Checklist for Novice Education Gaming Researchers

EverQuestII Paladin character is a human-like female puma in armor at home near Frostfang Sea

This is a cursory list of important concepts and items to consider when preparing to conduct educational research that involves the use of videogames.

  • Use media selection criteria (e.g., Chapelle’s 2001 computer-assisted language learning media criteria or 2005 revised version)
  • Determine reading level of videogame text by analyzing chat logs with the Flesch-Kincaid readability index. Make sure participants’ reading levels are within 2 grade levels of index.
  • Use vocabulary concordancer (e.g., Range software) to obtain frequently occurring words from chat log texts for assessment.
  • Learn commands pertinent to research analysis to capture chat logs (e.g., /log) and/or images (e.g., print screen) to computer station public folder.
  • Determine participants’ gaming literacy skills and complexity of game.
  • Determine participants’ propensity for pathological gaming behavior: low social competence, high impulsivity, and excessive gameplay (i.e., 30 hours) (Gentile, et al., 2011).
  • Determine participants’ perceived relevance of gaming as a learning tool.
  • Provide videogame tutorial and ongoing support.
  • Provide explicit instruction on the benefits of strategies used to enhance learning.
  • Consider participants’ preferences for gaming session location, time, and features.
  • Consider Reese’s (2010) Flowometer to determine gamers’ self-perception of flow and other mental states of engagement to achieve optimal learning condition (i.e., advanced skill use during challenging gaming tasks).
  • Provide warning of photosensitivity to persons with epilepsy (Daybreak Games, 2016).

This list was shared during a gaming panel at the SITE 2017 conference in Austin, TX. Here’s the citation if you would like to reference it:

Willis, J., Greenhalgh, S., Nadolny, L., Liu, S., Aldemir, T., Rogers, S., Trevathan, M., Hopper, S. & Oliver, W. (2017). Exploring the Rules of the Game: Games in the Classroom, Game-Based Learning, Gamification, and Simulations. In Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2017 (pp. 475-480). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

What advice would you add?


Chapelle, C. A. (2001). Computer applications in second language acquisition: Foundations for teaching, testing, and research. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Daybreak Games [Website]. (2016). Photosensitive warning. Retrieved from

Gentile, D., Hyekyung, C., Liau, A., Sim, T., & Li, D. (2011). Pathological video game use among youths: A two-year longitudinal study. Pediatrics, 127(2). doi:10.1542/peds.2010-1353

Range [Software application]. (2016). Retrieved from

Reese, D. D. (2010).  Introducing Flowometer: A CyGaMEs assessment suite tool. In R. Van Eck (Ed.), Gaming and cognition: Theories and practice from the learning science. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

Sample Integration of Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction for Workshop

Photo of authur with stars, leaves, and vines over image.
I used Pixlr to edit and manipulate my photo.

Pixlr Tech Teaser (15 min)
This instructional sequence is based on Gagné’s (1985) nine events of instruction. The internal processes for each event are based on the work of Gagné and Driscoll (1988).

Prep: Download Pixlr software to desktop. Open picture editor. Preload folder with images for practice. Locate some great images edited with the software to illustrate as examples.

Software constraints:
• Not compatible with Mozilla Firefox; Use Google Chrome or Internet Explorer instead;
• Advance level Editor will not save as an image file. It will download as an odd file type. You’ll be able to see the icon. Simply rename it as a .jpg or .png; and
• Limited text manipulation of font. For example, you can’t make font bold or italicized. To enlarge the text,  manipulate the text box size.

1. Gain Attention: Show some amazing images that you created with Pixlr for a class. (Internal process: reception)
2. State Objective: Use Pixlr to modify or enhance images for course content to add visual imagery, cues, or a personal touch to your online courses.  (Internal process: expectancy)
3. Stimulate recall of prior learning: Ask if they have ever worked with Pixlr, Picasa, Photoshop, or Gimp? Let them share their experience with these photo editing software programs.  (Internal process: retrieval to working memory)
4. Present content: (Internal process: selective perception)
• Free photo editing software. Free mobile app, too. Show intermediate level— Open Pixlr Express (Efficient);
• No need to login. Can save image to desktop. Log in to save images in the cloud;
• The more advanced level, Open Pixlr Editor, has almost the same amount of photo editing capabilities as Adobe’s Photoshop;
• Functions include crop, re-size, fix red-eye/whiten teeth, colorization, and 600 special effects.
5. Provide learner guidance: Share handout with tips. Demo Open Pixlr express (Efficient), which is mid-level.  (Internal process: semantic encoding)
6. Elicit performance: Participants upload photo from desktop for editing at Efficient level.  (Internal process: responding)
7. Provide Feedback: Answer questions and assist participants one-on-one.  (Internal process: reinforcement)
8. Assessment: Ask some basic recall questions about software, tips, and constraints.  (Internal process: retrieval & reinforcement)
9. Enhance retention and transfer: In one word, how do you plan to use it in your class? (e.g., lessons, projects, introductions) Invite them to a workshop on emergent technology to learn more about Pixlr.  (Internal process: retrieval & generalization)

Note: For more information on Pixlr, visit my blog on the topic. For more information on Gagne’s nine events of instruction, see my blog on that topic.


