Adolescent English Language Learners' Second Language Literacy Engagement in World of Warcraft (WoW)


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Adolescent English Language Learners' Second Language Literacy Engagement in World of Warcraft (WoW)
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1 online resource (292 p.)
University of Florida
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Gainesville, Fla.
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Thesis/Dissertation Information

Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Curriculum and Instruction (ISC), Teaching and Learning
Committee Chair:
Coady, Maria R
Committee Co-Chair:
Ferdig, Richard E
Committee Members:
Fang, Zhihui
Behar-Horenstein, Linda S


Subjects / Keywords:
adolescent -- ells -- engagement -- game -- l2 -- literacy -- wow
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Curriculum and Instruction (ISC) thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


As noted by researchers (Funk, Hagen, & Schimming, 1999; Squire, 2006; Williams, 2003), many youth today spend more time playing in digital worlds than reading, or watching TV or films. Though many people, parents and teachers, still take video games as mere entertainment, "gaming culture" (Sanford & Madill, 2007) and "game literacy" (Gee, 2007) have been proposed to view gaming as a positive and potential tool in literacy development. With the notion of literacy as reading and writing skills being expanded to multiliteracies (New London Group, 1996) and multimodal literacy (Kress, 2003), studies on gaming in the field of education have been increasing in recent years(e.g.,Compton-Lilly, 2007; Dubbels, 2009; Ferdig, 2007; Squire, 2005; Zhao & Lai, 2009). However, most of the studies are conducted with native English speakers and deal with the features in games that could facilitate learning. What remains to be explored is what adolescent English language learners' (ELLs') online gaming experience is like. To fill this gap, this qualitative study sought to understand how adolescent ELLs were engaged in second language (L2) literacy practices through a popular massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), World of Warcraft (WoW). This study triangulated multiple data sources, including interviews, observations, and artifacts. Through an ethnographic multiple case study approach, this study presents a "rich, 'thick' description" (Merriam, 1998, p. 29) of what L2 literacy practices occur in online gamiretang. A bottom-up perspective on gaming activities, literacy activities, and literacy practices provided the lens through which the nature of the literacy engagement could be viewed in a dynamic way. The study found the participants were involved in a complex process of socializing, information seeking, strategizing, and problem solving concurrently within and around the game. In WoW, the participants'literacy engagement occurred when their excitement and enthusiasm were aroused by the joint functioning of reward, immersion, and immediacy in a multimodal gaming environment replete with scaffolding, interaction and collaboration.
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
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Statement of Responsibility:
by Zhuo Li.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Adviser: Coady, Maria R.
Co-adviser: Ferdig, Richard E.

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2 2011 Zhuo Li


3 To my beloved family and friends


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I appreciate this precious opportunity to acknowledge and thank those who have helped me academically and personally along the way. Though I cannot enumerate all of them here, I am writing in hopes that they can begin to understand just how grateful I am for their incredible support and unforgettable help. Whenever I felt frustrated on this long and winding journey of doctoral studies, I found strength in my committee, my colleagues, my friends, and my family. Without them, this dissertation would not ha ve been possible. I owe my deepest gratitude to my committee: Dr. Maria Coady, Dr. Richard Ferdig, Dr. Zhihui Fang, Dr. Roger Thompson, and Dr. Linda Behar Horenstein. First and foremost, I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Coady. She has been such an understanding and supportive mentor ever since I started studying at the University of Florida (UF). kindness, and patience enabled me to think and act as a researcher, though, a novice one. In the beginning stages of my dissertation, Dr. Coady helped me shape my research questions. Then, she revised my prospectus, and later, my dissertation drafts for three iterations. Long discussions with and valuable feedback from Dr. Coady assisted me in synthesizing m y fragmented thoughts. I always felt her trust in me. Dr. Coady is a marvelous mentor inspiring and encourag ing me at all time s even opening many doors for my professional growth. Teaching an ESOL foundation course with Dr. Coady was one of the most r ewarding experiences during my doctoral studies. Dr. Coady is my role model as an innovative educator, a


5 dedicated researcher, an intelligent scholar, and an inspiring and responsible mentor. I believe she is the one who will have far reaching influence over my whole life. I would like to extend a hearty thank you to Dr. Ferdig. It was topic on gaming. Without his encouragement, I would not be able to co aut hor with two e tech fellows to publish a book chapter about second language acquisition and gaming. That sparked my further interest in doing research on this topic. I will never on myself as a promising researcher in my field and plan what I should do to make it a reality. I feel deep appreciation for his willingness to serve as a co chair on my committee even after he left UF. Dr. Fang was always available whenever I needed hel p with my research. He kindly shared literature related to my study, loaned me books, and gave me detailed feedback on my prospectus. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Fang for letting me sit in on his academic writing course; from this, I gained a lot of practical skills in writing. I the future. I genuinely appreciate his tremendous encouragement and perceptive advice as I struggled to write my dissertation. Dr. Thompson kindly allowed me to sit in on his second language teaching class, which widened my vision of using technology innovatively in language classrooms. He remembered my research and brought back handouts about


6 gaming research for me when he attended an inter national conference in Hong Kong. When he was on vacation in Utrecht, Netherlands, he emailed his feedback on my prospectus in time. Still, I shall never forget Dr. Thompson wore a cute pink T shirt to my dissertation proposal defense and later told me t hat pink was his family color which he wore to bring me good luck. He stayed on my committee for a while adventures around the world. I was very fortunate to have Dr. Behar Horenstein on my committee after Dr. Thompson left. I cannot imagine how my dissertation proposal would have been drafted without taking her proposal writing course in the very beginning. I also enjoyed her course on professional preparation for wo rking in academia. Dr. vitality, enthusiasm, and cheerfulness are absolutely contagious. Her glowing smile is just like Florida sunshine, which always makes me feel uplifted. Over the past few years, I have encountered many supportive professors a t the School of Teaching and Learning at UF. I am heartily thankful to Dr. Colleen Swain, who once stayed on my committee and inspired me to embark on research work related to educational technology. I would also like to thank Dr. Ester Johanna D e Jong a nd Dr. Candace Harper for remembering me and emailing me useful literature related to my research topic. I sincerely thank Dr. Danling Fu, who always welcomes us international students so warmly to have get togethers at her house. This means a lot to us who are so far away from our families while studying here. Also, I am


7 deeply impressed by Dr. discipline, which inspire me to strive for greater efforts in my research. I am greatly indebted to many great colleagues Special thanks must go to my study group members: Vasa Buraphadeja Hsiao Yu Chang, Chu Chuan Chiu, Juan Du, He Huang, Jiyoung Kim, Joanne Laframenta Feng Liu, Qing Liu, and Shih Fen Yeh. I thank my dear buddies for their keen interest in my dissertat ion and constructive feedbac k on my data analysis and presentations. In the context of input into my work has supplied me with fresh impetus for my research. I also wish t o thank Byeon Seongah Ya Yu Cloudia Ho, and Jemina Espinoza Howlett who were once my office neighbors, for sharing learning and teaching experience with me. The camaraderie among us all makes thi s long journey not so lonely. I believe Ivy Haoyin Hsieh (Dr. Ivy!) and later Chu Chuan when we burned the midnight oil on the third floor in Norman Hall. I would also lik e to thank Sandra Hancock (Dr. Hancock!) who offered me help as I prepared for my qualifying exam and greatly soothed my nerves. Moreover, I am thankful for Patricia Jacobs, who let me interview his son about gaming experience in the initial stage of my p ilot study. I would like to thank my friends, Kertesha Riley and Tom Livsey who generously offered me editing help. Their valuable time and keen sense of language largely contributed to the final version of my dissertation.


8 A number of friends from afar who always extended their help and support deserve my sincere appreciation. Those friends include Juan Xiao ( ) and her family Rongrong Wu, Huang Lin, Dr. Mingfang He, Dr. George Cox, Dr. John Dieobolt, Mr. Lili Li, Yi Feng, Min Zhang and her family Yi Liu and her family, Lian He, Xia Peng, Ni Zeng, Xiaoyan Ye, Jianzhong Ma, Julan Feng ( ) Their constant concern and emotional support are very important to me and greatly enrich my life. It is a pleasure to thank those who have provided me with fina ncial support over these past years. I would like to sincerely acknowledge UF Alumni Fellowship, which supported me for four years. I am extremely grateful that the College of Education kindly deferred my admission and fellowship for one year when I was not able to start my doctoral studies in Fall 2004. Otherwise, it would never have been possible for me to pursue my PhD. The work leading to this dissertation has also been financially supported by the International Research Foundation for English Langu age Education (TIRF) Doctoral Dissertation Grant and Association for Academic Women Madelyn Lockhart Dissertation Fellowship at UF. Furthermore, I am grateful to my advisor, Dr. Coady and Dr. Cynthia Hsien Shen in the Chinese Studies Program at UF, who o ffered me teaching assistant jobs during my write up stage. All of the financial support mentioned above has significantly contributed to the completion my research and writing. Thanks are also due to the four participants and their parents. Recruiting p articipants for my research was not easy. Without their support, I would not be able


9 to do my research. My special thanks go to the parents, whose open attitudes towards my research made this happen. I would also like to express my earnest appreciation to my TIRF doctoral dissertation grant proposal reviewers, Dr. Jonathan deHaan Dr. James Gee, and Dr. Yong Zhao for their valuable time, assiduous efforts, and precious feedback Last, but by no means least, my deepest debt of gratitude is to my family. The unconditional love and the unwavering support from my parents, Jingcheng Li ( ) and Yilian Hu ( ) are appreciated far beyond words. I was lucky enough to have my parents visit me during my dissertation writing. They always gave me a my daughter 24/7 so that I could lock myself in my office and write. I owe them so much that I can never pay back. In addition, I appreciate my brother, Peitao Li, my sister in law, Ping Wang, and my nephew, Changxuan Li, for their faith in me and continuous support. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my husband, Xiaoping Han and his family support enabled me to complete this degree. I am so fortunate to have him in my life as someone who I can share with every bit of my thoughts. He is always there giving me immense confidence that would never be obtained from anyone else. I


10 support for so many years. Moreover, I am so blessed that my daughter, Xiaoxiao ( ) was born after my data collection was complete d. Obviously, she grows faster than my writing. Playing with her and enjoying her bright smiles is the most relaxing and happiest thing I have ever had in my life. I thank Xiaoxia o, my little angel, for her company, which makes my PhD journey so much mor e meaningful and worthy. This dissertation is also dedicated in memory of my grandma, Shuhua Chen ( ). It is a pity that my dear grandma was not able to witness me graduating with a PhD degree. Her endless love and timeless support will accompany me i n all my pursuits. I will stay healthy and happy as she always expected. Without all those who have given me on going support and warm encouragement in various ways, I would never have become the person I am today I cannot thank them enough. I offer m y regards and blessings to all of them. Go Gators!


