Video games and computer games have a lot to offer the literacy teacher. Through the use of many multiliteracies and tapping into children's culture and discourse, there is enormous potential for captivating the resistant reader and writer in our primary and secondary classes.

I'm in the last days of an M.Ed subject called Literacy and New Technologies and have chosen to do my final assignment on creating a literacy program using any popular video game that the students in the class are involved in. One student who I interviewed was somewhat of an expert on World of Warcraft. In addition to purchasing the game he paid the monthly fee to collaborate with countless others to go to higher levels. He played at a high level which was not recognised in my classroom. In regards to ICT he needed to dumb down when he entered my classroom. If however, his expertise was recognised and utilised within the classroom the potential for learning would be significant.

Here's a World of Warcraft site that specialises in literacy.

One great idea is using Guitar Hero. Somehow I ran across this Scottish site, Consularium, which recounts the process and the enthusiasm generated within a class in their term of primary school when they were given all the necessary things to use Guitar Hero in the classroom. The videos describe a lot but you still need to interpolate from what is said.

Another program of 'context learning' by Consularium in Scotland, was the use of Myst. A different site by gives more detail on different lessons based on this somewhat mystical game that doesn't have people hurting each other. When you do meet characters they tend to run away from you. takes inspiration from Tim Ryland (blog)(web page) who has created a following for his connection of literacy to ICT.

Another good reference point is Dr Paul Gee who has written a book, WHAT VIDEO GAMES HAVE TO TEACH US ABOUT LEARNING AND LITERACY. I confess I haven't read this but would love to. He explains here how computer gaming might be used in the classroom.

Here's another article about video games, imagination and literacy.

What are your experiences with video games in the classroom. Successes? Disappointments? Doubts? I'd love to hear from you.

Tags: computergames, curriculum, ict, literacy, multiliteracies, multimodalities, videogames

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I've uploaded my essay to share my thinking. It comes from much reading and so may not make much sense if you haven't read much on the topic.

The following Four Resources of Reading (Freebody and Luke 1990) is commonly used in research for the use of multiliteracies.

Code Breaker 'How do I crack this code?'
This involves being able to decode and encode language at an appropriate level of proficiency. It includes recognising and being able to speak and write words and sentences; it incorporates phonics and the use of accurate spelling and grammar.

Text User 'What do I do with this text?'
Students understand how language varies according to context, purpose, audience and content, and are able to apply this knowledge. Examples of activities that involve this role include: creating an information leaflet for a sporting club; preparing a talk about new books in the library for an assembly; choosing an appropriate style for a letter or phone call thanking a visiting speaker.

Text Participant 'What does this mean to me?'
Students use their knowledge of the world, knowledge of vocabulary and knowledge of how language works, to comprehend and compose texts. Examples of activities that involve this role include: making a list of questions after reading a poem for the first time; comparing the worlds created in two science fiction films; predicting the style and content of a television program from the opening titles.

Text Analyst 'What does this text do to me?'
Students critically analyse and challenge the way texts are constructed to convey particular ideas and to influence people. Examples of activities that involve this role include: working out the beliefs about fathers implied in a range of picture books; looking at newspaper photographs to consider who is not represented and why this might be; re-writing fairy tales to present different ideas about gender or class.
This next model is one that connects more strongly with me. It comes from New London Group's work (1996) and a summary can be found here. I like how this joins Situated Practice with Overt Instruction as there has been tension in the last generation between a whole language approach and that of teaching the minutae of language. Problem solved! Immersion and overt teaching to ensure a conscious understanding of the skills. Then the Critical framing ensures that students are able to stand back from the text and see what the agenda, where power lies, what sexism or racism may be there. Last of all the Transformed Practice ensures that the student can adapt the information and make new meaning in new contexts.

Offers a four step pedagogy of teaching multiliteracies:
1. Situated practice: immersion in experience
2. Overt instruction: conscious understanding with explicit metalanguage that describe and interpret.
3. Critical framing: Interpreting the social and cultural context of particular Designs of meaning. Students study and view critically in relation to its context.
4. Transformed practice: Transfer the meaning into other contexts or cultural sites.

Situated Practice: Immersion in experience and the utilization of available discourses, including those from the students' lifeworlds and simulations of the relationships to be found in
workplaces and public spaces.

Overt Instruction: Systematic, analytic, and conscious understanding. In the case of multiliteracies, this requires the introduction of explicit metalanguages, which describe and interpret the Design elements of different modes of meaning.

Critical Framing: Interpreting the social and cultural context of particular Designs of meaning. This involves the students' standing back from what they are studying and viewing it critically
in relation to its context.

Transformed Practice: Transfer in meaning-making practice, which puts the transformed meaning to work in other contexts or cultural sites.
The area of games in education is something I have been involved within since 2003. I founded the Kindersite Project as a school resource to introduce technology and English (ESL and EFL) to very young children. Recently I have added a directory of games for older students segmented by subject, although as Leigh says rightly, many of the games can fit within a multiliteracy framework.

I would also like to mention that there are 2 specific Nings on Games in education: - not confined to education - a European education initiative

I would also like to draw your attention to a discussion on Games in Schools that may be of interest:
Joe, thanks for all those links.

Google has warned that there is malicious software on your kindersite. Here's most of the page that came up when I went to visit:

Safe Browsing
Diagnostic page for

What is the current listing status for

Site is listed as suspicious - visiting this website may harm your computer.

Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 2 time(s) over the past 90 days.

What happened when Google visited this site?

Of the 7 pages that we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 3 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time that Google visited this site was on 2009-07-26, and the last time that suspicious content was found on this site was on 2009-07-26.

Malicious software is hosted on 4 domain(s), including,,

This site was hosted on 1 network(s) including AS1680 (NetVision).
Thanks for the 'heads-up' on the discussion site. I have a feeling I'll transfer this discussion over there. I'm wondering if participants are using a pedagogical model for working with multiliteracies?
I have started this website as a resource for my students. It is still a work in progress, but my goal is to enhance their learning through educational games.

Please tell me what you think.



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