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Going to school in World of Warcraft: Observations from a trial programme using of-the-shelf computer games as learning tools in secondary education
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2009 (English)In: Designs for Learning, ISSN 1654-7608, Vol. 2, no 1, 36-55 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The use of commercial, off-the-shelf computer games as teaching tools is an interestingpossibility, but one that may alter the teacher’s role. Unlike specially adapted, gamelike educational software, students’ attitudes toward the learning potential of computer games may be very different in the presence or absence of an accompanying teacher. The purpose of this work is to investigate whether commercial, unmodified computer games have potential as a tool for learning enhancement, whether varying properties of game genres have an impact on study results, and how the students perceive the teachers role in a learning environment using computer games. Twenty-one students, all of them participants in a longer-term trial programme in game-based education, were interviewed concerning their perceptions of the learning environment, their preferred gamegenres, and the outcome of their studies. Our findings show that this form of learningresults in significantly increased knowledge. It also appears that accompanyingteacher activities are important, especially when successfully linked to in-game activities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Didactic Science and Early Childhood Education, Stockholm University , 2009. Vol. 2, no 1, 36-55 p.
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-33443ISBN: 1654-7608 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-33443DiVA: diva2:283119
Available from: 2009-12-23 Created: 2009-12-23 Last updated: 2010-08-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Perception of Computer Games in Non-Gaming Contexts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Perception of Computer Games in Non-Gaming Contexts
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As computer games have evolved from single-player entities to complex, highly communicative on-line game worlds, their potential to fill different roles in society has grown. One aspect of this change is that various forms of computer mediated communication may become increasingly associated with games in various ways. Another issue is that of extensive exposure to computer games possibly leading to behavioural change through the mechanism of neuroplasticity, as argued by some researchers. Finally, since experiences from using game-like software designed explicitly for teaching purposes, edutainment, have been reported to be somewhat disappointing, the alternative to use unmodified straight-from-the-shelf computer games as learning environments in school is an interesting option.

To investigate these issues a series of empirical studies were conducted, the first of which were dual interview studies with students of various ages in schools in two different regions, mapping their communication habits and associations of these with games. Secondly, a series of longitudal studies were performed during the course of a four-year experimental school project, where a class of upper secondary education students used regular computer games as their main didactic environment in school.

Results show that computer mediated chat, as well as peer-to-peer file sharing, is in various ways spontaneously associated with computer games to a substantial degree. Empathy with game developers’ efforts is identified as a possible countermeasure against software piracy of games, as opposed to legislation. The theory of neuroplasticity induced behavioural change as a result of extensive exposure to computer games is corroborated by empirical observations, but not proven since other possible mechanisms are also present. The longitudal data indicates a high didactic potential in regular computer games used as learning tools in school. The teacher’s role is not marginalized but is perceived as essential by participating students, and a systematic model for evaluating the didactic potential of multimodal media such as computer games is needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2010. 98 p.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 10-007
Keyword
Computer games, Games, Learning, Communication
National Category
Information Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-39930 (URN)978-91-7447-104-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-10-18, sal B, Forum, Isafjordsgatan 39, Kista, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-09-26 Created: 2010-06-03 Last updated: 2010-10-04Bibliographically approved

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