THE PHENOMENOLOGICAL EXPLORATION OF USER-DESIGN IN GIFTED RURAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WHEN DESIGNING THEIR OWN GAME

Open Access
Author:
Almeida, Luis Camillo
Graduate Program:
Instructional Systems
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
April 03, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Alison Alene Carr Chellman, Committee Chair
  • Fred Michael Schied, Committee Member
  • Brian Smith, Committee Member
  • Mary Beth Rosson, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Constructionism
  • User-Design
  • Freire
  • Power
Abstract:
The purpose of this qualitative dissertation was to explore the lived experiences of five rural, gifted high school students when designing their own games in a high school classroom. This study provides real world accounts of students being user-designers. This study’s research questions were: What is it like for rural high school students to have the power to design their own game? How does the process of user-design in the cases explored diverge from or support Banathyan user-design? Is there any evidence that the adoption of an innovation is more likely to proceed smoothly as a result of engaging users in powerful ways in the design process? This dissertation employed qualitative methodology. I spent four months engaged with these students. My goal was to capture the lived experiences of the five pupils when doing user-design. Phenomenology was the method used in this dissertation. This mode of inquiry allowed me to capture the lived experiences of students as they learned though design. The data consisted of participant observation, in-depth interviews, and document analysis. I used the constant comparison data analysis technique to analyze the data. I followed the analysis method of moving from condensed meaning units into themes. I utilized Pages and Garage Band to assist me with organizing, coding, analyzing and interpreting the data. Thick description, identifying research bias, and member checks were used to establish trustworthiness. Five themes that emerged from this study: User-design is achieved through authentic empowerment and ownership, user-design is a fun experience, user-design is a participatory activity, user-design is a tool for problem solving, and user-design is challenging for students. The gifted students designed their own games with minimal assistance from the teacher.