Andrew Burn on Games and Literacy

This week, the University of Sydney’s Arts, English and Literacy Education research network hosted a talk by Professor Andrew Burn. Andrew is Professor of Media Education at the Institute of Education, University of London and the Director of the DARE research collaborative (Digital|Arts|Research| Education). His research focuses on many aspects of the media, including media literacy in schools, the semiotics of the moving image and computer games, and young people’s production of digital animation, film and computer games. Andrew’s most recent book is Making New Media: Creative Production and Digital Literacies.

Andrew’s talk was entitled ‘Ludic Literacies: Games, Literature, English.’ Here’s a short description: It has been claimed that the 21st century is the ludic century – the century in which games become a dominant art form and approach to a wide range of human activities, including education. This talk will make the case for studying computer games as a narrative art form related to literature, drama and film in many ways. It will draw on recent research projects and curriculum interventions in which school students make horror games, adventure games, and games based on Shakespeare.

Over the course of two hours, Andrew shared his research on games, which can serve as a narrative art form, a pedagogical tool, and a collaborative literacy activity. The audience included scholars, classroom educators, and pre-service teachers; Andrew and the audience participated in critical discussion about the role of games in schools and the perceived value of media education in both the Australian and United Kingdom contexts. For more, here’s a brief summary of Andrew’s Making Games project.

For me, it was wonderful to hear more about Andrew’s research and to see my pre-service teachers deeply engaged in the discussion. In a discussion with my students after his talk, we decided that we should bring some gaming into our tutorials this month. Since our focus is on Standard and Advanced English now, I am thinking about using rapid game prototyping as a way to read and respond to Hamlet.

During his visit to Sydney, Andrew also delivered a keynote address for the Australian Association for the Teaching of English conference and appeared on Sunrise on Channel 7.

Photo by Tricia L2009

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