For my Media Production class I had a group of students working on a Machinima style video (using Halo 3 to act out scenes for a video that they are making). I left the room for a moment and came back and the students were playing the game improperly. I told them to get focused and play the game the way they were supposed to. At which point one student said to the other, “You know that is the first time that I’ve ever been told by a teacher to focus on my Halo playing”. The students then had a debate whether that was a good or bad thing.
The interesting thing I find that is that they came up with that it was a bad thing. They realized that by including the video games they loved in a project they were then creating a thought that playing that game was work. In hindsight I realize that it is a fine line that we walk between incorperating pop culture and involving the students that way and having them back off because it is co-opting their interests and using them for education.