Thursday, 2 February 2012

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Video Games Unplugged

I'm currently reading Kyle Mawer and Graham Stanley's Digital Play, published by DELTA, for a book review (which I'll share with you as soon as it's online). So far it's a great book, passionately and convincingly arguing for a place for video games in the ELT classroom. 

The second part of the book, and the biggest, contains a myriad of activities, including ones that are about video games rather than using video games. I was particularly struck by an activity on page 39 called Game Chatalogue. The essence of the activity is that students use video game catalogues to discuss what they find interesting.

If you want more detail, you'll have to buy the book... ;-)

But I will tell you this, as I read the activity I thought this could have come straight out of another book from the DELTA teacher development series, one that some people still maintain would be dead set against technology in the classroom. And I thought that was it was very interesting to see a dogme activity there in a resource book so obviously appealing to techheads. And then I realised it wasn't the only the one, but a lot of the activities were essentially video games unplugged.

And I guess there are two main ways of interpreting this. On one hand you can say that this is an example of how Dogme ELT has had such a strong influence on classroom practices in the last decade that it is now used without even its label. Or your position may be that Dogme ELT is just a label for common sense teaching which existed long before Scott Thornbury's 10 Commandments and this is just another example.

Anyone who has read this blog before will know that I'm much more inclined towards the former than the latter, but what's really important to me is that this is a practical, clear example, free from argument and labelling which enables teachers to get on with teaching. And that's what I'd like to see more of, not just on blogs, but in resource books and yes, even coursebooks. I can dream, can't I?


My review of Digital Play is now online:


  1. Thanks so much for this, James - great to see you've found inspiration in the book, and you're right about the Dogme angle. We were keen to have a lot of activities for teachers who don't have access to computers in their teaching to do in class, and tried to make lots of these related to the actual games that the students in the teacher's classroom play. We think that games are so often ignored by teachers and it's a shame, especially as so many of our learners now spend so much time playing them!

    Great to see you in the webinar tonight too btw

    1. Thanks for your comment Graham. I really liked the point you made in the book that in general teachers love games, so it's strange they don't embrace their digital equivalents more readily. I think this book will go a long way towards persuading more and more of our fellow educators to incorporate them in their own lessons, including me!

      Really enjoyed the webinar, I'll be looking out for more!

  2. Have bought the book based on your recommendations, really excited about what it might add to next semester’s classes.

  3. Sounds good,i'll buy this book,enjoy it.



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