We will continue our core initiative of after-school enrichment programming that we have been providing to the community for the last four years. Participant students will join us once a week after-school at our educational center (or we will come to a hosting location) for a 2-hour game session, in which we will engage in collaborative storytelling. Each session will have a maximum of six participants and one or two educators who serve as the narrator and game master.
The beginning 15-20 minutes of each game session will start with a mini-lesson teaching the curriculum of role-play. During these lessons, we introduce the participants to the concepts and related skills of playing, designing and creating, and ultimately game mastering role-playing games. We encourage metacognitive learning by making our participants aware of the activities in which they are engaging, and reward in-game use of the concepts learned in our mini-lessons.
The remainder of the time spent with our participants is at the individual gaming tables, where we engage them in the practice of playing, running, designing and creating role-playing games. Most days, this will mean following a narrative that is controlled by either the educator(s) in charge of that particular classroom, or conversely, the narrative may be controlled by one of the students. Some days, we may take a break from role play to spend time developing individual or group projects pertaining to the subject of role play, including but not limited to: adventure ‘modules’, related artistic projects, game design, or the development and creation of artifacts used in the activity of role-playing games, such as the creation of miniature models and terrain.
Our purpose is to provide an overall framework of reference for the activity of role-playing games, and to build a community of practice in which our learners become creators, and work together as a community toward mastery of the related activities and concepts. As learners develop a deeper interest in one or more facets of role-playing games, we can work with them on furthering their own ideas and projects, whether it be storytelling, the creation of gaming artifacts, or the development of gaming narratives and supplements. We have an opportunity to shepherd these creative endeavors and even help the learners to produce, design, develop and perhaps sell their own game-related goods and services. Part of our philosophy is to build a guild-like, multi-tiered approach toward mastery, and promoting engaged and motivated learners from participants in the program to assistants, game masters, and game designers is part of our overall plan.