New Resource: Pedagogical Notes on Games

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Ian here—

I am very pleased to announce a new page I’ve added to the “Teaching” section of this site: Practical Pedagogical Notes on Games.”

Let’s assume, for a moment, that you are an educator. You’d like to introduce videogames into the class you’re teaching. Perhaps it’s a course on new media, or digital storytelling; perhaps you’d like to include a section on games in an Intro to Film course, or an Intro to Mass Communication course. Whatever the case, you find yourself faced with practical matters. What games should you assign, and how should you prepare students to play them as part of their coursework?

Perhaps the relevant scholarship on games you are familiar with all came out some time between 2004–2011. You’re not sure if the games discussed in those readings are still readily available, and if they’ll work on your students’ newly-purchased computers. Who has time to troubleshoot such things while lesson planning? Perhaps you’re looking for tips on games students can play for free, or games they can play without installing anything on their computers. Perhaps you’re looking for tips on how many games you can assign as a week’s worth of homework. Just how long do games take to play, anyway? Has anyone reliably timed such things? And what about content warnings? Everybody seems to want those, these days …

Well, fret no more! The “Practical Pedagogical Notes on Games” section of this site now provides my guide for answering such questions.

I have only just begun with this feature, and I am planning to add more to it in the coming weeks, and months. Right now, the only entries are games that I assigned to students to play for homework for my “Frames, Claims, and Videogames” course. I had the information on those games readily at hand, as I needed to share practical tips for my students. My next step will be adding in the games I’ve assigned as homework in other classes, followed, finally, by games that I’ve had students play in-class. (I have less good information reliably kept on those games, as I troubleshoot them live, so don’t need to distribute much to students ahead of time.) And, as I teach more games, more will be added to the pile.

Another note: it really is just a “pile” right now. I’ve organized the games alphabetically by title. In the future, I’d like to transform this feature of my blog into an actual database. That, however, will entail learning SQL or something, and then learning to integrate that with WordPress … a mess, basically. Still, though, one can dream: Tags! Booleans! Ways to search for browser-based games without violent content or content warnings with suicide that are about immigration policy! Or free games available for Linux about cats! Or … you get the idea.

Anyway, enjoy, and I hope it comes in handy to someone out there.

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