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Computer Games in the EFL Classroom von Schneider, Marie (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 01.02.2014
  • Verlag: Anchor Academic Publishing
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Computer Games in the EFL Classroom

Fact is that commercial computer games play an extensive role in young people's lives, today. According to a recent study, 62 % of German teenagers play computer games at least once a week. This development led many researchers, school leaders and teachers to the question in how far games can be used to engage young people and support their learning inside the classroom. These considerations have been supported by various studies, showing that computer games can enhance various cognitive skills such as the ability of concentration, stamina, tactical aptness, anticipatory thinking, orientation in virtual spaces, and deductive reasoning. Since then, few research projects have launched which examine digital game based learning (i.e. the learning with the help of computer games), both on a theoretical and empirical level. This study approaches the subject of digital game based learning in the EFL classroom from three different angles: Firstly, a scientific perspective will be adopted. The principles of the design and construction of games and game worlds will be examined. Secondly, the subject of the psychological effects of games on the player will be broached. Thirdly and as the main point, the didactic potential of computer games will be explored in detail. The author presents ways of integrating games into teaching units, and further, the abilities and competences that can be enhanced by the use of digital games. Moreover, particular challenges and problems will be identified that arise when the use of a digital game in class is planned.


    Format: PDF
    Kopierschutz: none
    Seitenzahl: 122
    Erscheinungsdatum: 01.02.2014
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9783954895687
    Verlag: Anchor Academic Publishing
    Größe: 1125 kBytes
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Computer Games in the EFL Classroom

Text Sample: Chapter 4.1, What are Game Studies?: Go easy on the reasons. You thought I would be too hard to define (gregory & the hawk). In a study on youth, games and learning it is stated that the \debate around the value of games and gaming has been to date overly polemic and surprisingly shallow' (Salen 2008). In many cases, it is the lack of a profound, science-based approach to games and the culture of gaming which lead to uninformed, polemic fearmongering. Unfortunately it is those texts which shape the public opinion of digital games, so it does not come as a surprise that games have a bad reputation in our society. To countervail this image, one has to take a closer look at how games are built and to learn about the creation of game worlds in order to see what makes them `tick', in order to reach \analytical appreciation and enhanced understanding' (Mäyrä 2008: 1) of games. I find it crucial to unveil the complexity and aesthetics that many contemporary digital games possess and thus to show that indeed many games are real \Kulturgüter' and not just \low culture trash' (Aarseth 2005: 7) {even when violence plays a considerable role. However, this can only happen if the basic principles of how digital games are created are explored. The knowledge (and capability of partial analysis) of these principles is adamant for developing a computer-specific media competence and literacy (\Medienkompetenz') (as will be specified in chapter 6.5). The basic principles can be allocated to particular perspectives, from which digital games are viewed and analyzed. Thus, the aim of this chapter is to present and explain these different perspectives which form the field of study that is called 'Game Studies'. This very young discipline, which (albeit having existed for several decades already) was officially termed in 2001 (with the publication of Game Studies { the international journal of computer game research { the first journal to scientifically approach the subject) is an interdisciplinary field of study in which scholars of literature, sociology, and computer sciences can explore and research various aspects of digital games from different perspectives: One of the key foci of game studies is analysis of games, which involves capacity to make meaningful distinctions within and among games, and between different factors related to playing them (Mäyra 2008: 17). Although still so young, game studies are continuously expanding in popularity as are their objects of study: digital games are a \significant cultural force, which [have] a prominent role in the lives particularly of those people who are living in industrialized countries' (Mäyrä 2008: 4). This reflects in game studies having \reached the point where it has become established both as a field of scientific enquiry and as a branch of knowledge formally taught at universities' (ibid: 4). Most research has been carried out on the subject of possible transfer and effects of digital games on players' behaviour { however, theoretical approaches to the games themselves (their basic characteristics, principles of creation, narration techniques, genre specifics, rule structures) have been scarce. Thus, game studies are still in the fledgling stages {the idea of scholars of various sciences working together and benefiting from each other's finding is yet a theoretical one; the reality looks different. In most cases, the field of game studies is split into different perspectives, each of which wants to comprehend and analyze games on their terms (see below). However, these partial perspectives are one-sided and fail to do justice to the complexity and diversity of today's digital game landscape. The application of merely one approach does not allow for a comprehensive analysis of a game. It is therefore desirable to apply various perspectives to games, as e. g. Kringiel (2009) has done in his dissertation. He disti

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