Ben DeVane is a student of Kurt Squire. He's interested in how culture and cultural representations mediate students' understanding in digital game-based learning environments. Together with Kurt, Levi, and Shree, he's working at an after-school program where kids play Civilization 3 to learn about history, culture, economics, and geography from a materialist perspective. He and Kurt are also looking at how playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas affects students' perceptions of race, culture, and violence.
Ben got his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech, majoring in computer science with minors in literature and mathematics. A native of southeast Tennessee, Ben has a history of hollerin' and hell-raisin'
Videogames as Designed Experiences
Over the past few years, an increasing number of educators have turned their attention to video games noting the strong learning principles that exist in successful video games and the contrasts between students' engagement in games and in schooling. Models of game-based learning environments have begun to emerge, but thusfar, we have lacked a coherent theoretical underpinning for how they work. This talk provides both a theoretical model for the design of game-based learning environments and a theoretical model for the design and development of game-based learning environments. This presentation ties together naturalistic studies of games and gaming cultures with examples of games designed for learning that span across commercially available games, research-developed games, and emerging prototypes. This model argues for the design of game-based learning environments that emphasize trajectories of participation for players from novice users of systems, to designers, and eventually, to proactive participants in (aspects of) society.