Multiliteracies in ELA Classrooms

Gee Response (Weblog #2 – Ashley Slade)

July 14th, 2014 · No Comments

I really enjoyed reading James Paul Gee’s article “Good Video Games and Good Learning”. There are several reasons for this: I enjoy reading classical literature, I enjoy playing video games (on or offline; single or multiplayer), and I enjoy interactive learning through the incorporation of technology in the classroom. I was hooked by Gee’s personal narrative at the opening of his article: he talked about the curiosity he had while watching his son engage in a child-starred game. He wanted to play the game to see what was so fascinating about this playing experience (Gee, 2005, p.33). From there, he began to look into how game playing can be used as a model for in class education.

What Gee claims holds us back from using games as a method of learning is the content found within games (p. 34). Some people may believe that when you play a game, you are only exposed to content (or game) specific material. For example, if one is playing a video game set in a distance fantasy world, the content they are being subject to is not real or applicable to the lives they live here on Earth. However, games require learning of content and processes, which is something that teachers should be doing within their classrooms as well. For example, an English teacher needs to ensure their student can read and write before expecting them to write an essay. Just like the person playing the fantasy space game, the student will need to learn the rules of the game, how to operate the technology, and solve problems within the game itself.

The best section of the article was the list of learning principles that Gee claims are found in good games that should also be found in the classroom setting. The principles of learning that I feel are most important to include in the classroom are the principles of interaction, risk taking, and performance before competence. Interaction is important no matter where you are or what you are doing: engagement occurs when your actions are required for something further to happen (p. 34). Gee also states that in good games, and good learning, players or students are encouraged to take risks (p. 35); in most schools, we discourage risk taking in our Grecian Urn model of teaching: we assess summative work and give students a value based on what marks were deducted or “wrong”. This can hinder students from experimenting with their own inquiry based projects, because they are afraid of handing something in that is less than “perfect”. This is a serious flaw in our education system. This could be changed through the incorporation of a more problem or project based teaching curriculum in which students are given the opportunity to explore and use a genre, style, or method before knowing all the rules. This performance before competence approach (p. 36) could actually encourage our students to be more creative and engaged with topics and material.


Gee, J. (2005). Good Video Games and Good Learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 85(2), 33-37.

Tags: Uncategorized · Weblog Activities

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

You must log in to post a comment.