CALL OF DUTY FOR ADOLESCENT BOYS: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE EXPERIENCES WITHIN A GAMING CULTURE

Open Access
Author:
Engerman, Jason Alphonso
Graduate Program:
Learning, Design, and Technology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
March 16, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Alison Alene Carr-Chellman, Dissertation Advisor
  • Alison Alene Carr-Chellman, Committee Chair
  • Kyle Leonard Peck, Committee Member
  • Fred Michael Schied, Committee Member
  • Andrea H Tapia, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • adolescent learning
  • video games
  • playful learning
  • COTS
  • phenomenology
  • playcology
Abstract:
While there is plenty of controversy surrounding the assertion that boys struggle in our education systems and are disengaged, (Voyer & Voyer, 2014; Cleveland, 2011) there is sufficient evidence to merit further investigation. The current study builds on an ongoing three-year investigation on boys and commercial-off-the-shelf games that aligned findings to national standards as well as valuable 21st Century skills (Engerman & Carr-Chellman, 2014; Engerman, Mun, Yan, Carr-Chellman, 2015). Considering these positive impacts of gaming, the current study performed an in depth investigation of the interactions between the same boy population and one online game in Call of Duty (CoD). The central question this study sought to answer was: “How do boys perceive their gaming experiences within Call of Duty?” The ethnographic phenomenological design was interpretive and included a Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). The study accentuated sociocultural and historical engagements of development through CHAT (Engestrom, 1987, 2001) and was narrated through human activity systems. Among other approaches within the analysis, think aloud interviews served to gain insight into private speech and inner thought habits to unpack participant processing and thought. The motive-object of “Owning the Zone” represented the collective motive that drove the CoD Activity Network (CAN). Tensions were examined through the Expansive Learning Matrix (Engestrom, 2001) and revealed that learning outcomes may include communication skills, strategic thinking, identity formation and leadership development through teamwork. The main finding of this study revealed a (what I interpret to be) playcology through the CAN. The playcology may have expressed that play, in its many forms, may be a fundamental component of adolescent boy development as an order-making tool. The current study concludes that playcologies may give insight into unpacking adolescent boy development beyond sociotechnical spaces.