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: