Digital Propensity: An Investigation of Video Game and Information and Communication Technology Practices

Digital Propensity: An Investigation of Video Game and Information and Communication Technology Practices

Boaventura DaCosta (Solers Research Group, USA), Angelique Nasah (Solers Research Group, USA), Carolyn Kinsell (Solers Research Group, USA) and Soonhwa Seok (The Center for Research on Learning—eLearning Design Lab, University of Kansas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-495-0.ch052
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There is a growing interest among educators to use video games in the classroom as part of the curriculum to meet the educational needs of today’s students. This may be justified, in part, by claims in recent years about today’s technology-savvy students and their adept use of information and communication technology (ICT). However, such claims have not been accepted without scrutiny; indeed, the relationship between games and learning has been tempestuous over the years. This chapter sought to identify the gaming propensity of postsecondary students (N = 580) through the use of a questionnaire. Age, gender, and socioeconomic status were examined as factors that might explain why students play games. Results suggest that age, gender, and socioeconomic status are composite factors that contribute to gaming, but not the most important consideration in terms of general ICT usage. The findings raise a number of implications for educators, educational policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, instructional technologists, and game developers across both the education spectrum and the entertainment industry in terms of the use and development of video games.
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Statements such as “Don’t bother me, Mom—I’m learning!” (Prensky, 2006) have become synonymous with the idea that today’s students are fundamentally different from those of past generations as a result of their information and communication technology (ICT) use. Typically referred to as Digital Natives (Prensky, 2001a), but also commonly called the Net Generation (Tapscott, 1998), the Millennial Generation (Howe & Strauss, 2000) and Generation M (Roberts, Foehr, & Rideout, 2005), these students are viewed as native speakers of the digital age. That is, they were “born digital” (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008) into the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. They have grown up in a culture so fundamentally different in the technology sense that they are much more adept at using ICT than their counterparts from prior generations. What’s more, this exposure has fundamentally changed the way in which they process information (Prensky, 2001a, 2001b) to the extent that they posses learning preferences foreign by today’s educational standards. Some commentators have even gone as far as to conclude that education is not keeping pace with the needs of our students with reference to these changes (Prensky, 2001a; Tapscott, 1998).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Term that describes the general processing and communication of information through technology. In the case of the current study, it includes a number of technologies, such as mobile technology; email; two-way instant messaging; chat rooms; blogs; personal web pages; online shopping rating systems; download of images, audio, and video; and video games. These technologies have been classified into the following constructs: ICT use preferences, Internet use preferences, online media activities, digital communications, ICT-facilitated learning activities, ICT-facilitated social/economic activities, and video games.

Active vs. Passive: Prensky believes digital natives take a much more active approach to learning. They are not interested in the traditional teacher-centered model, but instead prefer learning by doing. A departure from prior generations who much rather read a manual than figure things out through trial and error.

Game-Based Learning: Considered a branch of serious games by many, it is rooted in the belief that games, if used properly, can be leveraged in the learning process.

Twitch Games: A type of game that requires the player to react quickly to circumstances in order to continue playing (Jones, 1997), such as the game © Tetris.

Random Access vs. Step-by-Step: According to Prensky, if digital natives work at twitch speed, it only makes sense these same individuals would prefer gathering information through random access rather than step-by-step means. Prensky indicates this shouldn’t be a surprise given the Internet is a networked web of information all interrelated via hyperlinks. This new structuring of information “has increased their [digital natives] awareness and ability to make connections, has freed them from the constraint of a single path of thought, and is generally an extremely positive development” (Prensky, 1998, ¶ 12). This is yet another cognitive departure from prior generations who value and prefer step-by-step approaches.

Serious Games: An initiative whereby video games are targeted outside of entertainment to include education, training, health, and public policy (Serious Games Initiative, 2006).

Digital Propensity: The degree (e.g., frequency) to which individuals use various forms of ICT in their everyday lives.

Technology as Friendly vs. Technology as Foe: While digital natives embrace technology and see it as part of everyday life, prior generations generally fear it, tolerate it, or will never trust it. Prensky contends digital natives see being connected or having access to a computer as a necessity; while at best, prior generations are forced into learning it due to changing culture.

