English - It's all in the video game

21st October 2011 at 01:00
Blog-based fun to boost literacy

When two Year 9 boys said they had the "fantastic idea" of encouraging more kids to read by playing video games, I was sceptical. But months later their project has gone from strength to strength and really is improving young people's reading and writing.

In fact, their games-based blogging scheme is now being made available to primary and secondary teachers all around the world.

The boys created all the resources and lesson plans and have tested and refined the lessons during the past term by completing the project with five of the school's partner primaries and one Year 7 and one Year 8 class at our school.

The project helps develop skills in creativity, self-confidence, critical thinking and new technologies by engaging students in learning through the use of games. Students then improve their literacy by creating their own games to narrate the story behind their game. They are encouraged to read and write - through blogging - and post the stories about their games. The boys have been amazed by the feedback from peers around the globe.

The project used Microsoft's Kodu, fantastic software that allows you to programme and create video games, and Microsoft's Windows Live Writer and Wordpress to communicate the stories via a blog. These are free, easy to use, compatible and easily transferred, and are not difficult to install.

The project has been used by three other schools in the UK, and in the US and India at the pilot stage, and the students have now launched the project via Twitter and Facebook. Students who have been involved in the project are definitely more engaged in reading and writing now. It has been a win-win for everybody.

Dan Roberts is deputy headteacher at Saltash.net Community School. Follow him on Twitter (@chickensaltash) or read his blog:http:chickensaltash.edublogs.org

What else?

Download Microsoft Kodu and Windows Live Writer for free:

http:research.microsoft.comen-usprojectskodu

http:explore.live.comwindows-live-writer?os=other

To set up a free Wordpress blog for your class, go to: http:wordpress.org

All resources and links at www.tes.co.ukresources006

RECOMMENDED

If you would like to take part and use the scheme of work, visit TES Resources to download it and add your feedback.

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