School often has low engagement and frustrating or absent options for the kind of agency the Federal Government's 2016 National Education Technology Plan now recommends educators include in their curriculum. Video games offer opportunities for people to participate in critical problem solving through creative projects. From balancing character statistics, to collaborating with other players, to making ethical and tactical decisions that can change the outcome of the story, successful games draw on the player's interest in learning and analyzing numbers, locations, visual clues, narrative elements, people, and more. One useful example may be found in visual novels (VNs), a medium that pulls from narrative structures found in Choose Your Own Adventure Novels. These interactive narratives are a largely untapped resource (for educational uses) of guided critical thinking. My ongoing research explores the efficacy of implementing VNs into digital pedagogies to encourage the development of "creatigational skills." This term is a response to the problematic wording already in use for skills such as creative thinking and collaborative abilities, skills encouraged by and developed through interactive activities, such as gaming and many of the arts. Current terminology labels them "soft" or "non-cognitive" skills, which are clear misnomers that passively diminish the importance of creative thought. This research explores how gaming, specifically so-called "narrative" gaming, of which VNs are one example, might contribute to the development of creatigational skills in students. Through the creation of VNs for this study, I examine both the ability of this genre to engage and encourage imaginative thought, as well as the practicality of designing and developing VNs for classroom use.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Texts and Technology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Pynn, Irene L., "School Has a Bad Storyline: Gamification in Educational Environments" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5652.