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Learning through Digital Game Design and Building in a Participatory Culture

An Enactivist Approach


Qing Li

This book discusses topics concerning digital game-based learning focusing on learning-by-game-building and Web 2.0. Grounded in the new theoretical perspective of enactivism, this book shows how such an approach can help students gain deep understanding of subjects such as mathematics and history, as well as undergraduate or graduate students’ learning of pedagogy and also adult driver’s learning of road safety rules. Written for undergraduate students in teacher education, experienced teachers, and graduate students, this book is an ideal text for courses related to technology integration and digital game-based learning. It is also beneficial for researchers, educators, parents, school administrators, game designers, and anyone who is interested in new ways of learning and digital games.


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Throughout this book, I reference projects that we have conducted to substantiate the points and ideas. By “we,” I mean work I conducted with colleagues to which K-12 students, preservice and in-service teachers, and graduate students have contributed. This is truly a collaborative effort and every participant deserves recognition. Although not possible to name everyone who contributed, I will try my best. First, this book would be impossible without the countless hours of the work produced by the participants. The graduate students and preservice teachers who were involved in my projects include students who took my game-based learning courses and other methods courses, in particular, Steve Martin, Chris Appleton, Shai Nathoo, Arkhadi Pustaka, Robert Louis, Yang Liu, Scott McEwen, Elise Vandermeiden, and Collette Lemieux. Second, many colleagues have supported this work in different ways. James Paul Gee, a wonderful mentor and supporter, has been instrumental in my work related to digital games. I am extremely grateful for his never- ending support, including writing the Foreword for this book. Henry Jenkins at the University of South California deserves special recognition because of his continued support. Several years ago when Henry was a professor at MIT, I spent part of my sabbatical year as a visiting scholar to work with Henry and his teams on his research projects. That experience of meeting and working with like-minded people, including Erin Reilly, Eric Klopfer and Philip Tan, has further inspired my interest and passion in game-based learning, in particular learning through game design and...

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