Alan Wake – in the classroom (part 6)
Alan Wake – in the classroom (part 6)

Alan Wake – in the classroom (part 6)

In a perfect world I would have photographs and student testimonies to share with you how well the launch went. I am sorry to let you down. You will have to take my word for it and a few analytic snippets I can share with you.

I trialled the course with two sets of students. Selected sections, with a mixed ability taught Y7 class and select group of disaffected Y10 students who had completed their coursework and worked in a supervised area, with a teaching assistant or in a communal area, though not by me directly. In both cases, I moderated the quest submissions. Here the students attendance and written contributions far exceeded that bench marked attendance and work quality – see japaneedubstep!

The whole-class Y7 was, I admit, chaotic. With 23 students and just 4 work stations and it being the last two weeks of term. The students were overly keen (if not expectant) that they would get to play the Xbox, I was partly responsible for the creation of the monstrous situation.

Game time was of a premium, too scarce if I am honest, however a real motivator for the students to submit quests and rank up.

We received some quote sophisticated answers, using the support materials in the quests, with lots of excellent material provided by Remedy Games Ltd.

Morgan:  I think the box cover makes it look spooky and very interesting. The game has a good front cover which makes people want to play as Alan Wake. It has a clear title and graphics on the box. The colours on the box cover are black, white and dark navy blue which shows the reader that it may be a mystery about why he would use that sort of atmosphere. It puts a figure in the middle of the ‘A’ which makes it intriguing that its just a silhouette and you can’t see that persons face. I would defiantly play this game.

Morgan’s e End of Year 7 target 5b.

We received some quite limited responses, however with the moderation processes within Gamelab students were far more willing to extend themselves, to gain experience points or XPs (Gamelab currency) and they were keen to get back onto the Xbox.

Thumb_avatar will:  Its is and old cabin with creepie woods and calm seas.
Thumb_avatar kristianstill:  More detail needed Will. Look at the advice.

Thumb_avatar will 28 days ago:  Its is and old and wooden houes. with calm river with creepe woods and has a lot of space.

What was more interesting was Will’s later responses, clearly demonstrating a greater level of commitment to his response, both in quality and content.

Thumb_avatar will :  My first imprssesion of the game was that it looks very good and has some scary moments.

I think the aim of game is to run away from the shadow man and to kill the shadow man when you need to. But i also think that he has to try and find something like his wifes spirit.

Alans wakes relationship with light and darkness is that light keeps him safe and alive and darkness creates trouble and danger for him.

Wills’ End of Year 7 target 3a.

The Year 10 group benefited from a degree of self-direction. If nothing else, it demonstrated that the curriculum and Gamelab were an effective marriage, possibly a very plausible post 16 or adult literacy course? Admittedly, when I did drop into see them working, their lowly rank often meant they had to earn more XPs, we learnt that this was largely due to the fact that the students were not aware quests submissions were moderated and could be returned. For example

Quest – Having watched the Remedy trailer. In no more than 100 words explain the key features of ‘A Psychological Action Thriller.’

  • List three key features of ‘A Psychological Action Thriller?’
  • How does ‘psychological thriller’ differ from the horror genre?
  • Can you suggest one other example of this genre, for example the US hit series Lost.

Answer all three questions.

Thumb_381517_bacra russiandubstep:  This is psychologicl action thriller because your decisions make an impression on Alan Wake you decide what happens and this differs to a horror game as a horror game is just to scare you but doesnt allow you to make decisions everything is destined to haqppen in a normal horror game.
Thumb_avatarkristianstill:  Again, great answer. It really does feel mean not to approve it. The thing is, you need to practice your exam technique. You must read and answer the question.
List three – #fail
Compare – #success

Another example #fail.

For some students, the Xbox themed lessons really sparked their motivation, though hardly a motivation to read, write or converse. Do not get me wrong, the students were not fooled by this guerrilla teaching strategy, nor did I attempt to disguise its aims. If anything, I did my very best to stress that this was in fact a literacy intervention. What the game title and Gamelab platform did really well was to camouflage the hard work as enjoyable learning. Second, and importantly, in the first instance the moderation / XPs provided sufficient reason to redraft and improve their work, and then ensure it was of a higher quality as students progressed through the course.


japanesedubstep about 1 month ago :Alan Wake decribes a dream that he had. He explained how this place he was in was infact ‘the last safe place on earth’. His dream was pursued by a hitchhiker who was trying to stop him reaching his destination. The hitchhiker was an agent in darkness who also was torched by evil. Alan’s dream was interrupted by a bright light which burned the hitchhiker by the exposure from darkness because of the bright light. After his dream his wife persuaded him to go to a place which he thought was a vacation until his wife explained the reason why they actually was there. Alan then storms out of the little cabin and out into the darkness as he knew his wife had a phoebia of darkness. As Alan was walking away the lights in the cabin suddenly turned off and all he could hear was his wife screaming as he runs back he noticed that the balcony railing was broken and his wife fell into the lake……..Alan dives in after her. Alan wakes up in the aftermath not knowing what happened after he dived into the lake.

japanesedubstep is currently working at an E grade in English, targeted a grade D at the end of Y11.

Now, finally, you know when you have done something right, hit a sweet spot, when students take their school work home with them. Two students took copies of Alan Wake home with them, with a number of students, both Y7 and Y10, submitting quest into the first two weeks of the summer holidays.

What aspect of your curriculum could you teach through an Xbox (for example Using Forza Motorsport 3 for Xbox in Physics on the Partners in Learning network)? If you would like access to the Gamelab course, drop me a request.


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