Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Creative Writing with a Video-Game Controller

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Creative Writing with a Video-Game Controller

Article excerpt

You would be forgiven for thinking that using a PlayStation 3 during writing lessons is intended as a cunning piece of reverse psychology; maybe the only way to stop children writing about games is to actually ask them to write about games. But that's not my way of thinking. I see using games in class not only as a motivational tool but as a unique way of developing pupils' writing.

I start the lesson by introducing the children to Journey, the beautiful game that they will be playing over the next few weeks. Journey is dialogue-free and the main character wears a long cloak and a mask. We have no details of who they are or where they are going. In many ways, the game is a blank canvas on which students can create their own narratives.

A handful of children play the game during the lesson (the players rotate each week) while the rest of us watch. The character explores a dark, silent cave. As we observe this tense scene, I begin to provide a commentary. I describe the looming, serpentine statues carved into the cavern walls and the ink-black pools reflecting the pale glow of the moonlight. …

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