I've participated in the RPG (Role Playing Game) Dungeons and Dragons since I was 10 years old. I'm now, lets go with, middle aged, and it's not since undergrad college days that I've participated in D&D. Recently my passion for the game is rekindled. Here's how.
While searching through the basement inner sanctum my youngest daughter came across my D&D gear. She dashed up the stairs to my office, in excitement, clamoring: "Dad, Dad, can we play D&D? I found it in the closet." A memorable Daddy, Daughter moment; I dusted off the lead miniatures and dice, unshelved the rule books and unrolled the playing surface. A new era began. Nonetheless, it wasn't until our family furlough that the educational value of the game hit home to me.
Along with Cooper, the family Bearded Dragon pet, and our luggage -- the game of Dungeons and Dragons was packed up for our family sojourn. On a ridiculously frigid day the six of us gathered; Grandpa, Grandma, Mother, Father and Sisters; by the fireside and proceeded to play D&D. Acting as the Dungeon Master or DM (which is the game referee, instructor, teacher and/or lead learner) I provided each family member with a character, as well as, the background of the adventure they were about to undertake. As we played I found myself utilizing questioning tactics and methods I've employed over the years in the classroom. BAM -- it struck me there and then. I'm a far superior Dungeon Master than I was decades ago because of my teaching experience. Consequently my early years of Dungeon Mastering must've, unknowingly, made a profoundly positive impact on my teacher preparation. The gaming experience that day is the evidence.
...sensational educational learning moments crackled as often as the fire beside us.
After we completed a few hours of gaming and I put all the D&D materials away, my wife, a first time player and 1st grade teacher for 21+ years, made the same educational connection as me. Although she's not a fan of, if you will, the "sword play" -- she was astonished at how synergetic, player centered and engaging RPGing is for the participants. Higher order thinking skills are prominent at every turn of the game. The two of us dialogued at length about the educational attributes of Dungeons and Dragons.
Together my wife and I concluded that D&D RPGing encapsulates all the vital educational acronymns of 21st Century Learning. It's PBL (Project Based Learning), IBL (Inquiry Based Learning) and a ILC (Interactive Learning Challenge). More to the point, the Game, via the Dungeon Master, provokes immense curiosity from the player participants because a problematic scenario beseeches them. The Dungeon Master knows "everything" but only reveals what players probe from them. Players attain knowledge through collaboration with party or group members to formulate high level questions to present to the DM in an effort to ascertain information on the adventure at hand.
This is what can be taken from being a Dungeon Master of a D&D RPG Adventure and applied to lesson planning, educational expectations and procedures in our schools.
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Educational Resources & Blogs:
Questions and Answers Drive Great Lessons by Richard Curwin
Make Learning Fun for Adults by Carl Hooker
8 Pathways to Curiosity for a Hungry Mind by Dr. Marilyn Price Mitchell
Dungeons and Dragons in Education by Nick Provenzano @TheNerdyTeacher
The Inportance of Asking Questions to Promote Higher Order Competencies by Maurice Elias
Dungeons and Dragons Official Website