My students are getting their game on!

If you don’t already know, this year I am running an elective course for year 9 students all about gaming. Pretty cool, huh? It’s part of our critical and creative thinking elective courses that were introduced for the first time this year. You can read more about my course, Game On, here.

Well, it’s almost been a week since our first class and I’m really stoked with how they are going. OK, well to be honest, I think initially the students were a bit surprised to see that an English teacher is running the course and not a multimedia teacher. They were probably more likely disappointed than surprised. When I introduced them to the course website and a quick overview of the four projects they will work on for the semester, they still didn’t seem very enthused. One girl even asked when she could transfer to another course. Sigh. I think they were expecting a course where all they did was play and make video games. Oops. They were happy when I got them to set up the Xbox, haha.

During our second lesson together I wanted to hook them into the first project – a research project. You can read through their project here. I used three videos to get them thinking about video games in a more critical (read ‘theoretical’) way and to see models of what they will ultimately be producing. The first video proved very controversial – and of course it would, it’s a feminist talking about the poor representation of women in video games. I really love the video, and personally agree with the observations about the way women are shown. I guess the class of 20 boys and three girls didn’t agree, lol. Even one of the girls was against the video. Feminism has a long way to go in the 21st century. Here’s the video:

After a bit of a discussion about the video – and lots of defending of franchises etc – I showed them another video. This one referenced the first video and focused on the representation of men in video games. It was really nice to get both perspectives and for my students to feel that they too may be harmed by the gender stereotypes represented in many video games. Here’s the video:

The last video I shared with the class was on violence in video games – a super sensitive topic for most teenage gamers who often get their gaming hours/choices limited by parents as a result of concerns relating to animated and interactive violence. I particularly like this video as it gives a nice historical perspective to violence in games and reminds viewers that video games are not alone in their representation/reliance on violence for entertainment. Here’s the video:

Despite out rocky start, once my students deepened their understanding of the research project, they began to generate some really exciting and interesting topics for their research. I’m so keen to see their ideas develop and even more keen to see their final reports uploaded to our YouTube channel. You can get a feel for their genius by perusing their research project topics below (in their own words):

why music in games are so important

game developers

Voice actors and why they’re important

my is on feminism and girls in games, mainly Princess Peach

why do people watch other people play games when they have the games themselves

I am thinking of doing Game making

Should video games be made to look more realistic (virtual Reality) or should they be kept to a point where people know its a game?

Competitive gaming

how Acting jobs are opening up with video games, for example, In games such as:
* La Noire
* GTA V
* Assassins Creed Revelations
* Assassins creed Black Flag
All of these games use real actors, so basically my topic question is
“Are real world actors the future of video game designing?”

gta5 violence

why are mobile phone games so popular

a podcast about the history of the elder scrolls

I’m doing gta5

Evolution of a particular game

Iphone games

the best and maybe scariest zombie games

open world

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6 thoughts on “My students are getting their game on!

  1. Awesome! I wish I was in your class. I love the way you are challenging stereotypes and conventional ways of thinking. It’s important for all of us to have our thinking challenging, helps to extend and clarify our views. Well done!

    • Thanks Norah! I really think video games are such underrated/devalued texts (art) in society, but especially in schools. They are often treated as being opposite to learning, which is so unfair and untrue. My students are awesome.

      • I agree. Video game play requires a different set of skills and a different way of thinking. Good ones involve multi-tasking, problem solving and cooperative learning, among other good things.

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