What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage
The Let’s Play Program engages at-risk students in games-based Social and Emotional Learning, using a variety of unique video games.
Let’s Plays are videos of people playing video games online, most often viewed on Youtube or Twitch TV. Millions of people watch Let’s Play videos every day. The program has been inspired by the communities that have built up around these videos, and around video games in general.
At-risk students can become defined by their problems and crises, becoming increasingly isolated from others, both in school and community life. The more complex their problems, the more isolated they often become. Interactions with teachers, administrators, counselors, parents, and peers can be affected by their circumstances. Over time, their problems can become their identity and a structure to their every day life. We want to give them a break, to let them participate in an activity with a low barrier to entry, unlike other clubs or teams at their school, which might exclude students with chronic behavior problems.
There are times (the [20th] century has provided a more than ample supply) when some form of escape is essential, and any art form that supplies it is not to be despised.” – Arthur C. Clarke
There are a lot of programs to help these students. Most of them rightly focus on academic issues, physical needs, mental health and wellness, counseling, and mentoring. Our program is designed to come alongside other programs, adding an experience that will catalyze relationships and community for our students over time, the way games do in real life.
There is an incredible variety of games produced by the industry every day. That variety, and the growing artistic achievements of the industry, mean that we have an opportunity to do more with this format than just create a sort of video game club. The games and the format for the program can be used for Social and Emotional Learning.