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Effective citizenship education through mobile game based learning: The statecraft X curriculum
Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Games Based Learning (2012), University College Cork and Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland, 4 - 5 October 2012
Educating for effective citizenship remains a largely elusive goal in schools. All too often, schools only educate students about citizenship. This outcome does not translate into the dispositions and capacities for active citizenship widely sought in students’ post-school years. To address traditional weaknesses of citizenship education in schools, we developed and researched the Statecraft X curriculum in classrooms. Unlike learning about content related to citizenship, students learn governance and its relation to citizenship by enacting governorship, that is, by performing governance. Performance is enacted through role taking in immersive game play on a mobile device—an Apple iPhone—and through dialogic conversations in the classroom, where students reflect on the significations arising from game play. Teachers facilitate these conversations and help students to “play between worlds” by making pertinent connections between issues arising in the game world and in the real world. They encourage students to be reflexive in their learning, directing them to the actions that they took in playing the game and thinking through the ensuing consequences. In this paper, we report an implementation of the Statecraft X curriculum in a Social Studies class attended by 42 15-year-olds attending a government secondary school. At the conclusion of the three-week curricular program, students wrote an extended essay related to governance that served as the summative assessment. They were asked to identify key issues of personal concern and to suggest how the government should deal with the problems highlighted. The essays of the intervention class were compared with those of a control class comprising 40 students who were taught governance using traditional instruction. Essays were evaluated on the basis of four criteria: (1) multiple viewpoints, (2) solutions supported by evidence and argumentation, (3) disposition of active citizen, and (4) persuasiveness. The results indicate that students of the intervention class outperformed those of the control class on all four criteria. Our findings suggest that the Statecraft X curriculum has efficacy in achieving the desired curricular learning outcomes. We discuss some challenges that teachers needed to work through and to resolve in order to effectively appropriate the understandings, beliefs, and dispositions essential to enacting the curriculum successfully in the classroom.
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checked on Dec 11, 2018
checked on Dec 11, 2018