Teaching Social Dynamics in a School: An Update.

by Kevin

autismMany of you have noticed it’s been a bit quiet on the Kingpin Social front lately. A lot of people have been asking me what we’ve been up to and what we’ve been working on.

Enter Kevin

If you recall back in October, we released a blog post called Who Is Kingpin Social? where we discussed what Kingpin Social stood for and what we wanted to accomplish.

In the post we mention an exciting new project – teaching our Social Dynamics curriculum in an actual school – beginning in the Spring of 2013.

So the answer is simple: I have been in the lab creating different platforms for self-development and methods of communicating our Social Dynamics curriculum. I have been taking the last few months to develop a platform to learn Social Dynamics for the Autism Aspergers Friendship Society in Calgary (AAFS).

(Click here to check out some of the great work that they are doing for the autism community.)

AAFS asked me to develop and run a 12-week program that would be a fun and engaging way of learning the foundations of Social Dynamics, which to us are: building healthy relationships, creating a positive environment and developing purpose. What better way then through games? I have observed that youth among many others in this current day and age really connect with and are motivated to play video games. I was also part of this demographic as I used to love playing video games. The problem is this isn’t the most productive or positive way to invest so many hours of our time and energy. The Autism community is really no different.

Our program is designed with the concept of “gamifying self-development” in mind. This means developing ourselves through different game mechanics we create and connect with. The perspective we are trying to develop is to start seeing our lives as an open source video game that we are responsible for creating – whether it’s character development, discovering your final quest or even exploring the world map. These are all game mechanics that can be applied to real life and your real life character to create real value while still having fun and being motivated. Obviously all elements of life don’t need to be viewed as a game, and some areas of life are better not. This is another part the awareness that we are attempting to pass along.

Working with Dean, the AAFS’ executive director, and the rest of the team at AAFS has been an amazing experience. What I am coming to realize is the greatest value to me personally is the experience I gain from the unique challenges in communicating such a valuable concept to a diverse group of individuals. I love trying to find new and engaging ways to teach without it feeling like teaching. This opportunity allows me to direct my creative energy to thinking outside the box in the ways we can teach, develop, and learn Social Dynamics, and I hope to share more of these methods and techniques with you as we develop them further.

Thus far we have just completed week 5 of the program. This week was directed towards the communication of value where we focused on communicating emotions and needs.

It has been an incredible learning experience thus far and I am looking forward to what is on the horizon. One of the days I’m most excited about is one where I will be bringing in local b-boy (breakdance) crews in to showcase and present their relationships with each other and with the dance itself is definitely something I’m looking forward to!

Keep an eye out for future posts as I will be updating the status of the program and experiences as I feel like there is much to be learned from this opportunity.

I would also love your feedback, comments, and questions. Feel free to leave them below!

About Kevin
One of the pioneers of the Social Dynamics movement and co-founder of Kingpin Social, Kevin is motivated to meet new people and eliminate his comfort zones. Kevin is also a passionate dancer, bboy and loves camping.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

PTT April 17, 2013 at 8:16 am

this sounds very interesting. do you connect with sports? do you try to improve social outcomes and physical and mental health as well?

PTT April 17, 2013 at 8:18 am

what are your biggest hurdles at the moment?

Kevin April 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm

@PTT – First of all thanks for the comment! The engagement is always appreciated! I honestly just try to connect in the ways that are going to resonate with the individuals in the program. Sports is definitely something a lot of the youth connect with, videogames another. The biggest hurdle would be the calibration to each individuals learn style and what they connect on. I find that this is always the case though when trying to teach something so personal to anyone. It’s also the most satisfying part, making that individual connection to a concept in a way where the student understands!

Daniel August 6, 2013 at 10:24 am

You guys are doing a great job. I wish social dynamics was taught at school when I grow up. I don’t need to get frustrated for so long.

Cam August 6, 2013 at 11:16 am

@ Daniel – Thanks for coming by and commenting! Can I ask what you wish you were able to understand better if you WERE taught social dynamics in school?

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