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“Aaron Finding His Voice In School”

Aaron found the traditional forms of education and learning a challenge. Exam focused teaching and classroom interactions meant that he often found himself lagging behind peers.

He played a lot of video games in the evenings, which was a concern to parents. However, some of these games created opportunity to build confidence in team work, communication and peer standing.

A series of school sessions capitalised on this by taking him and his classmates through a series of video game challenges where he could not only keep up but take a lead and excel.
 

Outcome
Found confidence to verbalise ideas in groups and surprised teachers and parents with his leadership ability.


This outcome arises from the following 5 milestones over the span of 1 year, from 9 - 10 years-old:

DetailsPathway Details

Name: Aaron Jones
Stage of Life: 9 - 10 years-old
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Puzzle and Shooting
Platforms: Android, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Web Browser and iOS
 

 

Untapped Teamwork

Age: 9-years-old / 01/01/2019 / 3 years ago

Platform: PlayStation 4

Aaron enjoyed playing Fortnite with friends each evening. This was a point of tension for his parents who worried he was spending too much time at the screen.

A classroom session used the game as a topic about Game Journalism, Paid Content and the trustworthiness of influencers. This engaged Aaron and the class in some of the wider world of the game industry and laid some groundwork to introduce other games in later sessions.

Aaron gained understanding in how game companies communicate with their players. In particular how to distinguish between an independent game review and content that a streamer or influencer is paid by a brand to create.

Skill
Combat Tactics
TRANSFORMATION

Playing the game meant that Aaron became proficient at shooting and building. He could identify nuanced and complex tactics required to be good at the game.

Back To Basics

Age: 10-years-old / 01/01/2020 / 2 years ago

Platform: Web Browser

The first game in the school session was Passage. Although Aaron was reluctant at first, because it looks very basic, he and the class soon got to grips with how much depth of play was available here.

The game's simple visuals are intentional and tell a story about the different stages of life. Because it's only 5 minutes long, the group could play it multiple times and reflect on each different (yet similar) experience.

Aaron made connections between the metaphorical representation of the game world and characters on the screen, and different stages of life.

Collateral Communication

Age: 10-years-old / 01/01/2020 / 2 years ago

Platform: Android

The next game in the school session was Spaceteam. It's a game where groups of players need to communicate clearly to be able to press the right buttons on their screens to keep the spaceship flying.

From the very first moment Aaron's group started playing, he took a lead to suggest how they might tackle the challenge. While he rarely contributed in other class settings, with the game he was first to tell his team how they could win.

As they played, Aaron continued to take a lead in steering his group to better communication. This led to them scoring significantly higher in their session than the other teams in the class.

Aaron lead his team by suggesting tactics, winning their approval and guiding them to victory.
Aaron discovered that he was a natural leader. He was able to capitalise his playtime friendships in an academic setting.

Researching Solutions

Age: 10-years-old / 01/01/2020 / 2 years ago

Platform: iOS

The next game in the school session was Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes. One person sits at a screen with a modular bomb that needs disarming while the other players assist by offering instructions.

Aaron identified that this was a task where accurate research was crucial. He took a lead in asking questions about what sort of bomb modules the defuser was facing and then meticulously looked them up in the manual to discover the correct action.

In subsequent sessions Aaron asked for the manual to be printed out so that it was quicker to flick through than the document on the screen. This also enable him to annotate up his manual and put bookmarks in key pages.

Aaron became proficient at research and dealing with a large text that needed to be related to a specific task to find key information.
Aaron acted in a way that had been rare previously, enthusiastically engaging with resources and verbalising solutions to get other students on board.

Activities: Aaron found that the following related activities worked alongside playing Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes:

Real life bomb defuse experts take on Keep Talking and nobody Explodes.
More information
Printing the defusing manual from the game to annotate and make notes ready for the next playtime.
More information

Cooperative Categorisation

Age: 10-years-old / 01/01/2020 / 2 years ago

Platform: Nintendo Switch

The next game in the session was Wilmot's Warehouse. In this game you need to organise 100s of stock items ready to get them to customers. The challenge is that the items are not named, so players need to decide what they are and how to organise them.

After playing with a few classmates, Aaron identified that this wasn't a task about speed of movement but of categorisation. In his next go he worked with a friend to decide how they would organise each item. He took notes to ensure that they both knew how the grouping was working.

As the game continues and the number of items increase, this method broke down because of too many things that didn't fit in their groupings. Aaron took this set back well and came up with a method for adjusting the grouping on the fly, as different items arrived to be sorted.

Aaron developed his categorisation ability, ensuring it was both efficient and flexible.

Activities: Aaron found that the following related activities worked alongside playing Wilmot's Warehouse:

Aaron researched how real world warehouses are run to come up with a better plan for organising their stock in the game and getting a higher score.
More information

Pathway Outcome

The culmination of the milestones in the pathway lead to Aaron found confidence to verbalise ideas in groups and surprised teachers and parents with his leadership ability. We have described it as a linear journey, but of course, there is always a fair amount of back and forth between the games they played.

Along with the main outcome Aaron also changed in the following ways:

  • Behaviour: Aaron acted in a way that had been rare previously, enthusiastically engaging with resources and verbalising solutions to get other students on board.
  • Behaviour: Aaron lead his team by suggesting tactics, winning their approval and guiding them to victory.
  • Knowledge: Aaron made connections between the metaphorical representation of the game world and characters on the screen, and different stages of life.
  • Knowledge: Aaron gained understanding in how game companies communicate with their players. In particular how to distinguish between an independent game review and content that a streamer or influencer is paid by a brand to create.
  • Relationships: Aaron discovered that he was a natural leader. He was able to capitalise his playtime friendships in an academic setting.
  • Skill: Aaron developed his categorisation ability, ensuring it was both efficient and flexible.
  • Skill: Aaron became proficient at research and dealing with a large text that needed to be related to a specific task to find key information.
  • Skill: Playing the game meant that Aaron became proficient at shooting and building. He could identify nuanced and complex tactics required to be good at the game.

We focus on how games contribute to this outcome, but also include related activities that play a part of this journey:

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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