Bringing Young Gamers Together: A Digital Writing Camp
Tina Browne and I looked out at the room of young gamers who signed up for the first-ever Introductory Game Design Summer Camp as a partnership between the Western Massachusetts Writing Project and a local vocational high school. All boys. Fourteen of them, eager to get going. There was a certain excitement in the air on that first day, and what I noticed immediately is how the boys were trying to get a sense of me, in particular, as a gamer. I dodged and weaved, and presented a suitable enough air of authority (constructed on some gaming experience and history) to satisfy most of them. And then we were off — making games.
Tina had joined me as a partner in this adventure, but also, as a teacher wondering if there is room for gaming in her high school curriculum. In the past, she has worked in digital storytelling and other technology as part of her creative writing and journalism classes. But like me, she was curious about what video games might or might not bring to the table for students. The summer camp became a sort of testing ground for us as teachers exploring this new terrain.
We were not disappointed. There was plenty of interesting work being done by our gaming boys. But we are still left with questions about how one might find room in a curriculum driven by state and national standards for gaming. (To get a better sense of my own thinking, you may want to check out my Digital Is resource More Than a Game: One Teacher’s Journey into Video Games).