Computer games are a relatively new media and there are storytelling elements contained within. Using computer games we can immerse ourselves in these worlds, interacting with the storytelling. We can become active participants rather than passive observers.
When planning our new lessons on the theme of 'Beside the Sea' I remembered playing the game Endless Ocean. I knew that the game would be perfect for our sequence of lessons as it was so open ended, the sandbox gaming would lend itself perfectly to providing great learning opportunities.
Games mechanics are built upon a marriage of narrative and gameplay. Stories are fixed designed experiences whilst computer games let players change things, even when it’s simply walking across an island like in Dear Esther. Eschewing traditional gameplay mechanics this interactive world immerses and engages the player through the use of amazing visuals, beautiful audio and wonderful prose. What I have learnt through game based learning is that neither the game nor the story contained within, are that important but rather it is how you use the game.
As a teacher we can use games to provide children with a deep emotional and exciting experience. To contextualise the learning I planned a sequence of lessons using the wonderful picture book Dougal's Deep Sea Diary. The book contained a simple narrative of a salary man going on holiday and finding Atlantis. To immerse the children in the world of diving I used the book alongside Endless Ocean. The computer game allowed the pupils to become stimulated and engaged. Over the two weeks in Literacy the children created adverts for the imaginary island of Manuarai, wrote diary entries, newspaper reports and wrote poetry. I also incorporated D and T into the sequence of plans and got the children to create dioramas of the underwater world. I have shared some of the work here with you below and if you have been inspired by all this, download the plan and use it yourself!