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At approximately 9:40 PM I opened Twitter and saw this tweet from my friend Bianca Hewes in Australia: “Gonna buy an X-Box and some games for English faculty to help us teach games as texts. Can anyone suggest games with strong narratives?”
I stepped away from the computer and talked with my 14 year old son about this question and he LOVED the fact that I was asking him this. He was, actually, online playing a game with a friend and they both discussed it and gave me a recommendation that was PS3 only. So I told him it had to be XBOX. He did his teenage boy discussion about how “all the good games are on PS3,” and then said that Skyrim would be a good choice. I suggested L.A. Noire but he didn’t agree with me – (I almost sent it to her anyway)
So, just before 10PM I tweeted: ” @BiancaH80
my 14yo son suggested Skyrim and The Last of Us for great story lines but Last of Us is PS3. #wenttothesource “
Then I remembered that one of my best high school buddies has been writing for video game magazines for about 30 years and has been very influential in the business. I also knew a friend that I had met here in Austin a few years ago. Both are living in California but are in the video game business.
So, a couple of minutes later I tweeted: ” .@vidgames
friend of mine and tchr in Australial looking for XBOX game with Great Narrative for English Class – cc @BiancaH80 “
In the matter of 30 minutes a teacher in Australia had asked a question. She had gotten information from me: a teacher with a son who plays a lot of video games in Texas. And, she had gotten in contact with two professionals in the video game industry.
Well, as I was writing the first part of this I returned to Twitter to see if there was any other action on this tweet. I saw this exchange between @Tallgamer and @BiancaH80:
“@cfanch @vidgames @binacah80 what age students? ” from @TallGamer
” @TallGamer @cfanch @vidgames ranges from 12 – 18 boys & girls. Thanks 🙂 ” From @BiancH80
” @cfanch @Vidgames @BiancaH80 I am going to say Mass Effect, the only issues are that it is rated Mature because of language and sex and viol ” From @TallGamer
” @cfanch @vidgames @BiancaH80 the other I would suggest is Bioshock it’s a great narrative about a man with to much power and greed ” From @TallGamer
This conversation continued with a suggestion from @TallGamer to subscribe to his Youtube channel and a discussion that they should talk via Skype. As I was talking with my wife and writing this, I said “You can’t make this stuff up – it’s writing itself!” This is just one example out of hundreds (thousands?) of exchanges that happen between educators on Twitter.
If you need more examples, just go onto twitter and tweet: “Anybody have great examples of teachers using Twitter to get great answers to questions?” Then sit back and wait for answers to flow in. Just don’t forget to thank them for their help. Who knows you might even make a friend and start your own PLN.