Teaching With Video Games Is Not What You Think

teaching-with-videogames-is-not-what-you-thinkTeaching With Video Games Is Not What You Think

by TeachThought Staff

Teaching with video games is not what you think.

Unless you recognize video games as an increasingly engaging, compelling, and interactive narrative form that is seeking to leapfrog film as the medium of choice not just for teenage boys who like Call of Duty, but, well, you too.

And that teaching with them means taking as close a look at the creation and design of the stories and play mechanics and the interaction between story and player as you do the narrative itself. Which can act as a kind of schema to inform how you teach novels, poetry, government or science-as-inquiry.

The video games are a form that stir students like almost nothing else (music?). Teaching with video games, then, is a matter of looking at a magical confluence of factors:

  1. Technology
  2. Interaction
  3. Users creating their own, unique experience
  4. Complex narratives and new storytelling mechanics
  5. Putting the media and its design at (or towards) the center of the learning experience

The video game below is from a PlayStation 3 game Beyond Two Souls, which shows the actor and writer working together to convey a complex story to the player using a motion-capture technology. Is it about technology? Humanity? Emotions?

Social conformity?

Like a text, there are dozens of themes available here in an engaging, interactive, and accessible digital media form. It’s just a matter of finding the right game.

Or letting students do the same.

The video below is a technology demo of the same game by the same actress and writer. Note, there’s a potty word (sh*t) and a quick but clear reference to sex, so don’t go showing this to your 7th graders.

Teaching With Video Games Is Not What You Think

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“The video game below is from a PlayStation 3 game Beyond Two Souls”
These clips are not from Beyond Two Souls or any game in fact. While the animation is rendered in real time on the PS3, this is just a tech demo. There is no interactivity. The actress is also not from the game (that would be Ellen Page).

Latonia Baker

Interesting article. Most of the factors you list above are some of the elements of our Game Studios 101 class that is taught at, iD Tech’s Game Design and Development Academy . We also spend time teaching the students how to create art assets and playable game levels of a variety of genres.