Toward a Theory of Game-Media Literacy: Playing and Building as Reading and Writing

Toward a Theory of Game-Media Literacy: Playing and Building as Reading and Writing

Idit Harel Caperton
DOI: 10.4018/jgcms.2010010101
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This paper discusses varied ideas on games, learning, and digital literacy for 21st-century education as theorized and practiced by the author and James Paul Gee, and their colleagues. With attention to games as means for learning, the author links Gee’s theories to the learning sciences tradition (particularly those of the MIT Constructionists) and extending game media literacy to encompass “writing” (producing) as well as “reading” (playing) games. If game-playing is like reading and game-making is like writing, then we must introduce learners to both from a young age. The imagining and writing of web-games fosters the development of many essential skill-sets needed for creativity and innovation, providing an appealing new way for a global computing education, STEM education, for closing achievement gaps. Gee and the author reveal a shared aim to encourage researchers and theorists, as well as policymakers, to investigate gaming with regard to epistemology and cognition.
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Research Into Playing Videogames

The fascination with and research on the cognitive and learning processes that occurs during videogame play is becoming increasingly prominent—so much so, that a national conference dedicated entirely to this topic was launched by Dr. James Paul Gee in 2004 as a venue for scholarly discourse (Games, Learning and Society, GLS, In this growing field of gaming research, scholars are addressing the nature of cognitive and emotional development, literacy practices, and thinking and learning during gameplay in a range of gaming environments and genres (Barab, 2009; Gee, 2003, 2007; Shaffer, 2006; Squire, 2002, 2006, 2009; Steinkuehler, 2007, 2009a, 2009b). This line of research focuses on assessing different kinds of learning while playing games released commercially for entertainment (e.g., World of Warcraft, Grand Theft Auto, Zelda, Quake, Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, Rock Band), or edutainment games (e.g., Civilization, Quest Atlantis) in various contexts (mostly out of school, in homes, clubs and afterschool programs).

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