Play vs. Work: In step with Prensky’s stance on learning using games, he states digital natives enjoy learning through play and learning doesn’t have to be a laborious activity, but instead could be seen as a game incorporating complex cognitive tasks. Prior generations, on the other hand, see learning as a task, which involves work.

Payoff vs. Patients: Prensky suggests that digital natives are willing to put in the effort if the expected level of payoff is there. Essentially, “what you determine what you get, and what you get is worth the effort you put in” (Prensky, 1998, ¶ 26). Today’s students expect immediate feedback and payoff for their efforts, where their older counterparts may show much more patients and willingness to wait for the payoff.

Twitch Speed vs. Conventional Speed: A term more than likely taken from twitch games. Essentially, twitch speed encompasses digital natives gathering information at the same pace as playing a twitch game and might explain why Prensky and others (Gee, 2003) are in favor of games for learning. Prensky (1998) insists humans have always been capable of processing information at faster speeds, the only difference is while in the past this was only achieved by a subset of the population (i.e. jet pilots, race-car drivers, etc.), it has now moved into the generation at large (particularly as a result of game play). This is in contrast to prior generations which Prensky contents prefer to gather information at a slower more traditional pace.

Connected vs. Stand-Alone: Prensky believes that having grown up in the digital age, digital natives are accustomed to working with asynchronous communications, with email being the primary example, even though much of the communication technologies available today are synchronous, such as cell phones and instant messaging. The point Prensky attempts to make is digital natives are accustomed to being connected or networked, and as a result, are capable of utilizing technologies which prior generations would not think of. Examples include posting a question to a forum, as opposed to making a phone call and a leaving message.

Parallel Processing vs. Linear Processing: Prensky suggests that digital natives have grown up multitasking, whether it be watching TV while doing homework or listening to music while interacting with a computer. And because of this, they are much more adapt and willing to parallel process. Their brains simply support it. Unlike prior generations, who are not as adept and are much more comfortable with the linear processing of information.

Video Games: Digitally-based games, found across a number of platforms to include computer, game console, and handheld device.

Fantasy vs. Reality: Prensky insists digital natives, for whatever reason, indulge in fantasy play, which pervades their lives. And the computer has made this easier and more realistic; much to the opposite of prior generations.

Drill-and-Practice: An instructional practice that can be used to promote the acquisition of skills and knowledge through repetition.

Digital Native: Term, credited to Marc Prensky, that describes a generation of students born into the digital age, who are much more adept at using ICT than their counterparts from prior generations, showing signs or traits never before seen. These students are also commonly called the Net Generation (Tapscott, 1998), the Millennial Generation (Howe & Strauss, 2000) and Generation M (Roberts, Foehr, & Rideout, 2005).

