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Using Commercial Games to Support Teaching in Higher Education


Using Commercial Games to Support Teaching in Higher Education

Garcia Martinez, Salvador (2014) Using Commercial Games to Support Teaching in Higher Education. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Commercial games are those that are distributed primarily for entertainment. Because of their immersive and engaging characteristics, they are often used as teaching tools in Higher Education. However, it is not clear exactly how faculty members incorporate the games to their courses. This study analyzes the way commercial video games are used as an instructional tool in Higher Education.

This study took a qualitative multiple-case approach. Three cases were studied pertaining to the games Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and SimCity. Fourteen faculty members who have used commercial video games as part of their courses were interviewed. Courses’ syllabi, calendars, and descriptions of assignments were also considered.

Results of this study show that participants are influenced by their experience, personal and research interests, perceptions, and popularity of the games. Participants used the games as different types of media such as video, virtual environments or simulations. Participants tended to choose the game first, then figured out the pedagogy. They integrated the games at different levels: to illustrate something, as an object of study, as a context for class related activities, as a production tool, and as a context to apply theory.

Overall, participants’ experiences using the games for teaching was positive but the majority only used games to support the teaching of lower order thinking skills and many did not proceed with game play according to pedagogical practices recommended by education specialists. Opportunities and limitations were specific to each game with the exception of technical issues and lack of informational resources on how to play the games.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Technoculture, Art and Games
Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Garcia Martinez, Salvador
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Educational Technology
Date:15 April 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Carliner, Saul
Keywords:video games for learning, video games for teaching, Higher Education, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, SimCity, Commercial off-the-shelf video games, COTS
ID Code:978973
Deposited On:26 Nov 2014 13:41
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:48
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