Students' use of social and cognitive affordances in video game play within educational contexts : Implications for learning

Sharritt, Matthew J.
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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008.
Extensive literature has shown that games can provide an engaging, dynamic, and authentic learning context. Many of the studies on the use of games in education indicate that games can support teaching standards and outcomes; however, they do not describe actual uses of video games for learning. Through the analysis of affordances employed by student gamers, an understanding of how learning takes place can inform the design of effective educational games and aid their integration into contemporary classrooms. Informed by ethnomethodology, this study used methods of grounded theory provided a detailed description of the use of video games for learning in educational contexts.
Implications for students, educators, and game designers are offered to better play, implement, and design games for learning. A brief comparison of findings with existing theory discusses similarities among collaborative learning and activity theory, and suggests opportunities for future work. Overall, findings indicate a great potential for the use of games in education for learning.
Learning also occurs across multiple granularities: occurring either in short episodes, sequences of episodes, or trends. Learning can be triggered by multiple cues, such as failure, game visualizations or specific representations, as well as by peers or teachers in the social environment.
Results demonstrate that learning occurs across multiple levels: the mastery of the computer interface, followed by the mastery of the game interface and upon which students can achieve advanced strategy aimed at goal achievement.
Students used affordances provided by the game interface and learning environment, specifically: the visual representations of games afford particular actions; the persistent display of historical context as well as present and future potentials motivates learning; specific cues can grab attention, helping to focus efforts on new or underutilized game tasks; consistent and well organized visualizations encourage learning; and information presented in a plurality of channels is most effective for learning.
The use of social peers in collaborative learning had several effects on the learning process: peers disclosed information to achieve shared meaning of objects' purposes, and negotiated to collaboratively choose game strategies. Peer teams served cooperative roles as information sources and competitively as a performance gauge.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves xxx-xxx).
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1055 leaves, bound 29 cm
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Communication and Information Sciences; no. 5076
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