Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blog Post #8: 21st Century Technologies for learning and communication

When someone gives you the task to search out and find new technologies for learning and communication, especially ones you haven't covered in a class, you tend to get a little scared as a lot of your options fall out. So, I have decided to go out on a limb and try my hand at presenting a technology that we currently have, in a light that may be used for learning and education. What is that technology you ask? Well, it is the Video Game.

"Wait, what?!" some of you might be asking. It is okay, we do not need to bring out the pitch forks just yet. Where am I going with this? “When people learn to play video games,they are learning a new literacy.” That is a quote from James Paul Gee in his 2003 book Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. He later goes on to describe video games as a "situate meaning in a multimodal space through embodied experiences to solve problems and reflect on the intricacies of the design of imagined worlds and the design of both real and imagined social relationships and identities in the modern world." So how does this deal with education? We have learned that the old methods of teaching are not workable anymore, they are outdated and are quickly being replaced. Why is this? Information is easier to access, and at a faster pace. In terms of literature, with "audio-books" and "online discussions" about the book, it can almost get to the point where a student does not have to read the book to get understandings from the book. The argument has been made that the reason why video games will never educational is because they are too fast pace.

In the Blog The American Conservative we see this argument in the statement "The novel is an adult medium that is slow moving, not stimulus-intensive, and demanding of contemplative silence and reflection. Video games are overly stimulating—visually, aurally, and physically—and they require frantic interaction." I argue that games are a different form of a novel, much akin then different. Would we all agree that there are differences between a short story and a novel? Can the same be said about games? Is there a difference between the Mario franchise and the Mass Effect series?

What I am getting at here is that more and more video games are developing story lines, interlocking ideas and concepts. No longer is it simply just about getting to the other side of the map to acquire points, but rather we have stories about a conflict of controlling man's future vs. the freedom to do as one pleases (Assassin's Creed franchise) and a dystopic story in which people took the Ayn Rand theory discussed in Atlus Shrugged and built an under water city to live in (Bioshock).

In the blog Interesting Literature, we get a guest blog post by Dr. Alister Brown in which he writes "I start from the presumption that, although games are not literature in any straightforward sense, with 2000 years of literary criticism behind us there must be something interesting that literary scholars can find to say about the way video game narratives work. Claiming this, though, involves thinking backwards." He continues to talk about how video games can produce similar effects at literature, but through different means.

We have learned that education has changed greatly through out the years, even since some of us have been in High School. As technology changes and we shift away from the traditions that we were taught with, we need to stop looking at other things with a closed off mind. Perhaps it is time that our definition of "Literature" changes to expand with the growing world, rather then keep it in its tiny little box.

The opening screen to The Great Gatsby NES game


  1. Gregory, interesting post. Good job!

  2. Gregory, I really enjoyed reading your post. You put a lot of thought and research into it. I think you are right about video games. It is a great way for kids to learn without them knowing that they are learning. Well done!