Future Generations: Rule Book and Resources

“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” — Abraham Lincoln

Future Generations is a role playing game in which the players collaboratively build a near future world, discover the role of learning within it, and play out a community meeting, in the style of a PTA meeting, where the needs, concerns and dreams of the community are discussed.

Link to Rule Book

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Workshop 2 and 3

From the first workshop, we had a list of feelings and actions that our participants associated with moments of empowerment when it comes to learning. We also asked them to think of a story where they felt empowered and to describe an action that was associated with the story.

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The participants were then asked to design a learning environment for different age groups that they imaged would exist 35 years from now.

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Workshop 2
After the initial workshop, we used some of the ideas that came out around empowerment to hold a second workshop where we asked our participants to design a short segment of game play. The idea of this workshop was to experiment with the use of the composition box for game design and to have rapid prototyping of games. Besides seeing what elements were common across the games and how they used the elements from the first workshop, a goal was to see where their needed to be more structure and where there needed to be more freedom for the participants to be able to successfully prototype games.

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One thing that we found about the process what that there needed to be more set-up around the premise. Often the participants were worried about what was going to happen next and thinking about the end product. More structure around cementing each step of the process would be very beneficial.

From the second workshop, we found that our participants were very focused on having dialogue between the different players and having a discussion. Along with this, they often had the different players having goals they were trying to achieve individually in the game.

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Based upon the first two workshops, we decided to develop a role playing game. The game was centered around the idea of getting different stakeholders in learning (e.g. teachers, administrators, parents, community members) together to discuss important issues for education in a fictional future. By having the players role play and take on the different roles, they would not be as tied to their personal beliefs and would be more open to listening to other player’s concerns and values. We will have another post with a more detailed description of the game.

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Workshop 3
Our last workshop was to play test the game. Because the game was in a first phase, we helped to GM the game so that if any major issues were encountered we could help to work through them and keep the game moving. We found the game to be very fun and enjoyable. We found some things to be necessary to add to the game play, such as a meet and greet at the beginning for the characters to get to know one another, which we have added. Other things went very smoothly. The players for the most part easily jumped into their character and were comfortable adding and developing the future world as the game played out.

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Sky Blue School

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We are working on a game that, in addition to being fun to play, is also be a tool to spark discussion about the future of learning and education. In the game players will imagine and build learning environments for the year 2030. In the process they will be asked to articulate, discuss and challenge their own ideas and values around learning and society.
We are designing the game through a series of workshops intended to help us better understand multiple perspectives and feelings around learning, and also to prototype playful ways to engage in such a challenging topic. Discussion is a key outcome, and the collaborative workshops give us the opportunity to try out different tools for discussion and play.
In the process of playing the game, players will generate an artifact. Ideally these artifacts can be shared, and the alternative futures that they represent can be a source for discussion between communities.

Workshop 2 – Planning

Since our first workshop, Judy and I have begun to plan our second workshop. We are hoping to have this workshop late next week. Something that we have been trying to do with the three workshops we are doing for our project is to develop a game through participation. There is a method used in theater to develop shows that Judy has used in the past called a composition box. You can go here for more information. In this process, you would ideally have the same set of participants throughout the process. The general idea is to have the participants be involved in the making of the end product that they would eventually perform and be able to have part of themselves then be in this. In our case, our end project will be a playable game. Because of constraints, we will most likely not have the same participants at each of our workshops. However, it will be interesting to apply this process that has been used in theater to games.

Building off of our first workshop, we have started to identify elements for the game that we would like in it around empowerment and education. In the second workshop, we would like the participants to be able to come in and develop a game in the session. We would like to to be very open with some guidance that it should be around empowerment and education. In addition, there will be other constraints around elements we think would be interesting in the game based off of the first workshop. It will be up to the participants of the second workshop to decide how to incorporate these different elements into the game. Some different things that we have begun t think about is if we would like there to be specific mechanics that we see in the game. We want a way to incorporate the power words that have been identified – and expand on these – into the games without limiting the scope of games that can be made by the participants.

Based off of this second workshop, we would like to take elements of the different games that are developed and make one unified game for play testing in a final workshop. Right now Judy and I are thinking that the game will be around developing an artifact; however, we do not want to limit the game type at this point.

