Most people in the geek and nerd community know an RPG to be three things, and none of them relate to "rocket propelled grenade" unless they play realistic military shooting video games. First, a role-playing game on a console system, primarily of Japanese origins. Second, a tabletop game such as Dungeons & Dragons. Finally, real life which is affectionately known as LARPing (live action role playing).
However, there is a new way that an RPG can be utilized, and it may actually be beneficial, especially for students still in school, especially those who play video games. Shawn Young, a teacher, has a class full of warriors, mages, and healers. Warriors get to eat in class, mages can teleport out of lecture, and healers can ask if an exam answer is correct. However, this isn't a video game or Dungeons & Dragons or larping. This is the education in his classroom... and it is gaining popularity.
According to Venture Beat, Shawn Young has been developing and refining a game known as Classcraft, his classroom-based RPG for the past three years, and he says it creates a collaborative and supportive learning environment that can help turn student around who are failing. The RPG concept may sound ridiculous to some, especially the old school teachers who can't handle change, but this form of teaching has been utilized on over 7,000 students in 25 countries.
For anyone who is a gamer (me included) this sounds like a dream come true. I mean back when I was young, my parents got angry that I played video games more than studied despite being a great student. Now Shawn Young has found away to combine the love of video games with the expectancy of learning. It is a win-win if you ask me.
From the description given about Classcraft, students come in and check their stats on the screen projected at the front of the room. The bell rings, its time for a random event, which may impact one or more random players. It might be a disaster, like a student's game character dying, or it could be goofy like getting up and singing. According to Young, this helps students to focus. Once they enter, they want to know what is happening.
Experience points are gained in the RPG for good work and collaboration. Hit points are given to students who lack focus or misbehave. Students then gain powers the more experience their character gets in association to their character in the RPG. And the best part of it, Young can keep an eye on all the activity in Classcraft. He is even planning on releasing an iOS and Android app for phones too.
Shawn Young isn't the only teacher aiming to incorporate RPG games into teaching. According to Education News, Ben Bertoli is making his own version of the teaching RPG game titled ClassRealm. Bertoli even made a statement of his version of the teaching RPG:
"It's based on role-playing video games like Pokemon or Final Fantasy. The students can gain achievements for doing things around the classroom or... can earn experience points for doing different things during the day, like participating in class or leading the class discussion."Unlike the teaching RPG, Classcraft, by Young, Bertoli plans to take ClassRealm a major tool for teaching in a more aggressive and dynamic presentation, especially through Kickstarter. Right now, his Kickstarter has raised $20,000. However, the total needs to reach the next fundraising goal by the cut-off date or the $20,000 becomes forfeit. To gather additional interest in the teaching RPG, Bertoli and other company representatives are going to pitch at E3 this month.
Let's hope this teaching RPG can become prominent in schools, especially since the graduation rate is dropping and students are transgressing pertaining to their educational careers, such as cheating on SATs, as reported by The Inquisitr.
[Images via Classcraft]