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Impassioned learning and Minecraft
chapterposted on 2017-05-08, 00:00 authored by M Dezuanni, Joanne O'MaraJoanne O'Mara
This chapter explores the popular game Minecraft (Mojang 2011) as a location of ‘impassioned learning’ both in and out of school. We argue that impassioned learning occurs when individuals are motivated through a deep interest-driven desire to learn new knowledge and skills within fan culture associated with digital gameplay. Jenkins (1992/2013 & 2006) argues fandom involves individuals in significantly meaningful relationships with popular culture that often lead to intense engagement with the fictional worlds built for narrative engagement and gameplay and the development of communities of practice. Gee (2003) shows how successful digital games require players to intensely engage with knowledge and that this often leads to the formation of affinity groups in which deep knowledge is created and shared. Through their concept of ‘connected learning’, Ito et al. (2013) argue in favour of learning that is socially embedded and interest driven and that this occurs when ‘a young person is able to pursue a personal interest or passion with the support of friends and caring adults’ (p. 4). They suggest this form of learning can be linked to academic achievement, career success or civic engagement. By building on these concepts of fan participation, affinity group sharing and connected learning we argue meaningful and impassioned learning occurs in young people’s personal lives in ways that can be harnessed within formal education settings.