The English Language Arts classroom has a tremendously broad and diverse scope. The curriculum covers writing, speaking, language, literature, and informational reading. That range of content gives you five enormous areas to cover. The source material you study can be taken from ancient Greece, modern popular culture, or anything in between. The means of teaching and assessing students’ progress can include exams, research projects, written essays, presentations, videos, and community projects.
With such diversity in the classroom, and the increasing inclusion of multi-media in schools, perhaps there is room for the use of video games, too. Here are some ideas on the role of video games in the classroom.
Entry points for teaching topics
Video games are good for getting students’ attention, and they can provide easy to understand illustrations of points that you want to teach. For instance, if you are teaching students about the use of tone in writing, you could contrast the tone of two different video games. You could show clips from popular games like Limbo and Little Big Planet 2 side by side, and students will easily see the difference in tone. From there, you could move on to more literary examples.
A ways to get students engaged
Often it is a struggle to get students interested and engaged in books in the classroom. On the other hand, a lot of students are passionate about their video games. This can give you a means to get them more interested in the classroom. Rather than making everyone present and discuss their favorite book, you could make it an option to use your favorite video game as a topic instead. They will be much more enthusiastic about the assignment, and will probably do a better job on it, too.
A source of inspiration
Good video games give players a magical world to enter and develop. Gamers can spend dozens or hundreds of hours exploring their digital world, developing their character’s skills and abilities, and taking exciting and dangerous actions along the way. This can be very inspiring for players, and you can bring some of this into the classroom. Even the most uninterested students may perk right up and get involved when the conversation shifts to relevant aspects of a game they love. Be prepared for some interesting and animated discussions. Your classroom may be livelier than ever before.
Digital learning tools
Schools are increasingly using multi-media learning tools, and video games can be just one more item in your toolbox. The field is still young, however, and you will need to do some experimentation in order to determine the most effective way to use these new tools to accomplish your teaching objectives. You could select a topic, like examining the narrative elements of a popular video game like Call of Duty. On the other hand, you could talk to your students for insights. The world of video games is constantly changing, so see what their favorites are. What do they play every day? What ideas do they have for using video games in the classroom? As you work through this the first few times, you will continue to develop your own ideas about how to make video games an important teaching tool.
We live in a world surrounded by social media. Gamers now have the possibility to share their experiences on Facebook, and that’s a great way of appealing to other people. Teachers should really foster that need to interact with others. Believe it or not, video games have that ability to take kids out of their comfort zone and compel them to do something fun and connect with their peers.