In my last post I suggested that there were three levels on which learning about video games in the English classroom might occur: using conventional textual analysis; through identifying gameplay and games design techniques; and through designing, making, remixing games.
My presentation about this at a workshop with teachers on Friday was well received and they seemed to see the value in the approach. It was interesting that the teachers believed one of the main motivations for introducing games into English was to engage male students who were reluctant readers: the teachers had degrees of success with engagement with games study where they had little success with literature. Our discussions around this focused on the importance of being authentic to gaming culture - with the teachers agreeing that the over-intellectualisation of games was counter-productive.
A concept I introduced - that teachers seemed highly interested in - was that of video games "para-texts". That is, texts that are produced as part of the discussion / critique / discourses around games - for example, forums on games websites; walkthroughs produced by gamers; games reviews and so on. One suggestion was to have students produced voice-over walkthroughs of their own recorded gameplay, with a focus on the ways in which the game engages the player.
I argued that this type of "critical" approach to games was likely to be far more authentic to gamers than exercises in which students are asked to deconstruct games using models borrowed from literary and even film and television analysis.
Moving the Conversation to DMLcentral.net
3 years ago