Meet Our Teachers!

In this new series, we are introducing our audience to the Learningworks Live team! Each post will introduce you to a new member of our team and provide you with some insight into their teaching style, the classes they offer, and their passion for education and video gaming. For more information on our complete course listings, please visit us at our Outschool page. 

 

Featured Teacher: Justin Graff 

Tell us about yourself as a teacher. 

In the past, I have had the opportunity to work as a camp counselor for a short period of time. This helped me to learn a variety of essential classroom skills. Additionally, I have also completed many Psychology courses at Roger Williams University such as Educational Psychology, which provided a great foundation for being an effective instructor.

When did you start playing video games? 

I started playing video games from an early age, as I would love to watch my parents play various games on the computer.

What types of games do you enjoy the most? 

My favorite kind of video games are open world and strategic. If I had to choose a favorite it would definitely be Minecraft because it allows for exploration, creativity, and problem solving. Other than Minecraft I have enjoyed playing League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.

What types of games do you find the most challenging and why? 

I believe the most challenging games are those that utilize extensive strategic skills in order to master the game. I enjoy challenging myself with games such as League of Legends, that I can practice over a long period of time in order to continuously improve on my gameplay.

What have you learned by playing video games? 

From basic social skills to problem solving, I would not be able to engage in video games effectively if I had not learned them throughout my entire gaming career. Each game presents a variety of necessary skills to be learned or engaged while playing such as time-management, flexibility or organization. Through practice and engagement, all of these skills remain embedded in my daily life even outside of the video games themselves.

Through video games I learned a variety of skills that applied to academics [as well]. For example, being able to plan effectively became immensely important especially when attending college. Having the ability to plan a week of homework assignments, upcoming projects, and meeting deadlines became important in order to juggle all of my responsibilities. At the same point, I was also able to problem solve and to time-manage my responsibilities in order to effectively complete them all on time and in an effective manner.

Through many multiplayer games that I have played, I was able to connect with others in order to accomplish a variety of tasks at hand. Being able to express to others what is needed as well as meeting their expectations are equally important when working as a team. Collaboration, communication, and sharing make up some of the essential skills that are employed when working effectively as a team.

How do you think students choose games based on their age?

I believe that students often choose their games for their age range based upon browsing the web for relevant information, seeing other social media influencers playing the game, or simply by searching an area that they are interested in. Once finding this game I believe that they are influenced by what the game has to offer and how it meets their specific interests.

What concerns do you have about students playing video games? 

Given that the pandemic has increased the amount of screen time that our students are receiving, it is important to balance non-screen time with playing video games. I believe that in some cases it can be beneficial to relax after a long day of virtual classes, however too much screen time can lead to a variety of issues. Making sure to take breaks in between virtual classes and playing your favorite video games becomes immensely important.

How do you think video games can become a powerful tool for teaching?

I believe that video games can be used as a powerful tool for teaching as they capture the attention and interest of potential students. Utilizing the future of technology allows for students to engage in something that they are immensely interested in and to pinpoint skills within the games themselves. While these skills were previously implicit to their own knowledge, teachers are able to hone in on all of the essential knowledge that can be gained through each game. Through guidance and play students are able to gain knowledge from each game of their choice.

 

Do you have a question for one of our Learningworks for Kids teachers? Leave them in the comments below!

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