Unit One: Assessing Alternative Technologies


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


Unit Two: Developing an Immersive Classroom

Image Credit: http://nleaders.org/home/digital-book/


LESSON 1.1 Exploring Gaming Technologies in the Classroom

Essential Questions: What does the modern classroom look like? & How can various gaming technologies play a role in the ELA classroom?

Exploring Modern Classrooms

One of the most pressing matters in education today is redefining what the modern classroom should look and feel like. Long gone are the days of manufacturing-inspired assembly line learning, so why do our classrooms remain so similar? Thinking about this, complete Task 1 below. In this modernized classroom, not much has really changed. Educators still retain the role of facilitator, through creating engaging, differentiated curriculum, monitoring student and lesson progress, and reflection on teaching and learning progresses. In understanding what makes our classrooms different now, it's important to look at the tools used in the learning environments. Students are now encouraged to participate actively within their own learning, involve themselves in socio-cultural issues and trends, and explore the reaches of education throughout the world.


Task 1: Read this article and reflect upon what your idea of a modern classroom entails. With these trends and ideals in mind, think about what your classroom looks like in relation to technology. Are you actively engaged with technology yourself, and thus engaging your students? Are you still adjusting to the technology era? How do you see your own classroom? What do you see for the future? Craft a short response to document in a learning journal that you will utilize throughout this course.


Task 2: What are 21st Century Skills? Watch this video as you think about which categories video game skills fall under. Utilizing the categories you decide on, consider which skills align to these categories normally.

Video Game Trends

One of the fastest growing industries in the world is that of video games. Historically, video games were reserved for entertainment. Today, they have invaded the pop culture sphere, becoming more far reaching and inclusive than ever before. According to Pieter Lemmens (2017), "These days, many video games also actively stimulate a sense of connectedness more often than not online—togetherness. With the enormous variety in audiovisual styles, thematic contents, gameplay mechanics and characteristics, the video game industry leaves no stone unturned to appeal to the most prodigious audience possible" (p. 6).


Task 3: Thinking about Jane Mcgonigal's four concepts that help to inspire virtuosos, pic one area and discuss how it could be utilized in your lesson planning. Think about at least 1 activity where you are highlighting the skill needed.


Task 4: Continue thinking about the ways we use technology in current classrooms by beginning a KWL chart below. List at least 3 items for each category.

K- What do you already know about Educational Technologies

W- What do you want to know about the role of Video Games in the Classroom?

LESSON 1.2 When are games effective? When are they not?

Essential Question: Are games right for every context?

The Benefits & Risks of Video Game Inclusion in Lesson Planning


Task 5: Read the following articles (Article 1, Article 2) regarding the negative views of students utilizing video games in lessons. Think about the intended audience of both and create a PRO/CON list that looks into the major positives and negatives for implementation.

In either of the above articles, specific games, especially AAA titles, are regarded as ineffective in the classroom. While primarily, video games are only implemented into the curriculum after rigorous approvals by the district, many people are under the assumption that teachers are able to bring in games that hold no actual educational value as more of a reward system than an engagement strategy. "Fear derived from individual and collective presumptions about what kinds of textual experiences today’s young people should have, and a glorification of what it was like to be a child in a pre-gaming world, have led many to blame video games for the social and educational ills young people face" (Bacalja, 2018, p. 155).

While we explored the initial understood hurdles of video game implementation, another main area for concern arises in translating the learning from games back into real life. The benefits of exploring more culturally relevant texts, such as video games, are beneficial to studying "the knowledge [specific] works reveal about textuality, the political awareness it raises about how texts construct their readers ideologically, and new understandings of how texts engage readers...Student interest in these texts was constructed as something that could be leveraged and used to explore questions of representation" (Bacalja, 2018, p. 156). According to Ostenson (2015), digital games have also been shown to aid students in developing problem-solving skills, improving reading skills, and assisting students to create new connections through previous knowledge (p. 1).


Task 6: Continue thinking about the ways we use gaming technologies by finishing your KWL chart below. List at least 3 items, that you think could be useful for developing a lesson, for the category.

L- What have you learned so far about Gamification?