Levi Giovanetto is a graduate student of Kurt Squire, studying games at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A child of the Nintendo Generation, Levi currently is looking at how games like Civilization can be used in the classroom. He also works at the Center for the Integration of Teaching and Learning’s Diversity Institute where he’s helped to create Reaching All Students: A Resource Book in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In addition to being an avid gamer, his past work has focused on math anxiety, theoretical statistics, and student government. He received his bachelor's degree with honors in psychology from Truman State University.
Apolyton University: The Higher Education of Gaming
Educators seeking to use game-based learning strategies have frequently bumped up against challenges in bringing games into classrooms as the social organization behind school communities is frequently at odds with those of school. Typical classrooms are build around the culture of the book; gaming cultures are built on what Starr (1996) and Turkle (1997) call cultures of simulation. This presentation uses cognitive ethnography techniques to examine the social mechanisms at work in a self-organizing community of learning called Apolyton University, which is an online University for Civilization players. We argue that such spaces function as communities of inquiry, as they arise from players' questions and concerns about the game. Drawing from game field notes, analyses of online talk, and interviews with participants, we argue that participation in this community moves players toward a design-level understanding of Civilization III. We end by suggesting what a model of game-based learning based on similar social principles might look like.