Read | Write | Play: Video Games and Narrative
I recently completed an inquiry-based project about using two types of video games to inspire and improve narrative, both inside and outside the classroom. I focused primarily on open world sandbox games (specifically Minecraft) and role-playing games (specifically Oblivion). I wanted to focus on using the inherent literacy qualities of games, instead of just their motivational factor.
To support this, I used "The Game of Reading and Writing: How Video Games Reframe Our Understanding of Literacy" by John Alberti and "Reality is Broken" by Jane McGonigal. Alberti argues that video games require the player to engage in the same critical thinking skills that serve as the foundation of reading and writing text. He claims that text and language should be seen as a visual medium, and in return, doing this will allow us to think of visual art (gaming) as a text. The player must both read - interpret setting, character interaction, storyline - as well as write - make predictions, evaluate choices based on consequence, navigate through the world in a way that progresses and eventually concludes the story line.
McGonigal, in her book, focuses primarily on the critical thinking value of gaming. She states that gamers are dissatisfied with their realities, and turn to a digital world for inspiration and guidance of how to improve their real settings. Both of these texts, among others, helped provide the foundation for my own research.
Because I was introducing this topic to many of my colleagues who had never even touched a video game, I chose two different examples of games to give them an idea of how diverse gaming is, comparable to literature, film and music. We also had a discussion of if, how and when to implement these into classrooms, or if video games would work better in alternative learning environments, such as libraries (which is what my background is in).
If you click on the image, you can view the booklet I created and shared with my colleagues during my demonstration.
I look forward to your feedback and questions!