The Next Frontier for Gaming at MMS
Jane McGonigal: Reality is Broken
New York Times bestselling author, Jane McGonigal’s philosophy is to use games for the purpose of bringing about positive social change. How? Gaming produces positive emotional reactions in players. Games facilitate a desire to overcome obstacles. And, according to McGonigal, games allow people to collaborate together for even more amazing outcomes. McGonigal’s collaborative game design style has been an inspiration to MMS students, Ahmed N. said, “It [McGonigal’s speech at Marquette] inspired me that I can be doing a better story outline along with a little multiplayer.”
Gaming for a purpose at MMS
It is already the standard that MMS students are engaged in game design as a part of their tech curriculum. Having this standard puts us way ahead on the technology curriculum curve. Our curriculum serves the purpose of teaching students at an early age about pre-programing, engineering design, the concept of intellectual property and more. All of our 5-8th grade students are, to varying degrees, aiming to produce games with a learning purpose to be entered in this year’s National STEM Challenge.
But, in a larger sense, our curriculum is designed to inspire students to begin creating games that help others. Some of our students are already working in this direction by developing games that help players learn about (and begin to think about solutions for) big issues like deforestation and nutrition.
MMS Junior High student, Samantha R., is currently in the process of designing and engineering a game to educate others about breast cancer. Her hope is, “To show people that cancer is a big deal and it is something they need to watch out for. People also need to do what they can to take care of themselves.”
The next frontier for technology and gaming curriculum at MMS
By graduation, our current 7th graders (and every class that follows them) will have developed and produced an entirely original game with a learning purpose:
- In tech, students brainstorm the learning outcome they want the players of their game to achieve. Students also learn the skills needed to engineer their game.
- Our writing and literature curriculum is teaching students how to develop their game’s storyline and visualize in a storyboard format how the game will “play out.”
- The music curriculum is guiding students through the process of understanding how music affects mood and from there students are learning to compose their own original music that will match their game’s storyboard.
- Finally, our art curriculum is teaching students how to create the visual effects needed to bring their storyboards to life.
This process perfectly weaves together the various disciplines in our curriculum into one beautiful outcome.
Click here to read past article, Post STEM Challenge Win.