Videogame literacies: An evolving project

Year: 2016

Author: Bacalja, Alexander, Mclean Davies, Larissa

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The prominent place of digital devices and electronic forms of communication has prompted subject-English educators to reconsider what texts are studied in classrooms and what should constitute literacy in a twenty-first century world. Videogames are one form of text, typical of this technological age, which have become the focus of much attention, especially in terms of their supposed learning affordances.This paper draws on a case study centred in a co-educational Year 10 subject-English Classroom in Melbourne. A five-week unit of work involving the study and play of videogames provided the context for the collection of data in response to research questions associated with textual practice, and the pedagogical implications of working with electronic texts in this way.The study found that the gaming capital students brought with them was a unique form of cultural capital, with its own metalanguage and practices, best understood within social contexts, and which impacted significantly on their ability to participate in classroom learning. In addition, the introduction of videogames resulted in a space characterised by collaborative and social interactions between students, where talk fostered interactions centred on supportive student-centred problem-solving behaviour. Informal learning became common as master and apprentice relationships developed whereby more confident and experienced gamers supported struggling students in the classroom,As classroom teachers increasingly explore ways to engage with the everyday textual life-worlds of their students, the findings of this study contribute to a growing body of research seeking to understand what place, if any, videogames-as-text should have within literacy learning contexts.