Technological Nostalgia and the Academic Year to Come

XKCD comic "Time Ghost"

I feel so out of touch when it comes to video games.

Serious Games

Picture from the first edition of Dorra's Intrigue

Last year I wrote a blog entry on games in the classroom.  The general guist of the piece went something like this: teaching practices, especially the implementation of classroom games, seems to have stalled since the fast and loose days of Hangman and other such earth shattering innovations.  This is all especially odd because games, as a field of thought, are undergoing something of a renaissance right now—and I’m not just talking about narrative advances and new, more immersive interfaces.

Incentives, Focus, and Games

Black and white game pieces on a wooden board

Most teachers who allow laptops in the classroom regret their choice shortly afterwards.  Though students are always initially thankful and attentive, soon their eyes begin to wander to the screen.  At first they play little games.  Maybe they can have both MSWord and Wikipedia open at the same time, but maybe teacher will notice all that clicking and dragging so the reorganization goes unfinished and their browser sits blank, right next to whatever notes they are trying to compose.  It’s not long before they start wondering if you will notice them.&nbs

Procedural Engagement and Inform7

Spatial map from the program Inform7

In my “Critical Reading and Persuasive Writing” course last semester, I included an assignment that drew on Ian Bogost’s understanding of procedural rhetoric while also aiming to complicate it. After studying communities of their choice throughout the semester, my students had to create procedural arguments about their communities using the interactive fiction software Inform7. This assignment drew on a similar one designed by Jim Brown.

Prototyping Procedural Rhetoric

Poster for game mix, with large title and five illustrated people, one of whom holds on jigsaw pieces

For the final project in my RHE 309K: The Rhetoric of Video Games class, I had students work in groups to develop a game concept that uses procedural rhetoric to argue a thesis. The lesson plan can be found here, but the gist is they write a classical argument on a topic of their choice, and then present both why their thesis is the preferred position and how a video game arguing this position would work.


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All materials posted to this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. We invite you to use and remix these materials, but please give credit where credit is due. In addition, we encourage you to comment on your experiments with and adaptations of these plans so that others may benefit from your experiences.


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