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Monday, June 13, 2005

MMORPGs as Constructivist Learning Environments: A Proposed Abstract for a Presentation

I expect that as my research becomes more focused on this topic, so will my blog posts. I will try to temper this with more from work if time permits.

In the meantime...

The following was written in response to a request for application the faculty chair of the Ph.D. in Education program at Walden University sent out to solicit students to speak about their research at the residency this summer. It felt very good to throw together this proposal tonight, so I thought I'd share it here. If nothing else, those who are interested might find it. ;)



Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games show a great deal of potential as constructivist learning environments; they provide context for learning, opportunities for inquiry, and frameworks for cooperative learning. There is little doubt that a good deal of incidental learning is taking place in these games, but the benefits, drawbacks, and issues surrounding their use for intentional learning in formal education are not well understood.

Mark Wagner is currently working toward completing KAM II: Human Development, but has also explored this topic in previous coursework. In EDUC-8437 -  DATA ANAL. IN ED RESEARCH he studied teacher perceptions of multiplayer online role-playing games. In EDUC-8813 -  MANAGEMENT OF TECH FOR EDUC he wrote about the management issues related to use of the games in formal education. For KAM II, he is investigating the relationship between constructivist theories of cognitive development and such digital game-based learning. For his dissertation, he plans a Delphi study to explore the potential applications of multiplayer online role playing games in education.

Mark's research is built upon the seminal theories of Jean Piaget, the influential work of Piaget's student Seymour Papert, and the twenty-first century work of educational technologists such as David H. Jonassen. He has also tapped into the contemporary publications of digital game-based learning enthusiasts such as Marc Prensky, James Paul Gee, and Clark Aldrich. In addition, he has become familiar with the work of other graduate students in the field, such as Nick Yee, Constance Steinkuehler, Kurt Squire, and those at the MIT Comparative Media Studies Department working on the educationarcade.org project.

This brief presentation will begin by establishing the broad themes of this research and how they might be applied in formal education. This will be followed by an illustration of how Walden coursework and the KAM writing process allowed Mark to explore and build upon these themes.

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