Can the Subaltern Play and Speak or Just be Played With?

Can the Subaltern Play and Speak or Just be Played With?

David J. Leonard (Washington State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-808-6.ch054
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Abstract

This chapter examines and responds to the silencing, resistance to any intrusion of questions about race and racism, and overall erasure of race from the debates and broader discourse concerning video game culture. It not only provides insight into the nature and logics guiding claims of colorblindness, but also connects the ideologies and culture of denial to the broader racial discourse of post-civil rights America. Hoping to inspire debate and transformative knowledge sharing, this chapter additionally offers a textually-based racial analysis of Outlaw Volleyball as an example of the type of critical examination required to move beyond a culture that often reduces bodies and voices of people of color to objects of gaze, ridicule, and consumption while denying any sorts of criticism and questions regarding the racial meaning and texts evident within much of today’s gaming.
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Introduction2

Among some of my students, friends, and even neighbors, I have been known as the professor—the guy—who plays (studies) video games. It is not unusual for students and kids in the neighborhood to inquire about a particular console game, leaving me to wonder if I am a peddler of virtual reality. Although these exchanges often take place outside of a formalized educational setting, I try, as difficult as it is, to treat these encounters as teachable moments, challenging them to think about games as more than entertainment and as not simply just a game, but rather cultural projects saturated with racialized, gendered, and sexualized meaning. Despite subtle resistance, evident in many of these instances, and the commonplace erasure of race from the overall discussions of video games, my focus on teaching and learning about contemporary racial discourses through examining video game culture guides these formalized and informal interactions. As a teacher and researcher of race, racism, and stereotypes I often wonder how I could not study video games, learning and teaching about some many of life’s paradoxes and questions.

With this in mind, this chapter works to initiate a conversation about the denials that race matters within video game culture, reflecting on the broader implications of claims of colorblindness, while also offering a “how-to-do” example of racially-based (centered) textual analysis. The inclusion of a discussion of Outlaw Volleyball is not meant to provide a definitive picture of race and video games; nor do I claim it to be representative of the broader racial logics and ideologies that find their way into a spectrum games. It is most certainly extreme in nature, in terms of its construction of race, gender, and sexuality. Through this chapter, I argue that, despite assumptions otherwise rather than representing an aberration, the racial theories and representations animating from/within Outlaw Volleyball push mainstream formulations of race to their accepted, naturalized, and logical place within dominant discourse. Consequently, it is my attempt here to offer a critical reading of the representations, ideologies, and textual signifiers evident within this game not simply as an illustration of the racial meaning within this lone game, but as a means to bring into focus the power and importance of racial analysis within video game discourse. As part of both an effort to push conversations about race within video game culture and because of what this game (and the broader silence regarding race within video game culture) teaches us about the networks of racialized power in the 21st century, I use this space to reflect on the broader cultural silence in the face of a game such as this as well as the possibilities of an increased conversation about race and racial imagery among scholars, programmers, and players. Moreover, following a discussion that expounds on a post-civil rights or new racist discourse and the dialects between video game culture (production, reception, commentary) and broader societal forces, I use this space to demonstrate the importance of examining games in a way that moves beyond binaries and a focus on stereotypes/simple textual utterances toward analysis that situates images and representations within a broader historical, cultural, and social context that reflects on ideologies, discourse, and power.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Colorblind Discourse: A guiding discourse of a post-civil rights America that not only presumes the existence of colorblindness (race no longer matters concerning rights of citizenship, access to the American Dream), but the desirability of a culture, dominant institutions, and worldview that doesn’t see, recognize, or consider race (color).

Textual Analysis: Including various forms textual analysis (e.g., semiotics), which treats popular culture texts as those embedded social, political, and cultural meaning, an approach utilizing textual analysis examines as cultural products saturated with narratives, ideologies, and discourse.

Backstage/Frontstage: Idea promulgated by Picca and Feagin (2007) that describes racist practices, ideologies, and performances as varying depending on space of orientation between those on the frontage (public) and backstage (private). Video games provide an interesting space to think about this ideal given the simultaneity of both the public and private.

Binaries: The existence of either/or explanation or theories, which guide dominant conversations and propel a culture war. A key element to the hegemonic of binaries within hegemonic discourse is the existence of spheres or points of opposition so that blackness as a signifier does not exist in absence of a solidified understanding of whiteness.

