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October 2019: Learning with Videogames

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This month, inspired by the Education in Games Summit next Monday 14 October, we’re looking at videogames in the classroom. Young people’s engagement with videogames is always a hot topic, and we believe that  videogames can be powerful learning tools.

Minecraft is a sandbox game full of possibility that encourages collaboration, creativity and design skills. Supported by clear learning outcomes, it can be highly successful in the classroom. Experts at Monash University offer approaches to using Minecraft purposefully to build STEM skills, as well as educational applications of Minecraft that address real world problems. And of course, there’s Mini-Melbourne Minecraft-style which is free through FUSE.

Media controversies around videogame addiction and violence need to be taken with a grain of salt but it can be hard to track down games with positive messages and creative value. We are delighted to have discovered Alt-Arcade which curates monthly lists of non-violent games, as well as the gaming community Kind Words where anonymous users can share stories and support each other.

Although we don’t believe students interested in videogames need necessarily pursue a career in the videogames industry, we were heartened to hear about the success of local gamemaker Grace Bruxner with Frog Detective, and the popularity of Untitled Goose Game which has the simplest and greatest premise we’ve ever heard: ‘It’s a lovely day in the village, and you are a horrible goose’.

The educational possibilities that videogames and the games industry offer appear to be boundless - and often unexpected. Recent examples include videogames exploring evolutionmedia literacyinclusivityShakespeare, and team cohesion. Never underestimate the cross-curriculum learnings activated through the creation of videogames – check out some of the former winners of Screen It to see some of the creative gems students have produced for our competition.

Have you had experience using videogames in the classroom? Let us know by completing the Perspectives survey. You can also read the findings from last month's survey on viral videos on our Perspectives blog page.

Perspectives rundown, September 2019

In September we asked teachers to tell us about the challenges and opportunities online videos presented in the classroom. We learned that online videos are being used a great deal in the classroom and that generally speaking sites like YouTube host valuable educational content around news/ current affairs and educational topics. You told us though that YouTube is not the be-all-end-all and is great when used appropriately. We heard too that there still issues around the blocking of video-hosting sites in some schools, as well as limited data use for students.

Teachers told us about some of the ways in which they use online videos. The resources on Lynda.com seem to be great for Secondary use, with ABC Education's video content also proving popular. One teacher has been using music videos to analyse politics and socio-historical perspectives, and another uses video to teach elements of genre and narrative.

We're sure this is just the tip of the iceberg, and there are countless ways in which teachers are utilising online video content in the classroom.