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In Critique of Gaming

Written by Lacy Manship
November 08, 2011

Typical professional development recreates the typical kind of schooling. There are right and wrong answers. Teachers, like good students, should play nicely with the toys given. In our workshop, we have given Good Video Games and Good Learning as a way of unpacking ideas about learning. The dominant narrative of school told us to take this at the surface level and apply it directly as: find video games to teach skills.

In this Writing Project Partnership School workshop, though, we were working to unleash counter ideas of learning. Our interest was in creating space for teachers to figure out and question and create. The video game text seemed to be something that could get us there, but because of the master narrative of school acting through us, Gee’s ideas were getting packaged up into learning to be consumed, not critiqued. New media without some questions about why?, where does this come from? and to whose benefit? could become just more packaged toys, more ways to reproduce dominant narratives.

And, new media could also provide access to multiple ways of thinking about an idea, like video games or digital literacy, and spaces to put our thinking up against and in intersection with other people’s.
Below are links to media that built space for critical conversation around an idea, video games, that our workshop had up to this point narrated as “good.”

Image originally uploaded on 2011-10-25 13:43

Airforce Recruitment Website

Image originally uploaded on 2011-10-25 13:31

NPR Militainment Podcast

Army Experience Protest