Subaltern: A term emanating from post-colonial theory, it refers to minorities—those marginalized and disempowered—who have been systematically silenced and denied agency by the power structure.

New Racism: In the absence of a formal system of segregation and other blatant forms of racism, new racism describes the system of persistent inequality, injustice, and racial differentiation. Likewise, new racism refers to the codes, logics, and ideologies that facilitate, rationalize, and naturalize power imbalances in the absence of formalized segregation or apartheid within 21st century America.

Stereotypes: Often simply used to describe commonly accepted generalizations attributed to particular groups, it is crucial to see stereotypes in their relationship to dominant ideologies, governing power structures, systems of inequality, and daily lived and unequal power relations.

Race: Socially-constructed marker of difference that despite its fluidity and politically, socially, and culturally constructed nature has material consequences, contexts, and lived personal/situational implications.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Dedication
Table of Contents
Foreword
Mark J. P. Wolf
Preface
Richard E. Ferdig
Acknowledgment
Richard E. Ferdig
Reviewer Acknowledgment
Chapter 1
Fengfeng Ke
Drawing on grounded theory approach and a qualitative meta-analysis, this chapter intends to systematically review and synthesize the theories... Sample PDF
A Qualitative Meta-Analysis of Computer Games as Learning Tools
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Chapter 2
Aroutis N. Foster, Punya Mishra
We offer a framework for conducting research on games for learning. Building on a survey of the literature on games, we suggest a categorization... Sample PDF
Games, Claims, Genres, and Learning
$37.50
Chapter 3
Sara de Freitas, Mark Griffiths
This chapter explores whether massively multiplayer online role-play games (MMORPGs) can be used effectively to support learning and training... Sample PDF
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Play Games for Learning
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Chapter 4
Yufeng Qian
Electronic games are becoming an important part of many American children’s life today. Electronic educational gaming, as a new instructional... Sample PDF
An Investigation of Current Online Educational Games
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Chapter 5
Cathy Cavanaugh
In augmented reality games, game experiences combining electronic game content take the form of narrative materials and game-play elements exchanged... Sample PDF
Augmented Reality Gaming in Education for Engaged Learning
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Chapter 6
Michael A. Evans
This chapter proposes that the convergence of mobile devices and digital game-based learning may have profound implications for educational... Sample PDF
Mobility, Games, and Education
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Chapter 7
David Parisi
This chapter discusses the way that new video game interfaces such as those employed by Guitar Hero™, Dance Dance Revolution, and the Nintendo Wii™... Sample PDF
Game Interfaces as Bodily Techniques
$37.50
Chapter 8
Elhanan Gazit
This chapter presents an analysis of the dynamics of children’s digital games interactions, which take place in their home surroundings, based on... Sample PDF
A Window on Digital Games Interactions in Home Settings
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Chapter 9
James Oliverio, Dennis Beck
We introduce the term ‘mixed social environments’ as a strategic learning construct to augment student interaction when utilizing virtual world... Sample PDF
Enhanced Interaction in Mixed Social Environments
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Chapter 10
Andreas Breiter, Castulus Kolo
Electronic gaming in education remains a theoretical or at best marginal issue as long as it is not adopted in general educational settings. The... Sample PDF
Electronic Gaming in Germany as Innovation in Education
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Chapter 11
Richard Van Eck
Many of the educational outcomes we seek to promote in public education, such as problem solving and critical thinking, are difficult to achieve... Sample PDF
A Guide to Integrating COTS Games into Your Classroom
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Chapter 12
Shree Durga, Kurt Squire
This chapter examines the potential of video games as a learning tool given their productive capacity for content creation and dissemination. Based... Sample PDF
Productive Gaming and the Case for Historiographic Game-Play
$37.50
Chapter 13
Erik Malcolm Champion
Serious games research typically uses modified computer games as virtual learning environments. Virtual heritage projects typically aim to provide... Sample PDF
Game-Based Historical Learning
$37.50
Chapter 14
Phillip J. VanFossen, Adam Friedman, Richard Hartshorne
In this chapter, the authors will report evidence for the potential of MMORPGs for social studies education by providing a detailed review of... Sample PDF
The Role of MMORPGS in Social Studies Education
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Chapter 15
Brock Dubbles
In this qualitative study, literacy practices of “struggling” seventh and eighth graders were recorded on videotape as they engaged in both... Sample PDF
