Language News: Learning the art of creating computer games can boost student skills

People are sometimes surprised to hear that several of my colleagues in the ODU English department study video games, but as Dr. Kevin Moberly explains, many video games incorporate story telling and role-playing games like World of War Craft require participants to participate in the story telling of the game.  Thus, they provide opportunities to discuss narrative structure with our students.

You may have concerns about introducing the mature content of certain video games to your students, but it is still probably a good idea to think about what these games are asking our students to do.  The skills involved are clearly different, but the role-playing aspect of these games makes them a lot like theatre.  In fact, it’s often a lot like doing impov.

Researchers at Oklahoma State University have taken this knowledge one step further.  They’ve found that if you ask students to design their own video games, it will improve their skills on a number of fronts–including the kind of critical thinking skills that we want our students to exhibit across disciplines.  You can read more about this research (by Nikunj Dalal, Parth Dalal, Subhash Kak, Pavlo Antonenko, and Susan Stansberry) at Science Direct:

Learning the art of creating computer games can boot student skills.



About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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