Workshop 1 – Outcomes

Our first workshop was very successful in eliciting ideas going forward for our game around education. Based off of some of these findings, we are working to develop different aspects that we would like to have people include in a game, which we would like to have a designing session for sometime next week. Below are some of the results from the different activities that we did in the first workshop. We would like to thank all of our participants that agreed to donate their time and thoughts and agreed to let us post the pictures here. We had a total of seven participants, all in their mid to late twenties.

Activity 1: Identifying what empowerment is

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Caption: Judy taking notes of the group brainstorm about empowerment

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Caption: The notes after the brainstorming about empowerment

In this activity, as a group, we discussed what it means to be empowered as a learning and how/when empowerment occurs. From this discussion, different themes came out. Some were around how a student feels when they are empowered, while other themes are the actions that other actors can take to help a person to feel empowered or that makes them feel empowered and the actions that a student can take that makes them feel empowered. Above, you can see some pictures of the process. Some of the comments can be hard to read, so I have included them below.

What is Empowerment in Learning
– Feeling like you can accomplish things
– Feeling like you understand
– Feeling like you don’t need to ask permission
– Feeling like you are allowed to ask questions
– Feeling like you can make mistakes
– Feeling like you can show vulnerability
– Can apply to my life
– Agency

When Empowerment during Learning
– Practicing
– While & After
– Positive feedback
– Negative feedback (constructive, tactful)
– Can do it on my own
– “I can do things!”
– Share knowledge
– Self-Esteem
– Eureka Moment
– Answer question successfully
– Position of authority
– Proving teacher wrong
– Trusted by someone in position of power
– Do something previously couldn’t do/failed at
– Reviewing that process
– Comfortable with uncertainty
– Confidence that you will figure it out
– Pushing self
– Risk taking
– Making a change
– Less comfortable with comfort

Activity 2: Story telling

For the second activity, the participants divided into dyads and told stories about a time that they felt empowered. They were then asked to identify some of the other actors in their stories in addition to a feeling that led to change in the story along with a power move to reflect that feeling. Something that was interesting, was when sharing these different items with the whole group, partner’s tended to share things about their partner’s story opposed to their own. From this activity, our participants shared great actions and feeling they identified with empowerment for learning that can be used in a game.

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Caption: The participants sharing their stories with their partner.

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Caption: Some power moves showing freedom (left) and begrudging (right)

Statues of Other Feelings from Story
– Thoughtful
– Freedom
– Defiance
– Reluctance
– Begrudging

Action/Gestures from Story
– Stirring
– Inviting
– Revisiting
– Climbing/Overcoming
– Proving Wrong
– Discovering
– Eye Opening

Activity 3: Imaging the learning future for 2030

The last activity had the students again in dyads, but to envision future learning in 2030 for different age groups. The dyads were asked to identify some of the different players that had an impact on the learning, what the learning environment would be like, some of the traits of the ideal learner, and to make an artifact that would be found in that environment. After, each dyad was given a scenario about a struggling student and asked to identify how their world would handle the student. Something that was interesting was that for the different presented scenarios, the participants often did not struggle with fitting the student into their environment.

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Caption: 18+ learners. There would be an open learning environment in the community where the barrier for entry would be lower. People would learn what they would need to to be able to contribute back to the community. There would be a badge to identify them as part of the learning community.

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Caption: 13-18 learners. Classrooms would be open to other classrooms around the world. This would allow learning to have smaller classes in one location and be more specialized. Technology would be used to support this along with local student TAs in each location to help with the class.

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Caption: 6-12 learners. In the future, students would all be autistic. The learning environment would be value sympathy and empathy much more than it currently does. In this sense, students are encouraged to ask questions and are much more on the same level as the teachers. Students, teachers, and parents all use technology to help facilitate the learning that is still primarily done by working together in person.

Game of Learning Workshop 1

Our first workshop is this Friday, 1:00 pm in NSH 4602 (join us if you like!).
Our goal of the workshop is to explore the experience of learning in conversation and art-making. We are engaging in art-making in order to create some artifacts that might appear in our game design, and also to think about how our experience translates to the mechanics and aesthetics of the game that we ultimately create.

Here is the plan for Workshop 1.