We drew up a plan to develop a sexuality education gaming manual, and our CEO, CFO and board promptly approved the use of endowment funds to support this endeavor. Two seasoned educators and trainers, Jessica Shields and Melissa Keyes DiGioia, volunteered to get started. A few months later, they presented their first professional development workshop titled “Sex Ed Games that Teach.” I have attended many sexuality education presentations during my career. Some have been interactive and team building; some have featured a great icebreaker or warm-up activity; some have been lectures or PowerPoint presentations that informed me, but bored me to tears. But I have seldom experienced such a merging of fun with learning as I did with this workshop.
I have to admit, I was expecting just the fun ---- a showcase of sex and puberty-related crossword puzzles and word searches --- but there was a whole lot more to that first workshop. The trainers had studied the pedagogy of gaming, and infused it into each of the activities they presented. They got the audience to think about the functions of gaming beyond the fun participants might have. The result was a collection of activities that were as pedagogically sound as they were entertaining.
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My organization, the Center for Family Life Education, has long advocated the principles that a positive approach to sex education is the best approach, and that participants learn as much or more from each other as from the educator. Game On! embraces this ideology with learning experiences that are fun, energizing and dependent on participants communicating with each other.
The guide has 19 great lessons and a section of ready-to-use word puzzles that touch on many different aspects of sexuality – anatomy, body image, contraception, puberty, relationships, sexually transmitted infections and more! Each lesson is thoughtfully constructed with a rationale, a learning objective, detailed procedural steps, handouts and the latest knowledge about sexual health. The games present an opportunity to engage participants’ competitive spirits while they have fun and, most important, learn.
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So, are you ready for some great teaching strategies? Game On!