Serious Play : Literacy, Learning and Digital Games book cover
1st Edition

Serious Play
Literacy, Learning and Digital Games

ISBN 9781138689411
Published May 12, 2017 by Routledge
250 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Serious Play is a comprehensive account of the possibilities and challenges of teaching and learning with digital games in primary and secondary schools. Based on an original research project, the book explores digital games’ capacity to engage and challenge, present complex representations and experiences, foster collaborative and deep learning and enable curricula that connect with young people today. These exciting approaches illuminate the role of context in gameplay as well as the links between digital culture, gameplay and identity in learners’ lives, and are applicable to research and practice at the leading edge of curriculum and literacy development.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface to the book

Theme 1 preface: Student approaches to games-based learning

  1. Serious Play: Literacy, learning, and digital games
  2. Catherine Beavis

  3. "A game isn’t a game without interaction": Students’ thoughts about the use of digital games in school
  4. Catherine Beavis, Roberta Thompson, and Sandy Muspratt

  5. Impassioned learning and Minecraft
  6. Michael Dezuanni and Joanne O’Mara

    Theme 2 preface: Changing game-play for the classroom context

  7. Negotiating pedagogical transformation and identity performance through gameplay in Statecraft X
  8. Roberta Thompson, Catherine Beavis, and Jason Zagami

  9. Curating the curriculum with digital games
  10. Michael Dezuanni and Jason Zagami

    Theme 3 preface: Teachers’ work and games-based pedagogies

  11. The non-gamer teacher, the quiz & pop teacher, and the Kinect teacher
  12. Sarah Prestridge

  13. Narratives come to life through coding: Digital game-making as Language and Literacy curriculum
  14. Joanne O’Mara

    Theme 4 preface: Digital literacies in the wild—multimodality, materiality and embodiment

  15. Mining the Cli-Fi world: Renegotiating the curriculum using Minecraft
  16. Joanne O’Mara and Kynan Robinson

  17. Games as text and games as action: English, literacy and digital games
  18. Catherine Beavis, Sarah Prestridge, and Joanne O’Mara

  19. Material and discursive learning with Minecraft and Lego
  20. Michael Dezuanni

    Theme 5 preface: Assessment, digital games and teachers as creative professionals

  21. Serious outcomes from Serious Play: Teachers’ beliefs about assessment of games based learning in schools
  22. Leonie Rowan and Catherine Beavis

  23. Playing, making and analysing games: Cases of assessment and Serious Play
  24. Leonie Rowan

  25. Quests, achievements and experience points: Opportunities to level up through school-based Serious Play

Leonie Rowan and Sarah Prestridge

Post Script

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Catherine Beavis is Professor of Education in the Faculty of Education and the Arts at Deakin University, Australia, and program leader for the Curriculum, Assessment, Pedagogy and Digital Learning program in REDI - Research for Educational Impact: Deakin University's Strategic Research Centre for research in Education.

Michael Dezuanni is Associate Professor in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

Joanne O’Mara is Associate Professor of Education in the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University, Australia.


"Digital games, heretofore a rebellious out-of-school force for collaborative learning and participatory culture, have made their way to the often staid realms of formal schooling. Serious Play is an impressive, coherent, and timely report from the frontlines of this odd coupling so pregnant with perils and possibilities."

—James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies and Regents' Professor, Arizona State University, USA

"This important study makes a major contribution to research and debate about the use of digital games in schools. Addressing a wide range of questions, from game-based literacies to coding narrative in Scratch and creativity with Minecraft, it nevertheless integrates a landscape which has long been fragmented and incoherent in educational debates. A welcome feature of the book is that its authoritative argument about games and learning rests on rich empirical research, respectful collaboration with teachers and students, and an enviable track record in this field of study."

—Andrew Burn, Professor of English, Media and Drama, University College London, UK

"Serious Play details the results of a rich sociocultural investigation into the use of digital games in classrooms. Here, we see three leading education scholars tackle the contingency and complexity of technology, representation, identity, literacy, and play in the classroom—and how it connects to contemporary learning and teaching. A nice antidote to the simplifications often made, on both sides, as to the effects of games on learning."

—Constance Steinkuehler, Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, USA

"Games are serious business. Watch anyone play a digital game and you soon realize that games are varied, draw on knowledge and skill, and are deeply motivating. Filled with gaming stories across varied contexts, Serious Play humanizes game play in consequential ways. Beavis, Dezuanni, and O’Mara offer readers a much-needed collection for contemplating how we see, feel, and live through games and the tremendous potential they have for remaking literacy research and practice."

—Jennifer Rowsell, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Multiliteracies in the Department of Teacher Education at Brock University, Canada

"Drawing on data from the project of the same name, Serious Play provides fascinating insights into the opportunities and challenges of using digital games in the classroom. Scholarly and accessible, this is an important and authoritative volume that speaks to the concerns of the wider educational community. Driven by the hard work of teacher participants, Serious Play is important reading for all who are concerned with developing a relevant, contemporary curriculum."

—Guy Merchant, Professor of Literacy in Education in the Sheffield Institute of Education at Sheffield Hallam University, UK

"This is a refreshing, in-depth look at game-based learning that puts teachers and students at the center of the field of study, while making seamless connections to theories of learning, gaming, consumption, and identity. The book moves well beyond questions about efficacy of games in relation to learning and addresses deeper questions about pedagogy and student identities that are highly relevant to educators and researchers today."

—Rebekah Willett, Associate Professor of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA