Do games teach game-making?

I’m yet to resolve the true value of playing something like Minecraft in school. I can think of many really dull/functional uses of technology such as dumping a PDF online so kids can do the electronic worksheet. Games are perhaps the furthest technological activity (technically and culturally) from the e-worksheet, level one SAMR activity.

This leads me to wonder just what kids are learning when playing something like Minecraft. Is all their learning like this? or is it just one teacher swimming against a resistant culture of ‘getting through content’ and loading up the evidence binder. I wonder if kids who are playing MWGs or immersed in Doritos, Mountain Dew and Illuminati pop-culture can learn to make games, or even follow instructions to make an RPG from a guidebook.

I want to try this out with middle-schoolers. I want to ask them to

  • Create fictional characters and use them to explore a rich setting
  • collaborate with your friends to tell a dynamic story
  • explore themes and issues that matter to you
  • make meaningful choices and drive the story forward

I would like them to make an information system that encourages people to change their beliefs, were a group of individuals struggle with each other and the world to uphold their beliefs. I don’t think that playing games, even complex ones creates the ability to do this. In fact, I think that video-gaming makes this so super simple that there is limited choice, just the illusion of choice. What is therefore make in a game is the agenda and story of the game developer and game industry, not the imagination and creativity of game-makers and players.

Goodness, the sun’s come up and I’ve got nothing … eeek.