Computers, Video Games, and Literacy: What Do Girls Think?

By Mackereth, Mathew; Anderson, Jonathan | Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, October 2000 | Go to article overview

Computers, Video Games, and Literacy: What Do Girls Think?


Mackereth, Mathew, Anderson, Jonathan, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy


Introduction

Compared with students of any past era, students in today's schools are members of a globalised, post-modern society that gives them different frameworks by which to interpret and navigate the world. Their views both of themselves and of their world are often influenced by their interactions with varying forms of electronic media. As well, the forms of communication today require students to use tools that demand different skills and approaches from those used by their predecessors. As a result, the very nature of literacy has changed, and to reflect these changes new terms have been proposed such as `the new literacy' (Anderson 1993) and `digital literacy' (Gilster 1997), among others.

In the mid-eighties, Turkle (1984, p. 9) observed that for many children `the first time they stand in front of a computer they can control is when they play their first video game'. A decade or so later, Kress (1996) argued for a radical re-examination of the early school curriculum on the grounds that:

   Young people, who may be spending long periods of time with electronic
   games, developing high levels of analytic skills and muscular coordination
   quite unlike those of writing, are not going to leave these at the school
   gate (Kress 1996, p. 193).

The analytic and motor skills referred to by Kress (1996) help form the basis for computer literacy skills required of students as they progress through school. Among the different research questions that arise are whether girls, beyond the confines of the classroom, enjoy equal access and use information technology as much as boys, and whether they regard such technology differently from boys. The opportunity for research into this field is great, for there is little Australian data to provide answers to such questions (Durkin 1995). Hence, the primary purpose of this article is to examine what girls think of video games as an initial step in developing a picture of students' exposure to electronic media prior to school.

Before reporting on girls' perceptions of video games, a brief examination is made: first, of the stimulus for change in schools; second, of the links between computers, video games and literacy; and, third, whether there are gender differences with respect to computer-based technologies. Following this, a school-based study of students' perceptions of video games is reported. The article concludes with a consideration of implications for practice.

Stimulus for change in schools

Increasing educational challenges, influenced by cultural, sociological and economic changes in our society on both a global and a local level, require a re-evaluation and an attempt to reconstruct the concept of schooling for a new millennium. One catalyst for much of this change has been the advancement of information technology, since the electronic media has had such a dominant influence on our culture during the last twenty years.

New forms of communication such as electronic mail and the World Wide Web are increasingly becoming important tools by which many children interact with others, and frame themselves and their world. Most mainstream schools continue to give priority to the acquisition of more and more sophisticated personal computers in a rush to produce students who are `computer literate'. In defining what `computer literate' may mean in a future educational context, we must evaluate the nature of the media, the new literacy, and the cognitive structures and skills that students now bring with them when they come to school.

Links between computers, video games and literacy

Increasingly, researchers are suggesting that students in our schools differ cognitively and in their attitudes from students of the past (Green & Bigum 1993). Immersed in a world of computers, video games and virtual reality that requires new methods of encoding and decoding texts, it is plainly inadequate, according to Beare and Slaughter (1994), to educate students as though the past and present patterns of living and thinking are applicable to future cultural contexts. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Computers, Video Games, and Literacy: What Do Girls Think?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.