I am fascinated by the move to include gaming in mainstream curriculum. My Delicious tag is getting out of control. There are several TED talks that explain it even for the uninitiated. While I am not exactly sure how I would use it in a high school literature class, I can see that my students arrive every September with deep skills and enthusiasms that I cannot even fathom when I hear them talk about their games. It does seem to matter which games they play, and I have tried a few on their recommendations--like Assassin's Creed, which unfortunately had much less to do with the Crusades than the boys led me to believe (guess that depended on what prior knowledge you bring to the table, mine vs theirs). So far, I have not seen anything in the Halo series or Grand Theft Auto type games which would develop skills I need them to practice. But World of Warcraft roleplay for a creative writing assignment--WOW! Look at some of the topics on the "All the World's a Stage" page: writing what you know, characterization, oh the drama!, adding flesh to your character, joining the right circle, roleplaying with class, the inside layer...it goes on and on. I have no idea how I would ever develop enough skill to work this in my class, but this last week or so, I have begun to FEEL what power this could have. And the first time I saw Inanimate Alice, I was speechless--I wanted to play NOW.
I am a dilettante, for sure, but I am also addicted to Snood, Angry Birds (which is teaching me about physics and gravity) and most recently, Plants vs Zombies. My kids tell me these are "mom" games, but I do not care. With each new level of Plants vs Zombies, I find myself becoming more methodical about my approach to the zombies and which tools I will use. I have an abstract random style, so my learning is not as fast as it might be. I do reach critical mass of knowledge, though, and I am reducing my moves to code, almost. I experiment until I conquer a level, and then use those skills to get a good start on the next level. So, I want to start thinking about my teaching style as a gaming style. I'd like to label my style by the end of the next quarter. I'll keep reading dean groom's blog to see how the edges of the envelope are being pushed--or ripped. So far, I have ID'ed two kids in my classes who I could tap as my experts. Are you thinking about gaming?