What do we learn in Smethwick Village? Computer games, media learning and discursive confusion
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Authors: Mcdougall, J.
Journal: Learning, Media and Technology
This article presents findings from research exploring the intervention made by the introduction of computer games as an object of study in Media Studies at AS level in England. The outcome is a range of discursive data in the form of teachers and students from two English colleges talking about their experiences of this curriculum encounter. This article is informed by the existing body of research exploring computer games as transgressive texts, with particular emphasis on the extent to which they transgress traditional text-reader relations, offering players the opportunity to both read and write the story. This existing field spans gaming and literacy, ludology and narratology, psychoanalytical readings of identity-play and explicit work on computer games in (and for) education. This research shifts the focus to the 'languaged' relationships between Media Studies teacher, student and game; and play, curriculum and assessment, respectively. The article explores the complexities at stake in teachers' and students' ideas about these discursive framings as articulated in statements made about games - between public and private learning contexts, play and assessment. The findings of the enquiry reveal a 'disconnect' between the transgressive aspirations of Media teachers embracing games as objects for study and the profoundly traditional assessment context which frames the encounter.