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When I asked my after school digital writing club what they wanted to learn in our workshops, they all mentioned game design.
Game design? I know nothing about game design. I don't even play digital games. When my own kids were little, I'd try to play with Zach and it ended up being an exercise in complete frustration.
My ears perked up during Troy Hicks' keynote presentation with the Educator Collaborative a few weeks ago when he encouraged his audience to stretch themselves a bit. He mentioned GameStar Mechanic and I knew I had my answer for the kids.
I read about the work Kevin Hodgson has done with his sixth graders. The I began to explore their site. Thankfully, they have support for teachers like me. I played some of the sample games and read through some of the lessons before introducing the site to the kids. I was hooked!
And boy, were the kids hooked! I played alongside them as they worked their way through the beginning episodes. Here's a little of what it sounded like in the library yesterday afternoon:
"This is so fun, Mrs. Johnson."
"Shoot! I messed up again."
"This is the best class we've had."
"Darn! Who can come help me get past this level?"
"I finished. Can I go on to the next level?"
"I need help again. Who's at a place where they can stop for a minute?"
Can you guess which comments are mine? I was truly the learner in yesterday's workshop time. The kids were the experts.
I plan on learning all I can in the next week before I meet with them again. I'm pretty sure I had as much fun as they did.
I stopped Kayleigh in the hall today and said, "Do you think your teacher will let you skip class to help me pass level 4?"
I was only half kidding.