Thursday, June 12 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Affinity Spaces

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Discussant:  Elisabeth Gee

“About as Educational as Minecraft Can Get”: Youth Framings of Games and Learning in an Affinity Space

Sean Duncan, Joey Huang
As part of a larger study investigating teacher, parent, and youth interactions regarding game-based learning, we focused on exchanges between teachers and students around the game Minecraft. Drawing text from a popular online affinity space for Minecraft, Reddit's /r/minecraft subreddit, we performed a detailed big-D Discourse analysis (Gee, 2010) on one self-professed youth's instructional model for implementing Minecraft in a classroom. The analysis reveals biases toward freeform play and using games as platforms rather than as directed instructional tools in schooling environments, further illustrating a potential gap between teacher goals and expectations of digitally-engaged youth regarding games for learning. 

Construction and community: Investigating interaction in a Minecraft affinity space
Anthony Pellicone, June Ahn
Traditionally situated learning has been understood in terms of communities of practice, where membership in a community helps individuals develop knowledge in a specific domain. However, the framework of affinity spaces has been developed to account for the anonymous nature of learning which occurs in online environments. This paper examines the conflicts and intersections of these two different theoretical frameworks for considering the learning environments which form in knowledge sharing around digital games. This paper combines both discourse analysis and social network analysis to understand and describe an online environment dedicated to Minecraft. We find that this particular environment is an example of an affinity space. However, by examining the unstated assumptions found within the discourse of the space we find that participants in this space often bring with them the contours of an assumed culture which exists outside of the structural bounds of the space.

On the Fields of Justice: The Emergence of Teamwork in League of Legends
Christian de Luna
In today’s working world, no one person can accomplish everything by him or herself. Collaborative skills are in high demand by employers, and educators in recent years have been researching ways to foster such collaborative skills in students. Some researchers have turned to online game environments as potential training grounds for leadership and training skills development. This study investigates the emergence of teamwork, expert-novice interaction, and cross-cultural communication in Riot Games’ League of Legends, a multi-player online battle arena, and suggests how those observations may help inform the development of online game environments intended to promote teamwork skills.

avatar for June Ahn

June Ahn

Assistant Proessor, University of Maryland, College Park
avatar for Sean Duncan

Sean Duncan

Assistant Professor, Indiana University
avatar for Joey Huang

Joey Huang

Indiana University Bloomington
I am a doctoral student in Indiana University’s Learning Sciences program. My research interests include affinity spaces, informal learning, and learning through social media. In particular, I am interested in developing creative and innovative learning environments. I recently... Read More →
avatar for Christian de Luna

Christian de Luna

Doctoral Student, Teachers College, Columbia University
An aspiring instructional game designer earning a Doctorate in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. My research focuses on conveying abstract concepts (i.e., depression and relativity) through game-based learning environments. I have a particular interest in designing... Read More →
avatar for Anthony J. Pellicone

Anthony J. Pellicone

Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Maryland - College Park

Thursday June 12, 2014 4:00pm - 5:00pm CDT
Old Madison

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