Roger that, Captain…..KABOOM!!!

lol dude…get a life and go out into the real world if your [sic] looking for a girl .” [FollowTheSon777 , YouTube, 9/1/08]

Ah, the quick wit and succinct commentary of feedback on YouTube. This particular gem of formative assessment comes in response to the trailer for Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4, an action-thriller game for Playstation 3:

My husband is not looking for a girl (I hope) so he did rather enjoy playing this game over Christmas on his (hired, not new, even though he asked Santa for one) PS3. Normally one to avoid such entertaining fare, I was inexplicably drawn in by the quality of the visuals and found myself watching the game’s scenarios play out as if I was watching a movie…odd, but intriguing. Clearly times have moved on since I thrashed my sister at ‘Pong’ on our old-school Atari…

Could – should? – gaming form part of the English curriculum, around visual language?

If we are trying to meet students at their point of readiness and interest in order to engage them, why not use gaming as a potential resource? Ewan McIntosh frequently raises the issues of schools teaching students how to use technologies responsibly and with discernment, rather than ban them for fear of what’s out there…. there are some great examples of gaming being used positively in education going on already [consider lessons available from the Media Awareness Network], and plenty of emerging research around on the topic to indicate that “Video games are not the enemy, but the best opportunity we have to engage our kids in real learning. ” [Marc Prensky (2003), Digital game-based learning]

For example:

A class [for whom this type of material is suitable and of interest, obviously], might watch the trailer above and analyse the following, under Listening, Reading, Viewing of the New Curriculum:

At level 8 of the English Curriculum:

  • cinematography [How language features are used for effect]
  • point-of-view [How a range of structures are used for effect]
  • mise-en-scene [How language features/text conventions are used for effect]
  • context and setting within the global news [Ideas: ideas within and beyond the text]context and setting within the world of gaming [Purposes and Audiences: how texts are shaped for purposes]
  • argue for and against violent/political themes being used in gaming [Ideas: ideas within and beyond the text]

The Curriculum refers to ‘connected’ learners who have a ‘future focus’, who are curious and can respect others [consider the depiction of violence in gaming, for example]…all these ideas would be relevant in such an activity…

Our students are involved in this world, whether other generations consider it suitable or not, so we can only try to work with them in their world if we are to help them learn to navigate it critically and with enjoyment…

Or, in the words of sputnikowns [9/1/08],

COD4 + X360 = adrenaline. Nuff said.”

Thank you for your comment. Much appreciated:-)

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