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Virtual shooting vs. actual learning: examining university students’ ideas about video games as tools for learning history

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Video games are a popular area of research in education and many scholars are currently investigating the great potential of video games to engage and to teach students more effectively. Studies have long demonstrated that students perceive history as a dull subject. This study examines the potential of commercial video games as a potential tool to improve students’ engagement in history, by focusing on what historical content university students believe they learn and what interests they develop by playing a commercial-off-the-shelf First-Person Shooter video game set in World War 2. Data collected from 12 university students of varying backgrounds show that participants regard video games as a fun pastime, and dismissed them as a way of understanding the past. This appeared to be the case partly because participants were able to “read” features of the game that marked it as a commercial entertainment product, and they overestimated compromises between fun and historical accuracy in it’s game design.
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Copyright is held by the author.
The author granted permission for the file to be printed and for the text to be copied and pasted.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: O'Neill, Kevin
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etd6679_WFeenstra.pdf 3.37 MB

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