11 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 16 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 17 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 20 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 22 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 22 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ....................... 23 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 28 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 28 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 28 Defini tions of Key Terms ................................ ................................ ......................... 30 Limitations of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................... 32 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 34 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................ ................................ .................... 35 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 35 Literacy from a Sociocultural Perspective ................................ ............................... 35 L/literacy: Reading the Word and the World ................................ ..................... 36 l ................................ ........ 37 L World ...................... 38 Multidimensional and Multifaceted Literacies ................................ .......................... 41 Multiliteracies: Literacy beyond Reading and Writing Texts ............................. 42 Multimodal Literacy: Literacy across Contexts ................................ ................. 44 Media Literacy ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 48 Game Literacy ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 50 Literacy Engagemen t ................................ ................................ .............................. 53 Motivation vs. Engagement ................................ ................................ .............. 56 Behind School Disengagement: The New Digital Divide ................................ .. 58 Interface between Literacy Engagement and Game L iteracy ................................ 64 L2 Literacy and Gaming ................................ ................................ .......................... 68 L2 Acquisition Theories and Gaming ................................ ................................ 69 Comprehensible input hypothesis ................................ .............................. 70


12 Affective filter hypothesis ................................ ................................ ........... 70 ................................ ................................ ........... 71 Language Learning Environments Embedded in Gaming ................................ 72 in ................................ ... 72 Instant interaction ................................ ................................ ....................... 73 Repetition ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 74 Current Gaming Research on L2 Literacy ................................ ........................ 75 What are good video games for language learning? ................................ .. 79 How can video games be used in classroom instruction? .......................... 80 What are the gaps in current research? ................................ ..................... 81 World of Warcraft (WoW) ................................ ................................ ........................ 84 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 88 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 90 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 90 Epistemology: Constructionism ................................ ................................ ............... 91 Th eoretical Perspective: Interpretivism ................................ ................................ ... 91 Ethnographic Multiple Case Study Approach ................................ .......................... 92 Research Subjectivity ................................ ................................ ............................. 95 Research Context and Participants ................................ ................................ ........ 97 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 99 Interviews ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 99 Observations ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 101 Archives ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 102 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 103 Trustworthiness ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 106 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 108 4 A PROFILE OF THE PARTICIPANTS: FOUR TALES IN ONE WORLD .............. 110 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 110 Three Novice WoW Players and One Experienced WoW Player ......................... 110 Four Tales in One World ................................ ................................ ....................... 113 Fei: A Persistent WoW Player ................................ ................................ ........ 113 Ba ckground ................................ ................................ .............................. 113 WoW experience ................................ .......................... 118 Jim: A Quiet Boy Being Social in the Virtual World ................................ ......... 121 Background ................................ ................................ .............................. 121 WoW experience ................................ ......................... 125 WoW ............................... 127 Background ................................ ................................ .............................. 127 WoW ................................ ................................ .......... 137 Mark: A Savvy WoW Player ................................ ................................ ........... 139 Backgr ound ................................ ................................ .............................. 139


13 WoW experience ................................ ....................... 142 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 146 5 FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 147 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 147 Gaming Activities, Literacy Activities, and Literacy Practices ............................... 147 Gaming Activities within and around WoW ................................ ........................... 148 Doing Quests ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 151 Social Interacting ................................ ................................ ............................ 154 Literacy Activities within and around WoW ................................ ........................... 156 Literacy Activities in Visual Presentations ................................ ...................... 156 Players as Readers ................................ ................................ ........................ 158 Literacy Practices within and around WoW ................................ ........................... 162 Information Seeking ................................ ................................ ....................... 164 Kyle: Seekin g help from the Internet ................................ ........................ 165 Strategizing ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 168 Jim: Encountering a friendly adventure ................................ .................... 170 Problem Solving ................................ ................................ ............................. 177 Fei: Trying with persistence ................................ ................................ ..... 178 Socializing ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 186 Mark: Voice chat ................................ ................................ ...................... 191 Mark: Text chat ................................ ................................ ........................ 193 Sense of Engagement ................................ ................................ .......................... 199 Reward ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 200 Immersion ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 200 Immediacy: Time and Speed ................................ ................................ .......... 203 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 205 6 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 206 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 206 L2 Practices in WoW ................................ ................................ ............................. 206 Reading: Language Practice Embedded in Game Process ........................... 207 Reading the word ................................ ................................ ..................... 207 Reading the world on the screen ................................ ............................. 210 Literacy ownership: Reading or not? ................................ ........................ 213 Informal Writing ................................ ................................ .............................. 215 Socio emotiona l communicative functioning ................................ ............ 215 Nonlinear conversation order ................................ ................................ ... 217 Informal language use ................................ ................................ ............. 218 Thoughts Pertaining to L2 Acquisition ................................ ............................ 221 Learning by doing: Total physical response (TPR) in gaming .................. 221 Time ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 222 Literacy Engagement in WoW ................................ ................................ .............. 223


14 Literacy Engagement Process ................................ ................................ ........ 224 Moti vation ................................ ................................ ................................ 224 Conceptual transfer ................................ ................................ .................. 227 Strategy Use ................................ ................................ ............................ 229 Social Interactions ................................ ................................ .................... 230 Multimodal L earning Environment in WoW ................................ ..................... 231 Multimodal environment ................................ ................................ ........... 232 Scaffolded learning environment ................................ .............................. 234 Interactive learning environment ................................ .............................. 238 Collaborative learning environment ................................ .......................... 239 L2 Literacy Engagement Model in WoW ................................ ............................... 243 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 247 7 CONCLUSIONS AN D IMPLICATIONS ................................ ................................ 248 Conclusions ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 248 Suggestions and Recommendations for Future Research ................................ .... 250 Concluding Thoughts ................................ ................................ ............................ 251 APPENDIX A PARENTAL CONSENT ................................ ................................ ........................ 255 B PARENTAL CONSENT (CHINESE) ................................ ................................ ..... 257 C CONSENT TO AUDIO/ VIDEO RECORDING ................................ ...................... 259 D CONSENT TO AUDIO/ VIDEO RECORDING (CHINESE) ................................ ... 260 E STUDENT ASSENT ................................ ................................ .............................. 261 F PARTICIPANT RECRUITMENT FLYER ................................ ............................... 262 G PARTICIPANT RECRUITMENT FLYER (CHINESE) ................................ ........... 263 H ORAL SURVEY ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 264 I ORAL SURVEY (CHINESE) ................................ ................................ ................. 265 J INTERV IEW QUESTIONS ................................ ................................ .................... 266 K INTERVIEW QUESTIONS (CHINESE) ................................ ................................ 269 L TABLE OF GAMING ACTIVITIES WITHIN WOW ................................ ................ 271 M TABLE OF LITERACY ACTIVITIES WITHIN WOW ................................ ............. 273 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 275


15 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 291


16 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Sources of data ................................ ................................ ................................ 103 4 1 ................................ ........................ 111 4 2 WoW ................................ ................................ .... 112 5 1 Gaming activities around WoW ................................ ................................ ........ 149 5 2 WoW play .......................... 151 5 3 Quests accepted and finished by the participants ................................ ............ 152 5 4 Literacy activities around WoW ................................ ................................ ........ 159 5 5 Summary of literacy activities within and around WoW ................................ .... 159 5 6 Summary of literacy practices within and around WoW ................................ .... 162 5 7 ................................ ............................... 184 5 8 Description of interface blocks ................................ ................................ .......... 202


17 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 The engagement model of reading development. ................................ .............. 65 2 2 ................................ ................................ .................. 72 3 1 Flow of data collection. ................................ ................................ ..................... 102 3 2 Data collection timeline. ................................ ................................ .................... 103 3 3 Flow of data analysis. ................................ ................................ ....................... 106 3 4 Establish trustworthiness in the research process. ................................ ........... 107 4 1 ................................ ................................ ......................... 116 4 2 ................................ ................................ ........................ 123 4 3 Ky ................................ ................................ ....................... 131 4 4 ................................ ................................ ...................... 141 5 1 Gaming activities, literacy activities, and literacy practices. .............................. 148 5 2 ............................. 153 5 3 Buffing each other. A) receiving buffs; B) being asked to give buffs ................. 155 5 4 Asking information in WoW. ................................ ................................ .............. 156 5 5 Summary of literacy activities within and around WoW ................................ ... 160 5 6 Literacy practices within and around WoW ................................ ...................... 163 5 7 Arriving at an inaccessible portal. ................................ ................................ ..... 165 5 8 Finding Jennea on the map. ................................ ................................ ............. 166 5 9 A Web concerning the NPC Jennea Cannon. ................................ .................. 166 5 10 Another Web concerning the NPC Jennea Cannon. ................................ ........ 167 5 11 Finding the NPC Jennea Cannon. ................................ ................................ .... 167


18 5 12 Meeting Sileo. ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 171 5 13 Getting to know each other. ................................ ................................ .............. 172 5 14 Jim asking for help. ................................ ................................ ........................... 174 5 15 Sileo offering another higher level character to help. ................................ ........ 175 5 16 Sileo returning with pet. ................................ ................................ .................... 176 5 17 Checking items in backpack. ................................ ................................ ............ 179 5 18 Recovering health. ................................ ................................ ............................ 179 5 19 Pop up about death. ................................ ................................ ......................... 180 5 20 Pop up about resurrection. ................................ ................................ ............... 180 5 21 Finding corpse. ................................ ................................ ................................ 180 5 22 Pop up about swimming.. ................................ ................................ ................. 181 5 23 Recurrecing Blubolt. ................................ ................................ ......................... 181 5 24 Checking quests. ................................ ................................ .............................. 182 5 25 Declining guild invitation. ................................ ................................ .................. 183 5 26 Checking equipment. ................................ ................................ ........................ 183 5 27 Selling armors. ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 184 5 28 Too far away from fighting the spider. ................................ .............................. 185 5 29 WoW experience. ................................ ................................ ..................... 187 5 30 ................................ ................................ .............. 193 5 31 ................................ ................................ .............. 201 5 32 A typical interface in WoW ................................ ................................ ............... 201 6 1 ................................ ....... 208 6 2 Gaming activities in Quadrants I and II. ................................ ............................ 211


19 6 3 Nonlinear conversations in text chat. ................................ ................................ 218 6 4 BICS, CALP, and ASVC. ................................ ................................ .................. 221 6 5 In game tutorials embedded in quests. ................................ ............................. 236 6 6 Venn diagram of RLE and GLE. ................................ ................................ ....... 242 6 7 Literacy engagement in WoW ................................ ................................ .......... 244


20 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy LITERACY ENGAGEMENT IN WORLD OF WARCRAFT ( WOW ) By Zhuo Li August 2011 Chair: Maria Coady Cochair: Richard Fe rdig Major: Curriculum and Instruction As noted by researchers (Funk, Hagen, & Schimming, 1999; Squire, 2006; Williams, 2003), many youth today spend more time playing in digital worlds than reading, or watching TV or films. Though many people, parents an d teachers, still and potential tool in literacy development. With the notion of literacy as reading and writing skills being expanded to multiliteracies (New London Group, 1996) and multimodal literacy (Kress, 2003), studies on gaming in the field of education have been increasing in recent years(e.g.,Compton Lilly, 2007; Dubbels, 2009; Ferdig, 2 007; Squire, 2005; Zhao & Lai, 2009). However, most of the studies are conducted with native English speakers and deal with the features in games that could facilitate learning. What remains to be explored is what adolescent English language (E online gaming experience is like.


21 To fill this gap, this qualitative study s ought to understand how a dol escent ELLs were engaged in second language (L2) literacy practices through a popular massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), World of Warcraft ( WoW ). This study triangulate d multiple data sources, including interviews, observations, and artifacts. Through an ethnographic multiple case study approach, this study present s hat L2 literacy p ractices occur in online gami reta ng. A bottom up perspective on gaming activities, literacy activities, and literacy practices provided the lens through which the natur e of the literacy engagement could be viewed in a dynamic way. The stu dy found the participants were involved in a complex process of socializing, information seeking, strategizing, and problem solving concurrently within and around the game. In WoW literacy engagement occurred when their excitement and e nthusiasm were aroused by the joint functioning of reward, immersion, and immediacy in a multimodal gaming environment replete with scaffolding, interaction and collaboration.


