Co-op games to promote speaking and learning skills

pixeljunk_monstersWith Jim Rose’s review of the UK primary curriculum placing particular emphasis on speaking and listening skills, I’ve been thinking about games that promote communication. Of course, most games can be played with contributions from other people and there are plenty of multiplayer competitive games. However, my girlfriend and I have developed an obsession with co-op Pixeljunk Monsters on PS3, and it’s become obvious that perfect-clearing some of the trickier levels hinges entirely on our ability to articulate tactics clearly to each other.

While organisations such as LTS’ Consolarium use videogames as sociable starting-points for cooperative classroom project work, most games so far selected are singleplayer or competitive experiences (for example, Myst, Wii Sports and Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training – although Guitar Hero provides a different type of co-op experience). Perhaps there’s a place in schools for using commercially-available but less overtly educational games that require speaking and listening skills in order for pupils to succeed?

Some examples that spring to mind include LittleBigPlanet and Pixeljunk Monsters on PS3 (and with the persistant rumours of the lower-cost slim PS3, perhaps this hardware will soon become more affordable for schools), and the classic PS2 puzzle game Kuri Kuri Mix.

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