Maya Kadakia
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Graduate Student
Curriculum and Instruction
University of Wisconsin-Madison

7th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher
Cherokee Heights Middle School


Using Morrowind to Teach Characterization, Cause and Effect and Storyline
Individual Presentation, Friday (1:30 - 3:00) in Hall of Ideas F

This presentation focuses on the use of the video game Morrowind in the 7th grade Language Arts Curriculum. The purpose of this unit to introduce the concepts of characterization, cause and effect and logical sequencing (storyline). This unit is aligned with the Madison Metropolitan School District Standards for seventh grade Language Arts. I will share the outcomes from my action research project on this unit during the 2004-2005 school year at Cherokee Heights Middle School in Madison, Wisconsin. During the unit I kept a journal of observations, I recorded which students volunteered, and the number of assignments they turned in.

Morrowind is a role playing game which can facilitate the teaching of choices, character development and storyline. The player creates a fantasy character and explores an open-ended world. The character can be created in one of three ways: answering a series of moral questions, choosing a pre-made character from a list, or custom designing your own. This is an excellent tie in to exploring character creation. The character's actions have a profound impact on game play and each game turns out differently based on the choices made. Some choices from the game easily lend themselves to discussions about moral decisions such as stealing and gang involvement. Because the player is faced with a multitude of decisions that affect the plot, students gain perspective on storyline and logical sequencing which they then apply to their own writing projects.

Video gaming is a highly popular form of entertainment. Based on informal surveying, I have found that 90% of my students play video games regularly. As an educator, I strongly support the inclusion of popular culture in the curriculum as a way to increase student engagement in traditional subject areas, to make academic content seem more valuable because they can see future applications, and to create meaningful connections with students.

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