Hacking the Education Narrative with Dungeons & Dragons

Hacking the Education Narrative with Dungeons & Dragons

Hacking the Education Narrative with Dungeons & Dragons

Hacking the Education Narrative with Dungeons & Dragons

The McGraw-Hill College Dictionary uses Dungeons & Dragons as one of its key Bible examples. “The D&D games we teach students to play are a fitting ancestor of the major archetypes of the Bible, which includes not just the character development. It also teaches the symbols and metaphors we use. It also has a story, a dynamic that fits into history and change and comes from central forces,” Caroline Noonan, an editor with the dictionary project, told The Statesman.

Many students at the university have requested the dictionary make a note of the games they played in junior high and high school. They have described an “ethics class” where they learned the rules and characters of the game that later saved them from vicious bullying. Their teachers explained to them that no one ever challenges the story of the world.

“The founders of the D&D games use myths, legends, allegories and Bible verses to express the transformational power of the D&D game.”

McGraw-Hill is the latest in a long line of companies to have tried to capitalize on the gamer culture. In 1992, Electronic Arts introduced Solitaire for Windows, one of the first card-based video games. Microsoft followed suit with Solitaire for Windows 95. Microsoft Solitaire Collection is still available.

Nowadays, we play games with titles such as Cards Against Humanity, Pokemon Go, Even Closer, and Candy Crush. MIT Media Lab has even created a puzzle game called CryptoVille, which starts with a punchline and tracks how well you finish a puzzle.

The concept of a video game has become a reference point for education in many ways. In the 1990s, educator Douglas Tucker created a series of mathematical problem sets around gamers’ actions. In 2002, Ginkgo Publishing published The Poetry of Gamers, a collection of electronic verses created by American adults.

Hacking the Education Narrative with Dungeons & Dragons has so many parallels to the story of how students learned to read and write. They started with the same story, but then everything changed. Within a year of getting a “fast learning pass” from 1399, Smoothie had passed his high school equivalency exam. He joined the U.S. Army, and did multiple tours of duty in the Middle East during the Vietnam War. In his later years, he served as a military policeman in New York City.

A major clue in the game is that players learn to read the book and to apply the rules. Players learn through actions not words.

So how did this “luck” transformation lead to reading and writing? It probably had something to do with the expediency. Rather than trying to memorize the full spectrum of ways to solve a problem, Smoother decided to use action verbs. This was a huge leap from Rosetta Stone or Webster’s; the library was not just about learning, but about using.

Such a change is reminiscent of Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia, which the world uses to learn about everything from how to become a doctor to check money transfers, was started by two programmers at the University of California, Berkeley in 2001. As the website grew, users started creating thousands of articles – from the fascinating descriptions of cell biology to the outrageous explanations of building toilet seat covers. This success helps explain why the encyclopedia has become such a success.

Many popular websites have become successful by editing. Wikipedia aims to do a similar thing by making it easier to create articles.

The generation after Smoother will benefit from gaming experience.

Source: The McGraw-Hill College Dictionary

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