Panel Education & Games: With, In, & How To at Gen Con 2015

Social-Cover-Photo-G+What advice can educators provide for teaching game rules to players? How about using games to enhance education? And what about the portrayal of education in games? This panel covers it all and more. Caleb Stokes is an educator and RPG writer. He frequently uses games in the classroom for a variety of purposes, and he recently worked with Arc Dream to publish No Soul Left Behind, a campaign book for the game Better Angels set in a charter high school. Ross Payton has written extensively for Monsters and Other Childish Things, and he’s been teaching rules to players for twenty years. Steve Radabaugh is a high school teacher and creator of app games like Dungeon Marauders and the upcoming dice game Fey Ball. Dan from RPPR was also a panelist.

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  1. Thanks guys. This speaks to a whole range of areas I am currently working on, as learning support staff for learners with complex needs.

    I shall be listening the shit out of this for the next couple of days 😀

  2. Yes, thanks for the talk. I’ve been gifted with the long term inhabitance of a 13 and a nine year old, and neither of them do more than videogames, so the practical advice buried within the panel will help immensely.

  3. so, like, Caleb’s students are the luckiest kids ever? man. and don’t you make me have feelings about steampunk, Dan! the kid with his Victorian gentleman thief trapped on an island, unghhh. I was somewhat destroyed.

    it’s not directly on topic, but computer RPGs and language acquisition go hand in hand. more than anything that went on in classrooms, just playing Bioware and Witcher games in French and German did so much for my proficiency. infinite supplies of voiced dialogue more or less at whatever speed you can handle, subtitles–sometimes in either your own or the target language (thank you, CDProjektRed).

  4. Great panel. I’m most interested in the ideas about how you teach game systems to players, but everything about this panel was interesting.

  5. Great panel; I’d love to listen/attend/be on a panel of that topic at next year’s Gen Con.

    As a middle school teacher that works primarily with students with exceptionalities, I’ve found that games are an essential tool to develop stronger responsibility and decision-making. One of the most frustrating elements of American schools is their diligent push towards compliance instead of responsibility, and this is typically seen in grading and homework: do this thing, or you will be punished. Furthermore, you must do this thing WELL, or you will be punished. Schools are the only places where people are expected to be GOOD at everything, which is a disservice to the students and a major reason why they become frustrated. Regardless, the student has NO choice on the matter: their only alternative choice is to not do the thing, knowing they will be punished.

    Good games (and good teaching) are built on designed choices to guide students/gamers to understand a specific target or concept. Providing students choices for activities and strategies is far more effective than demanding compliance, and this can be seen in games as well; a game that provides players with a few strategies and choices is more well-received than a “roll-and-move” game where luck is often a prime factor for victory. Choices can further be developed/scaled to meet different intelligences and strengths, which leads to one KEY concept that both the great GameMasters and teachers know: RELATIONSHIPS are far more important than RULES. More than anything, this is the key link between education and gaming; a good teacher can teach ANYTHING if they have a relationship of trust and care with the students; likewise, a good gamer or gaming group can learn and play anything together if they have strong relationships and know each others strengths/attitudes/concerns/and patterns.

    Great panel, again. You all did a fine job hitting on some key ideas in a limited amount of time. 🙂

  6. I used to use rpgs to teach literary elements to students in the alternative setting. I think the last one I used was Night’s Black Agents to teach characterization. I left out the vampires, but the kids were quick to develop their characters persona from the pregens I provided. While these kids were the “bad kids”, they sure knew how to play a good guy.

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