Since I missed a few classes in the last two weeks, I wanted to share with everyone a little bit about my next Book Club review. I have chosen a book brought in by Dr. Stearns, entitled Everything Bad Is Good For You, by Steven Johnson. I am finding the book particularly appropriate for me because it challenges many of my own beliefs about pop culture. Coming from a very conservative, traditional background, I am finding that Johnson heads straight to discuss everything that I tend to shy away from.
Take the Xbox game Grand Theft Auto, for example. My husband plays this game often, and I despise it for its language, violence, and lack of what I would call “wholesome values”. Johnson argues my voice by claiming that the world of gaming sets clear goals for its players, with clear objectives to accomplish before those goals can be achieved. Ultimately, when goals are met, players know they will be granted a reward. In real life, objectives, goals are rewards are often fuzzy and confusing. Gaming gives young adult players a good sense of what “real life” does not provide in a clear way. Playing a game in a defined sequence of events also shows players that gratification cannot, in fact, be instant, because one must work hard to accomplish an ending. By practicing all of this in a game like Grand Theft Auto, teens become sharper mentally, and this transfers itself into their lives away from the TV screen.
Thinking of how this all relates to the ELA classroom, I can predict that Johnson will be the true-blue advocate of incorporating all avenues of technology into the course syllabus, no matter how “off beat” they might be. I tend to favor all things in moderation, but I think Johnson will help me see positive in what I call negative. -Sofia