Divergent Thinking: RPG in Elementary Education
by, 12-03-2009 at 06:46 AM (3218 Views)
With the economy going the way it goes I too found myself laid off back in April from the print industry. The lay off and subsequential absence of jobs in my field forced me back to school and rethinking my career. Surprisingly, I found Early Childhood Education to be my interest and now have completed my first semester at Mission College in the field. I have enjoyed my classes so much that I plan on getting my Masters in the field in a few years.
While studying the theories on how young children learn through play, I was struck at the types of learning dramatic/imaginative play can invoke in children. I then began to see a correlation that role-playing games in later years help facilitate that same learning. The most important being the divergent thinking that goes on in dramatic/imaginative role-play and games.
Given that, I deduced that a carefully crafted role-playing adventure could be used as a teaching tool for children early as age 8. Role-playing games by their nature are potential teaching tools.Things you can learn from playing a role-playing game include: Divergent thinking, logic, asset management, sequencing, vocabulary, social/ emotional growth, imagination, mathematical skills, cooperation, problem solving and others.
My plan is to do my master thesis work in creating a curriculum based on role-playing games utilizing educational modules that would be incorporated into the adventures. The key points I would emphazie are in the design of the adventure; as the game system can be adjusted for the age of the children. For instance, children as young as 8 would utilize a simple system such as Advance Fighting Fantasy, while programs geared to 12-years-old and up could utilize 4e Dungeons and Dragons. In addition, other genres could be incorporated (i.e. star wars). Currently, I am examining the Advance Fighting Fantasy as a guide in the 8 year-old program and working out potential areas of improvement in the system.
More on this as I finish final projects in my current classes.