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Towards Affinity Spaces in Schools: Supporting Video Game-Design Partnerships as Twenty-First Century Learning Tools


Towards Affinity Spaces in Schools: Supporting Video Game-Design Partnerships as Twenty-First Century Learning Tools

Jackson, Renee Elizabeth (2016) Towards Affinity Spaces in Schools: Supporting Video Game-Design Partnerships as Twenty-First Century Learning Tools. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Towards affinity spaces in schools: Supporting video game-design partnerships as twenty-first
century learning tools
Renee E. Jackson, Ph.D.
Concordia University, 2016

The Arcade Our Way (AoW) project was an intergenerational, all female, video game design based project involving fifteen grade seven students, five undergraduate students, the CEO of a small gaming company and the researcher who both participated and observed. This ethnographic pilot study was an investigation of the merits of the project as a twenty-first century learning tool, where twenty-first century learning is aligned with the views of John Dewey and Paulo Freire. The project is considered for its strength as a progressive learning space through the lens of contemporary informal online learning spaces knowns as affinity spaces (Gee, 2005), and “energizing moments” a tool developed through data analysis. Affinity spaces are nonhierarchical and constructivist in nature, and participants of all ages learn from one another based on shared interests. Specifically the fourteen features of nurturing affinity spaces (Gee & Hayes, 2012) were used as reflective tools through which to consider the strength of the project as a constructivist learning environment. Each feature was then evaluated through a five point rubric and ranked according to its relative strength. To further corroborate the merit of the project from a student centred perspective, “energizing moments” provided indicators of the moments when the participants were most highly engaged by the work. This is another approach to attending to the strength of this project, and perhaps other projects as well, based on the idea that student motivation matters. Identifying energizing moments throughout the project can not only provide further insight into the strength of the project from a student-centred perspective, but can support strategies for enabling future such motivation. These tools were used to derive recommendations towards future iterations of the project. This research comes from the perspective that twenty-first century learning strategies have much to learn about pedagogy from the ways young people are motivated within the context of specific projects, and from their informal learning choices outside
of school through technology and the internet.

Keywords: video games, gender, new-media literacy, collaboration, progressive education,
traditional education, twenty-first century learning, real-world learning, experiential learning,

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Jackson, Renee Elizabeth
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Educational Studies
Date:15 September 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Naseem, M. Ayaz
ID Code:981902
Deposited On:09 Nov 2016 15:02
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:54

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