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Digital games: understanding the links between learning and involvement

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Rebecca Ferguson
14 June 2011

Presentation by Ioanna Iacovides at the CALRG Conference 2011

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Overview of Jo's PhD research.

Wht games: increasingly popular, more accessible with new technologies, games are seen to be enjoyable and intrinsically motivating. However, their use in a formal educational context doesn't always give the expected positive results.

Gee, J. P. (2004). Situated Language and Learning: A Critique of Traditional Schooling. New York: Routledge. provides a good starting point but needs to be backed up with more empirical evidence.

Digital Game Experience Model distinguishes between micro and macro level involvement. Includes game-play and also the activities and motivations around it. There is also the concept of gaming captial, which is supported by manuals and by online resources created by players.

How do learning and involvement come together at a micro and a macro scale. STudied this via email interview, case studies and questionnaire. Original investigation looked at how players describe learning, enagement and motivation in this contxt - talking to people with different levels of engagement with gaming.

People learn not only through play, but through interaction with other players and by interacting with external resources.[I see a link here with Chris Walsh's work around paratexts, reported here ]

Makes use of physiological data when observing people playing games. Was looking at what happens when there are breakdowns and breakthroughs within the game.

Also used diaries to track involvement and gaming activities, to track how involvement and learning happen over time. Found that very few people had created paratexts, particularly complex ones such as mods.

Learning has a strong connection to communities. Although community models such as  communities of practice don't seem very helpful here. Actor network theory looks as if it will provide a more helpful framework.

Important to consider how people identify as a gamer. More dedicated gamers seem to perceive themselves as learning more from their gaming experiences.

People talk about games in terms of game design, and can identify good example of game genres. Some gamers (particularly dedicated gamers?) seemed to be developing persistence.

Focuses on different types of gamer, rather than on different types of game.

Rebecca Ferguson
09:52 on 14 June 2011

Thanks for the notes Rebecca! Just to let you know though - the Gee (2004) reference I meant was actually "What video games have to teach up about learning and literacy"

Jo Iacovides
21:11 on 14 June 2011

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