TitleReal benefits from virtual experiences
NameAbrams, Sandra Schamroth (author), Rowsell, Jennifer (chair), Boling, Erica (internal member), Curran, Mary (internal member), Smith, Michael (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Video games--Psychological aspects,
Computer games--Psychological aspects,
Learning, Psychology of
DescriptionThis dissertation focuses on the ways four academically struggling adolescent males used their video gaming experiences as a resource to understand other texts. Such an investigation builds upon the idea that learning is socio-culturally situated and, therefore, focuses not only on the texts gamers encountered, but also on how students viewed themselves in relation to the texts they used and to the world in which they lived. Over the course of eight months, I collected data using a variety of methods, such as individual and focus group interviews, participant and classroom observations, stimulated recall of game play, electronic literacy logs, and think-alouds of participants' written texts and photographed learning spaces. I coded the data using descriptors for Discourse, schema, performed identity and projective identity, which brought to light how students in my study recognized academic relevance, gained social acceptance, and experienced a sense competence through their video gaming experiences. I have drawn upon schema and Discourse theories while embracing a multimodal approach to literacy, blending theories usually regarded as independent of each other. In so doing, I have found a fruitful, theoretical middle ground that has allowed me both to examine the diversity of student Discourses and to discuss the affordances of video gaming in concert, not in discord, with traditional theories.
My data reveal that video gaming afforded the participants the ability to assume alternate identities, to collaborate with others, and to achieve feats otherwise unattainable in reality, sometimes to their academic, social, and emotional benefit. For some, video gaming provided authentic, albeit synthetic, experiences that enabled students to contextualize academic information. Engaging in a virtual battle or encountering vocabulary words in a game, students respectively gained foundational understandings of historic events and language use because they encountered the information in a meaningful way. In addition, gaming appeared to grant players access to social membership and/or feelings of competence in real and virtual worlds. This dissertation contributes to the burgeoning field of digital literacies and suggests that the video game experience may help gamers achieve meaningful learning in and outside the classroom.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 209-216)
Noteby Sandra Schamroth Abrams
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.