My principal is really cool. I think she’s a visionary, to be honest. But better than that, she’s pragmatic. Her focus for our school for the next couple of years is on developing critical and creative thinking skills in our students. Her first step has been to introduce non-Board endorsed courses for Year 9 which centre on both critical and creative thinking. Teachers were asked to put forward ideas for a semester-long course (to be run twice a year) in an area they are personally passionate about or which they feel students would be genuinely interested by. The resulting courses are really exciting and year 8 had a big job trying to choose between them all! The courses that ‘got up’ are forensic science, marine and aquaculture studies, molecular gastronomy, product design, school magazine and gaming. The last course is the one I put forward. I wasn’t surprised that it was picked by the students and I imagine I’ll have a class heavily dominated by boys!
I’m NOT a gamer. I’ve never professed to be a gamer. On the contrary, I’ve always been quite vocal about my inability to enjoy playing video games for longer than 5 minutes. I do, however, have two sons and a husband who LOVE gaming and through their passion, I have found myself immersed in a world of games. I’m not an expert, but I can certainly appreciate video games. I see them as a very important text form that is almost entirely neglected in formal schooling, which is a shame considering how long gaming has been a part of popular culture. As a proponent of student-centred learning, I feel that my lack of expertise won’t be an issue at all. I’ll be the pedagogy expert – the one who creates the environment in which learning can occur and who creates learning experiences that challenge my students to think critically and creatively about video games and games culture.
Below is a quick overview of the course. It’s very rough… and this is where I would love some advice/suggestions/help. I’m after suggestions for a good book for students to read about video games and gaming culture as well as suggestions for places to take students on excursions to meet experts in the video game industry – reviewers, youtubers, game designers, professional gamers etc. I’ve just had the idea of maybe including a gaming competition of some sort at school – like a celebration of gaming event at school that my students plan and run, as well as a 24/7 game design competition as well. Any other suggestions? Maybe you know (or you are) an expert in video games and gaming culture who might wanna connect with my students?
Course title: Game On! (really lame title, needs to be changed – I was being lazy)
Brief Description: This is a course entirely about video games. Did you know that the video game industry is more popular and makes more money than the film industry? This tells us something about the emerging importance of gaming in our culture! This course will look at the history of video games, the language of video games and how video games can be used for social good. Students will be given the opportunity to research an area of interest relating to video games as well as spending time designing and creating their own video games.
English (analysis of games; writing research report)
Media (research how social and corporate institutions inform/influence video games)
Design (using Design Thinking process when designing game that addresses a social problem)
Multimedia (analysis of video games, designing/creating own video game)
ICT (using edmodo, YouTube, Diigo, GoogleDocs etc to collaborate, communicate, curate information)
Assessment for learning: ongoing feedback from teacher, peers and self using rubrics, checklists and the SOLO taxonomy
Assessment as learning: students will take control of their learning by setting goals, planning projects and reflecting on their learning and learning styles throughout this course
Assessment of learning: final products (filmed game reviews, research report and video game addressing a social problem) will be assessed by peers, outside experts and teacher using jointly constructed rubrics; 21st century skills (creative and critical thinking, collaboration and communication) will be assessed using the Punk Learning rubric
Next Monday and Tuesday, I am going to try to write some sort of loose program for the course – probably four projects over the two terms. I’m thinking two individual and two team projects. All products will be shared via our YouTube channel. The first semester gamers can compete with the second semester gamers for the most views of the channel, lol.
Would REALLY appreciate any ideas you have to make this course a success for my students 🙂