Video Games, Reading, and Transmedial Comprehension
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Chapter 16
Carol Luckhardt Redfield, Diane L. Gaither, Neil M. Redfield
This chapter looks at the effectiveness of commercially available educational computer games. It defines what a game is from game theory and what an... Sample PDF
COTS Computer Game Effectiveness
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Chapter 17
Christopher L. James, Vivan H. Wright
The purpose of this study was to identify secondary teachers with video game-play experience and determine if perceived levels of comfort in regard... Sample PDF
Teacher Gamers vs. Teacher Non-Gamers
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Chapter 18
Brian Ferry, Lisa Kervin
This chapter describes how we used an authentic learning framework (Herrington & Oliver, 2000) to inform the design of an online simulation that... Sample PDF
Using Online Simulation to Engage Users in an Authentic Learning Environment
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Chapter 19
Zahide Yildirim, Eylem Kilic
This chapter explores prospective computer teachers’ perceptions of and experiences in goal-based scenario (GBS) centered 3D educational game... Sample PDF
Pre-Service Computer Teachers as 3D Educational Game Designers
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Chapter 20
Kathy Sanford, Leanna Madill
This chapter describes a study conducted with nine adolescents hired to instruct week-long video game making camps over the course of one summer and... Sample PDF
Adolescents Teaching Video-Game Making—Who is the Expert Here?
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Chapter 21
Richard T. Cole, Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam
As Internet marketing has evolved, customized online games created to promote specific brands or products have been embraced by food marketers. At... Sample PDF
Online Games as Powerful Food Advertising to Children
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Chapter 22
Erin Edgerton
This chapter discusses how proven health communication theories can be used in electronic games to affect behavior change. After discussing the need... Sample PDF
Changing Health Behavior Through Games
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Chapter 23
Wei Peng, Ming Liu
This chapter aims to provide an overall picture of the applications of electronic games for various health-related purposes, particularly for health... Sample PDF
An Overview of Using Electronic Games for Health Purposes
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Chapter 24
Yong Zhao, Chun Lai
This chapter provides an overview of the potential of massively multiplayer role-playing games (MMORPGs) for foreign language education and... Sample PDF
MMORPGS and Foreign Language Education
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Chapter 25
Kim Feldmesser
It is a buyers market for employers in todays global village, where having another language under your belt could make the difference at an... Sample PDF
A Video Game, a Chinese Otaku, and Her Deep Learning of a Language
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Chapter 26
Ahmed BinSubaih, Steve Maddock, Daniela Romano
The design of serious games based on sound learning and instructional principles is important to ensure learning is integrated in the ‘game-play’.... Sample PDF
Developing a Serious Game for Police Training
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Chapter 27
Barbara Martinson, Sauman Chu
Games are increasingly being used to teach content in a variety of courses from elementary to graduate education. This study investigates the... Sample PDF
Game-Based Learning in Design History
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Chapter 28
Martha Garcia-Murillo, Ian MacInnes
Advances in computing and telecommunications make it possible to take advantage of immersive electronic environments to deliver content. In this... Sample PDF
A Policy Game in a Virtual World
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Chapter 29
Chong-wei Xu
This chapter introduces an innovative pedagogical method for teaching object-oriented programming (OOP) and component-oriented programming (COP) via... Sample PDF
Teaching OOP and COP Technologies via Gaming
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Chapter 30
Pollyana Notargiacomo Mustaro, Luciano Silva, Ismar Frango Silveira
This chapter discusses some possibilities of using computer games to effectively reach didactic goals in undergraduate teaching. Nowadays... Sample PDF
Using Games to Teach Design Patterns and Computer Graphics
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Chapter 31
Paul A. Fishwick, Yuna A. Park
Multimedia technology for personal computers has undergone a radical transformation over the past two decades with significant changes made in... Sample PDF
A 3D Environment for Exploring Algebraic Structure and Behavior
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Chapter 32
Surviving the Game  (pages 560-575)
Linda van Ryneveld
A large body of research exists on the topics of computer-based educational gaming on the one hand and the role of playing traditional games in... Sample PDF
Surviving the Game
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Chapter 33
David William Shaffer
