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Leveling Up Teaching and Learning Through Video Game Construction Open Access


Other title
Digital learners
Educational technology
Video game construction
Maker Spaces
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Salerno, Kandise Michelle
Supervisor and department
Branch, Jennifer (Elementary Education)
Examining committee member and department
Mackey, Margaret (School of Library and Information Studies)
Carbonaro, Mike (Educational Psychology)
Boechler, Patricia (Educational Pyschology)
Jenson, Jennifer (Pedagogy and Technology - York University)
Department of Elementary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Video game construction plays an important role for students and teachers. The experience of constructing a video game aligns with students’ out-of-school experiences while connecting with the in-school experience of learning content. This qualitative study examined 4 upper elementary teachers, 11 upper elementary students, and 1 principal regarding how they experienced video game construction in the classroom. The following questions guided the study: (1) What pedagogical approaches may upper elementary content-area teachers use to integrate game construction into teaching and learning? (2) How may upper elementary content-area teachers experience student-based game construction with their students? (3) How may students experience video game construction in a content-area classroom? Using constructionism as the theoretical framework, this study sought to understand the kinds of experiences both teachers and students encountered when constructing video games in the classroom, and the externalized expectations that derived from collaborating with and through the technology and with others. The data collection tools I used were direct observations, interviews with the students, teachers, and principal, and artifacts. Audio recordings of the interviews were transcribed, the transcriptions and field notes of the students’ and teachers’ artifacts were connected with the interviews, and themes were identified. For the teachers the themes that were constructed include teacher pedagogy, collaboration, planning, writing and gaming, time, and assessment. For the students the themes that were constructed include problem solving, use of video game construction technology, playing, planning and writing, and student collaboration. The insights gained from this study have the potential to provide valuable insights for teachers, principals, technology coaches, consultants, policy makers, and researchers interested in creating meaningful connections between the elementary curriculum and the classroom experience with video game construction technologies, while also meeting the constructionist needs of digital learners. Continued exploration of themes such as assessment and teacher pedagogy will be crucial to advance our understanding of how video game construction can be experienced in the classroom.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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