Mini-Course: Literature, Narrative, and Analysis Through Video Games


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As classrooms strive for a more complex, technology-incorporated classroom, we must ask, what are the methods that will reach and engage our students most effectively? One of the most clear responses would be to create a student-centered classroom that fosters and includes new technologies, where effective. Video games, which are primarily utilized for entertainment purposes, have become more often incorporated into learning strategies. Digital games and immersive environments alike have been proven sufficiently to both engage and educate students. These units will strive to explore modern and previously held expectations and associations of both IEs and video game technologies in the classroom, examine the benefits and drawbacks of incorporating games into the classroom, and explore how the study of narration can be enhanced with active engagement.Video games can be engaging and challenging our students, aiding in lateral thinking, and overall, critical thinking skills.

Course Objectives

Learners will:

  • Develop an understanding of current notions of alternative technology use in the classroom.
  • Identify the common misconceptions of video game technology.
  • Explain how video games can aid in developing higher level thinking, including problem solving skills.
  • Discuss the implications of analyzing narrative through the lens of video game.
  • Apply understanding by developing a partially game-immersive lesson or unit plan.


Unit One: Assessing Alternative Technologies

Essential Questions

  • How can alternative technologies be effective in an ELA course?
  • Are games right for every context?
  • What are the outcomes of utilizing games for learning?

Unit Two: Developing an Immersive Classroom

Essential Questions

  • How have other educators incorporated video games into their lessons?
  • How do we analyze games for narrative capabilities?

Unit Three: Evaluation and Implementation

Essential Goal

  • Develop a fully immersive "gamified" lesson plan on focused on narration to be implemented in your classroom.

References and Resources

Bacalja, A. (2018). What critical literacy has to offer the study of video games. Australian Journal of Language & Literacy, 41(3), 155–165. Retrieved from

Byrne, F. (2017, August 27). Video Games In The Classroom? Retrieved from

Gillispie, L. (n.d.). Want to do a WoW-Based Project in Your School? Here's Everything You Need... Retrieved from

Ostenson, J. (2013). Exploring the Boundaries of Narrative: Video Games in the English Classroom. The English Journal, 102(6), 71. Retrieved from

Lemmens, P. (2017). Narrative and Video Games: environmental storytelling in bioshock and gone home. (Unpublished master's thesis). Ghent University, Belgium. 

Rowe, E., Asbell-Clark, J., Baker, R., Eagle, M., Hicks, A., Barnes, T., Brown, R., & Edwards, T. (2017). Assessing implicit science learning in digital games. Computers in Human Behavior, 617.

Ruggiero, D., & Green, L. (2017). Problem solving through digital game design: A quantitative content analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 73, 28–37.

Sanchez-MA, Marti -Parreño, J. Teachers’ acceptance of educational video games: a comprehensive literature review. Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society. 2017;13(2):47-63. doi:.DOI: 10.20368/1971-8829/1319.