In this chapter, I look at the relationship between games and assessment—and more broadly at what that tells us about the relationship between... Sample PDF
Wag the Kennel: Games, Frames, and the Problem of Assessment
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Chapter 34
Melissa L. Lewis, René Weber
The Entertainment Education Paradigm (EEP) offers a new way to think about education by blending entertainment with educational experiences. Video... Sample PDF
Character Attachment in Games as Moderator for Learning
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Chapter 35
Joseph C. DiPietro, Erik W. Black
A better understanding of virtual character avatars is needed in order to explore the underlying psychology that the avatar represents to the user.... Sample PDF
Visual Analysis of Avatars in Gaming Environments
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Chapter 36
Matthew Thomas Payne
This chapter introduces and operationalizes an innovative interpretive strategy called “existential ludology” to explain how the game-play mechanics... Sample PDF
Interpreting Game-Play Through Existential Ludology
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Chapter 37
Katrin Becker, James R. Parker
This chapter will discuss the growing importance of applying considered rationales to which games are chosen for study, whether it be for... Sample PDF
On Choosing Games and What Counts as a "Good" Game
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Chapter 38
Teddy Moline
Quality teachers and quality digital games (video and computer) are dynamic resources that experience ongoing changes based primarily on their... Sample PDF
Descriptors of Quality Teachers and Quality Digital Games
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Chapter 39
David Gibson
What would a game or simulation need to have in order to teach a teacher how people learn? This chapter uses a four-part framework of knowledge... Sample PDF
Designing a Computational Model of Learning
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Chapter 40
Clint Bowers, Peter A. Smith, Jan Cannon-Bowers
The use of computer games and especially online games for educational purposes is growing in popularity. In this chapter we attempt to summarize... Sample PDF
Social Psychology and Massively Multiplayer Online Learning Games
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Chapter 41
Slava Kalyuga, Jan L. Plass
This chapter provides an overview of our cognitive architecture and its implications for the design of game-based learning environments. Design of... Sample PDF
Evaluating and Managing Cognitive Load in Games
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Chapter 42
Nicholas Zap, Jillianne Code
Video games engage players in rapid and complex interactions of self-regulatory processes. The way individuals regulate their cognitive, affective... Sample PDF
Self-Regulated Learning in Video Game Environments
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Chapter 43
Johannes Fromme, Benjamin Jörissen, Alexander Unger
The goal of this chapter is to emphasize a certain notion of self-induced education, to discuss it in the context of digital games and to provide... Sample PDF
(Self-) Educational Effects of Computer Gaming Cultures
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Chapter 44
Meredith DiPietro
There is current interest from the field of education into the value of video games to support learning. Research investigating outcomes associated... Sample PDF
Experience, Cognition and Video Game Play
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Chapter 45
P. G. Schrader, Kimberly A. Lawless, Michael McCreery
This chapter describes the manner in which gamers engage in multiple text comprehension and intertextual practices within the context of the World... Sample PDF
Intertextuality in Massively Multi-Player Online Games
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Chapter 46
Yam San Chee, Kenneth Yang Teck Lim
This chapter considers the use of computer games to help students construct their personal identity and develop dispositions that become active and... Sample PDF
Development, Identity, and Game-Based Learning
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Chapter 47
Play Styles and Learning  (pages 826-846)
Carrie Heeter
This chapter reviews player types found in commercial MMOs and educational games and a palette of play styles and learning is proposed from which... Sample PDF
Play Styles and Learning
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Chapter 48
Martin Oliver
This chapter explores the roles players created, and how these structured their online relationships, in an online massively multi-player... Sample PDF
Playing Roles in the MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing
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Chapter 49
Vasa Buraphadeja, Kara Dawson
Many game scholars claim that the emergent authorship opportunities provided within The Sims may lead to positive game play outcomes. This study... Sample PDF
Exploring Personal Myths from The Sims
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Chapter 50
Edward L. Swing, Douglas A. Gentile, Craig A. Anderson
Though video games can produce desirable learning outcomes, such as improved performance in school subjects, they also can produce undesirable... Sample PDF
Learning Processes and Violent Video Games
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Chapter 51