22 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Overview Few teachers and educators would dispute the daunting challenge they face today to engage students to learn in school. However, what is evident from observation and existing research is that students are increasingly disengaged from reading and writing in school while at the same time they take pleasure in out of school activities, especially playing in a digital world or cyberspace such as surfing the Internet, communicating via instant messaging and text messaging, socializing on F acebook, and playing video games (Ito et al., 2008 ; Subrahmanyam & to describe how adolescents in a new world of information are faced with the dilemma between out of sc hool activities featuring multiliteracies and print bound d in school, playing video games is For English language learners(ELLs) who are urged to acquire the English language 2006, p. xiii), playing video concerns about time spent playing rather than learning. Though researchers (e.g., Gee, 2003; Self, Mareck, & Gardiner, 2007) have called attenti on to the literacy opportunities of video games for learning, little empirical research has examined


23 views of the gaming experience. To fill this gap, this qualitative study se eks to understand how adolescent ELLs are engaged in second language (L2) literacy practices through a popular massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), World of Warcraft ( WoW ). Statement of the Problem As noted by multiple researchers (Funk Hagen, & Schimming, 1999; Squire, 2006; Williams, 2003), many youth today spend more time playing in digital worlds than reading printed texts, or watching TV or films. A recent national survey ( Major New Study Shatters Stereotypes about Teens and Video Games 2008) found that about 97 percent of American teens between the ages of 12 and 17 play some type of video game. outside of school, many lack interest in actual in school learning (e.g., Baker, Dreher, & Guthrie, 2000; Guthrie, 2001; Guthrie, 2004; Guthrie& Wigfield, 1997; Ivey & Broaddus, 2001). P found that students who seem to be disengaged from school learning may, actually, be actively involved in various literacy practices outside of school (Carr, 2002; The disp and out of To answer this question, it is essential to allow adolescents to voice their own experiences. While many people, parents and teachers, sti ll view video games as mere


24 In a similar vein, Gee (2003, 2007), a leading researcher in gaming and literacy, argues that video gaming is a new type of literacy. This new literacy involves consuming (reading) and producing (writing) situated meanings in specific semiotic domains recruiting oral and written language, voice communications, images, gestures, symbols, and m ovements (Gee, 2003, 2007). practices that recruits one or more modalities (e.g. oral or written language, images, equation, symbols, sounds, gestures, graphs, artifacts, etc) to communicate d Seen through this lens, literacy is not a set of isolated skills involving rea ding and writing in print, but rather consists of socially and culturally constructed practices (Comber& Cormack, 2005) across modalities. While multiple media take place when students deal with an avalanche of information outside o f school. Technological development has brought enormous changes in communication and social practices, which have already had a profound impact on what it means to be literate. Encompassing the complexity of culturally and linguistically diversity and i ncreasingly globalization, some time ago the New London Group (1996) proposed brought by information and multimedia technologies. This perspective goes beyond the tradi bound, official, standard forms of


25 Undoubted ly, multiliteracies as an expanded notion of literacy brought by digital technology innovations, have been hig hlighted in the out of school activities of adolescents (Jenkins, 2006), who Facing the crisis that too many children are disengaged from school learning, Guthrie ( 2004) propose d teaching for literacy engagement, which is defined as joint functioning of motivation, conceptual knowledge, strategies, and social Guthrie & Anderson, 1999, p. 20 ). By refers to reading activities in the classroom. reading, the conception of literacy engagement digs deep into how students are involved in reading and provides groundwork engagement in other literacy practices as well. In prior studies about literacy engagement, the central role that motivation plays in learning has been widely recognized. Various interventions such as application of technology and innovative revealed in substantial literature (e.g., Bangert Drownsb & Pyke, 2001; Barrett, 2007; Fairbanks, 2000; Worthy & Prater, 2002). Despite the research findi ngs that video games enhance computer literacy (Benedict, 1990), attention (Bavelier & Green, 2003), reaction time (Orosy Fildes & Allan, 1989), higher level thinking (de Aguilera & Mendiz, 2003; Delwiche, 2006), and problem solving skills (Gee, 2003; John son, 2005), little research (e.g., Squire, 2005) has been conducted to investigate


26 What remains to be explored is what literacy practice s actually occur when adolescents play video games and what their litera literacy and out of literacy may be closed if educators can identify and value transferred to academic literacy acquisition. Of th the majority of research has been conducted with native English speakers. Actually, lack of motivation has been a perennial problem nationwide and some ELLs are also among those une ngaged learners (Cluck & Hess, 2003). There is a rapid increase of the student population who speak English as a second language. According to Ariza, Morales Jones, Yahya and Zainuddin (2006), U.S. Department of Education estimates that 5,044,361 ELLs we re enrolled in public schools between 2002 and 2003, approximately 10 percent of the total public school enrollment. Estimates further suggest that the ELL population is growing at a rate of 9.3 percent per year, a rate nine times faster than the general school population (Ariza et al., 2006). As declared by August, Carlo, Dressler, and Snow (2005), national data (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003) confirm that a rformance and English Morison (2006), one third of all students drop out before receiving their degree and nearly half of all Native American, Hispanic and African Ame rican students do not


27 complete high school because they were disengaged and classes were out of touch with their career goals (as cited in Shaffer, 2006). Though lack of motivation has problematized school learning (Bridgeland, DiIulio, & Morison, 2 006), few studies address the issue of motivation in learning or literacy engagement. In marked contrast to a lack of motivation in school learning, students are engaging in multiliteracy activities outside of school spaces (Prensky, 2005; Sanford & Madill, 2007). out of school literacy practices, little information is available on literacy practices gen erated by students themselves. The influence of parents, families, and communities is also identified as a main research focus in terms of sociocultural contexts and language 2006). However, with the enormous changes in tech nology development, few researchers on L2 (Sarsar, 2008). Given the aforementioned deficiencies in the existing research, it is not surprising to find that engagement in vid eo games outside of school has received scant research attention. Previous research (Harter 1981; Harter, schooling declined as they progressed through school. Facing the sali ent for video games may translate into school learning. Dodge et al. (2008) assert that


28 is necess ary to understand how adolescent ELLs a re engaged in L2 literacy engagement in their gaming world. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study wa s to investigate what L2 literacy practices occur red when adolescent E LLs play ed WoW and understand how the y were engaged in those literacy practices. Research Questions The overa rching question of this study was L2 literacy practices are adolescent ELLs engaged in with WoW 1) What L2 literacy practices are they engaged in within WoW ? 2) What L2 literacy practices are they engaged in around WoW ? Significance of the Study This study contributed to the current research body on literacy development. First, this study added out of school literacy lives. As presented above, there is a paucity of research on out of school literacy related to technology use a nd even none of research on ELL s video gaming has been made. Many learning opportuniti es for ELLs may be unexplored, which might indicate research on computer games is only in the initial s tages. Since the study attempted to uncover what literacy practice s occur red and how these literacy


29 practices engage d adolescent ELLs in online computer games, it would expand our knowledge about out of school literacy practices, especially their new literacies. Second, this study added experience s Facing the limited volume of empirical studies ab gaming experience outside of school, I took a closer look at adolescent E literacy practices through online computer games. The existing analysis on the potential of computer games in learning undoubtedly serve d as the theoretical fou ndation f or my research, and in turn, this descriptive study of engagement in gaming literacy practices would widen our view of how video games could be applied for productive learning. Third this study brought parents broader notions of literacy em bedded in gaming They might get access t o knowing what their children did in gaming, why they were so occupied by computer games, and what they should be encouraged to do Parents might realize their crucial role in making wise decisions about how compu ter games could be used Furthermore, by examining Madill, 2007) which students were engaged in ou tside of school, this study would help teachers to reach students in order to teach them. T h ough pedagogical suggestions were not the primary focus of this study, understanding adolescent gaming experience would of school literacy prac tices. Teachers may be inspired to create classroom activities to


30 connect with nterest in school learning and prepare them well for the fast developing information age, curriculum developers may consider introducing more multiliteracies embedded in games to teaching materials. experience calls for cooper ation between educators and game designers. With the dilemma of making school like games or making game like schools, extensive and intensive research and game development is desirable to incorporate the essence of computer games in school learning rather than superficially borrowing the format of gaming. Definitions of Key Terms Below, I clarify the key terms that are used in the study. (1 ) Avatar It is also In this stduy (2 ) ELL : English Language Learner. In this study, English language learners (ELLs) are used interchangeably with ESL students. (3) ESL students: ESL students refer to students who acquire English as a s econd language (ESL). ( 4 ) Gaming activities : The activities that are direct play (e.g., searching a keyword from a players, talking with other players through headphones).


31 (4 ) Literacy : When Gee (2007a) refers to video gaming as a new literacy, he Extending in the study I mean effective functioning in situated social practices through meaning making across various modalities (texts, images, symbols, numerals, s ound, movement and so forth) in a multimodal environment. Given tha t the affordances of is also an extension of conventional literacy in print and becomes conventional literacy through gaming in a multimodal environment. (5) Literacy events and literacy activities (Baynham, 1995) of literacy in use Barton & Hamilton, 2000, p. 7 ) Because all the participants were engaged in activities in the game and the study was i original authors w (6 ) Literacy practices : a range of practices Hamilton, 2000, p. 8). In this study, literacy practices involv e using languages and semiotics (e.g. images, words, symbols, actions) for effective p articipation in a social context (7 ) Literacy practices within games : literacy practices that are indigen ous to the game playing process.


32 (8 ) Literacy practices around games : literacy practices that are NOT embedded in game playing per se but relevant to or born out of game play. These literacy practices include both online practices (e.g. seeking information on the Internet ) and offline practices (e.g., communicating with other players about ga me play in real life). (9 ) Massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG): a genre of computer role playing game, in which players interact with one another in a virtual world to collectively complete tasks. (10 ) Traditional literacy cognitive skills possessed (or lacked) by reading and writing in print. (11 ) Video games and games played on computers. terms, either computer games or video games, are kept. Limitations of the Study The study was to shed some light on literacy engagement in online gaming as one aspect of their out of school literacy experience. To the population of ESL students, who are econo mically disadvantaged in general


33 do with differences in opportunities as well as comfort and facility in engaging with pants in this study were a part of adolescent ELLs in a university town. Therefore the findings in this study were not intended to target all ELLs who might not be able to play or may not like playing online games. This study examined only cases of individual gaming experience s The results cannot be simply generalized to all ELLs who play online games. However, multiple case studies allow an in gaming rather than to scratch the surface of this issue. Limitations may stem from the limited access to newly arrived ELLs who played WoW and players in varied levels. The four Chinese students had been in the U.S. for several years ranging from four to nine years. Newly arrived literacy activities in WoW may reflect more interesting findings about their language use and cultural adjustment. Also, there were three newbies in WoW and one player at the max imum level but no middle level players WoW players at varied levels will display more multifaceted literacy activities involved in different levels of game play. The primary purpose wa s not to provide specific pe dagogical suggestions classroom teaching; rather, this study would inform teachers, parents, and curriculum designers of the digital experiences in the context of the stude literacies outside of sch ool. In short, this study sought


34 channeled into academic literacy acquisition. Chapter Summary Nowadays, it is n ot unusual to find that young people spend much time on video games. engagement, which suggests students can be mot ivated to learn and their engagement can be fostered when learning environment is enhanced. Admittedly, development. Noting that adolescents develop multiple literacies that are more based and literacy engagement has been conducted with native English speakers within the classroom context. Consequently, first, we do not know much about engagement in literacy acqu isition. Second, even less is known about preferred out of school literacy practices. Therefore, this study sought to understand adolescent L2 literacy engagement in online gaming. Furthermore, the research questions are posed in light of th is purpose.


