Gaming as a tool for Teaching Composition in College English Classes

Gaming as a Tool for Teaching Composition in College English Classes

by M. DiEdwardo

SAMPLE Draft of GROUP PROJECT contains 3000 words; students email technology supplemental illustrations for bonus points such as power points or blogging

My students use video gaming as a tool for understanding the work of Sophocles.

The excerpts of a paper follow:

I use the paper with permission.

My study this semester in English confronts my use of technology and emotional intelligence skills in the areas of leadership and learning. I use Dr. DiEdwardo’s article as a basis for learning based on music and expand to video games, biographies and research about technology in the English classroom. My paper is like a menu at the restaurant where I work. It uses parts of thinking skills and eventually proves that I learned to write through technology. Literature and all kinds of learning topics science, math, anything, really is like a bucket of ping pong balls. You have 50 ping pong balls in a bucket, and bounce them around it’s very hard to keep up with just one of them. What you have to do is pick out all the balls until there only one left. It’s a lot easier to follow one ball then one in fifty balls. You have to find something you’re interested in and follow it or its going to end up like the fifty ping pong balls instead of one. That’s exactly what I did with this class, the teacher is a great teacher and I found something I enjoyed and I worked with it, I picked out all my ping pong balls until I found the right one and then I went with that one. You have to learn to come to a conclusion in many things in life if not your pretty much screwed. At least that’s how I see it. You have to grab life by the horns and take it down, make it your own. You have to learn to own life, or you’re done.   It’s as simple as that. Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get, so you have to try and break open the chocolates to see what you have before you eat it. That way you have a better understanding of what you’re up against and how to overcome it. When you figure out how to do that you can conquer anything and everything in life. That’s how you do it. I’ve accomplished many things that way. Do you ever question your life, like in some instances you’re just not sure which path to take.   Jut follow your instincts and you will be so much better off in life than if you choose the path your peers prescribe for you.

One of my greatest categories of interests in books is science fiction. Any book that is in the category of science fiction I will read cover to cover. One of my favorite science fiction authors is Paul Zindel. I have read every book of his that has to do with science fiction. One of them I have read twice. If any younger children like to read science fiction they will love Paul Zindel. He was truly one of the great authors of his time, and after many deep and profound brain things inside my head, I have com to rest on this particular author.

His book raptor had a great influence in my high school English classes. The book raptor was a great novel. “Zack’s father is a paleontologist, so Zack knows his dinosaurs-but he never expected to come face to face with a real live raptor. When he and his friend Uta, a young Native American, discover a large egg witch hatches and produces a baby raptor, they know they’ve stumbled onto something amazing and dangerous. Zack and Uta embark on a nightmare trip back into the mine shafts and tunnels of Silver Mountain to search for the herd of raptors. They encounter unimaginable mutant creatures, and their journey culminates in an encounter with nature’s horrifying living proof that dinosaurs DO still exist.” Zindel, Paul . Raptor. New York: Hyperson, 1998.   Back cover Summary.

I had read this book twice it was a very interesting book to read and I think many people would enjoy this book very much, my grandfather couldn’t put it down for one second.

Another book by this author was called Loch, I had read this one as well. “Loch and his sister are with their father on a scientific expedition to track lake monsters. Their father’s boss, Anthony Cavenger, a ruthless publishing mogul, is trying to prove that such legends exist. Until now, it had been a fruitless exercise. But suddenly, on a routine expedition, monstrous jaws attached to a hideous water beast explode out of the water, and a photographer, hoping to get the picture of a lifetime, loses his life. Without a doubt, these plesiosaurs-thought to be extinct for ten million years-are no longer the stuff of legends, and Caveneger will be the first to stop at nothing to get the proof he needs. Loch encounters a baby plesiosaur and realizes that these creatures only attack when threatened, so he risks his life to save these endangered and terrifying creatures.” Zindel, Paul . Loch. New York: Hyperson, 1994. Back Cover summary.

I find Paul zindel to be a great influence in our nations readers because the ways he writs can connect to children and teenagers in ways other writers could not, he writes about experiences that could actually happen to a teenager in real life because when he was growing up he was never able to find any books that could relate to teens in real life situations so he decided to write his own books so teens could relate a lot better to life.

One of these books is titled “My Darling, My hamburger”

I ttalks about how these two couples in high school are together and they face the challenges of commitment and love. They end up getting seperated and then they face other challenges.

Science fiction is a category of reading and literature that really doesnt require a lot of thought depending on what your writing or reading about, I for one find it a very interesting topic and by far the most entertaining. About four years ago i stumbled upon this game series called Legacy of Kain, I took to it very quickly it was your usual hack and slash game with all kinds of blood and gore in it it took place in a fantasy world, with demons, vampires, sorcerers, and the undead. My type of game… Well further down the road i realized that it had a very interesting type of literature embedded in it. Hubris, a type of greek drama. Composed of tragic flaws, social degradation, and corruption, this game boasts a very well put together storyline. So i took to it in my English class.