Patrick Felicia, Ian Pitt
This chapter explains the importance of acknowledging users’ personalities, learning styles, and emotions in the design of educational games. It... Sample PDF
Harnessing the Emotional Potential of Video Games
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Chapter 52
Diane Carr, Caroline Pelletier
The issue of gender reoccurs in debates about the introduction of computer games into formal learning contexts. There is a fear that girls will be... Sample PDF
Gamers, Gender, and Representation
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Chapter 53
Yi Mou, Wei Peng
While the violent content of video games has caused wide concern among scholars, gender, and racial stereotypes in video games are still an... Sample PDF
Gender and Racial Stereotypes in Popular Video Games
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Chapter 54
David J. Leonard
This chapter examines and responds to the silencing, resistance to any intrusion of questions about race and racism, and overall erasure of race... Sample PDF
Can the Subaltern Play and Speak or Just be Played With?
$37.50
Chapter 55
Colleen Swain
Electronic games and simulations are powerful learning tools for many learners; yet, the learning environments in these games and simulations... Sample PDF
Culturally Responsive Games and Simulations
$37.50
Chapter 56
Robert Jones
Due to its nature as an interactive medium, the video game offers uniquely different approaches to the project of activism. Unlike other... Sample PDF
Saving Worlds with Videogame Activism
$37.50
Chapter 57
Conceptual Play Spaces  (pages 989-1009)
Sasha A. Barab, Adam Ingram-Goble, Scott Warren
In this chapter we provide a framework for designing play spaces to support learning academic content. Reflecting on our four years of design... Sample PDF
Conceptual Play Spaces
$37.50
Chapter 58
Brian M. Winn
This chapter introduces a framework for the design of serious games for learning, called the design, play, and experience framework. The author... Sample PDF
The Design, Play, and Experience Framework
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Chapter 59
Youngkyun Baek
This chapter examines hidden curricula and pedagogy of digital games in order to clarify their educational meaning and importance. The experiences... Sample PDF
Revealing New Hidden Curriculum and Pedagogy of Digital Games
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Chapter 60
Wei Qiu, Yong Zhao
This study explored the nature and design of a compelling experience: game design. Thirty-six college juniors in the software engineering major... Sample PDF
Game Design as a Compelling Experience
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Chapter 61
Laurie N. Taylor
This chapter explains the significance of informal and unwritten rules in order to show the connections among formal rules of play, formalized... Sample PDF
Gaming Ethics, Rules, Etiquette, and Learning
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Chapter 62
Penny de Byl
This chapter presents the embedded authentic serious game-based learning experiences (EASLE) architecture which has been developed to assist in the... Sample PDF
Designing Games-Based Embedded Authentic Learning Experiences
$37.50
Chapter 63
James Belanich, Karin B. Orvis, Daniel B. Horn, Jennifer L. Solberg
Instructional video game development is occurring in both the commercial game development and the instructional design/development communities, but... Sample PDF
Bridging Game Development and Instructional Design
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Chapter 64
Debbie Denise Reese
Game-based, metaphor-enhanced (GaME) design is a process for engineering instructional games to prepare learners with the prior knowledge they need... Sample PDF
GaME Design for Intuitive Concept Knowledge
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Chapter 65
Yuxin Ma, Douglas Williams, Charles Richard, Louise Prejean
Electronic games have the potential to support learning by doing and enhance student motivation. However, there is little guidance in the literature... Sample PDF
Leveraging the Affordances of an Electronic Game to Meet Instructional Goals
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Chapter 66
Wenhao David Huang, Tristan Johnson
This chapter proposes an instructional game design framework based on the 4C/ID-model and cognitive load theory, its associated theoretical... Sample PDF
Instructional Game Design Using Cognitive Load Theory
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Chapter 67
Mahboubeh Asgari, David Kaufman
While there are thousands of educational computer and video games in the market today, few are as engaging and compelling as entertainment games.... Sample PDF
Motivation, Learning, and Game Design
$37.50
Chapter 68
Designing Games for Learning  (pages 1183-1203)
Scott J. Warren, Mary Jo Dondlinger
This chapter discusses two games that were designed to target learning as well as implications for the design of future games intended for this... Sample PDF
Designing Games for Learning
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Chapter 69
Panagiotis Zaharias, Anthony Papargyris
E-learning is emerging as one of the fastest organizational uses of the Internet as a supplementary or alternative mode for corporate training.... Sample PDF
Interaction with MMOGs and Implications for E-Learning Design
