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The Art of Narrative

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  • The Art of Narrative

    I am writing a computer studies curriculum, from the ground up, at the private school I was recently hired by. My focus is turning an elementary school which primarily taught kids how to type and create excel worksheets into a school full of digital creators. I've been calling it "high tech art" for a few weeks now because that seems to resonate with what I feel most people working in technology are doing. Most are creators. In one way, shape, or form, these people are creating something. Whether that be a video game, a new application or program, a photograph, video, movie or TV show, or even a program to help a shipping department get their packages out on time. Most people working in high-tech are creators and are creative. This is a skill we can cultivate at the earliest levels of our education and this is what I intend to do from grade two on to grade eight at at my school (Richmond Hill Montessori and Private Elementary School) Part of my role in addition to teaching the computer studies program at the school is to be a sort of technology mentor to the other teachers and move them through the SAMR model (https://sites.google.com/a/msad60.or...ing/samr-model) to the point where they are using technology to redefine their practice.

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    With that in mind, I was recently inspired by this article (http://www.polygon.com/features/2013...lo-game-school) to begin thinking about how our teachers can use technology to not only teach a core subject (English in this case) but also inspire creativity and increase engagement, all at the same time. I would be preaching to the choir I think when I suggest that there is a strong argument for the narrative quality of gaming. Games can offer an immersive experience rarely found in a book. This is of course why books get adapted to video and games: to offer a different and deeper, complimentary experience to the book.

    When I think of great stories in games I think of games such as Final Fantasy X and Mass Effect 2. I think about the life lessons and stories that could be discussed and shared in a classroom as a result of kids playing these games. Yuna's quest to defeat sin, following in the footsteps of her father and joined by Tidus who forces her to re-examine her faith and her mission. I think of games I haven't played yet and know I am missing out on but have been told the stories are incredible such as Ni No Kuni (http://www.polygon.com/game/ni-no-ku...ite-witch/3343) and the newly released Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (http://www.polygon.com/game/brothers...-two-sons/4453)

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    Stories are more than just books, and the message and meaning is of greater importance than the source. Teachers have an incredible opportunity to captivate students with a great story, full of lessons and meaning while still teaching core concepts. There are hundreds of these stories, FFX and Mass Effect are not the only ones.

    What are your favorite gaming stories? Why? What do you think the big idea is in your story?

    • Griphus
      #2
      Griphus commented
      Editing a comment
      Hmm... I'd say Bastion had a story that totally grabbed me. Something about the ambiance of the world it created. Dishonored also really grabbed me.

    • Audible
      #3
      Audible commented
      Editing a comment
      Bastion has a great story, I hadn't even thought of that one. The style of game and music, and of course the narration all add to enhancing the narrative in that game too! Thats a perfect example.

    • Xionanx
      #4
      Xionanx commented
      Editing a comment
      Timely commentary is timely:


      I'm assuming when you said "Elementary School" you meant kids under the age of 11, who I can't really see having an interest in "Spreadsheets" and "Typing" but will most certainly have and interest in getting through a fun game with a good story.

      I'm old.. and as such a learned a lot of "Math" and "Reading" skills from "Classic" games. Games that has very little overall narrative and you had to imagine to fill in the pieces. Battle of Olympus on the NES is a great example. Not only was this a "Vague" introduction to greek mythology.. (you get to fight the mythical creatures, get the golder fleece, etc). it also helped to build my imagination to fill in the blanks.

      Anyway, glad to see at least some school is looking to improve on the typing and data entry skill set. While they are useful, imo its something best left to HS to learn. Kids need to be kids.
      Last edited by Xionanx; 2013-08-08, 01:37 AM.
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