September’s Scholarly Critiques –
Questions to Consider When Writing a Scholarly Critique
1. How did you find this journal article, book chapter, or scholarly resource?
2. How is this resource related to your action research (generally) and research question(s) specifically?
3. What are, if applicable, the research questions pursued in this source?
- How, if at all, are the research questions relevant to your own action research?
5. What type of study design and research process is demonstrated?
- How, if at all, does the research design relate to your action research?
- If applicable, what type of statistical analyses were used? How might these methods be applicable to your action research?
- If applicable, what type of qualitative analyses were used? How might these methods be applicable to your action research?
- Do the results seem valid?
- What do any figures, graphs, and tables tell you about the study and its results?
- Are the conclusions drawn consistent with the study design and results?
- How might you mitigate similar confusion in your own research and writing?
Video Games in Education by Kurt Squire
I found this article on Google Scholar by searching for Games in Education. This one stuck out to me because I have always been intrigued by the idea of using games in the classroom. In my first course for this degree program four years ago I created a website based on Games in Education. Last semester I took the Games course. It is safe to say that I am quite invested in the idea of gaming in education.
Vail and I are doing our project this semester on Games in Education. We are interested to see how games can be used in the classroom most effectively. This paper was particularly interesting because it spoke about the power of video games on player’s emotions such as fear, power, aggression, wonder, and joy. It amazes me how a game can impact players so profoundly. This article gave specific examples of things that educational games should have in order to make them effective for engagement. These things were: clear goals that students find meaningful, multiple goal structures and scoring to give students feedback on their progress, multiple difficulty levels to adjust the game difficulty to learner skill, random elements of surprise, an emotionally appealing fantasy and metaphor that is related to game skills. All of these things will be important for us to examine in our research project.
The research questions in this article all involved video games. The author explored how video games impact engagement specifically. This is important because today’s kids have grown up with video games. They are used to the instant gratification of the games and expect that same emotion throughout their lives – including in their education.
The only thing that confused me about this article was that it seemed to address only older games. It would be useful to address new games that the current students that we have actually play. They may have played Pac-Man at one point but they certainly don’t play that every day. The article should address games such as World of Warcraft or Minecraft.
I would be eager to ask the author about other types of games instead of just video games. What about simulations, role playing games, and board games? I’d have to research how often students play these types of games in order to get an idea of how they might affect student engagement. It seems that students play games on the computer or on consoles more often than they would play board games. However, they might be able to play board games with friends or family. I can certainly see how the different game play environments could have an effect on engagement. For example, it is quite common for people to play games at parties. This keeps them engaged with the rest of the people at the party. This is a completely different type of engagement but still the same principles.
How video games could make our kids smarter and learning more engaging by Jay Mathews
I found this article by simply doing a Google search about kids and video games. At the time of my search my son was playing a game on the Nintendo Wii. I noticed that he was getting very good at problem solving by playing this game so I wanted to research a little bit more about it.
This article also relates to our research project this semester because it talks about engaging kids through gameplay. Vail and I are doing our research project about using games in the classroom. This specifically relates to engagement because one very good way to get kids to learn is to keep them engaged in the subject matter.
This article addresses games that are more educational in nature. They are quite straight forward about being a game about addition and subtraction, for example. This would only work for younger students who aren’t so attuned to educational games versus fun games. We are looking at researching educational games versus fun games in our research project.
This article confused me at first because it starts out with the author talking about how he doesn’t play video games and never has. I thought that this person had no idea what he was talking about because he hadn’t experienced games in learning first hand. However though the article he convinced me that he really did know what he was talking about because he showed how he changed his own view about games in learning. It was interesting to see how he started out not liking games at all but ended up seeing how they could be useful in his grandson’s life. Hopefully us gamifiers can get more converts like this one.
I would be eager to ask the author if he has started playing any games since writing this article. He seemed like he could get on board with the merits of playing games so I would be curious to see if he had. It would also be interesting to see if he played games with his grandson or even encouraged his grandson to play certain games after writing this article.
Children’s Motivations for Video Game Play in the Context of Normal Development by Cheryl K. Olson
I found this article by searching for games to teach babies scholarly articles. I originally wanted an article about games that we play with babies and how that can affect the children as they grow up. I stumbled across this one and I think it is equally important.
This article directly relates to our research project this semester because we are studying how games can effect motivation in the classroom. At the core of this study is finding out what motivates students, both to learn and to play games. If we can motivate them with games, we can motivate them to be more engaged in the classroom too. It was interesting to see the bar graph of why the students played video games. The number one response was that “it’s just fun.” That means that we need to make other activities just plain fun and the students will be more excited about doing them. I also thought it was interesting that boys were much more motivated by games than girls were. This isn’t something we’ve addressed in our research project but it might be something worth looking at.
The data was collected by giving surveys to over 1200 7th and 8th grade students. The students responded to 17 possible motivations for playing electronic video games on a 4 point scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. A write in option was included but was rarely used. This seems like a good way to go about gathering evidence because the students were able to answer quickly and easily. Students of this age usually have no investment in writing out answers so if you provide an easy way for them to answer you’ll probably get better responses. We will need to keep this in mind when we do our surveys.
The results of the study are best outlined in the bar graph within the article. Most of the students said that the played video games because they are fun. It is also interesting to note that the only category where girls answered more than boys were when they are bored. It seems that girls aren’t as motivated to play video games. Girls were much less likely to play video games because they involved guns or other weapons. The results do seem valid. It makes sense that boys like guns more than girls and that boys are more likely to play games in general.
I would be eager to ask the study taker about parents playing games with their kids. The article mentions that 54.8% never play video games with their parents and 23.9% rarely do. The article mentions that this information is from a 2004 study though. I would be eager to find out what the numbers are today on this. I feel like I play video games with my son quite often. There have been quite a few family based games recently that also might impact how often parents play video games with their kids.
The Benefits of Playing Video Games by Isabela Granic, Adam Lobel, and Rutger C.M.E. Engels
I found this article by searching for video games scholarly articles. I wanted to see what appeared when I didn’t specifically state that the article had to be about education. I chose this one because most articles talk about the negatives of video games but this one was very forthright that it was about the positives.
This article is related to our research because we are looking at how video games can motivate students. We wouldn’t want to have them play video games and it be a negative experience. Therefore, we should look at the benefits for them to play these games.
This article looked at the benefits of playing video games in four main domains: cognitive (e.g. attention), motivational (e.g., resilience in the face of failure), emotional (e.g., mood management), and social (e.g., prosocial behavior). For cognitive the article states, “Compared to
control participants, those in the shooter video game condition show faster and more accurate attention allocation, higher spatial resolution in visual processing, and enhanced mental rotation abilities.”
I was confused about why this article jumped into the mental health intervention topics that it did. I didn’t see the connection to that at first. It seems that the authors are using video games to treat depression and other mental health issues instead of using games to teach. This is intriguing because I’ve only encountered articles about video games and education since I’m in the education field. It would be interesting to see if medical professionals have researched the effects of video games on the psyche and how video games could be beneficial in this way too.
I would ask the authors about the mental health benefits of video games from a medical standpoint. I would be curious to see if there are mental health facilities that use games to treat any conditions related to mental health. It seems to me that games could certainly be used to treat depression if they were created for this.