Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Teaching and Learning

Committee Chair

Kyle Miller

Committee Member

Rebecca Beucher


This qualitative study explored high school students’ engagement with a unit where video games and video game materials were incorporated into an English Language Arts classroom. Over several weeks, students engaged with video game content and composed their own video games using the free online platform, Scratch. The purpose of the study was to examine students’ learning during the unit, focusing on students’ products, individual interviews, and whole class and small group discussions. The research questions were: 1. What can be learned about secondary students' learning and literacy practices when video games as a text are incorporated into the secondary ELA classroom? 2. What discourses do secondary ELA students engage when deconstructing and constructing video games as a text within a literacy unit of study? a. How do secondary ELA students disrupt and/or reinforce power laden discourse? This study drew upon inductive qualitative research design (Creswell, 2015) and followed Fairclough’s (1995) methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. Data analysis yielded key findings. First, students transferred learning from traditional print text to video games to other forms of media that they engage with outside of the classroom. Second, students challenged dominant discourse when centered as thinkers in classroom discourse. The research findings provide insight into how students learn when they engage with video games as a text in the high school setting. The findings have implications for bridging students outside of the classroom practices with learning inside a classroom and provide thought on developing and incorporating critical literacy units that incorporate multiple and varying media and texts within classrooms.


Page Count