Critical Design and Gaming School @ Augustus F. Hawkins High School LAUSD
Mission Critical: Urgently educate and empower the teenagers of South Central Los Angeles to excel through higher education and become transformative leaders of our local and global communities.
The Critical Design and Gaming School (C:\DAGS) is a fully-inclusive twenty-first century learning environment tailored for students growing up in a globally complex, information-rich, digital society which rewards resourcefulness, creativity, and innovation. Our implementation of a critical pedagogy of space and place is more per-formative than simply in-formative, more a physical pedagogy planted firmly in our students’ lived experiences than simply a classroom examination of written texts.
Utilizing principles of gaming, game design, and spatial analysis, students are challenged by objective- based missions to collaboratively engage in purpose-driven learning. Outcomes call for authentic performances which demonstrate our students’ genuine ability to link their knowledge and skills across various formats in blended classrooms. As a result of mastering such skills as systems-based analysis, planning, collaborative learning, conflict resolution, and the ethics of inclusive fair play, each and every one of our graduates will possess the habits of mind, skills, and knowledge to incorporate their unique attributes into the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Together, they will work to transform any and all oppressive elements within our current reality into a more humane future society.
Our school serves as a mainframe, connecting all the spaces of our students’ lives into one large learning network that provides timely support and powerful data to help students understand their achievements, their needs, and how to move forward. The learning experiences of our students are enhanced by the resources in the South Central community, organizations throughout Los Angeles, and through global connectivity. Thereby, we guide our students to realize the interconnectedness of academics with traditionally non-school spaces, and likewise, their cultural practices and values with academic spaces.
As students are immersed in complex problems, so too will teachers be immersed in action research around key challenges that arise from the analysis of student work and assessment results. A strong feedback loop to all stakeholders continually challenges growth in habits of mind and advancement toward high standards-based achievement. The students, staff, and surrounding community are intrinsically rewarded with satisfying work, hope of a better future, social connection, and meaningful action. Together, we experience the fiero of gaming while achieving Freire’s ideals.