I think educators have mixed feelings about “playing games” at school. I think the word has negative connotations because it is thought to not be educational, but the truth is, there is growing research that states games have an impact on problem solving and critical thinking skills. Additionally, gaming online offers a chance for students to communicate and collaborate with others.
Interactive Fiction (also known as Adventure Text) is a game that has been around a long time, but I’m just now delving into it. I’m already finding that it’s mighty addictive… 🙂
A story begins and you interact with the text by typing commands for the character. The story expands as you interact with it. For example, the interactive fiction story I’ve tried has a character who is trying to write his dissertation but keeps getting distracted. So, I’ve figured out that I need to unplug his internet cable and lock it in the cabinet so he isn’t tempted to check his email. I haven’t completed the story, and it appears I may have to restart several times in order to learn how to get him to sit down and write his dissertation.
Fun stuff, I’m telling ya.
So, what does this have to do with education?
Well, after prying myself away from the story, I tried to find some research online about interactive texts in the classroom. What I’m finding is that reluctant readers are READING lots of text in this gaming environment. The interactive nature of the story draws them in and motivates them to read. (My son doesn’t like to read. I’m hoping there are some interactive texts for third graders…) Also, students are problem-solving to work through the story. It’s like solving a mystery. (I’ll be adding related links to my delicious site with the tag word interactivefiction.)
Try out an interactive fiction game for yourself.
I’m curious to know what you think- does interactive fiction have a place in the classroom?
Update: I wrote this post last month and have actually completed an interactive fiction story with my son, who loved it! He was problem solving- and READING!