Theoretical Framework & Research Questions

The literature included in my research study focuses on three overall themes about learning in virtual environments.  First, constructivist and social learning theories can and should guide game design and mechanics within virtual learning environments in order to support students to achieve desired learning outcomes.  Second, game design and mechanics determine how students construct knowledge in a virtual learning environment; knowledge is a general term that can indicate identity, meta-cognitive skills, personal and meaningful products of learning, experiments, new experiences, and a context or foundation for continued knowledge construction.  Third, game design and mechanics support meaningful, effective, and appropriate student interactions or dialogue; interactions or dialogue occurs between student-content, student-student, student-teacher, and student-environment.

The purpose of this research study, will be to examine constructivist and social learning game design and mechanics used by teachers in the Givercraft experience.  What teacher tools and strategies support students’ meaningful knowledge construction in MinecraftEdu?  How can teachers use tools and strategies within MinecraftEdu to monitor and moderate student behavior and interactions?

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