Literature  Review  

WHAT EFFECT WILL CROSS-CURRICULA GAMING HAVE ON BOYS’ ENGAGEMENT AND PERFORMANCE IN AN INTERDISCIPLINARY SCIENCE/GEOGRAPHY COURSE? Although there are seemingly many studies on boys’ learning there are very few that look at specific strategies that can be used. Reichert & Hawley (2010) have ventured in to this with their most recent study and one of the key things they recommend is that teacher become responsive to their students’ reactions and feedback and refine the way in which they are taught accordingly. Personal and professional development time to compare, demonstrate and reformulate teaching approaches are recommended as a priority. This reflection and engagement with the students and their voice can then inform practice and pedagogy. One of the areas of interest for boys learning is gaming. Gaming has become a contentious yet more prominent area of interest and research in a variety of disciplines in education. Gaming is an enormous industry worth approximately nine billion dollars a year and 94% of all computer games are people under the age of 18; 60% of them are male (Clark & Ernst, 2009). Gaming has been noted as a concept or tool for the future but the need to ensure they are used as proper pedagogical tools is more prevalent than ever in our technology-laden society. Educators need to harness this new and emerging area as a way to reach out to our students (Clark & Ernst, 2009). The use of educational gaming has the ability to actively involve students in their learning and this active learning can be key in a boy-centric environment. Through multiple intelligence tests within our classes, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence learn best through tactile learning experiences (Jackson et al., 2009). Past research has been done on skill acquisition and the enhancement of abilities in spatial perception, visual discernment, inductive logic, and cognitive development (Aguilera & Mendiz, 2003). Other studies have also shown in increase in achievement when using computer-assisted instruction (Vogel et al., 2006). Gee (2003) looked at what video games can teach us about learning and literacy but we can also look at another layer and that is motivation and engagement. Research has shown that gaming can also motivate the player, which brings a layer of emotional content on top of instructional content (Berger & Muller, 2009). There is little or no research looking at the link between boys’ learning and their engagement within a given subject area. Since there are very few research studies looking at the link between gaming and learning (Kiili, 2007), and tying in engagement, I have chosen to investigate the question: What effect will cross-curricula gaming have on boys’ engagement and performance in an interdisciplinary science/geography course?

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