Knew Me and New Me: Facilitating Student Identity Exploration and Learning through Game Integration

Knew Me and New Me: Facilitating Student Identity Exploration and Learning through Game Integration

Aroutis Foster (Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA) and Mamta Shah (Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJGCMS.2016070103
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This paper reports a mixed-methods study supporting twenty 9th grade students' mathematics knowledge, motivation, and identity change through projective reflection using Game Network Analysis (GaNA). GaNA is an ecological game-based learning framework that was conceptualized for facilitating teachers in selecting and using games. Projective reflection is an identity change process catalyzed by digital game play and facilitated by reflection and discussion activities focused within a domain. From September-December 2010, a game, Dimension M was used to facilitate students' in gameplay to construct mathematics knowledge, motivation to learn, and identity change. Data sources included interviews, in-class participant and video observations, and pre-post assessments. Students had statistically significant gains in mathematics. Students engaged in identity exploration activities that allowed them to value mathematics. The implications of projective reflection and GaNA are discussed. Further studies are needed for scaling and replicating the use of projective reflection.
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Review Of Literature

Investigations have been undertaken for several years now in order to study the ‘effect’ of games on student learning and motivation (e.g. Kebritchi et al., 2010; Papastergiou, 2009). However, this behaviorist approach to game-based learning; that is, assuming that the game alone impacts student academic achievement and motivation or that the effectiveness of game-based learning rests alone on the game has yielded slim evidence (Young et al., 2012; Tobias & Fletcher, 2012). Not surprisingly, the field of game-based learning is undergoing transformation with more researchers arguing the need for an ecological approach. Specifically, an approach where the effect of games on learning and motivation is studied whilst paying equal attention to the process of game integration and the context in which the game is integrated is advocated for the advancement of the field (Klopfer, 2010; Steinkuehler & Squire, In Press). We believe this is the direction to move forward in as well, because games are becoming more interdisciplinary, immersive, and interactive. Thus, game-based learning demands a more process-oriented approach that aims at the multi-dimensional aspects of what it means to learn and engage in an academic domain using games.

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