I just received a grant that sponsors bringing my research into the classroom. The idea is to structure a course so that the students actively participate in a professor’s research project. My project is to investigate designing a “social deduction” game that help teach social skills to players who are on the Autistic spectrum.Here is the details from my university’s press release:
Social deduction board games have been a big hit with young adults ever since the first game, “Mafia,” was developed in 1986. Now City College of New York Electronic Design and Multimedia Associate Professor Ethan Ham has designed a workshop class to create games that teach social skills to players on the Autistic spectrum.
Professor Ham’s concept has received a Research in the Classroom Idea Grant from the City University of New York. The workshop starts in spring 2015 and will be offered in the art department.”Social deduction games involve players being assigned secret roles,” said Professor Ham. “Players try to deduce the identities of others and, or, hide their own. This requires strategic thought, team play, social skills, misdirection, bluffing, and role-play.”
As such, social deduction games are particularly well-suited to enhancing the players’ ability to analyze actions, facial expressions and intonation in order to interpret the motivations of others while at the same time communicating or concealing their own, he added.
A contemporary artist and game developer, Professor Ham developed an interest in social deduction games through his volunteer work at a youth center. There he noticed the enthusiasm high school students have for such games.