GIPI · Grupo Imágenes Palabras e Ideas

Telling stories with 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'


In this project we analyzed how video games can be used to learn how to tell stories. It is important for children to understand the stance of their target audience and the implications of communicating through different media.  In this sense, video games and other means of expression, such as literature or films, are models that inspire us to convey messages. The Harry Potter series gives us the opportunity of using several resources that have been generated around it.


  • To analyze the multi-modal literacy processes and the building of narratives on the basis of commercial video games.
  • To explore the creation of spaces for the connection between family and school through the use of Internet.
  • To analyze the development of a critical thinking process related to the use of video games.

Project Development

Data for this project was collected in a Year 2 classroom of Primary Education (during an 8 session span) at the school CEIP Henares in Alcalá de Henares during the 2006/2007 school year.

At the beginning we asked ourselves: What’s the difference between reading a Harry Potter book, watching the film or playing the video game? Most probably, we were most struck by the fact that only in the video game does the player “really” control the character. This capability to control the development of the story, something that is only possible in video games, is one of the characteristics that makes them most attractive and allows us to learn with them and from then, “in a different way”.

The stories recount what happens to “ a hero”, who in the case of our workshop was Harry Potter.  Around this figure there is a whole world of objects that bring him closer, such as cards, chess games, toys and an endless array of merchandise full of meaning for boys and girls. Working with all of the above, as well as with the video game, turned the class into a very motivating context and one which is close to the student’s everyday life.

We intended to make students aware that there are "many ways of telling stories", which will probably be different depending on the "language" to be used. This workshop allowed us to study certain issues in depth, especially those regarding how the elements we use to express ourselves, such as images or words, condition our messages. To achieve this we created blogs in which  boys and girls uploaded their reflections and thoughts.



Learning to tell stories

Adopting the role of writers, children became aware of the possibility of recounting stories in many different ways, with the type of language used to convey the message gaining special importance: images, words, videos, etc. Thus, we went from using notebooks to using blogs throughout a progressive process in which we discovered the similarities and differences present among these two means of creating and broadcasting.

Adopting a critical role

Boys and girls analyzed different features of the video game: what the images were like, what the creator had wanted to convey and what his intention was when doing it. For this they adopted the role of journalists, of video game critics. In this way, completely immersed in their new role and aided by adults, they started to think, discuss, reflect and finally write their opinion on the video games.

Connecting the school with their everyday life

The boys and girls brought into the classroom numerous objects related to Harry Potter, which generated a educational setting defined by the whole universe of symbols present in the children’s culture. From this setting, they reflected and wrote on the blogs, which allowed a greater level of interaction with the families. These families, on the one hand, helped their sons and daughters in the search for information related to their hero within a digital universe and, on the other, became the audience for the messages.  Slowly, that which is usually left at the door of the classroom started to come in, and in this way this setting became a bridge between the school and the everyday life.


Research project “Commercial video games as educational tools” included within an agreement signed with Electronic Arts.

Participating with us

  • Electronic Arts.
  • CEIP Henares de Alcalá de Henares.

More information

Related readings

  • Lacasa, P.; Méndez, L.; Martínez, R. (2009). ‘Learning using videogames as educational tools: Building bridges between commercial and serious games’. In Marja Kankaanranta & Pekka Neittaanmäki (Eds) ‘Design and use of serious games’, (107-126). Milton Keynes, UK: Springer.
  • Lacasa, P.; Méndez, L.; Martínez, R. (2008). Aprender a contar historias y a reflexionar con videojuegos comerciales. En Gross, B. ‘Videojuegos y Aprendizaje’. Barcelona: Grao.
  • Lacasa, P., Méndez, L., & Martinez, R. (2008) ‘Bringing commercial games into the classrooms’ Computers and Composition,25, pp. 331-358.
  • Lacasa, P.; Martínez-Borda, R.; Méndez, L. (2008) ‘Developing new literacies using commercial digital games as educational tools’. Linguistis & Education, 19 (2), pp. 85-106.




Website Research Group Imágenes, Palabras e Ideas. Madrid. 2009.
Coordination: Pilar Lacasa. Editing and digital support: David Herrero Mart铆nez. Web Master: Luis Briso de Montiano Aldecoa. Graphic Design: Rebeca Ochoa Bernabé

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