In Term Four 2008 I applied for an e-fellowship.

The title of my project is “MYST”ifying literacy skills".
I proposed to "Research and look at ways to increase the use of interactive gaming software to enhance the literacy skills of learners (particularly boys) through the use of high engagement media and the opportunity to share their work online."

What I want to do is -
experiment with different ways of using the programme in conjunction with my SMART board, digital cameras (video and still) and voicethread to provide greater flexibility and more varied learning opportunities including using learning behaviours (Habits of Mind – “communicating with clarity and precision”) and organizers that encourage higher order thinking skills.
I want to research the impact of interactive gaming software on reluctant writers, low-skill writers and boys. I want to gather data on the impact of using the software on
  • Increasing the vocabulary of learners
  • Increasing the sophistication of the written imagery of learners
  • Motivating boys to create more original and creative narrative storylines.
  • Transference of visual detail and imagery into a written form.
  • Translating written material into oral storytelling supported by a backdrop of visual imagery from the software programme.
  • Recording the written, oral and visual material and presenting it online to be read and listened to.
I was interested to see whether using gaming programmes made as much difference to student writing as was being claimed. I set up four teachers – two using the gaming programme MYST and two using traditional teaching resources. One ‘gaming’ teacher and one ‘traditional’ teacher would use evidence-based teaching using data from e-asTTle writing assessments to drive their teaching programmes, the other two teachers would not.
All students in the four classes were assessed prior to the study starting using the e-asTTle writing tool. At the end of the study students would be re-assessed and a random sampling of students from all four classes would have their pre and post-test data compared and analysed to measure progress and achievement. I was hoping the evidence would show that effective teaching was the key and not a gaming programme, even though I had used MYST for a number of years and knew it was a highly-engaging tool, particularly for boys.