It has a very similar connection to a drama play called Oedipus Rex, the characters in the game are much alike the characters in the play, only without them all being…how can I put this, ah yes, human. Without them being human. In the play Oedipus had murdered his father; in the game Kain had murdered his son, but not only did Kain know he murdered his son but he did it without a shred of remorse. In the play Laiunus was murdered by his son Oedipus; in the game Raziel was murdered by his father, Kain, but in this case Raziel came back from teh dead to seek revenge for what his Father had done to him. In the play ueen Jocastas had informed Oedipus of the terrible deed he had committed; in the game Ariel informs Kain Raziel about the terrible destiny he has ahead of him, from which he cannot escape.

“Raziel:

Show yourself, Kain.

Kain’s voice emerges from the depths of William’s chapel –

Kain:

Here, Raziel.

Raziel crosses the threshold of the chapel – just as in his previous visit he feels the distortion caused by the nearness of the Reaver. As he enters, he discovers Kain inside, standing before William’s sarcophagus.

Kain:

Everything is decided here…

You cannot comprehend the magnitude – the rapture and the tragedy – of this moment…

And yet you must if Nosgoth is to be dragged from the wreckage of its damnation.

Whatever game Kain is playing, Raziel is tired of it. He responds irritably –

Raziel:

I understand only this, Kain – that you and Moebius have impelled me to this moment, simply means that I can trust neither of you.

I don’t know who’s pulling the strings, but it no longer matters – because I’m cutting them. I set my own course from here.

Raziel turns to leave. Kain watches him go for a moment, then replies.

Kain:

If it were only that simple.

Raziel stops and responds, exasperated.

Raziel:

Your fatalism is tiresome, Kain.

Kain:

… and profoundly ingrained, Raziel.

You must understand, our presence here doesn’t alter history.

You and I meet here because we are compelled to – we have always met here.

History is irredeemable.

Drop a stone into a rushing river – the current simple courses around it and flows on as if the obstruction were never there.

You and I are pebbles, Raziel, and have even less hope of disrupting the time-stream.

The continuum of history is simply too strong, too resilient.

Except… then how do we explain William, here?

Kain gestures toward William’s funereal effigy, and turns to face the sarcophagus.

Kain:

The beloved boy-king turned tyrant.

He lifts the Soul Reaver from the casket, and turns back to Raziel, flourishing the sword.

Kain:

In my youth, I witnessed William’s rise to power, and his transformation into the ‘Nemesis’ who laid waste to Nosgoth.

Raziel: (steely)

Keep your distance, Kain.

Kain walks slowly forward, Reaver in hand, as he speaks.

Kain:

Years later, I stumble upon a chance to journey back in history, unaware that the entire affair has been orchestrated by Moebius.

In my wisdom, I seize this opportunity to murder the young king before he can ravage Nosgoth…

… and thereby provide the catalyst Moebius needs to ignite a genocidal war against our race.

Raziel grows more agitated as Kain advances.

Raziel:

I warn you – no further!

Kain continues, his voice taking on a greater sense of urgency.

Kain:

This one reckless act unravels the skein of history.

The Nemesis never becomes the Nemesis; William dies a martyred saint. I, the vampire assassin, become the author of my own species’ destruction. And Moebius profits from it all.

I destroyed a tyrant only to create one far worse.

Kain gestures toward the stained glass window, which depicts a lionized William and a demonized Kain in combat, both armed with the Soul Reaver.

Kain:

But how can it be so? How, if history is immutable?

Kain advances slowly on Raziel, gripping the Soul Reaver. As he approaches, the feeling of displacement intensifies.

Kain:

The answer is here in this room, Raziel.

Moebius propelled William and me together – but ensured first that we were both armed with the Soul Reaver.

The Reaver is the key.

Two incarnations of the blade meet in time and space… a paradox is created, a temporal distortion powerful enough to derail history.

As Kain takes a final step toward Raziel, the surrounding distortion reaches its peak, and the wraith-blade begins to manifest of its own will. Raziel reacts in alarm.

Raziel:

Is this your sorcery?

Kain:

Not mine, Raziel – yours.

You have nothing to fear from me, Raziel.

You hold all the cards.

Kain turns the blade and extends it to Raziel, hilt first. Raziel reaches out tentatively and takes the Reaver – Kain releases the blade willingly, and extends his hands to show that there’s no deception. As Raziel grips the hilt, the displacement intensifies around them.

