Teachers, Play, and Narrative Sandboxes: A Collective Case Study of Teachers' Perceptions of Narrative-Based Educational Gameplay



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Through a collective case study, the researcher explored the perspectives of teachers who actively implemented narrative-based gameplay in their classrooms to various degrees and in various forms to understand how and why these teachers used gameplay including their perceptions regarding what kinds of game components were influential at motivating and engaging students to learn. This study drew on semi-structured interviews and an analysis of artifacts (e.g., lesson plans, journal entries, projects). The researcher described how each participant characterized narrative, educational gameplay, their motivation to implement gameplay into their classrooms, and their perceptions of which game components were most effective in motivating students to engage in the learning process. The researcher concluded with a discussion of the implications of their findings in the field of educational gameplay. Qualitative findings highlight teachers’ perceptions regarding how their personal histories influenced their implementation. Also, teachers indicated that role-play, collaboration, and choice are three components that lead to motivation and engagement. Lastly, teachers indicated that since narrative-based games are not implemented because they explicitly deliver educational content in a traditional way, paper-based assessments such as multiple-choice tests may not be appropriate for assessing learning.