Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Impact of Computer Gameplay on Student Learning Utilizing "Civilization IV: Colonization" with High School Students in a United States History Class
by Probert, Jeffrey Allan, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2013, 227; 3586265
Abstract (Summary)

This action research study investigated the effectiveness and impact of instructional uses of computer gaming on student comprehension of major themes and concepts in United States history. A concurrent embedded experimental mixed method design (Creswell, 2009; Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007; Greene & Caracelli, 1997) was used to determine what impact gameplay has upon student learning as well as student perceptions of the gaming experience upon their learning using Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization in an eleventh grade high school United States History class. This study addressed key issues concerning computer gameplay in an educational setting, asking what impact does computer gameplay have on student understanding and academic performance, and what impact does social interaction surrounding computer gameplay have upon student understanding of content. The quantitative phase of this study focused on the relationship between computer games and academic performance. The qualitative phase of the study focused on student understanding and comprehension of historical content, perceptions of computer gameplay and the social interaction surrounding gameplay.

Students were randomly assigned to one of two classes: one class engaged in gameplay utilizing Civilization IV: Colonization and served as the experimental group, the other class engaged in traditional research and served as the control group. Quantitative data was collected from a pretest administered at the beginning of the semester as well as a posttest administered at the end of the semester. Additional quantitative data was collected from term project presentation grades from both groups at the end of the semester. Scores from the pretest/posttest and student presentations were analyzed to determine if there was a significant difference in learning between the two groups.

Qualitative data was collected at multiple points throughout the study from the experimental group utilizing observation, teacher-researcher reflections, individual interviews, focus group interview, and student data sheets to explore student understanding of the exploration and colonization of North America as well as perceptions of the gaming experience. The qualitative data was analyzed to inform and better understand the impact of computer gaming on student learning.

The findings of this study indicated students who engaged in gameplay with Civilization IV: Colonization scored significantly higher on the postest and presentation scores as well as developed a deeper understanding of major themes, concepts and content in United States History than students who conducted traditional research. The findings of this study also supported and built upon previous research concerning computer game-based learning, specifically within social studies education, as well as addressed a specific void in the research – what impact does computer game-based learning have upon student academic performance?

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lee, John K.
School: North Carolina State University
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 75/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Secondary education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Action research, Computer gaming, Simulation games, Social studies, Technology
Publication Number: 3586265
ISBN: 9781303800276
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