Developing Your IdeasMy Example!

Good computer and video games like System Shock 2, Deus Ex, Pikmin, Rise of Nations, Neverwinter Nights, and Xenosaga: Episode 1 are learning machines. They get themselves learned and learned well, so that they get played long and hard by a great many people. This is how they and their designers survive and perpetuate themselves. If a game cannot be learned and even mastered at a certain level, it won't get played by enough people, and the company that makes it will go broke.

Good learning in games is a capitalist-driven Darwinian process of selection of the fittest. Of course, game designers could have solved their learning problems by making games shorter and easier, by dumbing them down, so to speak. But most gamers don't want short and easy games. Thus, designers face and largely solve an intriguing educational dilemma, one also faced by schools and workplaces: how to get people, often young people, to learn and master something that is long and challenging - and enjoy it, to boot.

- James Paul Gee, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2003)
  • Freewrite today about the discourse that has challenged you the most, using the following questions to guide you:
    • What challenges did this discourse present you with?
    • What is the most significant change you've observed in yourself in relation to this discourse.
    • Was your participation in this discourse mandatory? Were there deadlines (expressed or implied) associated with your literacy in it?
    • How does your participation in the Academic Discourse reflect the challenges you've faced already?

  • Gee and Mirabelli discussion

  • Rounding Out Your Autobiography
    • Discussion of reiterating the assignment description/terms vs. applying critical analysis to the framework
  • Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3 Sample 4
    • Connecting to the Academic Discourse


  • Read The Future of Literacy by DeVoss, et al. on page 395 of WAW
  • Try this!