How-to SessionSusan Rivers, iThrive Games, USA, Michelle Bertoli, iThrive Games, USA
There are currently too few appealing, developmentally appropriate methods for engaging teens in their own social and emotional learning in educational settings. Commercial video games offer rich, mediated, interactive narrative experiences that can be integrated into the classroom to support teen students’ core academic knowledge as well as their social and emotional resilience. This session will demonstrate how educators are using the award-winning video game and digital “museum,” What Remains of Edith Finch, as the basis for a curricular unit to engage high school students in building literacy skills as well as key aspects of resilience including autonomy and self-awareness. What Remains of Edith Finch is an award-winning narrative video game that tells the story of an 18-year-old girl’s ostensibly cursed family history through the mechanic of exploring her childhood home, which has become a museum preserving the identities of her family members, most of whom have succumbed to tragic fates. The presenter will describe how this digital museum can be used in educational settings to explore with teens how they become aware of and represent their identities publicly and privately through a series of lessons that include game play and cover topics including: how objects can be used to define and perform identity; self-expression on social media; healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms and the labels associated with them; family and social influences on identity formation; questions of diversity and socio-cultural differences in understandings and expressions of identity; the impact of choices on identity and questions of fixed versus malleable traits; and more. Attendees will leave the how-to session with a road map for how to integrate existing digital games into classroom instruction to support teens’ holistic development, including how to integrate the guiding principles of universal design and social and emotional learning.
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