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BioShock: Videogames Come To UNLV English Class

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The video game BioShock Infinite took players to an alternate U.S. and a story filled with philosophy and a rich narrative — but also a lot of violence.

Pong was introduced 44 years ago. The movement of a white digital ball back and forth across a TV screen fascinated the world.

Today, high-definition video games take players into far-flung universes, back in time or into the future. It’s estimated one-fifth of the world plays video games. Sales in 2015 reached $61 billion.

With that captive audience, it was only a matter of time before someone brought videogames to the classroom. And we’re not talking about boring video games where you advance if you answer a math question correctly.

We’re talking about games like "BioShock Infinite," which takes players into a world where slavery and religious fantacism rule, where Abraham Lincoln is viewed as a corruptor and John Wilkes Booth, his assasin, as a liberator.

Amy Green, an assistant professor of English at UNLV, uses the games, along with book standards, to teach key concepts in her classes.

And she says it works, on many levels: students turn in better writing and some seem to be able to concentrate and focus more on their work.

 

 

Amy Green, UNLV asst. professor of English

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.