They didn’t have video games in 1984

While teaching an English 102 class…

I asked if any of the students had topics (which they all had).  One student in the front raised her hand and stated “I’m looking at video games and their relationship to violence in society.” One thing that I always bring up is the currency of the information, i.e. if you are researching how to treat cancer it would be best to read studies from the past ten years instead of something from the 50s.  Anyway, I asked the student why we might want articles from the past five years instead of one written in 1984, to which she said, “they didn’t even have video games in 1984.”  Not exactly what I was looking for.  I explained that the video games used to be non-violent, think Frogger.

Ultimately this exchange highlights the importance of keeping examples relevant to students.  Regardless of the fact that “the librarian thought” that the example was good, it was not.  Effective teaching in the library has to use examples that are relevant to the student.  People of my generation/SES are (likely) aware video games existed in the 1980s, but that certainly does not apply to someone who was a year old when Windows 95 debuted.  Instead of 1984 I should have used 1954.  Surely there were no video games then.  Right?

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About Nicholas Wyant

I am the Head of Social Sciences at Indiana University Wells Library. I am responsible for Political Science, Criminal Justice & Social Work. In addition to my subject areas I also study student's interaction with technology. Recently, I have altered my methods from a sociological perspective to an anthropological one.
This entry was posted in "The Librarian Thought", Teaching in the Library. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to They didn’t have video games in 1984

  1. Andrew Punch says:

    Change the dynamic to medium. Violence in Video Games? how about TV? Literature? etc…

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