35 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Overview This study sought to understand how adolescent ELLs were engaged in L2 literacy practices through online gaming. Three areas of theories and research in multiliteracies, literacy engagement, and L2 literacy converge to inform this ical London Group, 1996) set s the foundation for further review of research on literacy opportunities in gaming (Sarsar, 2008). Second, an overview of the fundamental iss of school literacy is presented. Third, the connections and disconnections between the notions of literacy engagement and game literacy are analyzed. Later, the review shifts to research on L2 l iteracy research involving gaming. Finally, the popular online game, World of Warcraft ( WoW ), is briefly described, and its relevance expanded upon. Literacy from a Sociocultural Perspective Reviewing the development of literacy in American history, Guth rie (2004) th th 21 st century (pp. 6 7). He note s that the capability of managing information and dealing with based economy. The noticeable trend of literacy expansion with the new emerging technologies demands rethinkin g


36 what literacy is. In this section, multiliteracies, multimodal literacy, media literacy, and game literacy as emerging new literacies are discussed below. L/literacy: Reading the Word and the World In this study, literacy is conceptualized from a socio cultural perspective. As opposed to the traditional conception of literacy in which isolated skills of reading and writing are at the center, a theory of literacy as social practices (Barton & Hamilton, 1998 ; Gee, 1992 ; Street, 1984 l relationships and social and cultural contexts. d in D language plus social dimensions. In the same vein, Lankshear and Knobel (2006) l describes the actual process of reading and writing L l L


37 l S kills: Reading the W ord Comber & Cormack (2005) have identified the changing theories about literacy from a set of isolated skills i nvolving reading and writing to socially and culturally constructed practices. The traditional notion of literacy as a set of cognitive skills is (Comber & Cormack, 2005). Conventional l iteracy is often equivalent to school learning. Cicourel and Meghan (1985) note that literacy has been unquestioningly assumed as the purpose and product of schooling since the beginning of twentieth century (as cited in Cook Gumperz, 2006 p. 19). Similarly, Obidah (1998) states literacy is often used to describe structured processes of schooling. Venezky (1990) views literacy as a collection of abilities at varied levels termed and writing skills are zone of ability is primary but not inadequate for many ordinary demands in real life. A higher zone of abilities fulfills the purpose of full partici pation in society. From this perspective, merely reading and writing which are central to school literacy is not enough for students to fulfill social participation. This actually has garnered much and Gumperz (2006), school literacy is a system of decontextualized knowledge that is validated through test performances. She challenges the equation of literacy and schooling, asserting it is impossible to


38 h ave schooling without literacy but it is possible to have literacy without schooling. While literacy is still the goal of schooling, literacy is not solely the outcome of schooling (Cook Gumperz, 2006). In a similar fashion, Zamel and Spack (1998) has pu that multiple approaches to know ledge must be recognized in addition to merely reading and writing skills. L as Social P ractices: Reading th e W orld changed t (Berthoff, 1987, p. xiii), Freire stresses that reading the world actually preceded treatment of letters and words Taken together, the con decoding and encoding alphabetic print but also their understanding how the world operates socially and cult urally (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006).


39 interactions and their interpretive writing are counted as literacy events. Later, this conception is broadened by other literacy researchers. Street (1984, 1988) emplo (Street, 1988, p. 61). Street views literacy as a set of social practices mediated by reading and writing. Going beyond reading and wr iting, Grillo (1986) extends the literacy denotes the social activities through which language or communication is produced. Therefore, literacy events can be viewed as con stituents of literacy practices. The former are visible, but the latter have more theoretical nature of reading and writing and the social structures in which they are embedded and which they help milton, 2000, p. 7). The renowned scholar James Gee was also among the first to theorize understanding literacy on a sociocultural approach. His interpretation of literacy by re


40 Gee, a way of using literacy is more powerful than a specific literacy per se to discourse invol 1998, p. 56) such as schools, workplaces, churches among others. Gee (1998) secondary discourses, m states mainstream middle class children acquire and practice literacies that are embraced by dominant secondary discourses rather than learn these literacies in school. Nevertheless, children fr om non mainstream homes may not have opportunities to acquire dominant literacy. inquiry in practice. For example, the classic study of literacy by Heath (1983) in Ways with Wor ds reflects that non significantly different from the secondary discourses they experience in school. In this ethnography, Heath (1983) explored how c s shaped by their community culture. For the children of white working class in Roadville and those of black work ing class in Trackton, school was the first place language. Different perceptions and practic es of reading and writing between the two rur al communities and townspeople


41 schooling. Unlike parents in the other two communities, townspeople parents provided their children with more and better rea diness for school l ife, which was to find accessible ways to understand the differences in language and culture their students bring to their classrooms. The social and cultural underpinnin gs rooted in literacy pract ices should never be neglected. 1996) has been proposed and gradually accepted in the movement of expanding literacy from a general and self contained competence in reading and writing to multiple literacies and shift the previous focus on acquisition of skills as a dominant approach to socially and culturally situated activities. This view actually resonates L/literacy perspective, the conception o word and the world as well. Multidimensional and Multifaceted Literacies L2 literacy practices in a gaming world, it is of the utmost importance to review the expanded conception of literacy. In line with the traditional concept embedded in homogeneous cultural and linguistic backgrounds and illustrated in paper based reading and writing. Rather


42 p. 20 ), the social view of literacy recognize multiplicity of literacies (Comber & Cormack, 2005 p. 3 ) in our lives. The understanding of multiliteracies can be perceived from two principal aspe cts of and increasingly globalized societies. Second, new information and multimedia tapestry of multidimensional and multifaceted literacies is demonstrated by revisiting the notion of multiliteracies by the New London Group (1996) and interweaving a few other terms about literacy burgeoning with the technology development. In addition, as a kind of newly emerging literacy, game literacy is introduced at the end. Multiliteracies: Literacy beyond Reading and Writing T exts Facing the changing social environment, the New London Group (1996) follows a sociocultural perspective that situates multicultural and globalized world. Though the New London Group put forward the new approach to literacy pedagogy more than ten years ago, to a large extent, their foresight and keenness has been reified in our l iteracy lives today. Evidently, the p. 3 ). must see themselves as active participants in social change, so they can be active designers of soci


43 group of international researchers is closely connected to the changing social environment. Ever since, a g rowing body of literature have been addressing the complexity and plurality of literacy (e.g., Gallego & Hollingsworth, 2000) and many Based on the work of social semiotics and visual design (Kress & van Leeuwen, 1990; Heller & Pomeroy, 1997), Street (2005) claims that reading and g and pedagogy personal experience and background into the mind of the student (Frei re, 1998). However, in a pedagogy of multiliteracies, the learner is viewed as an active in teaching and learning, a pedagogy of mutiliteracies is demonstrated in a compl ex are emphasized in situated practice; (2) collaboration in practice is fundamental in learning and scaffolding is provided in overt instruction; (3) critical framing is essential to help learners critically analyze the gained knowledge from historical,


44 social, cultural, political and ideological perspectives; (4) learners need to m solving in real li fe -transformed practice (New London Group, 1996). All the four factors are integrated to empower teaching and learning to achieve success in such a rapidly changing world with cultural and linguistic diversity. The learner is involved in collaborating in solving problems, and establishing informal mentorship. At this (Gee, 1996, 2003; S treet, 1993, 2005), which argue literacy happens beyond the (Gee, 2007). Multimodal L iteracy : Literacy across C ontexts According to the New London Group (1996), all meaning making is multimodal. Both new literacies and traditional forms of literacy demand a new view of what comprehending multimodal texts signify. Kress (2003) takes up the need in Literacy in the New Media Age organized set of resources for meaning making, including, image, gaze, gesture, movement, music, speech and sound 1). Kress (2003) further explains that traditional literacy is bas ed on the mode of writing in the media of print, but new literacy is built on the mode of image in the


45 ork and tools for rethinking literacy in terms of modality. First, the transition of the role of images in literacy is worth noting. Traditional reading as interpretation reading as imposing salience and order, reading as design a ge to discuss how multiliteracies c an be address ed in pedagogy. London Group. 1996) by those who are making meanings. This notion incorporates certain environment. Th ave rich meanings. The meanings filled by readers Second, a multimodal environment created by new technologies is a feature of up of elements of modes w hich Kress, 2003, p. 46). Logic is the basic rule that two modes (page and screen) need to follow. Given the mode of writing is governed by the logic or time, whereas the mode of image by the logic of space, multimodal tex ts actually suggest mixed logics. Though images are not rare in traditional litera cy, its role as illustration is


46 (Kress, 2003). In contrast, on the screen, images are no longer supplementary to texts Instead, images are dominant while texts are complementary to inform readers with more detailed information. Though texts never disappear on the screen, they become more image like and shaped by the spatial logic of the image. process of meaning making in two modes of writing and image. In such an era where page has been overtaken by the screen as the dominant site of appearance of text, our reading behaviors, such as readi ng paths, have been changed unconsciously. When we read the old written or printed pages, our reading path follows a clear sequence, which is either circular or linear. To be specific, a clear reading path is given from the top left corner on a page to t he bottom right, from the Sometimes, we may flip through the pages by readi ng the contents page, the index, and the foo tnotes randomly, which may fall into the circular seque nce as Kress (2003) refers to. By contrast, when texts are presented on the screen, they are like page of a video levance for different readers, because there is a range of possibilities of what is pertinent to us. In other words, the sequence that the reader establishes while constr ucting meanings from the screen depends on what is the most important to her/him. Kress


47 articulate multimodal texts. Likewise, Jewitt (2004) depicts each visual element in the c beyond written contents. The blocks on the screen are presented in different places such as the left versus the right, the bottom versus the top. The size and the position of ea ch block fundamentally verify how the screen looks like and whether the relevance to the reader is concealed or revealed, which ultimately leads the reader to take different reading paths. Kress and Jewitt (2003) maintain that a multimodal approach to lea rning treats all modes as equally significant in meaning making and communication. This expands our view of taking reading and writing text in print as the predominant if not the exclusive modes of information. Some scholars (e.g., Mavers, 2003; Moss, 20 study (2003) brings us in a world of a child who played on the carpet of his bedroom from the film Toy Story, assorted trucks and miniature animals. Pahl (2003) used photographs to record how the child expressed his meaning across modes and explored a complex pattern of commu nicative practices in the world beyond the linguistics. unique learning paths led to understanding his learning process. Pahl (2003) calls for a multimodal learning environment at school to encourage students to invent meanings creatively. To conclude, our time has se en a dramatic evolution of the old page t o t he new page (Kress, 2003). Today, when we are reading, we may not necessarily mean we


48 read a written or printed material; when we are writing, we may not really use a pen to write words on a piece of paper, because our reading and writing, to a large d egree, has been moved to the screen of the computer or other new information and communication technologies. That is to say, we use the screen for reading and the keyboard for writing. The evolvement of literacy demands a new view to comprehend our liter acy practices interacting with texts across contexts. Kress screen has replaced the book as the dominant medium of communication. Accordingly, literacy is no longer a trad itional concept embedded in paper based reading and writing. The revolution of computer based media brings us multimodal texts, which are built up through electronic texts, images, symbols, and sounds among others. Since the screen has become the dominan t medium (Kress, 2003), there is an increasing need to reshape our understanding of reading and writing. Me dia L iteracy National Leadership Conference on Media citizen to access, analyze, and produce inf ( p. 6) In such a media saturated world today, information can b e accessed through complex avenues of text, images and sounds on radio, TV, and the Internet. Different from traditional media products such as newspaper and TV from which audiences receive information relatively in a passive way, the Internet has brough t us in an interactive


49 based classroom learning and the new media represented by television more than a decade ag o, Selfe, Mareck, and Gardiner (2007) offer a dynamic view of how an emerging technology may be questioned, challenged and accepted by and by. It is interesting to see that television, once as a new medium, was suspected of its negative influence (e.g., violence) by many people. However, television today has (Selfe et al., 2007, p. 22) a revealing glimpse of ho technology and its accompanying ideology begin to challenge the cultural dominance of long emerging technologies old and the new ways, successful in Postman (1993) suggests that educators closely examine television and understand its relationship to learning (as cited in Self et al., 2007). A literate practices out of school such as playing video ga mes can never be simply ignored, devalued with an emphasis on reading and writing in print and the new literacy characterized by multimodality can be avoided by understanding, exploring and embracing the value of the new one.