Raziel addresses Kain icily. As he speaks, the wraith energy of the Reaver manifests and begins to twine itself around the physical blade.

Raziel:

Then perhaps I should test your sincerity.

Swiftly, Raziel brings the point of the blade up to Kain’s throat. Kain steps back, and Raziel advances with him, keeping the sword at his throat.

Raziel:

If what you say is true, you should be terrified. I could kill you here and now.

Kain responds, clearly apprehensive, but also strangely resigned –

Kain:

And so you do, Raziel.

The blade begins to tremble slightly, as if possessed of its own will.

Raziel is confused and alarmed –

Raziel:

What’s happening?

The trembling intensifies as Raziel struggles against the pull of the Reaver.

Kain:

We are hurtling toward our destinies, Raziel. What you feel is the pull of history rushing to meet us.

This is where history and destiny collide.

The Reaver lunges at Kain – he stumbles against William’s sarcophagus and falls to the ground. As Raziel fights to resist the pull of the blade, Kain urges him with earnest intensity.

Kain:

If you truly believe in free will, Raziel, now is the time to prove it.

Kill me now, and we both become pawns of history, dragged down the path of an artificial destiny.

I was ordained to assume the role of Balance Guardian in Nosgoth, while you were destined to be its savior. But the map of my fate was redrawn by Moebius, and so in turn was yours…

Raziel struggles to maintain control.

Raziel:

This is madness!

Kain:

Fight it, Raziel… This moment does not have to be an ending – it can become a prelude.

The pull of the Reaver is too powerful; Raziel is losing strength.

Raziel:

I can’t…

Kain:

You can, Raziel – look inside and see that it is so.

You have the power to reshape our inevitable futures.

Raziel raises the Soul Reaver and brings it down violently. Kain turns his head and tenses for the impact. The sword crashes downward in a blinding flash of light, and Raziel staggers back, his hand now free of the blade.

Raziel has diverted the Reaver’s course, avoiding Kain by mere inches – the blade stands embedded in William’s sarcophagus, the impact having fractured the stone.

Rising unsteadily, Kain regards the impaled, fractured coffin, and makes a weak attempt at a joke –

Kain:

… poor William.

At once, the room is overwhelmed by an indescribable disturbance – their surroundings warp and blur, and a colossal groaning fills the air as history labors to admit this alteration.

Raziel looks around the room in confusion and alarm.

Raziel:

What is this?

Kain:

History abhors a paradox, Raziel.

Even now, the time-stream strains to divert itself, finding its old course blocked by your refusal to destroy me.

The future is reshuffling itself to accommodate your monumental decision.

As Kain continues, the distortion begins to subside.

Kain:

This is where we restore ourselves, Raziel, and reclaim our intended destinies.

It may yet be possible for me to assume my role as Balance Guardian and return the Pillars to their rightful inheritors –

Raziel interrupts disdainfully.

Raziel:

– to the vampires.

And this is the destiny you urged me to discover?

I don’t know what game you and Moebius are playing, Kain – but I refuse to be your pawn.

Unlike you, I still revere whatever shred of humanity I’ve managed to preserve. You will not use me as the instrument of your messianic delusions.

Raziel turns his back on Kain and strides out of the chapel.

Kain:

Very well, Raziel. I’ll not ask you to trust me – your truths are for you to discover alone.

Raziel pauses briefly, and replies without turning –

Raziel:

Humble words for one who presumes to teach me a lesson at every turn.

Kain:

Then continue your journey and learn your own lessons, Raziel.

Remember – Moebius led you here, but you walk away unfettered. A champion of free will, and conqueror of false histories.

Raziel stalks away without looking back.

Kain:

There is much more for you to unearth, if you have the heart for the truth and the will to see it…” (Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2)

This is the point in the game where Raziel is about ot kill kain for revenge but Kain’s

words have enlightened Raziel and he ends up letting Kain at that particular moment. What Raziel doesn’t understaned is that Kain had planned on doing this to Raziel as part of his plan to take back his true destiny, to become balance gaurdian of nosgoth and return it to its rightful inheritors, the vampires. I’m not too sure what happens after tha because I havent played the last game in the series yet. I really would like to play the last game because then I would a better understanding on the whole storyline and what happens to Raziel and Kain. Whethere or not Kain tqakes back his rightful place in this decaying and damned world.

Poetry is a topic of great appeal to some people. Me, im not that into it but I will read it if i have to. I like in particular one poet. His name is Robert Frost. I had done a interpretation of one of his poems in my senior year in high school, my poem was called Fire and Ice:

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favour fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice. (http://www.ketzle.com/frost/fireice.htm)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I have been using gaming to teach literary concepts since 2005.

    Like

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