Digital games in the classroom

Results and reflections from two semesters

Kristin Lange, Diane Richardson, & Chantelle Warner, University of Arizona

Lange, Richardson, & Warner
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In previous research, digital gaming has been pursued theoretically and empirically, and it has been argued that it offers several affordances to language learning and teaching and promotes digital literacy. Our poster contributes to this discourse with findings from two research studies in which digital games were integrated into the existing, text-centered curriculum of a fifth semester German language and culture course. Not only do we highlight how games were implemented, but how students reacted to the gaming unit, as well as the resulting changes in the unit’s design.

We conducted a two-week pilot study in Fall 2013. Gaming not only formed the thematic content of this unit, but students also chose games to play individually in class and at home. Data was collected through surveys, gaming diaries, and several other written and oral activities that incorporated reflective elements about gaming and the gaming unit. In addition to engaging with the pedagogical theory around gaming and multiliteracies, this pilot study examined phenomenological/attitudinal aspects of games implementation and discussed some of the challenges as well as some of the benefits of integrating games into language curriculum. Based on these reflections, we made some alterations to the unit for Spring 2014, including the games suggested to the students, the prompt for the gaming diaries, and the final essay at the end of the unit. Data was collected in a similar fashion as previously and was used to evaluate the changes made in the unit. Our poster highlights these changes as well as additional recommendations for the incorporation of gaming units in multiliteracies and text-based foreign language classrooms.

Kristin Lange

Ph.D. Student in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching
University of Arizona

Diane Richardson
Ph.D. Candidate in Transcultural German Studies
University of Arizona/Leipzig

Dr. Chantelle Warner
Associate Professor of German Studies
University of Arizona