Title: “Serious Gaming: A Multiple-Case Study of How and Why Instructors (including librarians) Utilize Games for Learning”
Digital games have become a fixture in modern life with untold number of hours (3.38 billion hours/year by one estimate) expended in the digital world. Connecting the hours people put into playing digital entertainment games with serious learning is an area of persistent interest that spans several academic disciplines and industries. Ninety-seven percent of teens play digital games according to the Pew Internet Study on Teens and Civics in 2008.
Leo Cao's dissertation work focuses on the investigation of an emerging phenomenon of instructors choosing to incorporate games into their work. In this talk, he will present a spectrum of real-world use of digital games for serious learning by classroom instructors and school librarians from his study. He employs a qualitative comparative case study design to investigate such instances of grass-root work by individual instructors on games and learning. The rationale is that a better understanding of why these instructors chose to use the games and how they have done so over the years can be tremendously informative in making future games for serious purposes. Building toward an empirical understanding of how games are currently used in practice can help seed the organization of best practices for practitioners, inform design decisions for industry developers, and contribute to the larger research paradigm on how we might better utilize complex digital systems for purposes such as learning and training in the 21st century.
Leo L. Cao is a doctoral candidate and teaching fellow at the School of Information and Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. His research and scholarship is on the socio-technical inquiry of complex systems; focusing on new media. Specifically, his dissertation work is a comparative case study exploring how and why instructors are appropriating digital games for serious learning. The long-term direction of his research work is to investigate how entertainment technologies such as games could best be used for learning ¬¬– with an emphasis toward collaborating with industry and national organizations to bring about games that pushes the boundaries of how we could learn and train in a variety of contexts in the 21st century.