Cognition and Learning in Online Games for Adolescents
Constance Steinkuehler Squire

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Wisconsin-Madison

Primary Discipline

Despite dismissals as “torpid” and inviting “inert reception” in popular books and press outside of peer review, videogames (especially online games) have emerged as an important research topic in educational research; however, we have seen very little impact on the in-school performance of those who play. The goal of this project is to explore this contradiction by assessing the educational merit of games designed for and played by youth instead of adults (as typically studied) and by examining how games are situated in young people’s everyday lives. I propose to conduct a cognitive ethnography of the game Runescape, the most popular online game with children (ages 10-16) that would include longitudinal study of 8-12 gaming youth from local schools in order to assess the impact of gameplay on their day-to-day lives, social relationships, and school work. Data analysis would focus on assessing what youth learn through online gameplay, how that learning aligns or conflicts with educational standards, and how such games fit into the fabric of their everyday experience. Results from this work would help us better understand the impact of online games on the social and cognitive development of young players.
About Constance Steinkuehler Squire

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