The “future of education”. What does it look like? Everyone in a box on their devices taking classes from teachers dead or live in a box somewhere online in the world… somewhere? Those who can afford them, learn and teach in larger boxes? The most famous of them give master classes and the rest have subscriptions to intellectual property hubs and knowledge databases like YouTube, Netflix and Disney+?
Some would say, “Bring it on!”
Others would say, “Bleak!”
I am kind of like that Lorax fellow (although my friends might say my hair is bigger!) who says, “Well, what about public education? Who is going to speak for the billions of children born into this world which may soon look like a combination of The Matrix and Idiocracy?”
We are in an existential crisis as social media, global internet access, and education are colliding. Which is happening — right now. We need a practical solution in schools that helps youth gain perspective — in real time — to their rapidly changing and evolving lives.
Students need a break from screens, phones and computers that actually interest them and work on them at the same time. With youth access to the internet and social media’s presence ballooning in their minds, the need for more life-skills is absolute. Generally, on the fringe of public education, and in many private schools, life-skills classes are coming — if at all— in the form of mindfulness, personal budgeting and wilderness education. And yet, we need more. We need something that is happening in the room — not just inside the student in stillness, online in a bank, or outside in the forest. And we need it soon as part of the main curriculum.
I have seen nothing hold learners attention off screen longer than role-playing games (RPGs). And my classes are 4 hours long minimum.
Parents try to put me off and say, “Yeah right, my kid can’t be without her phone for more than 15 minutes.” Those same kids don’t want to leave after the 4 hour class, lunch break and after school hours.
Educators know that nothing moves fast in curriculum development, but when a wave builds and enough people get behind it, something new can happen. This is RPGs in Schools. This is regeneration, but not the Swamp Thing or Wolverine kind, this is the plant trillions of trees and nurture them kind of regeneration. And kids are resisting moving as fast as we are anyway. They are happy to be in the present moment and be part of something growing inside them and outside.
Their way of letting us know we don’t get it? “Ok boomer.”
When my own teenager shot back at me in a sudden triggered rage the other night that the “Earth was for rent”, I remembered saying the same thing to my parents in the late 80’s. Part of what saved me then were RPGs, but they were fringe and no one could conceive of how to implement them in schools. Well, life has come back around and more teachers are reaching into their passions and bringing them into the classrooms with the consent of parents and administrators doing anything they can to keep learners engaged as more charter schools, homeschools and alternative schools pop up each year. read more here
Note: This is a personal project of Zach Reznicheck that we support. He is a Green School Parent, a life-skills trainer, and teacher-gamer driving the teacher-gamer revolution to bring role-playing games into schools as a complement to any curriculum. Instagram: @teachergamerhandbook
For more on teacher-gamers visit www.teachergamer.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org