Part II: Megagames are defined by the Megagame Makers as large games involving multiple players, in which, the participants are organized into teams, and those teams into a hierarchy of teams.” * The subject matter can range from politics, economics, history, science fiction and heroic fantasy.
Back in the late 80’s I was involved in something like this at NC State. It was a kind of model UN, but with more intense roll playing, costumes, simulated media traffic and judges who heroically tried to manage the political and economic crises that each county continuously foisted upon the world. Oh, and there were rogue nations and terrorists too – everything that makes political, economic, and social life interesting. Never a dull moment.
So, why have I not seen anything like this in education (primary or secondary) since then? Where are the megagames being used in education and training? I have recently searched the internet high and low to find examples of megagames – or even megagame-like – events being used in education. Nada.
I have found that since the SUSD video was posted, there has been an increasingly great interest in groups in the U.S. and Australia recreating the particular megagame shown in the video (“Watch the Skies“).
But, I find no current examples of this technique in education or training. Would this not be an incredibly engaging and lesson pact way to teach/learn/experience politics, economics, systems theory etc.???? Am I the only person who thinks this would make a good learning experience at any grade level?
A huddle of exasperated men in suits: the UK Prime Minister complains that his Chief Scientist has gone rogue, trading technologies with Japan against explicit orders not to do so. Other world leaders chime in that their scientists have grown similarly unruly. Looking over at the cheering crowd gathered around the Science Control table, I am not surprised to see my own scientist frantically rolling dice at the center. A gregarious party-pusher, he had pulled the international research community into a fraternity of mad science, freely trading tech against the wishes of their governments, in the pursuit of clean energy and a trip to Mars. I feel a hand on my shoulder. “Mr. President,” my VP whispers as she pulls me aside, “the aliens have landed in Mexico.”
For an entire Saturday on July 26, I was President of the United States in Watch the Skies, a megagame of alien invasion. Part board game, part roleplaying game, the daylong megagame attracted about 50 people to gather in Manhattan’s AlleyNYC co-working space in teams representing the countries of the world, the global media, and the mysterious alien invaders. It was model UN meets XCOM, and one of the most exhilarating days of my adult life.