Plugs, Play, Pedagogy

Plugs, Play, Pedagogy

Teaching writing and rhetoric in the 21st century

Grumble, Grumble: The Pitfalls of Gaming Pedagogy

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Plugs, Play, Pedagogy

Episode 5: Grumble, Grumble: The Pitfalls of Gaming Pedagogy

Produced and recorded by Kyle Stedman (; @kstedman), assistant professor of English at Rockford University, in cooperation with KairosCast and Writing Commons. If you have ideas for future episodes, please contact me!

Transcript is available here.

Watch a screencast of this episode's main narration being recorded and edited into a final product on YouTube.


Welcome to the second of two episodes dedicated to intersections of gaming and the pedagogy of teaching writing and rhetoric, both of which I co-edited with Stephanie Vie (@digirhet). Broadly speaking, the first episode dealt with specific ideas for teaching, while this episode digs into the messy complexities of gaming pedagogies (awesome as they are).

We start out by sharing a teaching idea from Stephanie (using game walkthroughs in technical writing classes!) to get us into the idea of messiness, which we support with a clip from the previous episode: Samantha Blackmon talking about the messy topic of colonialism by using the videogame Bastion.

Part 1: WoW, Games are Complicated!

Part 1 consists of a lengthy interview with Rebekah Shultz Colby and Richard Colby, lecturers at the University of Denver, where they teach courses on writing, rhetoric, research methods, and videogames. They’re also editors with Matthew S. S. Johnson of the 2013 book Rhetoric/Composition/Play through Videogames. We talk about World of Warcraft, students using WoW as a research space, and lots of other things.

Part 2: Why Are We Afraid of Play?

Part 2 is an interview with Jennifer deWinter, assistant professor of rhetoric and faculty in the Interactive Media and Game Development program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Her recent edited collection Computer Games and Technical Communication was just released by Ashgate (co-editor Ryan Moeller) and she has just finished writing a book on Shigeru Miyamoto for the Influential Game Designer book series for which she is one of the founding editors. You can find her on and on twitter at @jennomiko.

She reminds us of some of the deeper things going on when we use games in the classroom: the often-unexamined values they embody, and our weird relationship to the concept of play.

Part 3: Let's All Play Along!

Finally, hear what happens when Stephanie and Jennifer watch me (Kyle) play various NES games. What ideas do these games remind us of, and what games are then inspired by the games, in a never-ending circle of gameplay and bleeps and bloops?

You'll hear me playing Adventures of Lolo, Donkey Kong, Tecmo Super Bowl, Mega Man 3, Metroid, Pinball, Contra, Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Castlevania. To learn more about the composers of these soundtracks, check out the list at OverClocked Remix.

End Matter

The music from OverClocked ReMix you heard in this episode includes:


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About this podcast

A playful, collaborative, monthly podcast on teaching writing and rhetoric in the 21st century

Hosted by Kyle Stedman, Rockford University

Also available on Stitcher ( and iTunes (

by Kyle Stedman


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