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Title:Critical play: an action research investigation
Author(s):Wu, Hong-An
Director of Research:Duncum, Paul; Denmead, Tyler
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Duncum, Paul
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hamilton, Kevin; Parsons, Michael J.; Patton, Ryan
Department / Program:Art & Design
Discipline:Art Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Critical play
Video games
Action research
Game-based art pedagogy
Abstract:Given the convergence of game consumption and production in recent years, the field of art education has theorized play as a learning mechanism and developed various ways to include games into educational settings. However, the cultural ideologies and practices within gaming cultures have not gone unchallenged, and the classroom application of these practices also has its problems. Without addressing these issues when appropriating and utilizing games, educators risk further indoctrinating and assimilating students as players into hegemonic structures. This study aimed to expand the concept of critical play developed by Flanagan (2009) for pedagogical purposes. Critical play as defined in this dissertation refers to when a player is able to engage with game as a complicated system related to the society at large and intentionally modify it based on political concerns, in game-based art pedagogy. Specifically, I used an action research approach to examine how to facilitate critical play of video games among youth in a library setting. I proposed a topology of critical play as the theoretical and curricular framework for this dissertation. This study found that the technological capabilities of the facilitator and participants, the moral developmental differences between the facilitator and participants, and the roles that the facilitator and participants played in the pedagogical exchanges were of particular significance to how to facilitate critical play. In addition, the processes of understanding, critiquing, and modifying in the topology of critical play each provided a significant function that when taken together allowed participants to play critically. Furthermore, I came to the conclusion that the development of critical play among youth was contingent upon an affinity group that focused on transgression as its shared endeavor. In sum, this study further complicated teaching criticality as articulated by Williamson (1981), Turnbull (1998), and Buckingham (2003) through the specific case of critical video games play.
Issue Date:2017-04-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Hong-An Wu
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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