With the belief that video games can make classroom learning more fun and effective, middle school teacher Richard Incorvia integrated a fantasy RPG into his course. Instead of assignments, grades, and stickers, his students fight epic battles, gain experience, and receive virtual gold to buy character upgrades. Every kid loves to see an A+ at the top of his paper, but doesn’t this sound so much more satisfying? “Your wit, courage and knowledge of water has served thee well. Thou hast done well in defeating the Water-Fiend. The defeated ooze sinks into the ground to never bother anyone again.” Mr. Incorvia sure thinks so, and so do I.
Seriously, where were these progressive professors when I was still in grade school?
Using Reddit to share his creative teaching tool with the world, Richard introduced us to Lesson Adventure. Strong community feedback prompted him to shoot a video explaining the concept (embedded below) and even establish a public demo that anyone can play. For an online RPG, Lesson Adventure is pretty basic. For a homework alternative, however, this game is beyond fantastic. Written narrative moves the story forward like a classic text-based adventure, and so-simple-it’s-charming Microsoft Paint artwork displays characters, backgrounds, and monsters. Adventurers engage in battles in the form of multiple-choice quizzes covering one topic or another, and passing grades slay bloodthirsty creatures. All of the genre staples are here as well, from leveling up and joining parties to buying equipment and pets in town for extra help in combat. Essentially, Lesson Adventure is every adolescent boy’s (and girl’s) dream come true.
While we can’t go back to middle school and enroll in Richard’s class (I think my day’s of passing as a 13-year-old are long gone), there is nothing stopping us from making this brilliant idea a more regular reality. Hoping to help Lesson Adventure become available for any teacher who wishes to spice up the schooling experience, Mr. Incorvia set up a Kickstarter to fund the project. For the inner child in every one of us that would have loved to learn with video games, give your support and send students across the world on an educational conquest in Lesson Adventure.