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“Mr McGivern's Video Game Reading Time”

I'm a junior school class teacher who uses a range of technology in my lessons. In particular I've developed the use of video games as an interactive and socially inspiring reading time.

These sessions use a range of games that offer a suitable story. This creates unusual and different experiences that encourage social interaction and communication.

We play through the game together, with me reading the text and using voices for the different characters. As a class we discuss and make choices when the game needs input and interaction.
 

Outcome
Enthusiastic readers ready for secondary school, who can comprehend and communicate imaginatively and accurately.


This outcome arises from the following 4 milestones over the span of 1 year, from 10 - 11 years-old:

DetailsPathway Details

Name: Children Of Year 6
Stage of Life: 10 - 11 years-old
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Rhythm, Role-Play and Shooting
Platforms: Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Wii U
 

 

Bringing The Playground Into The Classroom

Age: 10-years-old / 01/01/2021 / 21 months ago

Play Styles: Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play) and Child Plays Independently (Independent Play)

Platform: Nintendo Wii U

I use Nintendo Land with Year 5 classes (10 years-old). It creates an experience that's like a digital gathering similar to the school playground. This is not only a good way to create engagement but also offers some children an unusual chance to excel and participate.

The game takes the real world play and brings it into the classroom. In doing this, it also creates a calmer way for children not comfortable with the noise and chaos of the playground to get involved.

The calmer more structured play the game creates impacts those children often excluded from playground games. It's a quieter safe space where they gain confidence to see these playground interactions of something they can enjoy.
Playing Nintendo Land created a chance for the children in the class to form teams and friendships without the pecking order and noisy chaos of the playground.

The Power Of Humour and Dance

Age: 10-years-old / 01/06/2021 / 16 months ago

We play Elite Beat Agents on separate devices in the classroom. The children play in groups and we then reconvene to compare how we got on, what the story was about, and how that made us feel.

Elite Beat Agents can seem like a frivolous rhythm game, however in the classroom it has a range of benefits. The experience as a whole is one of using dance and humour to help the people in each of the stories feel good.

There are a range of topics you can take on in the different rhythm driven stories. Many of them focus on self belief and self confidence. Our role in the drama is to get involved and play along to communicate our hopeful intent and empathy.

The characters in the game perform dance moves that we choreographed in Drama and PE lessons as a class. We did work around understanding movement, our bodies and the enjoyment of dance.
The class wanted to do well in the game because they built empathy with the characters in the story, who they wanted to help.

Activities: Children found that the following related activities worked alongside playing Elite Beat Agents:

The class worked to create their own Elite Beat Story and premiered it at the end of term.
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World Book Day
MAKING AND DESIGNING

The class made their own World Book Day outfits.
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Maths Driven Stories

Age: 11-years-old / 01/01/2022 / 9 months ago

Platform: Nintendo Switch

We played the Professor Layton games through as a class. This gave me the chance to pull out some of the specific challenges and puzzles for us to work on together. This was pretty straightforward Maths and Logic work but the children had the incentive of seeing the story move forward.

Beyond playing the game, Professor Layton became a fun character for more general Maths work. He offered a context for topics that can be dry and academic while rewarding outside the box thinking.

Because the games are available on different platforms (DS, 3DS and Switch) they were available to many students to play at home after school.

Igniting Reading With Courtroom Drama

Age: 11-years-old / 01/06/2022 / 4 months ago

Platform: Nintendo Switch

We played Phoenix Wright as a simple replacement for the end-of-day reading time. But it soon became more than that as the characters and scenarios captured the children's imaginations.

As the game is rated for 12 year-olds I needed to get parental consent before we played as a class. I ensured parents understood that the game included "moderate violence and mildly offensive language. The majority of violence featured in this game is implied through still images and narration."

Because the children were aware this consent had been needed, the play sessions had an added air of excitement to them. I have used the game in class for over 10 years (originally on iOS, then Wii and then Switch). I have only ever had one parent decline, and in that case ensured there was some related work for them.

The sessions are with me reading the story (complete with made up voices which they love). We usually take about an hour per session, which grows week-on-week as you get to know the characters. As you play you need to deduce facts and make choices which the class collaborate on together.

The children gain an understanding of how a courtroom functions. The different roles and how important evidence is.
The children learned how to listen actively to a text ready to pull out evidence and cross examine witnesses in the game.

Activities: Children found that the following related activities worked alongside playing Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney:

The detective angle of the game let the children to read through the Percy Jackson books.
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World Book Day Outfit
MAKING AND DESIGNING

The class created outfits to dress up as Ace Attorney characters for World Book day.
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Pathway Outcome

The culmination of the milestones in the pathway lead to Children enthusiastic readers ready for secondary school, who can comprehend and communicate imaginatively and accurately. 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 Children also changed in the following ways:

  • Behaviour: The children learned how to listen actively to a text ready to pull out evidence and cross examine witnesses in the game.
  • Disposition: The calmer more structured play the game creates impacts those children often excluded from playground games. It's a quieter safe space where they gain confidence to see these playground interactions of something they can enjoy.
  • Identity: The class wanted to do well in the game because they built empathy with the characters in the story, who they wanted to help.
  • Knowledge: The children gain an understanding of how a courtroom functions. The different roles and how important evidence is.
  • Physical Health: The characters in the game perform dance moves that we choreographed in Drama and PE lessons as a class. We did work around understanding movement, our bodies and the enjoyment of dance.
  • Relationships: Playing Nintendo Land created a chance for the children in the class to form teams and friendships without the pecking order and noisy chaos of the playground.

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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