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Norwegian school using The Walking Dead to teach ethics
January 17, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

January 17, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
More: Console/PC, Video

Norwegian teacher Tobias Staaby is getting a fair bit of good press today for playing Telltale's The Walking Dead with his students at Nordahl Grieg Upper Secondary School in Bergen, Norway.

Staaby incorporates the game into his religious studies curriculum to help spur discussion about morality and ethical choices.

"The Walking Dead presents some dilemmas [the students] would not have thought of otherwise," Staaby told a reporter from Norwegian media outlet NRK. "That makes their answers to a greater extent their own."

You can watch the full report from NRK in the video above, though it's probably wise to enable subtitles if you don't speak Norwegian.

Though The Walking Dead is likely the grisliest game ever used in a classroom, is hardly the first -- sandbox games like Kerbal Space Program and Minecraft have been used as teaching tools for years.

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Jonathan Lapkoff
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I'm glad to see a school somewhere taking advantage of the ethics based game play that more and more games are presenting. I would certainly not mind if more and more classes used the medium of gaming(something students are blatantly familiar with) to teach these options.

Kenneth Blaney
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Are they trying to teach students that no matter how ethical they are their life will still roughly follow the same path and their decisions only impact minor details that exist to fool them into thinking they have agency?

(This, of course, is a joke. The Walking Dead is a great game and accomplishes something pretty unique emotionally.)

Keilan Irvine
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Even though it's a joke, I still sort of agree with this sentiment.

The Walking Dead is an awesome experience, if you experience it once. I got a game save glitch half-way through my first run and because of what I knew in my previous play through, I was able to change my decisions based off the known consequences. But even with that, a lot of my decisions still landed me in the same boat with slightly different circumstances. I was still shocked to find characters turning on me when I sided with them majorly through the game's story.

The Walking Dead is a good "at-a-glance" look at ethics. It provides the basic frame-work and the emotional weight to let the concept sink in. But by no means should be it be a concrete example how ethics function in real life, it's just too rigid to provide that much of an in-depth analysis.

Adam Bishop
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Ethics can be just as much about process as results. Different frameworks value results vs process differently. A utilitarian may value results much more highly than process, while a virtue ethicist may be less interested in the results and more interested in a person's intentions.

At any rate, it sounds like the professor is just using The Walking Dead as a launching board to discuss some of the issues the game raises, so the actual outcomes in the game probably don't matter to that discussion.

Maria Jayne
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Sigh, when I was at school we had to stare at chalk boards for the majority of the lessons, occasionally we got a whiteboard or projector and if we were really lucky, the teacher would wheel in a giant CRT Television with VHS player and we'd watch something crap with the lights out for an hour.

Kids these days eh....get off my lawn!