Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Digging out the d20s....

A few posts colliding last week in my feed to spark a few thoughts. The thing with weekends and half terms is that I scroll through my twitter feed before doing something useful and get sidetracked into something far more entertaining which ends up taking several hours of the day, and resulting in a few thousand more words written. It all goes into the memory bank though and helps with my creativity in the long run.
The post was by Mark Enser, and was a link to a post regarding the use of Dungeons and Dragons as a context for learning subjects. It was an article in UK EdTech magazine, and written by @DragonLearn
I've still got my Dungeons and Dragons Handbooks, and remembered my teens and early twenties, when I spent thousands of hours creating campaigns, and still have one or two on file, along with my main characters I created. I'll dig some out for a future post... This is an image of the 1st edition Player's Handbook: the one I own.
There's a lot of geography to be had from Dungeons and Dragons and the writing and running of a campaign. I spent many days behind the DM's screen... Mapping for campaigns is an obvious starting point, with the cartography required to create authentic maps of cities, landscapes and physical systems.
Weather was part of the story telling... it taught you some basic writing skills, and also the act of invention - some of my finest stories were made up on the hoof, and rapidly adapted so that there was some consistency...
Geomorphology was a part of the campaigns too - the landscapes were fully formed in my head: rivers flowed downhill and snow fell in winter.
I'm not sure I would use these for teaching geography these days, but the lessons about constructing a story are certainly ones that I draw on daily, as each lesson is a little 'dungeon' in itself in some respects, with some NPCs...
Tom Bennett wrote a piece that was published in 'The Guardian' about the place of play in education and outlined some of his thinking around the position of play.
I would say that there is certainly scope for play in teaching.
Susan Pike then posted a useful reminder of the value of play in the Early years.

For example, check out Sharon Witt's GeoGnome session from the GA Conference 2017 which was the most rigorous and enjoyable session I've been involved with for a while. Visit the conference page, and it's one of the session downloads...

And you can't have a dungeon without gnomes...

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