For a long time, I’ve thought about creating a game to teach the fundamentals of journalism. Last weekend during my son’s chess tournament I started roughing out the plot, and today I started using Twine to implement it. Since I already had the plot broken up into text chunks, I got a whole lot done In just 2 hours.
I’m trying to create a scenario for the students to explore, with characters to interview, and a limited number of turns (so that spending too much time talking to a random citizen means the player can ask fewer questions of the mayor, and asking the mayor too many aggressive questions early in the game means later on she won’t call on you during a press conference.
The game will pause with the plot unfinished — no criminal has been caught, no arrests might have been made, and the cops may not even feel that a crime has been committed (maybe the missing person is just missing).
Then the student will write a news story that draws on what they learned in the game world. I am hoping to implement random details inside the games, so that if students compare notes, they’ll find they each have a world with unique elements, so a statement that is verifiably true in one student’s game might be a malicious rumor in another student’s game.
The game won’t mark that news story by itself — I’ll have to mark the homework the old-fashioned way, but I hope that students will learn from the mistakes the make in the simulation, before they cover stories in the real world.