50 Game Literacy study on gaming and literacy opens up a new approach to the ways in which gaming is viewed as a positive and potential tool in learning. Gee (2003) maintains that when one learns to play video games she/he is learning a new 36 good learning principles incorporated into good video games, of which multimodality is a distinctive feature. Like alphabet as a technology which generates print literacy, game design involves a multi occur s in certain social practices, so does game literacy (Gee, 2007a). In practice, the cha literacy could assist learning. Researchers have been using games to motivate reluctant readers to learn. Dubbels (2009) have found that video games can help develop reluctant and struggling readers rint based comprehension He explored how an after school reading remediation program modified into a games club and new literacy practices. He observed that the students in the games club were more tolerant of his talk about reading and asking them about learning. Also, the students tended to explore and learn about games, which provide d interactivity that


51 u nskilled independent reading could not. Dubbels (2009) conclude s that within print but occurs across a variety of communication and media. Rich narratives set in video games are also taken as reading opportunities by researchers. Alberti ( 2008) have argued that video game players are Compton Li lly (2007) exemplifies how we could make schools more like games by borrowing the essence of learning principles in gaming. 36 good learning principles in good games, Compton Lilly (2007) discusses seven principles that are closely relevant to teaching reading. principle, 3) practice principle, 4) ongoing learning principle, 5) probing principle, 6) subset principle and incremental principle, and 7) explicit i nformation on demand and just in time principle. She states that 1) the first two principles are related to learners and the conditions fostering learning; 2) the next three principles explain how learning occurs; and 3) the last two principles are comple mentary and provide implications for teaching. She finds that the learning principles in gaming are actually not new to the field of reading. Compton Lilly (2007) discusses the analogy between learning video games an d learning to read and describes a rea ding classroom based on the learning principles in gaming.


52 Though incorporating voice chat into online games seems to diminish the opportunities of writing in gaming, Moberly (2008) analyzes the implicit messages in online gaming environment and argues that the complex symbolic gaming environments are constructed almost completely through writing. Therefore, computer games hold the potential to help students understand the fundamental compositional process. Robertson and Good (2005) have integrated gaming in teaching writing. They guided ten teenagers to create their own stories by using the computer game authoring tool in a commercial role play game, NeverWinter Nights. In the Game Maker workshop, the participants were involved in discussing games, designing characters, planning plots, storyboarding with digital cameras, and reporting their progress. The participants in this study were not only consumers of the game but also producers. Robertson and Good (2005) found that interactive audio visual computer games like Neverw inter Nights can function as a non text ual medium to engage children in written literacy activities. Rather than directly using games into teaching, researchers also manage to selected game based books for her classroom library to give reading another chance. In a survey of over 250 eighth grade students at her school, Jolley (2008) found that over more than 80 percent of the surveyed students played video games. On the one hand, most of the gamers surveyed d id not have any clue about game based texts. On the other hand, of those who were not familiar with game based texts, their two most favorite texts were based on the video games Halo and World of


53 Warcraft By introducing students to books based on video games, Jolley (2008) created literary opportunities for students through book talks, comparing books and games, and discussing within a curricular topic. Another study by Beavis (2002) explored how computer games could be incorporated in secondary school English learning in the classroom to complement and extend their print literacy. In conclusion, video games afford literacy opportunities in a multimodal environment for players to interpret meanings built up through a range of modalities includ ing images, texts, symbols, interactions, abstract designs, and sound (Gee, 2003). In other words, traditional literacy with a focus on reading and writing is moved from print to a multimodal gaming environment. work on game lit eracy has sparked a proliferation of other work on exploring gaming cited in Shaffer, 2006, world and the sense of their own power that comes from being able to make things deo games provide a platform for adolescents to realize practices. Literacy Engagement prominent role in shaping research on literacy education. Guthrie (2004) notes the


54 universal observation that high engagement associates with high achievement, and, conversely, low engagement with low achievement. Engage me or enrage me: What to describes the challenge of engaging students to learn. classrooms: self motivated students, students who go through the motions, and of students indicates those who enjoy school learning with intrinsic motivations. The second group of students may not feel what they learn is relevant, yet they know it is important for their future. In other words, they have extrinsic motivations from their realistic perspectives. The third group, actually, poses the biggest challenge to teachers, educators, and To analyze literacy e ngagement theoretically, Guthrie (2004) proposes four dimensions are embedded in the term engagement: first, time on task suggests (Guthrie, 2004, p. 3); second, affect i mplies enthusiasm, liking and enjoyment; third, cognitive qualities of the reader signifies conceptual learning during reading or building new understandings based on existing knowledge (Guthrie & Anderson, 1999); and the fourth dimension is activity based indicating the amount and diversity cognitive, motivational, and social interactive behavior. An engaged reader uses


55 strategies such as questioning and comprehending and is ca pable of being involved in social interactions such as discussing their reading experiences with friends. The most consistent and salient finding in research on literacy engagement is that there is a close relationship between engagement and academic ach ievement. exists between engagement and achievement, which indicates that the two are Recipr ocations of engagement and achievement in reading suggest both of the two schooling and rea ding activities in the classroom are the means to test success. In accordance with Guthrie (2002), the extent that teachers provide specific lessons relevant to the surface structures of tests can account for only 10 percent of the variance in test scores It means reading lessons may help a few children with a small portion of their test scores but have most children left behind. Guthrie (2004) believes that real engaged reading should function as means and end simultaneously, that is, while engagement is the objective of reading activities, engaged reading should be a pathway to achievement. T he recognition that a correlation exists between engagement and literacy achievement has contributed to Techno logy, such as educational software (Bangert Drownsb& Pyke, 2001), movies, and Web blog has been used in the classroom. Teaching approaches include


56 electronic portfolios (Barrett, 2007), readers theatre (Worthy & Prater, 2002), student teacher shared inqui ry (Thomas & Oldfather, 1996), student inquiry project (Fairbanks, 2000), computer supported inquiry (Jrvel, Veermans, & Leinonen, P., 2008), culturally responsive instruction (Au, 2001), and project based learning through constructivist approach (Ruddel l, 2000; Windschitl, 1999), to name just a few. O ne well known instructional mode l is concept oriented reading instruction (CORI) (Anderson & Guthrie, 1996; Guthrie, 1997), which was developed at National Reading Research Center (NRRC). In this instructi onal framework, seven principles are emphasized to establish engaging classroom context, including real world observation, conceptual themes, self directed learning, strategy instruction, social collaboration, self expression, and coherence in the curricul um. Also, quasi experiments have shown that CORI instruction, compared to traditional instruction, increased reading comprehension and reading motivation (Guthrie, Meter, McCann, Anderson, & Alao, 1996). Motivation vs. Engagement A best known interpretati occur: (1) identifying problems; (2) studying problems through active engagement; and (3) making conclusions as problems a re solved, which is referred to as an Mosenthal 1999, p. 2 conception of notion draws our attention to engagement as a dynamic process. The common base of the two views


57 temporary excitement ( Mosenthal 1999, p. 5). Despite that the two term s important to realize the fundamental differences between them. y, motivation is the driving force that prompts people to whys addressing a pedagogy of mu ltiliteracies, the New London Group (1996) emphasized motivated and believe they will be able to use and function with what they are learning some way that is in their intere Reed, 1997, p. 69). In the process of engaged reading, extrinsic incentives such as awards may ble. readers are motivated, strategic, knowledgeable, and socially interactive (Guthrie,


58 Mc motivation and competence in literacy activities, which is well illustrated as follows: If motivation is treated as secondary to the acquisition of basic reading skills, we risk creating classrooms filled with children who can read but choose not to. On the other hand, if motivation is the only focus, we risk that children may love to read bu t cannot (Baker, Dreher, & Guthrie, 2000, p. 1). serves as a trigger for engaged reading to Mosenthal (1999) argues what exists in reading engagement as an integral part is Engaged readers must be motivated but m otivated readers may not turn out to be engaged. In a word, motivation is a prerequisite of engagement or being motivated is an essential characteristic of engaged readers. Behind School Disengagement: The New Digital Divide term academic achievement (Skinner, Connell, & Zimmer Gembeck, 1998), parents and teachers long to see students engaged in learning. However, this involvement often occurs outside of school, rather than in school. I n such a technology saturated ptability of digital literacy rather than the access to digital and information technology. Though


59 illiams, 2005) in some ways. Williams (2005) described an often seen scene in the classroom that the teacher finds their students are far more capable than herself/himself in fixing a computer or software problem they encounter in some computer related pr ojects. Unfortunately, teachable moments slip away when technologically savvy, what ways they might be using computer technology in their literacy practices outside of school, and how su ch practices shape their sense of that teacher (2002) show while students lose interest in school, they may not be turned off to reading in general. Students may read magazines, newsletters, hypertext, and many other forms of information. Unfortunately, Ivey (1999) find this type of reading is not always valued at school (as cited in Carr, 2002). Phelps (2004) presented a review of 55 research studies on adolescent literacy pu blished in peer reviewed journals between 1994 and earl y 2005 All the research articles are rel area classes because of ethnicity, language, economic disadvantage, or learning literacy from cogni tive strategies to multiple variables in the literacy development of


60 adolescents. With regard to adolescent development in and out of school, Phelps (2004) found that adolescents varied widely in their reading preferences and they were also quite diverse in their literacy abilities. Many studies suggested that there was a big gap between in school literacy and out of school literacy, and that school p. 4). The researc h review implies more spaces should be allowed in school for adolescents to explore multiple literacies and receive feedback from their peers and adults. traditional sense. They reexa students who are challenged with literacy rk with diverse symbol systems in an active ruct their worlds and oth For example, one boy in ninth grade, whose reading level was assessed as seven years below the state standard, crafted a multimedia documentary about a heavy metal artist. In that documentary, he used images with his own ru nning narrative, an


61 MTV interview, and texts from various sources. suggest that the restrictive view of literacy that privileges print impede our insights at out of school lives depicted in an interesting analogy made by Prensky (2005): personalized identity --as they are in the rest of their lives --in school, they must eat what they are served ( 14). in school, they are immersed in completely another technology rich world with downloading songs, playing video games, making movies, and doing the extreme t continue to operate with a cultural logic that fails to leverage the technological 008, p. 226). become enlarged with the development of technology. A decade ago, Wells and Blendinger (1998) conducted a two year study on how seventy five middle school students spent their time outside of school. The findings showed that children spent


62 too much time on watching TV but too little time reading. On average, 42 percent of creen oriented activities (Blendinger, 1998, p. 8), which included television, video, and video games. However, both teachers and students sometimes fail to connect the essence of out of school literacy with that of school (2005) found tha t one high school student did not perceive his online role playing games and email experience was connected to reading and writing at all, though the researcher detected that the student spent much time reading and writing online through these activities. Likewise, Jolley (2008) noticed that many students who liked playing games had no clue about game based texts. She found that one boy in her remedial reading class thought he had no background knowledge about science fiction though he played the popular video game Halo The boy made a crystal clear distinction between his cool games and schoolwork and did not see the connections. Obviously, comparing with official school learning, students are unlikely to recognize their unofficial reading and writing a ctivities related to playing (Sarsar, 2008; Wilhelm & Smith, 2001) In recent years, researchers latch on to the topic of gaming in education. They xperience. In Gaming lives in the twenty first century: Literate connections (Selfe & Hawisher, 2007), it is shown that parents place a high value on conventional literacy in spite of their educational levels. The gamers learn print literacy a lot at hom e, which is also the main focus of their school education.


