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Playing to Learn: Video Games in the Classroom

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1591584926
ISBN-10: 1591584922
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Editorial Reviews


"More than 100 video game activity ideas for grades 4 to 12 are included in this volume that helps teachers integrate the study of video games into the classroom….For each exercise, a brief background is provided, the activity is explained, and follow-up discussion ideas are offered….Teachers could aos use some of these activities as viable reserach topics for students." - School Library Journal

"Hutchison has written this guidebook to help teachers integrate the study of video games into classroom practice….Hutchison provides a valuable, concrete way of engaging students in reading and writing by integrating a ubiquitious aspect of popular culture into classroom practice….Highly recommended. This book can form the core of interesting exploration and implementation by professional learning groups in your school. As well, it offers new opportunities for school library-classroom collaboration." - Teacher Librarian

"The author does not envision a classroom where computer games can be played, but one where students will be analyzing, designing, and creating films using video game footage. The book is designed to be used in traditional classrooms where teachers will use their students' familiarity with video games as a stepping stone to teach higher order thinking skills. This also can be used in classrooms where students will discuss, research, and write papers on the various topics raised about video games. The book is arranged alphabetically by activities. Each activity has a brief introduction, description, discussion, grade level, and subject area. For educators wanting a different approach to teach various traditional skills in the various disciplines, this would be a good purchase." - Library Media Connection

About the Author

David Hutchison is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, Brock University. He is the author of Growing Up Green: Education for Ecological Renewal and A Natural History of Place in Education.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Libraries Unlimited (May 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591584922
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591584926
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,819,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Quick: name five video games. Can you do it? I can't. Video games are not part of my media environment. The few games I can recall are as a result of some recent news story about their violent or sexual content, or some state's effort to restrict youth access. Are all games bad--of course not. Why doesn't the mainstream media report more on the potential uses of video gaming in instruction? ( Well, that's an essay for another time.)

Can and should video games be considered as instructional tools, just as books, magazines, video and film are today? Yes, says "Playing to Learn" author David Hutchison, Associate Education Professor at Brock University. In this new text, published by Teacher Ideas Press, he presents a number of concrete ideas for integrating video games into English, Social Studies, Math, Science, Health, PE and more.

Writing the forward to this text, James Paul Gee (author of "What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy") acknowledges that video games won't replace reading or writing. At the same time, he says, fans of video games are creating blogs about the topic and becoming active participants in fan based web sites.

Video games are a cultural phenomenon: one in which all educators should become more familiar. Reading "Playing To Learn" will certainly help all educators get up-to-speed in this exploding youth media culture. Interspersed with activity suggestions and lesson plan ideas, Hutchison has wisely included several discussion articles.

(This is a trend that I am in favor of: giving young people some current event readings and resources around a topic. Unfortunately, many of today's textbooks don't provide current readings nor corresponding critical thinking questions.
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The book didn't get 4 stars from me because it only focuses on specific activities. It would have been nice if there were a few chapters on WHY video games are good for the classroom or even better rationale as to why an "x" specific activity works.

But if you're looking for specific activities, this is a great book. I'm only a 4th grade teacher, so I can't implement many of these ideas, but I shall do so when I teach in a higher grade in future years.
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