For the proposal assignment, Raven and I have decided to collaborate utilizing prompts 8 & 9 to envision a gaming based project partly inspired by our upcoming Ivanhoe project. It will attempt to address the intersections of online spaces, education, representation, and equity/accessibility through digital tools in learning spaces. Raven and I divided the proposal between our two posts in order to explain our different angles on the same goal.
Our overall goal of this project is to find a way to increase the parameters of equity in a standard classroom. We want to use interactive technology as a method to give voice to those often misinterpreted or silenced within the traditional western literary canon. Often in English classes, we see that students are forced to read stories such as Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with the intense focus on our perceived protagonist, Huck Finn. This is fine, but there should also be a way to teach students how to view the story from the perspective of Jim, an escaped slave, and Huck Finn’s “moral guide.” In education, we need to utilize multicultural texts as a means to provide diverse student-bodies with the ability to align themselves with the literature at hand. However, there is the battle of always having a group of students who will not align with what the class is studying. So, we believe that by utilizing gaming in the classroom you can expose students to different walks of life such as diversity in race, disability, gender, and sexuality.
In constructing this game from a digital pedagogical perspective, I want to draw information from scholar surrounding these topics, specifically in terms of educational facilities. Right now, I am planning on using information from Tools of Exclusion: Race, Disability, and (Re)segregated Education by Beth A. Ferri of Syracuse University and David J. Connor of Columbia’s Teachers College, as well as Structuring Equality: A Handbook for Student-Centered Learning and Teaching Practices, a collection by many authors including Cathy Davidson of The Graduate Center. The first piece addresses the complicated issues around the interconnectedness of segregation, special education, and race. The second piece, specifically in chapter six, dives into how we can restructure English courses (and the classroom in general) to create a more equitable space in terms of helping students foster their identities. Helping students develop a deeper understanding of not only their own identity experience but as well as their peers’ difference identities, helps to foster a safer and more productive classroom space.
Another piece I want to draw upon to support these notions in a more direct way is No Fun: The Queer Potential of Video Games that Annoy, Anger, Disappoint, Sadden, and Hurt by Bonnie “Bo” Ruberg. Ruberg shines a light on the aspect of “Play” in a similar way to the Ivanhoe readings, except takes it in a direction of how the idea of “having fun” is so closely related to gaming. We buy and play games because we enjoy them and have fun, but not everyone has the same type of fun with certain things. She continues to talk about how “no-fun” can be a tool for addressing uncomfortable topics that need to be talked about. We are hoping to develop a game based around this notion because topics of prejudice are uncomfortable topics in whichever form they take. So we are using a game as a platform to widen the perspective of students using emotional experiences linked to the said game.
These experiences are obviously not meant to severely shake anybody, it will not cross that line, but more so has the goal of encouraging students to tap into their empathetic sides in order to place themselves in the shoes of others. Having a more open perspective fosters the ability to engage with multiple aspects of literature on a new level previously unattainable in many classrooms.