AHAkids Gamer Summer Camp

Through the act of play, we will be tackling some of the hard issues that today’s youth are faced with when it comes to the multi-player online universe. By tackling common issues found in true cooperative games like anger management, working constructively as part of a team, and proper conflict resolution, we can start to understand what causes these issues, and create markers for these emotions so that we can benefit our behavior outside the video game.

Goals:  Our goal is to identify these common issues in each individual student and learn through observation and trial-and-error what works best to rectify said issues. Below is a list of common issues and an example outcome that could help:

  • Student is shy and doesn’t talk much: Put them in a leadership role and have the students talk to them before making a group decision, therefore building connections with individuals and gaining confidence.

  • Student complains and is disruptive when they don’t get their way: Partner them with a student that is flexible enough and they take turns determining what the next goal should be in their task, teaching fairness and practice listening to others.

  • Student frequently uses inappropriate names or language when upset: An instructor takes them aside, makes them aware of why this may be hurtful to others. Stricter actions may be taken upon repeated cases, making sure that this behavior is taught to be unacceptable.

Due to the fact that every student is different, some ways of tackling issues may not work. It is important in this class that everyone (including parents) communicate on a constant basis, as this is one of the reasons teamwork falls apart to begin with.

How We Measure Success:  We will observe on the first day how the students interact separately and with each other in game. Thorough notes will be taken every day and be compared before and after class. These notes will be readily available online (through Google Docs for privacy) to all parents. When there is a significant positive change in behavior from the student when the group is subjected to an in-game stressful situation, we will see this as an overall successful class.

Reasons this could benefit your child in the real world:

  • Bettering communication skills: One of the most difficult things to do coming from a single person game to a multiplayer one is communicating in a timely fashion what a single person’s idea of how to reach any said goal is. Due to this difficulty, it is easy for anyone, let alone a student, to not get upset if the group didn’t understand them. Through constant feedback from the rest of the group and from instructors, everyone will practice and learn from each other, bettering their understanding of how they interact with the team and develops quick and effective ways to convey their thoughts to others.
  • Better leadership skills:  By cycling through the student roster and giving everyone a chance to be the “team leader,” a good perspective will be given on what it truly takes to be a great leader. It will quickly be made clear that it’s not about telling people what to do or being the loudest in a group, but that being a good leader is about taking everyone’s input and choosing what the best course of action is while keeping a level head under intense pressure. Making sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to also puts them in a role of authority, forcing them to keep tabs and inspire productive actions, rather than abuse their power and command.
  • More confidence:  On top of the confidence offered by games in the form of slaying a dragon bent on destroying the world or by completing any other epic in-game goal, completing a difficult task using skill and wit is an empowering experience. Often it teaches us that we could accomplish great things in the real world by striving to be better, stronger, and to find that new epic sword to slay that class project with. By this immersion experience, each student will learn what they are good at, and what areas they need to work on. Taking this lesson to other experiences in school or in the home makes someone more sure of themselves and more apt to try new things.
  • More likely to work well as part of a team:  By knowing what role they are good in, it makes it possible to jump into almost any group and take up that role and excel. Even if that role is already filled, being aware of shortcomings in the necessary role makes the student more aware on how to improve. Being put it different roles and understanding what it takes to be good in them makes it easier to identify with others having issues. Because of this feeling of empathy, we can become inspired by others easier and learn the true meaning of respect.

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