Teacher As GameMaster

Imagine, for one minute, that education is a Massive Multiplayer Role Playing Game. The teachers are the game developers.

After years of trying to control their player’s experience, this is their new manifesto…

“While we sometimes imagine our game as a contained space and experience in which a player sits down, examines the rules, and begins to play (or begins to play and then examines the rules), we have failed by insisting on an outdated mindset of control and have not looked at the way our game space is co-constructed by a variety of agents.

Time & time again, we find that activities based on our often unconscious assumptions about player behavior, had completely unexpected outcomes. Sometimes these outcomes were complete failures.

It is clear that we are not in control. The more people we involved in something, the more money we spent on consultants and technology, the less in control we were. This illusory feeling of control made us lose sight of what our role really is.

We want people to continue to play our game well after reaching the win state. We can influence things, we can ask good questions, set up interesting situations, we could provide opportunities for things to happen – but we cannot dictate the outcome because it isn’t our game to play. It’s the player’s game.

We are teachers. We are but Gamemasters.”

(Note – A GameMaster’s role is traditionally defined as someone who weaves participants stories together into an over-aching aesthetic and narrative, someone who facilitates and creates environments in which players can interact and solves player disputes. They don’t control the players actions.)

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