Deakin University

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Online and internet-based technologies: gaming

posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Catherine BeavisCatherine Beavis
There are high expectations of the educational value of online games and immersive, virtual worlds. Digital games, if used for educational purposes, it is argued, have the capacity to transform learning, engage disenchanted students, address major differences in experience and orientation in out-of-school and in-school contexts, teach twenty-first-century literacies and prepare learners to become tech savvy, critical and agential participants – ‘knowledge workers’ (Gee et al., 1996) – in a technologically saturated world. As governments and other institutions seek to respond to rapid and massive technological change, the use of games-based learning via online and mobile Internet-based technologies is seen as providing much potential for innovative, effective and accessible contemporary teaching and learning. While there is considerable enthusiasm for the use of games to support learning, however, research focusing on these areas is fragmented and provides a more mixed picture of their use.

Games studies as an interdisciplinary field is informed by quite different research traditions and trajectories, each with its own epistemological framework and assumptions. In this chapter, the focus is on games and learning as they relate to formal educational contexts, particularly schools. The chapter begins with an overview of some of the key issues and assumptions related to the use of online games for educational purposes. This is followed by a discussion of four major disciplinary orientations towards games: perspectives and approaches drawn from humanities and social science; explorations of literacy and media production from media and cultural studies; the study of games themselves within the formally designated, eponymous area of games studies; and technical and educational approaches based in the fields of e-learning and instructional design. This section concludes with an extended discussion of the use of Second Life, which canvasses the main approaches to its use, and goes on to provide a detailed account of the use of Second Life to foster argumentative knowledge construction in Singapore secondary schools (Jamaludin et al., 2009). This is followed by an account of ongoing tensions between research traditions and a discussion of issues for further development and insights for the future. The chapter concludes with a summary of key points and suggestions for further reading in the games and learning area.


Title of book

SAGE handbook of digital technology research

Chapter number



412 - 426


Sage Publications

Place of publication

London, Eng.





Publication classification

B1.1 Book chapter

Copyright notice

2013, Catherine Beavis




S Price, C Jewitt, B Brown

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