Meet Our Staff!

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. And to see some of our staffs’ amazing work with video game reviews and educational content, head over to our Let’s Play channel here

 

This Month’s Featured Staff Member: Evan Ducot-Mandojana (Office Manager and Content Creator)

When did you start playing video games?

I started playing video games at the ripe young age of 5 years old. I was visiting my Grandfather in Puerto Rico and started playing an arcade game. My parents said I was a natural and they bought me a Gameboy Color with WarioLand 3. Thinking back now, I probably was a little young, but I have such great memories of the GameBoy. I still have it now!

What do you like most about playing video games?

For me, the thing I like most about video games is that we can play many different lives and stories. Video games are a great way to help understand different aspects and walks of life.

What types of games do you enjoy the most? 

This seems to be the question everyone asks me as they find out what I do for work recently. I still don’t have a definitive answer for this. Before I had my son, I really enjoyed those action/adventure RPG games. Now that I have an almost-two-year-old I enjoy games like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Farming and Life Sims are relaxed and laid back enough that if I don’t play it for a week or two, I won’t miss much.

What have you learned by playing video games? 

When I first started playing games. I played a lot of Legend of Zelda and Pokemon. Games like these helped me with problem solving skills, planning, and organization. Other games I’ve played included a lot of multiplayer [options]. Ranging from Mario Party all the way to games like World of Warcraft. I needed to learn how to collaborate as a team in MMO games, as well as be aware of how other players felt when we would play local multiplayer games.

Why do you think kids love playing games so much? 

I think games that have come out recently, during the pandemic, have allowed for kids to still interact with their friends outside of school. Games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons was able to bridge the gap for many people throughout. This includes throwing birthday parties, holding weddings, and even some sad occasions like funerals. I have always believed that video games are a good coping mechanism for people, and I truly believe that games can help students navigate the stressors of today.

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

So this is an interesting question for me in particular. I remember being a kid and tricking my parents into buying games that weren’t ESRB rated for my age. I think students choose games that interest them, not so much based on their age. This can be double-edged. I find that games like Fortnite and Call of Duty have a huge younger following. This may be because they are played online meaning the gameplay is more challenging. I also know that a lot of kids do like games more geared towards their age like Minecraft and Roblox. Both [are] games where you can create whatever you want, explore the world(s) and invite friends to play. Being a new parent, I personally think that this is okay, so long as your kids know the difference and what is appropriate for them. I am interested to see how many kids are into the traditional puzzle/adventure games like Legend of Zelda, but I don’t hear much of it.

What do you think are the challenges with students playing games?

I think that students should be told when and when not to play games. As much as this wasn’t the case for me, I believe that non-screen activities like going to a park, hanging out with friends, and playing sports help bring better social interactions.  I think that if given the opportunity to, students will keep playing until they don’t want to. A single player game where there are no interactions with others can really make it seem like they are self-isolating.  That being said, I played tons of single player games growing up. I also made tons of friends at school that played those same games.

 

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