Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Chara Haeussler Bohan

Second Advisor

Joseph R Feinberg

Third Advisor

Caroline C. Sullivan

Fourth Advisor

Charles G. Steffen

Abstract

Simulation video games potentially offer students the opportunity to participate in activities designed to bring about higher order thinking. Gee (2005b, 2007) elucidates that without the guidance of instructors, humans involved in a simulation experience have a high probability of finding creative but spurious patterns and generalizations that send learners down miseducative paths. The focus of this study is an examination of the function of instructor guided reflection and prior participant interest and exposure to video games in promoting affective and cognitive learning during participant use of single and multiplayer simulation video games in the classroom. One hundred twenty- eight students enrolled in World History classes at a suburban high school located in the Southeastern United States participated in this research study. Participants completed a survey of their interest and prior exposure to video games, played a tutorial of the simulation video game, played a single player or multiplayer version of the game with or without instructor guided reflection, and completed a posttest of reasoning and knowledge ability. The researcher used independent samples t tests, analysis of variance, and descriptive statistical analysis in combination with qualitative methods outlined by Miles and Huberman (1994) to analyze the data. Thomas (2003) described the mixed methodology used to analyze and interpret the data in this research study.

Quantitative analysis of the data revealed that participants who engaged in both reflection and multiplayer groups scored significantly higher on posttest of reasoning ability at the .05 level. Furthermore, qualitative analysis revealed that participants in the multiplayer and reflection treatment groups were more likely to be engaged in the lesson, participate in more cognitive discussions, and made more connections to the large context of the lesson. Participants with a high level of prior interest in video games scored significantly higher on a posttest of reasoning ability at the .05 level of significance and were more likely to participate actively during the lesson. The findings from this study suggest the need for teaching educators to utilize reflective and collaborative practices in the incorporation of digital technology in the classroom.

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