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Cortez 1

Oscar Cortez
Professor Ogbara
English 100
September 23, 2014
Literary Narrative
English has never been my strongest subject. I believe that critical thinking can improve
through playing video games. Growing up children should be encouraged to read which
increases critical thinking. Video games have shaped my life since I was seven years old. I was
always pushed to read books but I never read. Why? Because I felt that video games were more
entertaining than to read a boring book. I literally judged a book by its cover and didnt want to
read. There were times in elementary when teachers encouraged us to read and I picked up a
book. At first I was surprised how some books were very interesting and I would check it out
from the school library, but once I got home, there was no book because ill rather play than read.
All trough out elementary school I had one teacher who actually inspired me to read. Ms.
Anderson my third grade teacher would always read for us in class, it was really fun and I liked
it. As she read to us I began to actually like reading for pleasure. This only lasted in school once
I got home video games took over. I would check books but only read them in school and not at
home.
Growing up playing video games I believe that I actual learned something from a couple
of games. For example, in Tetris you have to be ahead like 5 seconds because once youre at a
higher level the parts start coming down faster and you need to very quick and know where the
next piece will go. I never really looked as video games being able to teach something but in the

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long run of playing games they actually do and I believe that video games can be used in and out
of classrooms.
Since video games did shape my identity I have always a strong feeling towards my
education. I still believe that getting an education is very important because games cant teach
you everything but can teach the little things like memorizing or even help them with their social
life in school. Some people may argue that video games shouldnt be used because they dont
believe that video games can actually help a student with critical thinking or reading.
In The Perils and Promises of Praise by Carol Dweck she explains the difference
between a growth and fixed mindset. She says having a growth-mindset is better because the
student is more engaged in the classroom and is very motivated. Having a fixed-mindset mean
that students are the complete opposite of a growth-mindset. I believe that I have a growthmindset. Even though that Im not very engaged in the classroom Im highly motivated to
participate.
In Critical Thinking by Bell Hooks she explains how by the time students reach college
not many of them are great critical thinker or she calls them dread thinkers. She says Those
students who do not dread thinking often come to classes assuming that thinking will be
necessary. (Hooks 1). I agree with Bell Hooks because I feel that Im one of those dread
thinkers. I come to class to learn and not to actual think about the material and ask questions on
the material.
Critical thinking is something that we develop on our own thats what I believe. Bell
Hook says First they must learn to embrace the joy and power of thinking itself.(Hooks 1). I
strongly agree with she says, we all must learn how to embrace thinking before we become
strong critical thinkers. I believe that video games can help us become stronger critical thinkers.

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Why? For example, in the game Fable you start off as a child who loses everything and you get
taken in by a Hero named Maze. Throughout the game you learn how to interact with people and
chose a path to take. The paths you chose will lead to being a hero or being evil. This game
determines the skills you can have, and the reputation you can hold. It really makes you think
about the path you want to take and what kind of reputation you want to have.
In Videogames of the Oppressed by Gonzalo Frasca, he shows that what if games were
game made to deal with social and political issues. He says Unlike narrative, which is
constituted by a fixed series of actions and descriptions, videogames need the active participation
of the user not just for interpretational matters, but also for accessing its content. (Frasca 1),
with the idea of trying to make a videogame on the social and political issues, it would be sort of
hard to make a game to teach these types of issues. I think that Gonzalo Frasca idea is to make a
videogame entirely too actually teach a person.
The idea of making a game with the political and social issues wouldnt make a good
game. Trying to make a game to teach someone is completely something new. I would totally
disagree with the idea to make a game that involves the teaching of the social and political
issues. In a way I look at it that this would be a completely bad idea. We want to fix them not
make them worse. I can be and the idea can be a good outcome because what if teaching them
those issues makes them find solutions the issues.
Reading should be made big deal on this present day more and more distractions are
being made to keep us from reading especially for the young. There are tablets especially made
for buying books, but children would rather chose a tablet where they can play games instead. I
have a nephew who has an iPad. Ive downloaded kids book that were free onto his iPad and he

