Brock Dubbels


Brock Dubbels has worked since 1999 as a professional in education and instructional design, exploring new technologies for assessment, delivering content, creating engagement with learners, and investigating ways people approach learning.

Dubbels is a former Fulbright Scholar and has been a recipient of a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health. In the past he has worked for Xerox PARC, Oracle, Americorps, as a raft guide for the Yellowstone Raft Company, as well a head dishwasher, and was known as King of the Grease Trap. Dubbels currently teaches as an 8th grade Language Arts teacher in the Minneapolis Public Schools and serves on the District Technology Advisory Committee. He is currently working to complete a doctorate with David O’Brien in Learning and Literacy at the University of Minnesota. He designed and currently delivers a course for The University of Minnesota called Video Games as Learning Tools.


Video Games for Teaching Genre and Literary Elements to Reluctant Audiences

Video games offer an opportunity to extend film and print analysis, and engage students by honoring their chosen activities as worthy of inquiry, as a form of media, and as academic content. It is proposed here that the use of games will tap into cultural identies not typically honored in the classroom and allow students to participate in understanding the structural elements of genre through transfer across media.

Games belong in the field of literary analysis because they are artifacts that engage individuals in literate acts. Just the idea that a thing is composed implies the intention to convey a message and an opportunity for interpretation of that message. We want our students capable of interpretation, understanding patterns and metaphor, figurative language, plot , point of view, humor, truth and fiction in all forms of media that can influence and persuade. These and other structural categories like diction, word choice, sentence length, topic, theme, purpose inform genre, and can be transferred across media in a kind of cognitive boot-strapping. The ability to breakdown a text into relevant categories is an important comprehension skill and supports the research tradition on situation models (Radvansky & Zwaan).

Outcomes from classroom experience will be shared along with content,and tools developed and used for evaluation, measurement, and assessment in Middle School, High School, and a Reading course offered for Teacher Education at the University of Minnesota.

Teachers Arcade

This workshop, geared for K-12 educators, explores the role of video games in the classroom. Jim Gee opens the session with an explanation why video games are relevant to education. Brock Dubbels, a middle and high school educator, offers an example of using video games in the classroom. Richard Halverson presents practical considerations for games in schools from an administrative perspective. This session concludes with time for questions and sharing of ideas.

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