Gagné, R. M. (1985). The conditions of learning. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.

Gagné, R. M., & Driscoll, M. P. (1988).  Essentials of learning for instruction (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Rubric to Evaluate Online Course Syllabi

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Growth Mindset, and Technology

This summer, I read Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave for a course assignment. If you’re not familiar with it, see this YouTube video of a professor’s lecture and animation:

Plato’s allegory reminded me of the chains we place on ourselves as adult learners.  Ever since I graduated from college, I’ve encountered adults who profess the age-old idiom: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”  As an educator, I confronted this in the Peace Corps when working with artisans, in college when teaching languages, and even within my own family dealing with challenging tasks.

I exclude my mother and myself from this.  She never allowed anything to keep her from learning something new.  She instilled in me the gumption to apply myself to any task, no matter how difficult it may appear to be.  From experience, I can assert that I’ve been successful at learning various difficult things as an adult.  For example, I learned to speak Portuguese at age 30, Latin dance at age 40, and statistics at age 50.  Of course, this list is only cursory.  I share my successes with my students to let them know that learning can occur at any time in your life.

The fable is related to learning theory and technology in many ways.  First, as instructional designers, we must keep ourselves informed of the latest research on multimedia practices.  Otherwise, we’ll become slaves to our own (or others) beliefs.  I have a growth mindset.  I want to know what the research indicates as an effective practice and then immediately start to apply it.  Of course, I have my hunches or intuition about how things should be presented.  However, I’m open to learning new ways to bring about improved learning outcomes.

Second, we will face opposition and disbelief in our practices and informed knowledge when we enter the workforce as novice instructional designers with our advanced degrees.  Naysayers of scientific findings will state that a certain empirically based practice will not work at their institution.  They may even state that they’ve tried it before with no improvement.  We’ll need to build a good reputation and gain buy-in from others in regards to introducing new ideas.  Otherwise, we may fall prey to Groupthink.

Here’s a PDF of the play:

My Schedule for SITE 2014 in Jacksonville, FL

Photo of Sandra Annette Rogers
Find me at the conference and say hello!

Four of my proposals were accepted for presentation at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) International Conference in Jacksonville, FL.  I’d love to connect with any of my readers who are also going to SITE. This will be my first time to attend SITE.  I’ll be attending all the presentations on gaming.

Here’s my current schedule for the conference: (All times are Eastern Standard Time.)

1. Poster Session: The Electronic Village Online, An Open-source, International Collaboration for Professional Development,  March 19, 2014 at 5:30-7:00 P.M.

2. Roundtable: How to Make Your Online Course More Accessible, March 20, 2014 at 11:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.

3.Brief Paper: Massive Multi-player Online Role-Playing Games for Language Learning, March 20, 2014 at 3:20-3:40 P.M.

4. Brief Paper: Effective Online Communication in Higher Education, March 21, 2014 at 11:55 A.M to 12:15 P.M.

I hope to see you there!

P.S. Here’s my Padlet wall with all my activities:

How to Upload Media and Create a Podcast Channel

Title page to tech project

Dear Teachers,

This learning module instructs and guides students on how to upload a media file to a podcast channel, specifically It can be used to supplement any course content as a project. For instance, a student can produce an audio file on any topic and then publish it to a podcast channel as part of an oral language project. Poetry readings, musical performances, or reporting the weather are just a few ways to incorporate podcasting. This project could last several weeks.

Using emergent technologies is an important skill for the 21st century learner to apply, not only in class, but also in their personal learning networks, college, and future career. Moreover, this product can be used in K-12 schools to address the media skills embedded in the Common Core Standards (2010) for career and college readiness benchmarks. For instance, the English Language Arts Standard for speaking and listening in Grade 2 states (2.5 Presentation of Knowledge): “create audio recordings of stories or poems.” Podcasting would be an excellent vehicle for this task. A similar standard for presenting content in multimedia is included in grades 3-12 core standards.

The learning module includes the following components:
• a podcast interest and technology skill level questionnaire;
• a pretest and posttest on technical terminology (with answer keys);
• an 18-page PowerPoint presentation on the technical terminology;
• a K-W-L chart activity;
• a 7-minute screencast to demonstrate the procedures; (See YouTube video link below)
• a 6-page how-to guide with glossary to serve as a desk reference when performing the task;
• a student checklist of procedures and outcomes for self-assessment of the criteria;
• a rubric for the teacher to evaluate the project; and
* an 18-page teacher guide with research basis and instructional strategies.

Goal Statement: Students will successfully upload a media file to for an oral language project by following the steps in the screencast and supporting how-to guide. The learning context is during class time in the computer lab or on a home computer. Students will need to have already learned how to create an audio or video file and save it as a MP3/MP4 format on a flash drive for school work.

Get a preview of this product on Teacherrogers YouTube channel:
My YouTube Video Demonstration

I completed this project during my doctoral studies, so it includes the research basis for the use of podcasting. I think you’re really going to like this product, as I’ve put over a semester of effort into creating and pilot testing it! It’s for sale on TeachersPayTeachers in the Teacherrogers Store.

Your blogger,

Sandra Rogers


Create a Google Site from Gmail Account