Assignment 1: Online Reflective Journal

We know games can be highly motivating,” she says. “We know the ways they are organised can lead to deeper factual and conceptual understanding, but we need to find ways to use them that are consistent with the ways teachers teach.” (Jennings, 2014)

You can walk into a classroom on any given day at my current school and see 4 teachers teaching the same content in totally different ways. Is anyone of them better? Are any students going to have a grasp of the concepts quicker? The hope would always be no – that no matter the way you teach the students walk away with an understanding of the content. But what that could be challenged? What if games could assist students to understand the content more deeply by applying their knowledge to game play and therefore real life situations. All these questions have come to in #INF541

My own experience with game based learning has been limited up until this point. I have seen some teachers integrate glimpses of games such as literacy word games in the early years to engage students, but in terms of what Jennings mentions in her article in relation to Minecraft my understanding is far short. Throughout module one I found perhaps the most interesting perspective very early on. The video was discussing games within the classroom in the clip ‘Playing Games In The Classroom and discussed that perhaps the most motivating factor a child could have is putting a game on a top shelf and saying you aren’t quiet old enough to play this yet (Big think, 2011). From the point within the module I felt compelled to give my students that experience and learn more about not only how games can be used within the education world but more importantly how they can be used in my classroom in my context.

My first interaction with games came at an early age in the form of Keen 4.

When I searched for information on Keen 4 little came up however I did find a website where you could play the game. Unfortunately, as I own a mac, many of the keys to make Keen move now change different settings on my laptop. My reminiscing was cut incredibly short.  What I did discover was that the game had a strong story telling element – one which I did not first recall in my memories of the game. As I skipped through the story telling element I reflected on what I have already read of module two.  As Tikka discusses traditional story telling in games is linked inherently with the game (Tikka, Kankaanranta, Nousiainen, & Hankala, 2009). As Keen gets into his spacecraft the storyline supports that. Suddenly I had a greater understanding of how hard it is to support the story line through games as I skipped right on through.

I am a stage 1 teacher at a “next generation” school in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. The school itself is in its early days, only opening last year and is doing things differently. We have a focus on general capabilities and are trying to develop creative and critical thinking students.

Personally, I am aiming to gain a deeper understanding of games and how they can be used in the classroom. As someone who has never owned a game console I found downloading Ingress this week slightly overwhelming in just understanding basic game play strategies. I hope to enlighten myself and journey through my current sense of misunderstanding. The challenges I face are similar to my aims. I am learning something new everyday in this unit and that excites my but also challenges me. I bring no prior knowledge to this unit so I feel that could be a challenge. One that I feel I can overcome with lots of reading and discussion with peers.



Reference List

Jenkins, H. [Smithsonian American Art Museum]. (2012, March 9). The Art of Video    Games: Interview with Henry Jenkins’. Retrieved from


Jennings, J. (2014, November 25). Teacher’s Reevaluate the Value of Video Games. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from


Tikka, S.-M., Kankaanranta, M., Nousiainen, T., & Hankala, M. (2009). Telling Stories with Digital Board Games.


Unknown. [Squakenet]. (2004, June 3). Commander Keen 4 GamePlay (PC Game, 1991). Retrieved from


Unknown. [Big Think]. (2011, July 5). Playing Games In The Classroom [Video File]. Retrieved from

5 thoughts on “Assignment 1: Online Reflective Journal

  1. Hi Angela,

    I too found it really interesting looking at things in a new light as a result of the readings we were completing. I too find that the story and the difficulty level can really get you hooked. When I wasn’t sure about using game-based learning in class I would always ask the students if I wasn’t sure about something and they were always able to help and work it out.

    Being able to connect learning to your own experience really adds a richness to this course.

    Thanks for sharing,



  2. Hello Angela,
    It will be interesting to hear about your learning and your experience in a “next generation” school. I too have limited knowledge of games, but am hoping that by immersing myself in games and this subject, I will be able to significantly develop my understanding and knowledge.


  3. Thanks Angela,
    Sometimes just coming to an understanding that we don’t know helps to position the real learning that follows. This seems to be what you have outlined and your journey into games for learning will be richer for it. From now on you may look at all games and ask the question – what is the narrative? how does it enable learning? what skills or problems do students need to be aware of or learn?


  4. Hi Angela,
    I’m in the same boat as you, having not had much to do with digital games, and game based learning in particular. I’m finding this subject quite challenging as a result. So far in my new and very limited experience, the narrative feature of games seems to be the keystone to good games for learning.


  5. Hi Angela,
    I am in a similar position, as I have limited experience with games in the classroom. I used to want to fully understand the technology I was integrating, but have since learned that it is not always possible. If I really want to fully understand, I might as well not bother! My new philosophy is to jump in and give things a go… I have done this with Minecraft with my Year 5 students. So far so good…


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