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Prof. Harry Brown Teaches Youngsters Through an "Emerging Art Form," Video Games

July 30, 2009

harry brown.jpgJuly 30, 2009, Greencastle, Ind. — "The Hightower Scholars wanted a teacher who could engage local students while preparing them for college during this year's revamped summer academy for minorities," reports Pennsylvania's Valley News Dispatch today. "The nonprofit organization found Professor Harry Brown and his classes on video games. Brown, 37, an associate professor of English at Indiana's DePauw University, said his interest in video games involves their narrative and how they contribute to story-telling."

"Games are an emerging art form, and they're worth studying," Dr. Brown tells the newspaper.

Based in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, the Hightower Scholars program is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist students with their preparation for a post-secondary education at a four-year college or university. It also provides scholarships to qualified Harry Brown Videogames and Education.jpgstudents. The program was founded ten years ago by Diane Hightower, formerly dean of student academic support services at DePauw, and her siblings.

According to the News Dispatch, "Brown is presenting an introduction to ludology -- the study of games -- to five local middle- and high-school students at this week's Mary P. Graham Summer Academic Enhancement Academy. The academy is offered to minority youngsters to encourage them to pursue higher education and give them a taste of what college life is like."

"Usually people think of video games as just playing, but they can teach us things like survival skills and critical thinking," says 14-year-old Benjamin Johnson, who is taking Professor Brown's class. "Sometimes it's almost subconscious."

Liz Hayes writes, "As designers push the boundaries and instill more meaning into their games, Brown said they will be considered more legitimate. He noted movies initially weren't considered a serious art form and weren't studied as such until the latter third of the 20th Century. From the printing press to the video camera, new technology continues to change the method of story telling and the stories themselves, Brown said. 'We're at the cusp of a cultural change,' said Brown, whose book, Videogames and Education, was published last fall."

video game clipart.gifThe professor tells the paper that educational lessons can be drawn from games such as Empire: Total War, which is set in the 18th Century, and Red Faction Guerilla, which is set on Mars. "Used the right way, I don't think there's anything inherently flawed about the medium of video games," he states.

Read the complete article at the News Dispatch's Web site.

Learn more about Harry J. Brown's Videogames and Education: Humanistic Approaches to an Emergent Art Form in this previous story. He also authored Injun Joe's Ghost: The Indian Mixed-Blood in American Writing.

Source: Valley News Dispatch

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