Graphics First vs. Text First: Prensky suggests that digital natives have been continuously exposed to mediums which use high-quality graphics with little or no accompanying text. This has considerably sharpened their visual sensitivity. They are much more comfortable starting with visuals as a result. Prior generations, on the other hand, prefer text before graphics. In their case, graphics should supplement the text, not the other way around.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Richard Van Eck
Patrick Felicia
Patrick Felicia
Chapter 1
Gunilla Svingby, Elisabet M. Nilsson
The interest for game-based learning is growing among science educators. A range of research reviews have been published regarding the educational... Sample PDF
Research Review: Empirical Studies on Computer Game Play in Science Education
Chapter 2
Thomas Hainey, Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Liz Boyle
Games-based learning has captured the interest of educationalists as it is perceived as a potentially highly motivating approach for learning in a... Sample PDF
The Use of Computer Games in Education: A Review of the Literature
Chapter 3
Caroline Kearney
This chapter summarizes the main results of the comparative study, How are digital games used in schools? (European Schoolnet, April 2009)... Sample PDF
European Schoolnet1’s Games in Schools Study: The Current State of Play in European Schools and the Game Ahead
Chapter 4
René St-Pierre
Playing video games stimulates affective, cognitive, and communicational processes, thus facilitating the emergence of knowledge. In order to... Sample PDF
Learning with Video Games
Chapter 5
Jan-Paul van Staalduinen
As of yet, there is no clear relationship between game elements and deep learning. This chapter used a literature review to create an overview of 25... Sample PDF
A First Step towards Integrating Educational Theory and Game Design
Chapter 6
Damien Djaouti, Julian Alvarez, Jean-Pierre Jessel
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce an overall classification system for Serious Games. ?The intention of this classification is to guide... Sample PDF
Classifying Serious Games: The G/P/S Model
Chapter 7
Manuel Ecker, Wolfgang Müller, Johannes Zylka
This chapter introduces an approach to use best-practice experiences in terms of Design Patterns to support the development of high-quality and... Sample PDF
Game-Based Learning Design Patterns: An Approach to Support the Development of “Better” Educational Games
Chapter 8
Monica Evans
Educational games often implement educational theory, but rarely implement the best practices of entertainment game structures. Currently, many... Sample PDF
I’d Rather Be Playing Calculus: Adapting Entertainment Game Structures to Educational Games
Chapter 9
Gareth Schott, Neil Selwyn
Game playing is made possible by players’ engagement in configurative practices that work in conjunction with interpretive practices, referring to... Sample PDF
Game Literacy: Assessing its Value for Both Classification and Public Perceptions of Games in a New Zealand Context
Chapter 10
David I. Schwartz, Jessica D. Bayliss
Games have impacted education, research, and industry in multiple ways, altering notions of interaction. Traditionally, instructional design and... Sample PDF
Unifying Instructional and Game Design
Chapter 11
Nicolas Szilas, Martin Acosta
This theory is then put into practice by analyzing three commercial educational games. It constitutes a first step towards Instructional Game Design. Sample PDF
A Theoretical Background for Educational Video Games: Games, Signs, Knowledge
Chapter 12
Thomas Hainey, Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Liz Boyle
While there are some teachers who are dubious about the benefits of gaming in education, language teachers make great use of simulation/gaming... Sample PDF
ARGuing for Multilingual Motivation in Web 2.0: An Evaluation of a Large-Scale European Pilot
Chapter 13
Claire Dormann, Jennifer R. Whitson, Robert Biddle
This chapter addresses how computer games can support affective learning, taking specific focus on learning for the affective domain. It first... Sample PDF
Computer Games for Affective Learning
Chapter 14
Paul Toprac
This chapter describes how to design a motivating educational game for middle school students using digital-game based learning techniques in a... Sample PDF
Motivating By Design: Using Digital-Game Based Learning Techniques to Create an Interesting Problem-Based Learning Environment
Chapter 15
Leonard A. Annetta, Richard Lamb, Brandy Bowling, Rebecca Cheng
The critical nature of engaging students in authentic learning tasks is not a new concept, but as 21st century technologies become more pervasive in... Sample PDF
Assessing Engagement in Serious Educational Games: The Development of the Student Engaged Learning in a Technology Rich Interactive Classroom (SELTIC)
Chapter 16
Menno Deen, Ben A.M. Schouten
To accomplish this fit, game designers could not conceal the learning within a game, but explicitly communicate the constructed knowledge to the... Sample PDF
Games that Motivate to Learn: Design Serious Games by Identified Regulations
Chapter 17
Nicola Whitton
