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  • Writer's pictureZack

Why You Should Teach With Jump Rogi

What's going on everyone?


I've been teaching with video games for years now, and I have loved sharing my curriculum with anyone and everyone interested in game-based learning. I have, however, only ever taught in a high school environment. As a result, nearly all of my lessons are made through the lens of teaching teenagers. One of the biggest questions I get from teachers is whether I have any curriculum or ideas for lessons in an elementary school setting. This is why I am so happy to have come in contact with Erik X. Raj, the creator of a wonderfully sweet little game called Jump Rogi. Erik is a speech-language pathologist and video game designer. Jump Rogi is the perfect game to teach about having a growth mindset to elementary-aged students and it is free to play on any web browser. You can find my lesson plan for Jump Rogi here.


Social and emotional learning is arguably just as important as the teaching of skills and content in schools. Social and emotional learning is the process through which all people acquire and apply the knowledge and skills needed to develop healthy identities. This ultimately helps people manage their emotions, develop empathy for others, and make responsible decisions. Teaching students how to have a growth mindset is an integral part of this process. Praising hard work and effort cultivates a growth mindset. When students have a growth mindset, they take on challenges and learn from them, even in failure. Teaching students that failure is a natural part of learning will help prepare them to tackle challenges in the future. All of this is especially important to expose to elementary school students as it can better prepare them for future success.


Teaching these concepts to elementary-aged children, however, can be challenging. Luckily, video games are often a perfect medium to provide young students with a safe space to fail. Video games are inherently built around failure. You make a mistake, but you try again because you know that your goal in the game can be accomplished. Years back, I made a lesson on having a growth mindset and overcoming adversity using the video game Celeste. That has actually become one of the most popular lessons I've ever put together. Every couple of months, a teacher reaches out to me to let me know how much their students loved that lesson. Celeste, however, is a very difficult and challenging game to play. Because of that, it is not really suitable for elementary school. Jump Rogi, in concept, is actually very similar to Celeste, but the difficulty level is perfect for elementary school students.


Jump Rogi is a side-scrolling platformer, a type of video game that utilizes jumping as its main gameplay mechanic. The goal is to jump from one side of a level to the end. Each level contains a total of 10 jumps, and the player has an infinite number of lives. Jumping through each level is not, however, the only aspect of the game. Between each level, there are little sections of dialogue where the characters talk to one another. While the game is literally about jumping, it is during these conversations that students will learn about having a growth mindset and the importance of stepping outside our comfort zones.


Jump Rogi has two main characters, Rogi and Pie, who are supportive friends to each other. The game utilizes engaging dialogue that expresses Rogi's fears and concerns about jumping over obstacles – obstacles that players will tackle within each of the game's ten levels. Pie's supportive and encouraging comments to Rogi are an important aspect of the player experience. Pie gently pushes Rogi out of his comfort zone and acknowledges Rogi's fears while helping him to keep moving forward. The apprehension and difficulties that Rogi expresses represent the real-life struggles of facing unknown challenges in daily life. Jump Rogi is interactive and inspirational through its forward-moving jumping game mechanics and motivational storyline. It is a wonderfully sweet little game that can introduce the concept of a growth mindset to students.


And while the message of the game is great, it's also a really fun little game. There are multiple entry points for students depending on how familiar they are with video games. The game offers three different difficulties for students to play, which can be altered at any moment throughout the game. There is something to love about the game's simplicity – it is exactly the kind of game I would have played on the computer when I was a little kid. I would have definitely played on the hardest difficulty since I always felt like I had something to prove to myself. I especially like how each level is just a little bit more difficult than the previous one. The game also offers a couple of surprises, such as flipping the screen or making you control 2-3 people at once. These moments will make you pause and take in the environment and plan your next steps before trying to move forward.


During this lesson, students will answer questions and have discussion in between each level. In total, students will answer eight questions over the course of the ten levels. Each question is meant to prompt a discussion on the importance of having a growth mindset, while making personal connections to the game. This lesson will ask students to extrapolate the meaning of the conversations happening between the characters on screen. Even with my high school students, I am always trying to make personal connections between them and the content that I teach. It helps make the students a part of the learning experience rather than just telling them what is important.


I can't wait for teachers out there to try playing this game with their students. It's super sweet and a little bit silly, but it has the potential to foster some truly meaningful conversations in our classrooms. And if my lessons on growth mindset using Celeste are any indicator, I foresee Jump Rogi becoming one of the more popular game-based learning activities I've put together.


Jump Rogi can be played for free here at jumprogi.com


Thanks for reading,

Zack


You can keep up with all of Erik X. Raj's work at his website https://erikxraj.com/


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