Games, language and literacy in L1 and L2: a systematic review

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskning

  • Thorkild Hanghøj, Aalborg Universitet
  • ,
  • Kristine Kabel
  • Signe Hannibal Jensen, Syddansk Universitet
  • ,
  • Mads-Peter Mosberg
  • ,
  • Catherine Beavis
Digital games form a key part of many children and young people’s everyday life. Moreover, there exist a number of claims on the potential of games for developing literacy and language (Gee, 2003). Based on the widespread interest in the learning potential of games, there have been an increasing number of empirical studies, which look closer at how digital games may be used within the context of L1 (e.g. Beavis et al., 2017; Hanghøj, 2017) and L2 (e.g. Peterson, 2013; Jensen, 2017). However, there is a lack of overview of the knowledge on the use of games - both within research on L1 and L2 as well as across the two research fields.

In this paper, we wish to present preliminary findings from a systematic review on the empirical research on games, language and literacy within L1 and L2 in primary and secondary school. Given the assumed learning potential of games in students’ everyday lives, the review also includes studies that are conducted outside school contexts but relate to or have implications for the curricular aims of L1 and L2. Preliminary findings suggest that digital games have different status within the two subjects. Thus, several studies have shown positive effects on playing commercial games outside school on children’s learning of English as a second language - e.g. by expanding their vocabulary or communicative competence. At the same time, there exist relatively few studies on the use of commercial games within L2. Instead, the L2 research tends to focus more on using learning games. By comparison, there seem to be less indications of positive effects between children’s gameplay outside school and their performance within L1 - e.g. in relation to PISA assessments of reading (Borgonovi, 2016). At the same time, there exist a growing number of studies on the use of commercial games within L1 contexts. However, only few studies explore the interrelations between children's out of school gameplay and L1.

These differences do not only reflect the different status of digital games and game types within the L1 and L2 curricula, but also reflect broader differences between research traditions surrounding L1 and L2. In this way, our review tries to establish a cross disciplinary dialogue between research on games, language and literacies within L1 and L2. In summary, the aim of the paper is to discuss and conceptualize the relationship between 1) games, language and literacy, and 2) the research fields of L1 and L2, especially in relation to different research methodologies within the two fields and their different conceptions of literacy.
Udgivelsesårjul. 2018
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2018
BegivenhedARLE Special Interest Group: Digital Technology and Literacy Education: Renewing priorities for research, policy and practice - Lesbos, Methoci, Grækenland
Varighed: 4 jul. 20188 jul. 2018


SeminarARLE Special Interest Group: Digital Technology and Literacy Education

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