This chapter considers motivation from the adult learning perspective, specifically in the context of Higher Education. It is common for the... Sample PDF
Theories of Motivation for Adults Learning with Games
Chapter 18
Iro Voulgari, Vassilis Komis
In this chapter a theoretical framework is proposed for the investigation of Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) as environments for the... Sample PDF
Collaborative Learning in Massively Multiplayer Online Games: A Review of Social, Cognitive and Motivational Perspectives
Chapter 19
Daniel Aranda, Jordi Sánchez-Navarro
This study presents the results of three investigations on the use of digital gaming in non-formal (leisure institutions) and informal (household... Sample PDF
How Digital Gaming Enhances Non-Formal and Informal Learning
Chapter 20
Priscilla Haring, Dimitrina Chakinska, Ute Ritterfeld
This chapter argues the importance of understanding the process of serious gaming, i.e. playing a game with a purpose other than solely... Sample PDF
Understanding Serious Gaming: A Psychological Perspective
Chapter 21
Flaithrí Neff, Ian Pitt
Game technology often offers solutions to problems that are difficult or impossible to solve in traditional educational settings. Maturing spatial... Sample PDF
Using Spatial Audio in Game Technology for Expressing Mathematical Problems to Blind Students
Chapter 22
Namsoo Shin, Cathleen Norris, Elliot Soloway
This study was conducted to investigate the relationship of students’ attitude toward mathematics, attitude toward a game, gaming performance... Sample PDF
Mobile Gaming Environment: Learning and Motivational Effects
Chapter 23
Eva Hudlicka
Games are being increasingly used for educational and training purposes, because of their unique ability to engage students, and to provide... Sample PDF
Affective Gaming in Education, Training and Therapy: Motivation, Requirements, Techniques
Chapter 24
Roman Danylak
Emerging game interface design increasingly incorporates human gestural learning. Electronic gestural games, when effectively designed, offer high... Sample PDF
Gestural Motivation, Learning and Evaluation using Interactive Game Design
Chapter 25
Jean-Charles Marty, Thibault Carron
In this chapter, the authors propose to address two main items contributing to motivation in Game-Based Learning Environments: the flexibility of... Sample PDF
Hints for Improving Motivation in Game-Based Learning Environments
Chapter 26
Eugenia M. W. Ng
The gender differences have long been an issue in computer games, but there is very little empirical research on the behavior and performance of... Sample PDF
Exploring the Gender Differences of Student Teachers when using an Educational Game to Learn Programming Concepts
Chapter 27
Penny de Byl, Jeffrey E. Brand
The objective of this chapter is to develop guidelines for targeted use of games in educational settings by presenting a typology of learning... Sample PDF
Designing Games to Motivate Student Cohorts through Targeted Game Genre Selection
Chapter 28
Krestina L. Amon, Andrew J. Campbell
Whilst biofeedback video games are still new to AD/HD treatment options, this Chapter demonstrates that with children growing up in a... Sample PDF
Game-Based Learning: Current Research in Games for Health, a Focus on Biofeedback Video Games as Treatment for AD/HD
Chapter 29
Stephanie B. Linek
Game-based learning is based on the idea of using the motivational potential of video games within the educational context. Thus, when designing an... Sample PDF
As You Like It: What Media Psychology Can Tell Us About Educational Game Design
Chapter 30
John Carr, Peter Blanchfield
Computer games offer an extremely engaging experience and are an overwhelmingly popular pastime for today’s youth. As such, they make an attractive... Sample PDF
Engaging the Un-Engageable
Chapter 31
Dennis Maciuszek, Alke Martens
Educational computer games may improve learning experiences and learning outcomes. However, many off-the-shelf games still fail at smoothly... Sample PDF
A Reference Architecture for Game-Based Intelligent Tutoring
Chapter 32
Joel C. Perry, Julien Andureu, Francesca Irene Cavallaro, Jan Veneman, Stefan Carmien, Thierry Keller
Games possess highly favourable attributes to bring to the field of neurorehabilitation by means of providing motivation and goal-directed exercise... Sample PDF
Effective Game use in Neurorehabilitation: User-Centered Perspectives
Chapter 33
Stephen Howell, Tony Veale
Serious games, especially word-based games, have long been popular in print and in modern computer games. Bringing serious word games into the... Sample PDF
Serious Linguistic Games as Intelligent Tutoring Systems
Chapter 34
Maria Saridaki, Constantinos Mourlas
Findings from the educational literature and experimental observations, as well as case studies from field studies will be presented and discussed... Sample PDF
Motivating the Demotivated Classroom: Gaming as a Motivational Medium for Students with Intellectual Disability and their Educators
Chapter 35
Wolfgang Bösche, Florian Kattner
This chapter reports on the transformation of a classical seminar paper presentation course into a completely virtual classroom experience beginning... Sample PDF
