In English, literacy is tied to author and the reader (understanding and interpreting symbols for meaning), text—how, why, what, where of story (character, time line, plot, themes...). In digital games, all of this is true plus an additional skill for usage of the tool itself. Learning to utilize the tool for writing is a very important skill for both literacy(s): being able to navigate the internet for research, for definitions, for creative ideas and uses of games, being able to respond thoughtfully in detailed thorough text—plus learning to use the computer to operate the game commands—all this is fodder for literacy discussion in the English classroom.
The educational value of playing the COTS game is in playing to enhance student understanding of how persona affects ethos in writing. This is accomplished with the use of student groups and individualized game playing. The player will develop a relationship with their Avatar in much the same way a writer develops a persona to increase their ethos. There is a direct link with the player and the success of the Avatar which can be used to introduce the concept of persona in writing—from logos, ethos, and pathos—persona is related most closely with ethos or the writer’s credibility. As the player becomes more attuned with the Avatar and the Avatar’s requirement for successful play, the concept of persona becomes more real to the player—the player is the Avatar in many ways; indeed, the player must become the Avatar while playing or else the focus of the challenge/quest and even the play of the game itself is lost.
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