63 students are good at and what th in a world of traditional literacy still fail to see the complex ways in which computer games are embedded in certain learning principles (Gee, 2003). Likewise, Keller et al. (2007) found all five particip strong support for their conventional alphabetic literacies. Though all five families enabled access to computers, nearly all the parents viewed games as entertainment rather than education: they might distin guish well between educational and noneducational software; they might believe the time spent on computer was less valuable than those on reading books; they might ban games unless they believed that some could help their children gain computer skills (Kel ler et al., 2007). Even though computer use is promoted by parents, it is only for academic uses but not for game playing. Digital literacy is of value under the situation that the computer is Altogether, adolescents acquire a lot of technological and digital literacy by immersing in a digital information saturated world. However, the ne w literacies are exploration and unexpected excitement embedded in the digital literacy attract adolescents but give people the impression that adolescents always waste their tim e without dedication to literacy. In this situation, surrounded by opponent voices


64 Gee, 2006, p. x). The adolescents face a disconnection between print literacy in school and digital literacy outside of school. Furthermore, a divide exists adolescents who are Interface between Literacy Engagement and Game Literacy The eminent scholar Guth schools is that too many children are disengaged from literacy. At this point, Guthrie through the context of print. As pointed out by Williams (2005), many teachers keep putting the question of whether students are effective readers or writers on the base grounded in the traditional academi c literacy, namely, reading and writing in the medium of print. Undoubtedly, the predominance of school motivation in learning deserves attention to their engagement in conventional literacy. It would be argued, however, students have spent so much time and energy on out of school activities such as video games and thus, why teachers should


65 time were spent on school related print literacy activities. Before answering the question, it is necessary to be aware of two points. First, we doubt students would really choose to do school learning tasks as voluntarily as they do in out of school ac computer mediated activities is not necessarily brought about by the practices being easy. So, it is still worth exploring the litera cy opportunities involved in gaming to To build an instructional context fostering engagement process and reading outcomes, Guthrie (2001) and his colleagues created an engagement model of reading development (see Fig ure 2 1). Figure 2 1. The engagement model of reading d evelopment Note: F Guthrie, 2001 Reading Online, 4 (8). As illustrated above, this model stresses instructional significance in fostering an engaging classroom. The model consists of three parts: a core in the shape of


66 knowledg process: motivation, strategy use, conceptual knowledge, and social interaction. The outer ring is composed of ten elements that the teacher should practice in the classroom: learning and knowledge goals, real world interaction, autonomy support, interesting texts for instruction, strategy instruction, collaboration support, praise and rewards, evaluation, teacher involvement, and coherence of instructional processes. Though the para digm of literacy engagement derives from research in classroom context and pri nt, it provides a framework to which I can refer examining engagement and game literacy include mot ivation, social interactions, conceptual knowledge, strategy use, collaboration, and autonomy. First, as Guthrie (1997) states, motivation is contextual and students are motivated in some contexts but not in others. This might be a situation in which vid eo games really appeal to some students who are not engaged with book reading. Second, social interactions in world (Oldeburg, 1991) to those in the virtual world (Bruckman, 1998). More than a to indicate public spaces such as coffee houses other than family and school communities. Today, Dodge et al. (2008) states that online environments like online vi deo games elements in the model of literacy engagement like conceptual knowledge, strategy


67 use, collaboration, and autonomy overlap with learning principles in gaming (Gee, 2007) With the expansion of literacy brought by fast developing technology, literacy engagement confined to the conventional literacy needs rethinking when we look at adolescents What is missi ng in the literacy engagement model above is multimodality as a salient feature in this new media age (Kress, 2003). As Turner and Paris (2005) claim that motivation exists not only in the child but in the interaction between students and their literacy environment video games are involved in multimodal meaning making through hypertexts, images, and even audio communication in online games. Besides, gamers may have literacy p ractices while playing games on line or other game related activities when they are off line. Multimodal environment is constructed when literacy activities across modes (i.e. writing and image) and media (i.e. book and screen). Therefore, in studying literacy practices occurring in gaming, a multimodal literacy environment should be considered besides the basic elements of literacy engagement proposed by Guthrie and his colleagues. Journet (2007) contends viewing video games in a positive light does not mean advocacy for teaching students to play or write video games in composition and literature classes. Actually, it is crucial to investigate the principles embedded in


68 games and create more game learning environment with attention to their virtual worlds in video games, more exhau engagement in gaming. Pivotal to any learning opportunities involved in gaming is the need to recognize the intersection of literacy engagement and game literacy, which serve s as a theoreti cal foundation for my research. L2 Literacy and Gaming Given a large and rapidly growing number of students who do not speak English as their first language (L1), as well as their low levels of literacy attainment (August, 2005), literacy development attention, as demonstrated by the establishment of the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth in 2002. The panel examined 970 studies on language minority children between the ages of 3 and 18. Their report, released in 2006, revealed that ELLs face more challenges than their English speaking peers in literacy acquisition, which is involved in the interplay between L1 literacy and L2 literacy. In this report by the National Literacy Panel, while a good deal is known about literacy skills in terms of school literacy, there is a dearth of research of school literacy, especially their literacy practices influenced by technological innovations. Though some studies elsewhere address home literacy and community literacy with an effort to explore their 1992; Talyor & Dorsey Gaines, 1988 ), the absence of research on the o ut of school


69 literacy activities initiated by ELLs themselves may hinder us from fully understanding this group of culturally and socially marginalized students After all, adolescent ELLs share the same interests in new literacies and are also engaged in into gaming world may open up new avenues for us to bridge their in school and out of school literacies. L2 Acquisition Theories and Gaming In order to understand L 2 literacy practices through gaming, I will address both theoretical and research perspectives on L2 literacy acquisition and video games. To elaborate on how L2 literacy opportunities are embedded in video games, it is necessary to revisit second languag e acquisition theories to examine how video leading second language researchers, Krashen and Cummins, are presented to look at how games facilitate language learning. Fir hypothesis can be applied to understanding contextualized gaming environments optimize language learning opportunities (Garca Carbonell, Rising, Montero, & ypothesis, a lower affective filter facilitates language learning, which is one of the positive qualities of gaming in second language acquisition (Garca Carbonell et al., 2001). Third, nities.


70 Comprehensible input hypothesis The Comprehensible input hypothesis proposed by Krashen (1981) contends that in order for language acquisition to occur, the language input should be comprehensible to language learners in many forms, such as visual aids, adapted texts, and the use of less complex language. In other words, language learners (Zainuddin & Yahya, 2006, p. 148). Language learners make progress when they are expose d to the language input (i) one step beyond their current level of proficiency (i+1). In video games, visuals, a form of comprehensible input, provide language learners with much aid in understanding the context. Also, as language learners encounter new vocabulary or other linguistic phenomena in video games, Affective filter hypothesis motivation, self confid ence, and anxiety play a role in language acquisition. A language learner with high motivation, high self confidence and lower anxiety will be more likely to be successful in language acquisition. On the contrary, if a language learner does not have the afore comprehensible input and no language acquisition takes place. In a risk free gaming environment, affective f ilter is lower when language learners have less anxiety but higher motivation.


71 integrate video games in teaching and learning (Cummins, 1981). In terms of cont identify four areas of learning tasks associated with second language proficiency ranging from Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills (BICS) to Cognitive Academic Language Proficien cy (CALP). The conceptions of BICS and CALP distinguish social language from academic language (Zainuddin & Yahya, 2006). Social language is context embedded conversational language in our daily lives, while academic language is decontextualized school b ased learning language. 2), the vertical continuum represents communicative tasks and activities ranging from cognitively undemanding to cognitively demanding, whereas the horizontal continuum illustrates communicati ve tasks and activities from context embedded to context reduced. Accordingly, Quadrant I refers to cognitive undemanding tasks with high contextual clues, such as following physical directions. Quadrant II indicates cognitively demanding and context embedded learning tasks, for example, reading texts with the help of visuals. Gaming environments invite language learners to either Quadrant I or Quadrant II, which depends on if higher order thinking skills are involved (Rice, 2007). To foster related to a question posed by deHaan (2003) as to whether language acquired through video games can be used when the language is removed from the context of


72 the game. A s Cruz (2007) suggested, the teacher can create academic learning activ ities such as writing journals and retelling stories after they play games. Figure 2 (a dapted from Cummins, 1981) Language Learning Environments Embedded in Gaming The L2 language acquisition theories mentioned above account for the pot ential of gaming for L2 learning. A further question would be in what ways video games foster L2 learning through the lens of learning principles in gaming (Gee, 2003). T hree aspects below pinpoint the benefits of gaming environments that facilitate language learning. in Words have different situated meanings in different contexts and games always situate the meanings of wor ds in terms of the actions, images, and dialogues that they relate to and show how they vary across different actions, images, and


73 dialogues (Gee, 2005). Additionally, in and goals (Gee, 2003; 2004; 2005). Players make meaning of the words and sentences within their contexts in which they will apply the knowledge obtained through the process of meaning making. Contextualization o f words and sentences to understand them is very important for language acquisition. Gee (2003) objects, artifacts, symbols, texts, etc.) are situated in embodied experienc e. games optimize language learning opportunities by enhancing word associations through meaning making processes in a contextualized environment. This view is also shared by other researchers. For example, Decarrico (2001) advocates rich Broberg, 2004). In addition, deHaan (2005) found the research subject who learned Japanese as a foreign language learned a lot of vocabulary from contextual clues while playing a Japanese baseball game. Instant interaction The feature of instant interactio in decoding is interactive in reading gaming texts. While the player receives and then information while const ructing meanings. So, the player of gaming text is no longer


74 a passive message sender or receiver. In fact, there is always interaction in a cycle while a player is engaged in reading and acting. Foreman et al. (2004) maintain using interactive games ca n positively impact on the mode of learning (as cited in like formats as an Repetition According to behaviorist theory in language acquisition, stimu lus, response, and reinforcement are the basic elements of learning (Peregoy & Boyle, 2005). some language software, video games may contain some key words repeated in a certain context, which provides the language learner with learning moments while (Baddeley et al., 1998, p.158), interactive c ycle (Gathercole, Willis, Emslie, & Baddeley, 1991). Birch (2007) emphasizes that repetition is one of the useful word learning strategies because (2000) finding that ESL believed hearing language repeatedly was effective for him to learn Japanese while playing a Japanese baseball game. To summarize, the learning principles presented above have insightful implications for language acquisition. Video games provide language learners with a


75 highly contextualized environment in which they can interact with animated agents and receivin g positive reinforcement in an engaging way. Current Gaming Research on L2 Literacy Weighted against the extensive studies conducted on video games in education as a whole (Garris, Ahlers & Driskell, 2002; Margolis, Nussbaum, Rodriguez, & Rosas, 2006; Mil lians, 1999; Rosas et al., 2003; Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2004; Squire, 2006), only a paucity of published work is especially dedicated to gaming in language acquisition. Like the research on other emerging technologies, video gaming is a new to pic, and researchers seek to find the potential of its application to language learning. Video games hold the promise and potential for second language learning. Most studies on this topic analyze the features of video games which could be applied to lan guage learning. Several studies look at game design tools and principles related to language acquisition (Morton & Jack, 2005; Pasero & Sabatier, 1998; Johnson, Vihjalmsson, & Marsella, 2005). For example, Zhao and Lai (2009) elaborate on their conceptua lization on designing Zon a MMORPG for Chinese as foreign language learning. They identify three main challenges in foreign language education: the lack of socially communicative communities, the lack of opportunities for using the target language for re al the immersive language learning environment embedded in MMORPGs, Zhao and Lai (2009) argue that MMORPGs solve the main challenges in foreign language education. Though this article addresses foreign language learning, the implications


76 are also applied to L2 language learning. To L2 learners who play MMORPGs, their are enriched in a virtual world and in a real world as well. involved in gaming. Selfe et al. (2007) find communication in gaming environments is increasingly multimodal and effective cross linguistic and cultural boundaries. Gee (p. 27). In an affinity group, people see others more or less as insiders (Gee, 2003a). People in an affinity group recognize others as more o group. Gaming environments provide a setting for literacy practices involved in ., 2007, p. 31). In the study by Selfe et al. (2007), some participants say they learn other cultures and even languages by communicating and collaborating with other affinity group members in the same semiotic domain. For instance, one boy mentioned tha t while collaborating with his clan in playing Counter Strike (Selfe et al., 2007, p. 25). Smith and Deitsch (2007) present an interesting topic o game localization. When one gamer reflected on her gaming experience she mentioned that though she was very interested in Japanese games but she did not


77 with knowing more about the culture by learning the language in Japan and being inv give cultural experience in gaming. Moreover, the life stories of two young men from Nepal can also illustrate how computer games have positive influence on their cultural experience (Pandey et al., 2007). Cultural elements embedded in the American computer games exposed the two young men in a virtual world different from their own real world either in culture or in language. The diverse roles and activities they played in computer games were also helpful to prepare them for future cross cultural experience in their real lives. When they came to the United States for further study, they benefited from their game experience fo r better cultural adaptation when they found it was easy to establish special rapport with those American friends who played the same games. All the examples mentioned above demonstrate the relation between gaming and larger sociocultural and geopolitical in a world of social, cultural, and institutional activities.