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literally ignored it. This shows that advancement in technology is getting bigger and we need to
encourage more people to start reading.
In Is technology producing a decline in critical thinking and analysis? by Stuart
Wolpert he explains that technology is having a greater impact on society and its declining skills
in critical thinking and analysis but visual skills have improved. This article is on the research
made Patricia Greenfield from UCLA. The data that Greenfield collected showed that reading for
pleasure has declined which shows that videogames or technology has a down side to it. I agree
with the data collected videogames do take away the pleasure to read with my own personal
experience. Ive always heard that reading expands our minds and I believe that its true, as I got
older I began to push myself to read and I believe reading does expand the mind. As for
videogames they do not expand the mind as much.
In the article Wolpert says that Patricia Greenfield wants parents to encourage their
children to read at a younger age. I strongly agree with Greenfield, parents should encourage
their children to read at a young age. I think parents should read to a child at an earlier age so
children start liking books so by the time there is four they can start reading on their own.
Growing up I was pushed to read but not really encouraged to pick up a book and read it. I guess
playing video games for my parents would be for me to stay home.
My own personal experience with my parents pushing me to read was not so good. As I
grew up, my parents didnt really read to me. By the time I was five I was already playing video
games. I guess playing video games was just to keep me inside the house so I wouldnt go out.
My parents didnt really make it a big deal to start reading instead of playing. My brother was
my main motivator to read. He would always tell me to read before I started playing to get more
playing time. My brother is one person who I can say that has motivated me to read.

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In another article by an unknown author he says In particular, I have special interest in
how play, games, modeling, and simulations can be used to enhance comprehension and problem
solving through providing interactive learning. So what hes trying to research is if games can
be used to gain more knowledge and be able to do it through interactive games. I can agree with
the author. Not only videogames can help gain knowledge but also board games also. He (she)
talks about how a game like Ticket to ride which is a strategy game about taking the role of a
railroad tycoon in the early 1900s. This game looks like that it can teach you how to be a leader
and help you with all kinds obstacles you go through.
With many people doing a lot of research I think it can be proven that videogames or
games can help in the classroom but they should be used as a visual teaching. I believe now that
reading should be the key to gain knowledge instead of trying to make a game to teach us how to
learn the social and political issues. Since videogames shaped my identity I still feel that playing
videogames and reading book can help you be a better visual learner and still be a great critical
thinker.
Since English has really been my strongest subject. I still believe that my critical thinking
can improve if I start more book than play video games. Reading is the key to become a better
critical thinker. Overall my belief that critical thinking can be improved by playing video games
was wrong. Technology now is making it easier to teach visually which shows that technology
can be used to teach in a visual way. Videogames and games showed that they can be a good
way to teach something in a very easy and visual way.

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Work Cited

"Collective Knowledge: The Study of Games, Play, and Learning." Video Games As Learning
Tools RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2014. <http://vgalt.com/2012/06/10/collectiveknowledge-the-study-of-games-play-and-learning/>.
Dweck, Carol S.. "The Perils and Promises of Praise." Educational Leadership:Early
Intervention at Every Age:The Perils and Promises of Praise. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept.
2014. <http://www.ascd.org/publications/educationalleadership/oct07/vol65/num02/The-Perils-and-Promises-of-Praise.aspx>.
Frasca, Gonzalo. "Videogames of the Oppressed | Electronic Book Review." Videogames of the
Oppressed | Electronic Book Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2014.
<http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/Boalian>.
Hooks, Bell. Teaching critical thinking: practical wisdom. New York: Routledge, 2010. Print.
Wolpert, Stuart. "Is technology producing a decline in critical thinking and analysis?." UCLA
Newsroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2014. <http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/istechnology-producing-a-decline-79127>.