Despite two unfortunate falls (the falling of snow that delayed several of our flights, and our dear Katie Culp’s fall over a pesky rock that broke her wrist!), by all accounts our gathering went very, very well. The location was beautiful, with airy and energy-efficient facilities tucked in between tall mossy trees and huge ferns, a friendly staff, and delicious food shared family-style. Oh, right, and what we talked about was inspiring, too…
After a few words from Shelley, Katie, and Cornelia to get our engines running (main point: think of this less as a “conference” and more of a conversation with room for debate), we were treated to short presentations by four of our participants on the main themes of our conference: the recalcitrant learning challenges in early childhood, middle-school science and middle-school history, and game mechanics. These presentations prepared us for small-group sessions where we attempted to make potential matches between these learning needs and specific game genres and mechanics.
Our participants really rose to the occasion and contributed many ideas to the conversations, which often spilled over into meals or downtime. For some it was a networking opportunity, others learned about a topic they didn’t know much about, still others had their ideas confirmed and affirmed. Plus, Cornelia says she thought up some new games already! So, win-win for all.
We will continue to work with the ideas that came out of the conference, and put down our thoughts in writing, here and elsewhere. In the spirit of the idea of this being a conversation, we’re excited to synthesize what we heard and to continue to explore these questions.