I never liked creative writing time in school because I could never visualize the worlds we were asked to create and write about. I never really got into reading until Harry Potter was made into a movie and I had visual aids to help me generate the images in my head. What I wonder is, what if you gave students the goal of generating stories and worlds that could give their classmates a game experience? What if creative writing time was an exercise in both creative thought and game generation?
I am not sure what grade level this would be applicable, but I like the idea of instructing students to write about a game experience they would want to have if they were playing a game. The idea would be to have students write short, two or three paragraph idea that would be about a game theme and the experience they would want their player to have.
Seed Idea: Everyone in the game is trying to build the best tree house in the neighborhood and there are several things everyone must overcome in order to build their tree houses.
Teachers could instruct the students to write about this idea and the limitation they might face. The students writing would have to think about all the things that could make building a tree house.(time, money, tools, skills) Teachers could even provide some extra help with idea offshoots. Maybe students could be reminded that they don’t need to limit their ideas to the trees and the realities we live. Tell the students to think of building a tree house on another planet or in another time period. The overall goal should be to keep the creative thought to creating world/game limitations and abilities so a game can be built around those parameters.
This creative writing can be brief and left for later when students can flesh out their ideas. I like the idea of students having to generate their own world limits and thinking about what it takes to overcome those limitations. This kind of thinking could have some real world applications depending on where in school students are and if they make the connection to the ideas they are working on and the real world situation they might apply to. I also like that for students like me, where generating my own world visual is difficult, with this style of creative writing, students only need to build limits and ways to work within those limits.
After this initial round of idea generation, students can flesh out the ideas with more parameter depth and/or theme. Getting students used to generating small limits will prime their brains to think about larger game ideas down the road.
If you have any ideas on how games can make great educational tools, please share them in the comments section or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org