Multiliteracies in ELA Classrooms

A new light on video games

July 15th, 2014 · No Comments

As someone who is very much unfamiliar with video games, today’s presentation, along with James Gee’s article, was quite eye opening.  Video games have acquired quite the negative image in our society and in the media, being demoted to something that steals adolescents’ time away from more productive activities.  Gee, however, proposes an interesting parallel between the characteristics of a good video game and an effective school curriculum.  He analyzes video games in a way that I have never considered before and offers valuable suggestions for ways in which we can improve our teaching, and in general, our approach to education.

I think that some of the most interesting points that Gee makes were in regards to identity and production.  It seems like a large part of the reason for people’s deep involvement and commitment to video games is the fact that they have developed a new identity through one of the characters in the game.  Gee suggests that if students were to take on different identities in different disciplines, it would be much more appealing and intriguing.  I had never thought of approaching the curriculum in this way before, and also wished that Gee provided some practical examples of helping students to become more active and immersed in the activities in the curriculum.

Gee also talks about the effectiveness of having players contribute to and influence the virtual worlds in video games, tying this to the way in which students must also be able to do the same with the curriculum in school.  This notion also ties in with the need for customization, leading students and gamers alike to feel like they have a sense of agency.   Students have to see themselves reflected in the curriculum to feel recognized and valued; by tying the content to their lives and their interests and giving them room for choice, the curriculum becomes something worthwhile to explore.  Gee’s analogy is an interesting way to approach teaching and certainly gives me a new perspective on the value of video games.


Works Cited

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

Tags: gaming

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