13 June, 2015

Educational RPGs

While considering paths to take for #Gamechef, I've been thinking of my recent academic study. There is a movement among academics in the educational system to introduce holistic learning processes. A part of this movement has arisen in rebellion to the standardised testing that has been ubiquitous in educational facilities for the past 30 years. Another part has come from the fact that many students are graduating from schools, colleges and universities with a grasp on facts that may already be out of date once they get into "the real world", and no real ability to engage critical thinking. Schools have been turning out sponges, and the media hs been happy to let those sponges soak up meaningless drivel and propaganda rather than information to be appraised by people who think for themselves. Tragically, in many situations, the academics trying to push critical thinking and holistic learning are being prevented from executing their intentions because it can be hard to quantify an ability to think laterally or critically, especially on a standardised test that get graded in comparison to tens of thousands. hundreds of thousands or even millions of students. In a world dominated by the bottom dollar, congratulations are given to the teachers who drill their students with the simple facts needed to pass tests, funding is allocated to schools who perform well according to narrow criteria. The problem isn't getting better, it's getting worse.

I've been thinking about using boardgames and roleplaying games in the classroom for a while now. I've submitted papers on this topic that have earned high distinction marks and have been referred to international academics. I'd like to explore this idea further. I knnow that there have been a new range of RPGs targeted at kids, but I'm not aware of any that have been specifically targeted at a classroom environment. So, I'm thinking of producing a game that uses simple obvious rules that are easily able to be grasped by school aged children, but where the interaction of these rules creates a system of underlying complexity incorporating social and mechanical elements.

My framework will be developed over the next couple of hours, and I should post it tonight (my time).


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