When Quest to Learn opened its doors in New York City in the fall of 2009, it was the first of its kind—a 6th–12th-grade public school purposefully designed around the core principles of game design and play. Its engagement model proposed to not only support learning with academic, civic, and career implications, but also to support teachers and students in taking on identities as designers.
I led the team that designed Quest to Learn. This included the design of a pedagogical approach called game-like learning, the design of professional development structures, curricular structures, a student advisory program, an assessment framework, brand, and more.
Through collaboration with the small New York City-based non-profit Institute of Play, the school has sought to create a twenty-first century model for teaching and learning that places kids’ interests and expertise at the center. While the curriculum tackles all the required state learning standards, it does so in a way that empowers students to see the world as made up of interconnected systems. Learning how to understand, affect, and ultimately transform these systems through a design mindset is a primary goal.
See Quest learning in action here.
Download Quest to Learn: Growing the School for Digital Kids. Katie Salen, Robert Torres, Arana Shapiro, Rebecca Rufo-Tepper, Loretta Wolozin. MIT Press. September 2010.