A Phenomenological Study of Games, Simulations, and Virtual Environments Courses: What Are We Teaching and How?

A Phenomenological Study of Games, Simulations, and Virtual Environments Courses: What Are We Teaching and How?

Albert D. Ritzhaupt (University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA), Nathaniel Poling (University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA), Christopher Frey (University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA), Youngju Kang (University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA) and Margeaux Johnson (University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJGCMS.2016070104
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Abstract

Educational technology programs from across the United States are offering graduate courses in games, simulations, and virtual environments (GSVE) to their students. However, these courses, until now, have not been systematically studied. This research uses a hermeneutical phenomenological approach to answer the research question: “How do instructors describe their experience teaching GSVE courses?” Five professors of educational technology that have taught GSVE courses were interviewed using a semi-structured protocol based on the TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) framework. These data were analyzed both analytically and thematically. The results of the study showed a wide variety of topics, tools, and pedagogies are used within GSVE courses. The results had five themes emerge: Focus on Application and Theory, Experiential Learning and Constructivism, Instructor's Prior Experience with Games, Heterogeneous Student Populations, and Range of Technology Tools. These themes as well as these courses are highlighted within this paper. A discussion is provided.
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Conceptual Framework

We chose the TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) framework to help examine the complex interactions among pedagogy, content, and technology in GSVE courses. TPACK consists of studying three different types of knowledge [Content Knowledge (CK), Pedagogy Knowledge (PK), and Technology Knowledge (TK)] and the intersection among these knowledge areas (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). Each component and intersection of TPACK is situated within a particular context. TPACK explains the instructor’s knowledge that results from the intersections (Figure 1).

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