Posts Tagged ‘assignment design


What Mario knows that you don’t: Video games and assignment design

Back when video games came in cartridges and video stores existed, I rented a Nintendo game only to get home and find the instruction booklet was missing. Without that booklet, the game was unplayable. Random button mashing did not result in any productive action from my avatar, and I kept dying on the second screen.

Video games no longer require cartridges, and now it looks like they no longer require printed instruction manuals either. At least that’s the thought of Electronic Arts (EA), the gaming company responsible for many popular games, including the Madden football games. Last month, EA announced that they’d no longer include printed instruction manuals in video games. EA’s decision follows Ubisoft’s strategy who made the same decision to go manual-free last year.

While I’m sure that environmentalists will appreciate the trees that will be saved, this news should have more of an impact on teachers. What the video game industry has provided for us is a referendum on how our students acquire necessary skills and stay engaged in learning.

The lesson of EA and Ubisoft is that we could do a lot better. Continue reading ‘What Mario knows that you don’t: Video games and assignment design’

Good Writer, Bad Writer

Good writer, bad writer reflects the philosophy behind the first writing lesson I attempt to teach students. Too many of them come into college believing that their writing abilities are set in stone. The bad writers continue to struggle, and the good writers don't take enough risks in their writing, figuring that any misstep will throw them back into the "bad writer" category.

Good writer, bad writer is my attempt to break the power of that dichotomy. On here, I share the lessons and attitudes that I teach, but I also talk about the attitudes I have towards my own writing since many of those have informed my own teaching. Thanks for visiting.

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