Types of Talk around Video Games in a Classroom Setting

Christian Schmieder, Amanda Barany and Kurt Squire


The adventure game Citizen Science is a free, online, flash-based educational tool designed to support engagement and playful learning around science topics (Gaydos & Squire, 2012; Squire, Barnett, Grant & Higgenbotham, 2004). The game encourages players to take on the roles of both scientific researchers and environmental activists - practicing elements of scientific argumentation, collecting lake science data, conducting environmental exploration and discovery, and advocating to the virtual community on behalf of the lakes. As a game designed to reflect the real-world problems facing lakes and watersheds in Madison, Wisconsin and other temperate areas, the goal of the project is to understand how Citizen Science can serve as a “springboard” that inspires student interest in lake ecology content (Squire, 2004), and encourages players to connect in-game activity to real-world understanding and action (Gaydos, 2013).

Previous research on Citizen Science highlights the game’s capacity to support learning in classroom settings, and also discusses ways in which classroom environments can shape student experiences with the game and content (Gaydos, 2013). The following research focuses on interactions between educators and learners as an aspect of the learning experience when Citizen Science is integrated into a class curriculum.