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Chapter 70
Douglas Williams, Yuxin Ma, Charles Richard, Louise Prejean
This chapter explores the challenge of balancing narrative development and instructional design in the creation of an electronic game-based learning... Sample PDF
Narrative Development and Instructional Design
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Chapter 71
Lloyd P. Rieber, Joan M. Davis, Michael J. Matzko, Michael M. Grant
We have long worked collaboratively with middle school students to help them design their own educational computer games. An interesting question... Sample PDF
Children as Critics of Educational Computer Games Designed by Other Children
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Chapter 72
Leanna Madill, Kathy Sanford
This chapter explores changing conceptions of learning brought about by technological changes and opportunities and examines more closely the... Sample PDF
Video-Game Creation as a Learning Experience for Teachers and Students
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Chapter 73
Brian Magerko
This chapter discusses the potential future of games for learning through the lens of current advantages of real-world education that are thus far... Sample PDF
The Future of Digital Game-Based Learning
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Chapter 74
Artists in the Medium  (pages 1289-1302)
Kurt Squire
This chapter discusses emerging trends in games and learning. It argues for an approach that examines games as a new medium. With the increased... Sample PDF
Artists in the Medium
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Chapter 75
Rusel DeMaria
What is the future of video games? Is it more realism? More violence? Better physics? Artificially intelligent characters? More social networking... Sample PDF
The Positive Impact Model in Commercial Games
$37.50
Chapter 76
Chad M. Harms
By retracing the tracks of the popular educational game, the Oregon Trail, this chapter presents both positive and negative realities of the... Sample PDF
Education and Exploitation Off the Virtual Train to Oregon
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Chapter 77
Clark Aldrich, Joseph C. DiPietro
This appendix introduces and defines commonly used terms and phrases from the world of video gaming. It seeks to bridge the gaps between... Sample PDF
An Overview of Gaming Terminology: Chapters I-LXXVI
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Chapter 78
Göknur Kaplan Akilli
Computer games and simulations are considered powerful tools for learning with an untapped potential for formal educational use. However, the lack... Sample PDF
Games and Simulations: A New Approach in Education?
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Chapter 79
Chee Siang Ang, Panayiotis Zaphiris
This chapter attempts to examine computer game theories — ludology and narratology — that explain computer games as play activities and storytelling... Sample PDF
Developing Enjoyable Second Language Learning Software Tools: A Computer Game Paradigm
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Chapter 80
Elizabeth Fanning
A game mod describes a modification within an existing commercial, computer-based game that has been created by a user. By game modding, a user can... Sample PDF
Game Mods: Customizable Learning in a K16 Setting
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Chapter 81
Lisa Galarneau, Melanie Zibit
20th century visionaries foresaw that mastery of the dynamic processes underpinning the acquisition and manipulation of knowledge would be critical... Sample PDF
Online Games for 21st Century Skills
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Chapter 82
Nancy Sardone, Roberta Devlin-Scherer, Joseph Martinelli
The last 20 years have brought an increase of computers into educational and home environments, generating an explosion of available educational... Sample PDF
Game-Based Instruction in a College Classroom
$37.50
Chapter 83
Renee Hobbs, Jonelle Rowe
This chapter explores how media literacy education may continue to be responsive and relevant to the continually changing nature of popular culture... Sample PDF
Creative Remixing and Digital Learning: Developing an Online Media Literacy Learning Tool for Girls
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Chapter 84
Kalle Jegers, Carlotte Wiberg
This chapter reports on the initial results of a study conducted in the project FunTain. The main purpose was to identify general... Sample PDF
Learning While Playing: Design Implications for Edutainment Games
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Chapter 85
Karen Schrier
Students need to learn the critical thinking of history, yet they rarely have opportunities to authentically simulate historic inquiry. Research has... Sample PDF
Reliving History with "Reliving the Revolution": Designing Augmented Reality Games to Teach the Critical Thinking of History
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Chapter 86
Katia Sycara, Paul Scerri, Anton Chechetka
In this chapter, we explore the use of evolutionary game theory (EGT) (Nowak & May, 1993; Taylor & Jonker, 1978; Weibull, 1995) to model the... Sample PDF
Insights into the Impact of Social Networks on Evolutionary Games
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About the Editor
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