78 2005; Herselm an & Technikon, 2000; Yip & Kwan, 2006), particularly in reference to classroom application. In the limited volumes of literature on language acquisition through video games, some positive results have been found in certain linguistic domains such as spea king (Morton & Jack, 2005), vocabulary learning (Broberg, 2004; Yip & Kwan, 2006), listening and character recognition (deHaan, 2005), and computer mediated communication (Shin, 2006). based study presenting an explicit simulation game, The Sims was implemented in the ESL classroom. Eighteen intermediate adult ESL learners participated in the five week study by completing tasking using The Sims. A pre vocabulary levels and place students into groups at relatively the same proficiency levels. A post test which was id entical in content to the pre test was given to the participants with the individual test items randomly rearranged. A pre project survey experience with technology, in cluding specific investigation into their prior usage of The Sims A post project survey was given for participants to reflect on their entire experience with The Sims in the study. The results indicated a significant increase in vocabu lary acquisition.


79 As noted, most of the literature in this field was published in recent years, which implies the research on language learning through gaming is still a newly emerging topic. There are two basic questions in the existing literature about language acquisition through video games. Researchers endeavor to find what good video games are for language learning and how video games can be implemented in the classroom. What are good video games for language learning? Insofar as language acquisit ion through video games, many would ask what games are appropriate for language learners. Several researchers have expressed different ideas to the question. Bryant (2006) states WoW and other MMORPGs can Cruz (2007) thinks that role playing games (RPGs) are the ideal genre for the ESL classroom because players are exposed to a large amount of in game dialogues and written texts. Purushotma (2005) recommends The Sims which provides practical vocabulary and rich content. As for massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), he adds that The Sims Online has tremendous potential in language learning due to the communication opportunities between L1 speakers and L2 speakers. deHa an (2003), another active researcher in this field, specifies a few games for different purposes. He stresse s The Sims is especially useful for beginning and intermediate language learners to learn real life vocabulary and RPGs for advanced language learners. Also, deHaan (2005) expresses a preference for sports and simulation games because more scaffolding is provided in a n obvious context. In a one month


80 study, deHaan (2005) investigated how a Japanese baseball video game helped one intermediate Japanese as a foreign language student improve his listening and kanji character recognition. Admittedly, it is crucial to cons ider who play the video games language acquisition. How can video games be used in classroom instruction? To date, little research has been carried out to look at the u se of video games in classrooms. Even less is about video games for language classroom use. One well known study of using the video games in education is made by Squire (2005), who introduced Civilization III into curricula to teach students history and geography. When it comes to language classrooms, educational research on video games practice is slim ( Cruz, 2007; Herselman, 2000; Yip & Kwan, 2006) and a few others partially address the issue in their studies (deHaan, 2005; Purushotma, 2005). 2007) article is more like a reflection on using computer games in ESL classrooms, pointing out simply playing games cannot produce bilingualism, and it is necessary for teachers to design activities that encourage students to talk about their gaming exper ience. Cruz (2007) proposes that some language activities such as reflective journals, debates, and oral presentations could be used after language learners play the games in class. Purushotma (2005) emphasizes that it is tention to key vocabulary in playing MMOGs. Yip and up


81 long term learning tool. As for time a rrangement for playing video games, Cruz (2007) suggests that students play a language learning game weekly during invite students to play simultaneously. Furthermore, de Haan (2005) adds that games can be encouraged in language labs or in home settings. What are the gaps in current research? Based on current research on gaming research related to L2 literacy, I find some gaps which need to be filled. There are a few implications for further research in this field as a result of what is and is not known about using video games in language learning. Lack of research based studies, especially qualitative studies. Few research based studies about computer games and lan guage learning have existed so far (Broberg, 2004; deHaan, 2005; Herselman, 2000; Yip & Kwan, 2006). Given the lack of qualitative studies in computer assisted language learning (CALL) (Liu, Moore, Graham, & Lee, 2003), it is not surprising to find no pur e qualitative studies are conducted in this field. Some studies used qualitative methods to supplement their quantitative analysis. Yip and Kwan (2006) mixed a quasi experiment, survey questionnaires and interviews in their study. Herselman (2000) used both quantitative and qualitative research methods in collecting data. Broberg (2004) held a post project informal discussion for the participants to reflect on their gaming experience. Also, most of the studies were conducted in a short period of time r anging from one month to nine weeks. Besides the question of if video games are


82 effective for language learning, more long termed and in depth qualitative studies are desired to know how video games engage language learners, how learning occurs through vi deo games, and what interactions occur when gaming experience acquired outside of school are brought into school culture (Squire & Barab, 2004). With growing numbers of quantitative studies on new media and related practices among youth in the U.S. (Ito et al., 2008), qualitative studies in this field are also necessary to investigate what games are doing for us rather than merely ask what they are doing to us (Williams, 2007). More than two decades ago, Salomon and Gardner (1986) also gave us similar sugg estions in their research on computer taught us that technology prior knowledge, and preferred learning strategy, to name just a few. Drawing on the work of Schramm, Lyle, and Parker (1961), Salomon and Ga rdner (1986) stated the (read: the computer) does to the children but rather what the children do with nt. With Salmon the computer repeat testing the effectiveness of computer use, more studies are needed to


83 understand in what conditions gaming can facilitate learning rather than simply Lack of exploration on reading and writing. The present studies of gaming and language learning focus on video games in a certain linguistic domain such as speaking (Morton & Jack, 2005), vocabulary learning (Broberg, 2004; Yip & Kwan, 2006), listening, and character recognition (deHaan, 2005). Though reading and writing are most often explored asp ects in CALL (Liu et al., 2003), the existing research is short of exploration into reading and writing related to gaming. It is likely because reading comprehension is hard to gauge and writing involved in video games is casu al writing rather than academ ically oriented writing. Lack of investigation into cross cultural experience and social interaction. As revealed by Selfe et al. (2007), communication in gaming environment is increasingly multimodal and effective across linguistic and cultural cross cultural experience are pres ented in the book Gaming lives in the twenty first century literacy experience through gaming. Among the studies especially on language learning and gaming, few studies (Ang, Zaphi ris, & Wilson, 2005) address social interaction opportunities beyond the learning activities. Therefore, further research on L2 learners cross cultural experience and social interaction in gaming is necessary to create accesses to understanding how video games can enhance


84 proficiency. As presented above, though video gaming research in L2 literacy is an emerging topic, increasing studies have been conducted on L2 acquisition, partic ularly towards a classroom intervention. What remains unexamined, nevertheless, is an in depth investigation of how ELLs are engaged in various L2 literacy practices through gaming outside of school. World of Warcraft (WoW) WoW argest massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG). Since WoW was launched in November 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment, it has grown to more than 11.5 million monthly subscribers ( World of Warcraft Reaches 11.5 Million Subscribers Worldwide 20 08) WoW is set in a fictional 3D world called Azeroth and later extending to a further world named as Outland. WoW players design and control their avatars to explore locations, defeat creatures, and complete quests in order to obtain rewards, which wil l improve their equipment for more difficult quests. Players can complete quests given by non player characters (NPCs) and interact with other players through chat messages or voice chat in synchronous time. Also, WoW invites players to socialize with ot hers. Two types of groups, party and raid, exist in WoW A party can have up to five characters and only one can be the leader. A raid can have parties of more than five and up to forty people. As opposed to Player vs Player (Pv P), raiding commonly refers to a format


85 of Player vs. Environment (P v E), which means players compete against the predesigned game world rather than other players. Rich text exists in the mix of fantasy, myth, heroic quests, and science fiction based stor ies (Krzywinska, 2008; Sarsar, 2008) structured in narratives. WoW players are immersed in a multimodal environment consisting of written and oral language, images, symbols, and sounds. WoW proffers a locale for players from multilingual backgournds to c ommunicate through English. Different from other to human interaction through a simulated text based chat system, WoW speak to each other while playing WoW (Moberly, 2008). As Beavis (2002) states multiplayer computer games involve players in exploring the use and development of multimodal literacies, some studies have found literacy opportunities embedded in WoW. For example, Nardi and Harris (2006) discover that social activities in WoW through collaborative play provide rich learning opportunities. Similarly, Brignall and Valey (2007) claim that WoW fosters rich social environmen Players can locate and interact with other players who share a common goal to form groups and subgroups or tribes. In accordance with Nardi, Ly and Harris (2007), WoW (ZPD) is shaped by peers who voluntarily teach others in persistent conversations. Moreover, WoW provides rich communication opportunities both within and outside


86 the game. For instance, guilds (in game player associations), as one type of grouping practices in WoW game and out of game socializing as well Tech entrepreneur and World of Warcraft player Joi Ito estimate fully 80 percent of the communication between members of h is WOW guild takes place outside the game (Craig, 2006, 4). For language learners, Bryant (2006) concludes that WoW can provide an engaging language immersion environment. First, the social aspect of learning a language is fulfilled whe n players are in volved in task based activities which require social interaction and collaboration. Second, one primary advantage in WoW is the presence of native speakers. Because WoW creates different virtual worlds based on country, ELLs can enter the virtual world o f WoW where they are naturally immersed in the English language. Recently, academic attention has also been paid to transform the educational potential of WoW into practice at v arious levels of schooling. Fro instance, educator Constance Steinkuehler of the University of Wisconsin Madison initiated an after school program for some adolescent boys to play WoW She found that the eighth and ninth classes, showed great interest in detailed and lengthy discussions about gaming and communicating on their message boards as well ( World of Warcraft as a Teaching Tool 2008).


87 investigated how a group of high school students in UAE were engaged with MMORPGs outside of sch ool. By distributing 100 boys a questionnaire about their out of school technology mediated literacy practices, Sarsar (2008) found that 91% of the participants played online games, the most appealing Internet activity. With a focus on WoW Sasar (2008) discussed both the pros and cons that the students levels of learning that occur in the particip WoW. Sasar (2008) argued that only looking at the negative effects of video games should be replaced by inquiry about how best we can implement video games to help children learn what we want them to learn. In an attempt to rea game based Aldrich, & Pensky, 2006), Sarsar (2008) suggests that parents play an important guiding role and game developers, with the help of educators, develo p games and values of other new technologies should be embraced by an effective pedagogy. Though this is a research based study, the article only presents an overview of learning opportunities rather than an in processes. Despite the fact that Sarsar (2008) states that this study was approached from the perspective of an ESL teacher, there is not much discussion and implication WoW.


