Blog #1

Bypassing the Textbook: Video Games Transform Social Studies Curriculcum

Part 1: Summary

Jeff Mummert is a social studies teacher in Pennsylvania. He is taking a different approach in the classroom by incorporating video games into his lessons. Instead of having his students analyze text or a work of art, he has them analyze a video game. He  chooses video games that his students play at home. Mummert has his students think critically about them. He asks them if the game is racist or questions about the sterotypes given off by the characters in the game. After analyzing, Mummert has them modify the game to reflect gender and race more realistically. Involving video games in the lesson that students actually play, gets more students involved and the students actually enjoy critical thinking compared to critical thinking over a text or a work of art that has no personal connection to them.

Q1: How will the issue help or hinder student learning?

A: I beleive the video game method will help student learning. I remember analyzing a work of art or peice of text that was so boring, myself and my classmates could not follow along. The text or peice of art could of had a very meaningful message but none of us were interested in finding it. Students need a personal connection to an assingment. With a personal connection,students are intriged by learning more about it and overall show greater performance. I think more teachers need to look into Mummert’s method and incorporate it into their lessons. Also, getting students with disabilities involved in the classroom can be hard. Connecting assignments to personal interests will allow them to connect with other students as well as the homework. Their personal interests are one thing that connects the students together and builds relationships. There is nothing bad that ever comes out of building relationships in the classroom.

Q2: What are the possible ways to use the ideas in your own teaching or self-directed learning?

A: I believe that the possibilites are endless. I plan on teaching at the elementary level and it would be very easy for me to incorporate my student’s interests into the lesson. Elementary students love music and a great way to incorpate music into the lesson is to create a song that helps them memorize the order of the alphabet, numbers, or states. Also classroom decoration is huge at the elementary level. Incorportation of the student’s favorite T.V. shows, books, or even hobbies is a very easy thing to do. I remember my first grade teacher would read us a book every Monday and then would decorate the classroom in a way that went along with the book and had worksheets for us to do throughout the week that also related to the book. This made learning more fun and having that personal connection allowed us to concentrate better on the assingment. In the middle school and high school level, celebrities are well known among all students. Incorporating ¬†celebritites into word problems will make the problem easier for the students and they are more likely to remember the concept. Overall, it is a concept that can very easily be incorporated into any lesson.

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