Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-12-2018


This qualitative study utilized video games and virtual reality in an eighth-grade public middle school media literacy elective classroom in which the head researcher was also the official teacher for the students in the study. The nineteen students and their teacher used video games in small groups for five consecutive weeks. The teacher and nineteen students recorded data about their thoughts, experiences, and learning as they played in the classroom. Students responded to open-ended reader-response questions about their experiences after playing video games each day for forty-five minutes. Students reflected about their experiences in a thought journal. The teacher responded to all the students’ thought journals each day, and after the halfway point of the study, students responded to each other’s thought journals. Students also co-created additional reader-response questions for their peers to answer after the halfway point in the study. The teacher kept an observation log as a participant observer who sat in to play, listen, and talk with the small groups during the study. The teacher hosted five research meetings in class during the study, and students got a chance to help analyze and make sense of the data with the teacher. At the end of the study, the small groups were interviewed about their experiences. The study found that video games can act as literary vehicles for learning. When small groups responded to video games as literature using reader-response, they primarily took an aesthetic stance on their literary experiences.


media literacy, game-based learning, virtual reality, video games, reader-response theory, students as co-researchers

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Lucretia Pence

Second Committee Member

Dr. Karla Kingsley

Third Committee Member

Dr. Christopher Holden

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Donald Zancanella