Rafael Kern | Communication, Media and Learning Technologies Design | Mathematics Science and Technology

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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Communication, Media & Learning Technologies Design

In the Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology

Games for Character Development

Rafael Kern, M.A. in Instructional Technology and Media

This paper proposes that we as educators return to the proper end of education: “the promotion of the best possible realization of humanity as humanity,” (Dewey, 1916/2008, n.p.). With this in mind, it seeks to explore the possibility of designing for character development, with a focus on the aspects of games that make them particularly well-suited to this task. This paper has the twin goals of elaborating on the processes that lead to the development of character and setting forth a series of design principles by which these processes can be nourished. In order to do so, the paper will first propose an understanding of character. To do so, it will use Kahneman’s (2011) explanation of dual process theory and Haidt’s (2006) related explanation of the Buddhist metaphor of the elephant and the rider to expound on the habitual behavioral and narrative identity components of character. This will be paired with a working definition of games. Then, it will explore how habitual behaviors develop and how games can be used to aid in this process. Finally, it will delve into the process of identity formation and the way games can help this aspect of character development.

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