ETAP 623: Spring 2019


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


About Me

I began my educational career at the State University of New York at New Paltz, where I studied Adolescence Education (7-12) in English Language Arts. I received my initial New York State teaching certification this past year. My focus on technology incorporation and utilizing not-so-traditional approaches in my own teaching have created an interest in constantly knowing more. I am presently pursuing my Master's degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology (CDIT) at State University of New York at Albany.

My Topic and Purpose

My intention is to examine how to best utilize pop culture, mass media, and other consumption-based, traditionally non-academic sources as tools to examine complex topics tangibly. This course will cover three units that implement video games in an English classroom including Literary device recognition and utilization, the Hero's Journey and crafting narrative, and finally, literary analysis.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will:

  1. Understand personal current notions of alternative technologies and their place in the English classroom.
  2. List some of the common misconceptions of video game technology.
  3. Explain how alternative technologies, such as video games, can aid in higher level thinking skills.
  4. Explain the benefit of studying analysis and narrative through the lens of an alternative story-telling technology, such as a video game.

Needs Assessment & Learning Analysis


Through the constant disruption of technology incorporated into instructional design, teachers have been seemingly unable to find the most effective strategies to implement video gaming into the classroom. This seems to be especially true for English classrooms. While the traditional model of English curriculum favors focusing on content and meeting standards over how these ideas are delivered, changing this ideology may be what helps to move students toward analysis and contextualization. Students must utilize all aspects of their education and the resources available to create the most successful long term understanding.

In the traditional English classroom, developing reading, writing, and analysis skills take priority. The focus on this development does not need to change when implementing new strategies of teaching or new technologies. While video games typically take priority as an entertainment medium, they also offer the ability for students to examine and dissect narrative, discuss how literary techniques help to engage, and also bring the genres into study directly. Students are able to further engage with the material, as analysis in this field is a relatively new concept and offers students a minor change in form throughout the class. While focusing on the benefits, video games in general have been consistently found to increase productivity levels and overall allow students to apply knowledge in new and exciting ways.

What is to be Learned

Learners will examine the increasing role of video game technology in the classroom, focusing on how they are introduced, the methods in which they can be utilized, and how to best achieve the desired results from implementation. The lessons for this unit in particular will focus on how to bring the Hero's Journey into focus through video games, examining the role of literary devices and literary terms in practice, and how to best build up to analysis of video games as a medium.

The Learners

This course is best suited for educators looking to approach their studies from a new direction in order to increase productivity, understanding, and engagement within their lessons. Learners will better understand how these new technologies are integrated into the classroom in a non-disruptive way.

Instructional Context

As a fully online course, students will primarily be logging in frequently. The course will utilize a self-paced format that allows for students to work through content and offers a chance for application in their own classrooms. External resources will primarily be in the cloud, offering students the ability to access downloadable files with proper credentials or online. Students will examine their own understanding and preconceptions, create curricula that focuses on implementation of a game-based unit, and participate in activities related to the skills required to apply this knowledge.

Exploring the Problem and Solution

In this course, students will examine the relationship of the specific media to it's overall impression in the learning community. By engaging with this material, students will become more knowledgable in practice and will engage their students more effectively and in new and interesting ways.


The main goal for this course is to dispel previous misconceptions of technology-enhanced learning strategies, instead focusing on how we can best provide an environment that offers students a chance to utilize a medium they enjoy and that has been proven effective in practice.

Performance-Based 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.

Task Analysis & Curriculum Map



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

de Freitas, S., & Oliver, M. (2006). How can exploratory learning with games and simulations within the curriculum be most effectively evaluated? Computers & Education, 46(3), 249–264.

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

Jonathan Ostenson. (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. 

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

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.