Gameplay Activities as L2 Learning Ecologies

Karim Shaker Ibrahim, Miami University in Ohio

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Several empirical studies demonstrated that player-game interaction has the potential to facilitate learning in-game L2 discourses (e.g. Miller & Hegelheimer, 2006; Hitosugi, Schmidt, & Hayashi, 2014). However, to date, the activities and dynamics of player-game interaction that afford that potential are still largely underexplored. Thorough examination of this learning potential would entail fine-grained ecological analysis of the dynamics and processes that constitute player-game interaction and offer affordances for L2 use and learning.

To investigate this underexplored territory, informed by ecological approaches (Van Lier, 2004), the researcher conducted a case study examining the interactions of 3 Arabic L2 learners in the educational video game Baalty (PPIC-Work, 2004). The study revealed that player-game interaction is a dynamic multi-faceted activity comprised of several mutually constitutive activities. Analysis of these activities resulted in a model of player-game interaction as an ecology-sensitive multi-layered activity in which languaging, play, and narration are dynamically interwoven in the gaming ecology. This model can further our understanding of the L2 learning potential of digital games and inform the design, integration, and adaptation of digital games in L2 classrooms.

Karim Shaker Ibrahim

Visiting Assistant Professor, English Department
Miami University in Ohio