Playing to Learn: Integrating Story-Based Games into Secondary English Curriculum

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Ford, Caroline, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Ceraso, Steph, AS-English (ENGL), University of Virginia

This thesis explores the potential of applying video games as objects of study in a high school English classroom. I examine the educational impact of story-based video games’ complex and interactive storytelling on my students throughout both semesters of my first-year writing and rhetoric course, “Art Imitates Life: Writing about Video Games.” The first half of this thesis presents a critical overview of video game studies and relevant digital media scholarship. As I analyze the intersections of video games and education through the works of several theorists, I highlight the ways in which video games can enhance adolescent students’ learning experiences and reinvigorate classroom engagement. Next, I offer a breakdown of my course design before describing my working pedagogical rationale in which I appeal to attachment theory and numerous pedagogical strategies. I position video games as a dynamic tool both for teaching writing and literature as well as fostering meaningful conversations about personal identity. Finally, I examine several of my students’ reflections on the course, including their thoughts on where video games may eventually find a place in secondary education.

MA (Master of Arts)
video games, pedagogy, storytelling, curriculum, English, digital media
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