Field Report: Using a Violent Multiplayer Game as a Virtual Classroom for a Course on Violent Video Games
Chapter 36
Professor Neil Anderson, Lyn Courtney
This chapter describes an educational intervention to introduce and develop design thinking skills with two groups of Australian Indigenous high... Sample PDF
Students Using Indigenous Knowledge in Video Game Creation to Develop Design Thinking Skills
Chapter 37
Eleni Rossiou
Higher Education could be seen as an ideal field for the development and wide use of modern technologies and pedagogical methods of cooperative and... Sample PDF
Integration of Educational Games in Synchronous Virtual Classroom: A Case Study
Chapter 38
Ben Williamson, Richard Sandford
Game-based learning is proliferating in formal school classrooms, yet to date there is relatively little evidence to demonstrate its benefits. This... Sample PDF
Playful Pedagogies: Cultural and Curricular Approaches to Game-Based Learning in the School Classroom
Chapter 39
Wee Hoe Tan, Sue Johnston-Wilder, Sean Neill
This chapter is an instance of the deployment of game-based learning (GBL) in an upper secondary school in the UK. A retrospective case study was... Sample PDF
Game-Based Learning with a Dialogic Teaching Approach: A Case of Deep Learning and the Use of SporeTM in A-Level Biology Lessons
Chapter 40
Ryan Flynn
The use of computer and video games in education is not a new phenomenon. However, the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) games, specifically... Sample PDF
Modifying Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Games for Use in Education
Chapter 41
Arul Chib
The spread of contagious STDs, HIV/AIDS, and unintended pregnancies amongst marginalized youth in developing nations is a source of concern. This... Sample PDF
Promoting Sexual Health Education via Gaming: Evidence from the Barrios of Lima, Peru
Chapter 42
Vinod Srinivasan, Karen Butler-Purry, Susan Pedersen
This chapter presents an experience with the development of an educational game focusing on digital systems design for undergraduate electrical... Sample PDF
Developing Educational Games for Engineering Education: A Case Study
Chapter 43
Kostas Anagnostou, Anastasia Pappa
This chapter reviews the potential of videogames to enhance physics education, and provide guidelines for designing educational videogames that... Sample PDF
Developing Videogames for Physics Education
Chapter 44
Helen Axe, Helen Routledge
There exists a growing body of evidence which supports the use of serious games in education: highlighting increased motivation, engagement, and... Sample PDF
Practical Applications of Serious Games in Education
Chapter 45
Dimitra Pappa, Ian Dunwell, Aristidis Protopsaltis, Lucia Pannese, Sonia Hetzner, Sara de Freitas, Genaro Rebolledo-Mendez
The increasing pervasiveness of digital technology is having a profound effect on how younger generations interact, play, and learn. The use of... Sample PDF
Game-Based Learning for Knowledge Sharing and Transfer: The e-VITA Approach for Intergenerational Learning
Chapter 46
Anna Åkerfeldt, Staffan Selander
The aim of this chapter is to explore two educational video games as a repository for action and meaning-making. Rixdax and El Patron feature two... Sample PDF
Exploring Educational Video Game Design: Meaning Potentials and Implications for Learning
Chapter 47
Nicola Lettieri, Ernesto Fabiani, Antonella Tartaglia Polcini, Rosario De Chiara, Vittorio Scarano
Over the last years, despite few exceptions, legal education has dropped behind in the use of digital game-based learning methods. Law schools... Sample PDF
Emerging Paradigms in Legal Education: A Learning Environment to Teach Law through Online Role Playing Games
Chapter 48
Sahar Shabanah
Data structures and algorithms are important foundation topics in computer science education. However, they are often complex and hard to... Sample PDF
Computer Games for Algorithm Learning
Chapter 49
Vasiliki Dai, Vasilis Daloukas, Maria Rigou, Spiros Sirmakessis
A discussion regarding the integration of video games in education has been going on lately. Recent studies indicate a positive shift in attitude... Sample PDF
Context-Free Educational Games: Open-Source and Flexible
Chapter 50
Andrea Corradini
This chapter explores the use of a set of 2D recreational puzzle games for training basic spatial skills such as tilting, rotating and flipping. An... Sample PDF
A Study on Whether Digital Games can Effect Spatial Reasoning Skills
Chapter 51
Brent D. Ruben, Kathleen M. Immordino, Sherrie Tromp, Brian Agnew
Leadership and leadership development have become increasingly frequent topics of discussion in popular, professional, and academic discourse. There... Sample PDF Using Interactive Scenario-Based Simulations for Leadership Development
Chapter 52
Boaventura DaCosta, Angelique Nasah, Carolyn Kinsell, Soonhwa Seok
There is a growing interest among educators to use video games in the classroom as part of the curriculum to meet the educational needs of today’s... Sample PDF
Digital Propensity: An Investigation of Video Game and Information and Communication Technology Practices
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