As INTE 5320 continues to progress through the topics, my progression in the understanding of game theory and implementation continues to evolve. To this point, the readings have by far initiated the most dramatic epiphanies, while game journals and affinity space involvement has been intriguing, it has not provided the same deeper learning. The recent readings have been particularly powerful as they are a healthy combination of theory and practical application inside traditional classrooms. This practical application of theory is what I was craving through the first few cycles of the course. Particularly memorable was Darvasi’s article pertaining to The Ward as it dealt with a somewhat radical approach to an ELA classroom and had direct applications to my own teaching pedagogy. In addition to the reading, the annotations posted on Hypothesis have shed creative insight on many topics and have alleviated confusion on others. The scholarly critiques are also an enjoyable way to further explore topics that have been touched on in earlier readings or posts and introduces the all important element of choice into the readings. Regrettably, the play journals and affinity space involvement has left me lukewarm to this point. I have never been a gamer, but enjoy the idea of using game elements in my classroom, so the direct playing of games for the sake of reflection is not my passion, nor is the involvement in online communities. Nonetheless, they provide interesting perspective shifts and have opened my eyes to platforms that I had neglected to explore previously.
My latest shift in thinking regarding games and learning revolves around the idea of basing an entire unit around a game. Previously, I have viewed games as more standalone items to reinforce earlier taught material or in many instances a reward. What teachers are doing with The Ward, Kingdoms of Aradya and Sick at South Beach have changed the way I view the implementation of games as well as how to utilize a variety of technological resources as opposed to being handcuffed by one platform.
Despite my newfound enthusiasm to implement a variety of technology in my units, I have still been reluctant to engage in networking with peers regarding the course. This is excluding the regular use of Hypothesis. Leaving comments on classmates’ blogs could be considered networking with classmates, but I have found that it seems to be a one-sided conversation with little to no bipartisan communication. This particular area is my Achilles heel, not only for this particular course, but my online learning endeavors in their entirety.
The big question that has arisen out of the latest cycles is, “How can I use these extended gaming units in my classroom?” As Saunders advised in “From Improvisational Puzzle to Interest Driven Inquiry,” the key is to start small with individual lessons or activities as opposed to tackling an entire unit. This will be my approach moving forward to slowly develop and extend the reach of these games beyond single class sessions. It will be a slow process and one filled with trial and error, but it will be a growing process for me as a teacher as well as my students.
My curiosity has been piqued by The Ward and other applications of how gaming can be used specifically in ELA classrooms. The idea of total immersion into a game is captivating and I want more. I will pursue additional case studies through scholarly critique selections as well as my affinity space to garner firsthand experience.