Spring 2023 Deep Dive Community – Storytelling Games: Designing Playful Classrooms

Deep Dive Community – Spring 2023 – Online

What lessons can teachers take from the world of games beyond vague injunctions to “gamify” the classroom? In this Deep Dive Community, we will take inspiration from the diverse, exciting world of storytelling games to move beyond points and punishments and bring playful, practical, and radically collaborative game design ideas into the palette of teaching tools for creative classrooms.

We will explore creative critique practices, “no dice, no masters” collaborative storytelling, and more—exploring the work of game makers who design revelatory narrative experiences and mining pieces and parts of the best games out there for pedagogical insight.

This learn-by-doing DDC will be part discussion group, part gaming group, and part design jam. We’ll use patterns of non-hierarchical, playful community building taken from tabletop gaming spaces to establish trust and set goals. Then, we’ll explore game-inspired ideas, play short games, and use those experiences to motivate design experiments of our own.

By the end of the Deep Dive, we will ask each participant to design one game-inspired learning activity, or learning-inspired game. Each DDC session will gradually move you in the direction of creating this, from design explorations to iterative work to finally playtesting your idea.

No previous DDC experience required. Small Groups and Individuals from all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Dates: Fridays, 11 am -12 pm

  • Feb 3 – Introduction
  • Feb 10 – Discussion Group
  • Feb 17 – Game Sessions
  • March 3 – Design Jam!
  • March 10 – Playtesting

Stipend: Part time faculty qualify for a $300 stipend upon completing this Deep Dive.

Facilitated by Nat Mesnard, who teaches interactive fiction and game making in the Game Design & Interactive Media program at Pratt Manhattan. Nat did their MFA in Fiction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Catapult, Cartridge Lit, Autostraddle, and elsewhere. In games, their work has appeared in the Level 1 Anthology for Free RPG Day every year since its inception, and two tabletop roleplaying games, “Business Wizards” and “Horseshoe Academy,” are out now with 9th Level Games. They can be found online at http://nataliemesnard.com/

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