‘The Walking Dead’ 101? Norwegian High School Teacher Uses Zombie Video Game To Teach Ethics

“The Walking Dead,” from Telltale Games, garnered plenty of laurels in 2012, being described as “an emotionally gripping journey” by USA Today and the best game of the year by Wired. As beloved as “The Walking Dead” is by fans of the graphic novels and/or those of the television adaptation, it’s not surprising to see the title venture into new arenas.

So why not a high school classroom?

That’s just what’s happening in the coastal city of Bergen in Norway. Teacher Tobias Staaby is using the “Walking Dead” video game to instruct his pupils in the realm of ethics at the Nordahl Grieg secondary school, The Norwegian reports (link is in Norwegian).

“In the first hour I go through the curriculum. Then we start to play and every time we come to an ethical dilemma, we put the game on pause,” explains Staaby (converted utilizing Google Translate).

Staaby’s students then form discussion groups to consider the issue at hand. After mulling it over, his pupils then open a shared Web application where they can anonymously weigh in on the “Walking Dead” moral dilemma of the moment.

“The game set pupils in dilemmas they would not otherwise have thought of. The answer they give is increasingly their own, as they have to think again, and respond to things they have not heard or read the answer to the media,” Staaby says.

The teacher says it changes the dynamic of discussion. Previously, when watching a film, the forum would have to consider situations in the past tense; with “The Walking Dead” or any other game, they can instead approach the situation from “what should we do?” instead of “what we should have done.”

“I had a deep personal desire to use this type of teaching because I believe it leads to better learning and greater engagement among students,” Staaby explains. “In addition, Nordahl Grieg secondary school is innovative when it comes to technology and education, and this made it possible for me to try it out.”

He explains that his top priority is for students to learn over having fun, but that it’s wonderful when they can accomplish both.

“At first, I thought it was too geeky for me, but it was actually very nice,” says student Lea Alsos on the prospect of using The “Walking Dead” video game for learning. “I can actually learn all the material we’ve had so far and it is not common that I can do everything already after only one lesson.”

What do you think of the “Walking Dead” game being used as an instructive device? Should More teachers use video games to engage their class? What other educational uses does “The Walking Dead” have?

(Image retrieved from The Geek Asylum)