distracted. And then, once the duke is deposed, face the problem of how to keep the people safe and prosperous and your reputation amid the nobles up and the king’s taxes paid without a crushing tax burden or a brutal militia. Or even just the simple math involved in figuring out the relative time and costs of getting to your destination by foot, cart, horse, or ferry.

    Would probably just be during summers as an enhancement to regular school, but I wish I could figure out how to scale it up to whole schools and districts. Even simple gamification – leveling up, badges, forming guilds so that those who are further along have motivation to improve the performance of those falling behind – could hugely boost engagement and make learning more effective.

    • Thanks for you comment Ben.

      I love your idea about writing papers about historical situations. Have the students play both sides and they will need to exchange their papers back and forth. That sounds like built in peer review to me! Next in your idea, teaching kids the logistics of doing something like keeping people safe and growing the new society. Isn’t adult life about logistics? Isn’t being a successful student in higher education about logistics? Aren’t jobs about logistics and time management? The potential benefits of this kids of learning environment are too good to be ignored. I hope you and your friends plug away at your dream.

      Aidan and I were throwing around that idea one afternoon and we were thinking you could integrate writing and science classes where the students in writing class (Grade X+1) need to write RPG campaigns that are based on Science concepts that apply to what they learned in Grade X. The students in Grade X get to play the written campaigns in RPG style in groups and need to use the things they learn in class to achieve their goals.

      The possibilities are endless. At some point down the line, if a school like this was a real thing, the curriculum would be entirely built on what students from the past and present have and are producing.

      I could go on for hours on this subject but thinking about this sort of topic gets me really excited, just no idea how to implement.

      • That’s such a cool idea! I love the idea of getting older classes to write/design for younger. Would no doubt take some refinement to make sure they’re well-designed, playable scenarios that effectively lead to learning, but even that process could be a combination of collaborative workshopping and fun competition. Grade X+1 play-tests and rates each other’s modules and the winning one(s) get used by Grade X? So many cool ways this could be done. I love it.

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  3. Pingback: Board Games Used For Education #1 Intro | TGIK Games Blog

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