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ERIC Number: ED564640
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 270
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3036-2448-3
Reimagining Game Design: Exploring the Design of Constructible Authentic Representations for Science Reasoning
Holbert, Nathan Ryan
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Northwestern University
Video games have recently become a popular space for educational design due to their interactive and engaging nature and the ubiquity of the gaming experience among youth. Though many researchers argue video games can provide opportunities for learning, educational game design has focused on the classroom rather than the informal settings where games are typically played. Educational games have been moderately successful at achieving learning gains on standardized items, but have failed to show improvements on related but distal problems. In this dissertation I develop and assess a new design principle, called "constructible authentic representations" for creating informal gaming experiences that players will actively draw on when reasoning in formal and real world contexts. These games provide players with opportunities to engage in meaningful construction with components that integrate relevant concepts to create in-game representations that visually and epistemologically align with related tools and representations utilized in the target domain. In the first phase of the dissertation, I observed children playing popular video games to better understand what in-game representations children attend to and how interactions with these representations contribute to intuitive ideas of encountered STEM content. Results from this study fed into the iterative design of two prototype video games, "FormulaT Racing" and "Particles!," intending to give players useful knowledge resources for reasoning about kinematics and the particulate nature of matter respectively. Designed games encourage players to utilize and refine intuitive ideas about target content through the construction of domain relevant representations. To assess the effectiveness of these designs I conducted two studies of children ages 7-14 playing prototype games in informal settings. An analysis of pre- and post-game clinical interviews, domain specific tasks, and video and logging data of gameplay suggests players developed useful knowledge resources, likely gained and/or refined from experiences in-game, that are employed to solve non-game problems and tasks. Furthermore, players utilized in-game representations as objects-to-think-with when explaining real world phenomena and formal concepts. The results suggest that games designed to include constructible authentic representations can provide players with powerful and useful knowledge resources accessible when thinking and reasoning in a variety of contexts. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A