88 WoW also receives research attention in college level learning. Recognizing rich language learning experience rooted in WoW Colby and Colby (2008) introduced WoW into a college writing clas s. Apart from WoW states three primary reasons of selecting this online game for teaching writing: 1) WoW is an objective based game which fosters emergent gameplay; 2) WoW has active communities outside the gamespace to involve gamers in writing strategy, lore, and loot guides; 3) WoW is a social game that requires player negotiation and cooperation both within and outside the gamespace. Based on the theory of emergent gaming (Juul, 2005), Colby and Colby (2008) proposed a pedagogy of play by integrating computer games to change the writing classroom to a gamespace. As a game of emergence that creates constant changes within the context of play (Juul, 2005), WoW c an produce texts that they are actively involved in and exhibit a direct influence on the gamespace community. Though the authors give two examples of student projects in the writing class, this article is mainly concerned with presenting how to use WoW i n a writing class rather than discussing the research results. To sum up, in light of the popularity among adolescents and the embedded literacy opportunities, WoW is chosen as the game on which the study focuses. Chapter Summary On the whole, literacy is a complex and dynamic conception. Revisiting multiliteracies made by the New London Group (1996) a decade ago and connecting to the conceptions of multimodal literacy and media literacy adds new dimensions to


89 the repertoire of knowledge concerning lite racy. Conceptualizing literacy by taking account of the newly expanded alterative literacies provides a broader framework for further ana lysis on adolescent ELL s L2 literacy practices in online gaming. Game literacy, as a newly emerging dimension in a k aleidoscope of literacies, deserves attention for further research, especially when we face the problem that students are more engaged in games rather than school work. In previous research, literacy engagement has put an emphasis on reading and writing in print in the classroom. Also, much research has found a gap between of technology. In ESL research field, much is known in relation to connecting y and community literacy to promote learning, but less is can be incorporated in learning. From both theoretical and research perspectives, it is found gaming environments c an provide language learning opportunities. Shifting research has done, this study will create a window for seeing how adolescent ELLs are engaged with L2 literacy practices in gaming outside of school. At the cutting edge of literacy education, with a theoretical framework of literacy engagement and spotlights on newly emerging game literacy, we need more work that brings these two pieces of the puzzle together. Before applyi classroom instruction, it is essential to examine what and how literacy practices occur in gaming.


90 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Overview In this chapter, I begin with explaining why qualitative inquiry was proposed for this study and discussing the epistemology and the theoretical perspective embedded in the study. Then, I describe why an ethnographic multiple case study was employed as an approach in this research. Next, research subjectivity, research co ntext and participants, data collection, and data analysis for this study are presented. Finally, I discuss how trustworthiness was enhanced throughout the research process As the overarching research question suggests, this study investigated how adole scent ELLs were engaged in L2 literacy practices through online gaming and experienced the issue under study (Creswell, 2007). In other words, understanding engagement in this study. Thus, a qualitative study was appropriate to investigate riam, 1998, p. 1). making what L2 literacy practices occ urred in gaming.


91 Epistemology: Constructionism knowledge are possible and how we can ensure that they are both adequate and stance (Crotty, 2004) and justify the research orientation. T he epistemology for this study wa (Crotty, 2004, p. 9) by humans. From the constructionist view point, meaning is out of the object by the subject (Crotty, 2004). To be specific, cons tructionism interpreting (Crotty, 2004). Meaning is a mutual construction involving humans and their human world. In other words, construction occurs in interactions betwee n the self and the world (Crotty, 2004). Theoretical Perspective: Interpretivism our chosen m ed to play multiple roles as a listener, an observer, and an interpreter to present a descriptive study of how adolescent ELLs we re engaged in L2 literacy practices through online situated interpretations of the social life interpretivism


92 was applied as the theoretical perspective to guide this study. In contradistinction to the exp licative approach to focus on causality in the natural sciences, the interpretivist approach to human inquiry leads researchers to interpret their understanding in the human and social sciences (Crotty, 2004). By ob serving what the participants did and li stening to what they said, I sought to understand the gaming context in which L2 literacy practices occur red and interpret ed how adolescent ELLs were engaged in L2 literacy practices through online gaming. Ethnographic Multiple Case Study Approach To pre sent a portrait of how adolescent ELLs were engaged in online games, a multiple case study was (1998) work on case studies provides underpinnings for my research design. As Creswell (2007) notes, wh Stake, 1994, 1995), others consider it a methodology (e.g., Merriam, 1998). or a case (or multiple cases) over time through detailed, in depth data collection ates a contemporary phenomenon within its real life


93 riam, 1998, p. 29) is the end product of a case study. Third, Because this study wa s to demonstrate the complexities of L2 literacy engagement embedded in the gaming experience, a case study could 30) picture of how adolescent ELLs are engaged in L2 literacy practices through online gaming. udies remains an essential question to qualitative a single entity, a unit around which the wa s L2 literacy engagement through online gaming. Applying c ase study to this research stemmed practices in gaming. meaning for most qualitative researchers (in Creswell, 2007), looking at a range of than a single case, a


94 multiple case study wa s utilized to seek a wider array of information description wa s considered. The number of subcases matters in a multiple case on across the 40); on the other hand, more cases may result in the greater lack of depth in description (Creswell, 2007, p. 76). As Creswell (2007) suggests no more than four or five cases are chosen this study present four cases. The multiple case study represented by a few adolescent ELLs who play ed onl ine games at the micro level were e ngagement in online gaming. Furthermore an ethnographic approach was employed in this multiple case study. According to Sturman (1997), ethnographic case study is one type of case study, which involves in depth study by means of participant observation a nd interview. In a similar vein, Taft (1997) takes ethnography as a case study method and notes that educational researchers tend to adopt ethnographic methods, which were originally employed by anthropologists in cultural studies and social communities. By employing an ethnographic multiple case study in describing of school literacy practices, Yi (2005) asserts that an events, and use of liter happens. Likewise, various e thnographic techniques were used in this study to


95 triangulate multiple data sources, including interviews, observations and artifacts, to produce an in depth descriptio n of adolescent engagement in online gaming. Research Subjectivity In a qualitative research, the issue of subjectivity should be recognized as a part of research from deciding on the research topic to selecting the ways to interpret research findi she/he sees and hears. I state my subjectivity about how my research interest in this topic was triggered and how I prepared to understand WoW by playing. When I was a child, I played console games such as Super Mario Contra and later computer games like Tokimeki Memorial ( Hear tbeat Memorial ) and Need for Speed ( NFS ). But, I was not a typical gamer and did not play a lot of games. Playing games is only a small portion of my childhood memory. I became interested in computer games when I took an educational technology course in the second year of my doctoral program. In class, we discussed gaming in education and virtual learning environments. Since then, I have been reading literature on gaming. Although there is a wealth of literacy about gaming in education in general, the re is still relatively little research on gaming and language learning. This suggests tremendous research potential in this field. Because I was interested in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), I decided to do my dissertation incorporating L2 li


96 linguistic and cultural experience in gaming with a focus on The Sims2 and Adventure Quest respectively. The research findings reflect that highly contextualized and multimodal enviro learning and literacy engagement fostered by their gaming experience maximizes their learning opportunities as well. Later the topic became more appealing when I found that almost all children I knew whether they we re boys or girls, ESL students or English native speakers, play ed some type of video games. I hear d a lot of considerable amount of time their chi ldren, particularly boys, spent playing games. In the meantime, many children still hid from their parents playing games regardless of how strict their parents were experience and the common phenomenon in rea l life that all parents expect ed that their children could be as engaged in learnin g as they play video games, I was keen to understand why children were so intrigued by video games and what literacy experiences they might encounter while playing. As I s aid I am not an experienced gamer and I position myself in this study as an outsider rather than an insider. The insider outsider debate has been a longstanding issue in qualitative research. Though an insider may have a distinct advantage in accessing and understanding the culture under research, Labaree (2002) argues that these advantages are not absolute and the insider must be aware of ethical and methodological dilemmas. Though it is not necessary for me to become an insider by spending an average of twenty hours a week playing WoW as


97 many other subsc ribers to the game (Yee, 2006), it is still valuable to gain somewhat gaming. Since March 2009, I have been playing WoW after I found this popular online game was worth further investigation. Gee was amazed by the complexity of video games when he happened to play with his six year old son. I felt overwhelmed at the very beginning when confronted with bewildering num ber of symbols, images, texts, and sounds. The segmented blocks and constant pop up s baffled me, a reader who has been used to reading the text in a linear order. When I just logged on, I had no idea when someone spat at me. As a newbie to WoW with limi ted experience in other games, I felt like being a stranger in a foreign culture even though I have been exposed to WoW for a while since I began to read literature in gaming. After spending longer time on the game, I came to know more about races and cl asses and understand how to read various meters. I realized that my experience in WoW was playing to learn rather than learning to play which was (Gee, 2003). Research C ontext and Participants (IRB), I started recruiting participants in July 2009. As a member of the local Chinese community, I went to the local Chinese church to distribute flyers (see


98 Appendix B) to solicit participants and spread the word about my research among the Chinese community. For the sake of 61) to occur I conducted an oral survey (see Appendix C) in recruiting participants. The following selection criteria were used: All the participants in this study were ELLs in grades 8 12 (approximately aged 13 18), including those who were currently receiving ESL services and those who were exited from ESL serv ices. All the participants spoke Chinese as their L1. All the participants in this study were those who enjoyed playing online computer games and spent about two or more hours playing games per day. Participants had been playing or were w i lling to play WoW in the English language Both novices and experts of playing WoW were allowed in this study. The sampling procedure intended to identify current students that were receiving ESL services. However, none could be identified from the sample. Introduc ed by my friends, I finally found four adolescent boys: Mark, Fei, Jim, and participate. Though one girl showed interest in my study, her father did not allow her to participate because he thought she should spend more time on reading. The final participants had been in the United States between five to seven years at the time of the study. All of them attended public schools. Mark, Fei, and Kyle were identified, received and were exited from ESL services. Jim had been mainstreamed in his schooling. All of them, however, were native Chinese speakers and second language learners of English. To compensate for


99 a Best Buy gift card worth $50 was given to the four participants upon completing data collection. During the data collection process, I paid WoW monthly fee of $19.99 for two months for each of the four participants. Since my dissertation was funded by the International Research Foundation (TIRF), I used the grant to pay the se fee s in the study. Data Collection This study triangulated multiple data sources, us ing interviews, observation s and archival data source s collected. The data collection ranged over approximately five months. Triangulation of the data helped me check whether inferences and which inferences were valid (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983) In order to ensure access to the computer and the Internet, two options were considered: (1) with the computer and the Internet was accessible; (2) data collection could also be conducted in the computer lab in School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida. Interviews There were two formal one hour individual interviews with each participant. All the interview questions were semi structured ( see Appendix D) At the beginning of the study a one hour interview with an emphasis on the vi deo gaming experience was conducted in a place of convenience for the participants. Each participant w as asked to recall his prior experience of playing video games including both online and offline games by describing his first

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100 introduction to video game s, the games he enjoyed, the activities he was involved in playing games, among others. The first interview provided me with a global view of second one hour interview was conducted to ask the participants to reflect on their WoW experience throughout the study. I also conducted follow up interviews with the participants when questions occurred in data analysis stage The participants were told to use either English or Chinese in interviews, whichever was more convenient. Two participants used English and one participant used Chinese. Another participant used the two languages interchangeably. Later, 35 pages of tr anscripts in Chinese were translated into English. Ge law of interviewing put forward by Seidman (1991). I nterviews were designed to s and opinions on playing games There were slight differences in dynamics between two formal interviews. The first interview was essentially based on the guided questions, but the second interview corresponded to the specific gaming contexts and encouraged the participants to introduce many c oncrete details. A digital recorder was used to record the interviews. Some bri ef notes were taken as well. To ensure trustworthiness of the interviews, I also asked the participant s to review what I transcribed after each interview.

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101 Observations I ob served each participant playing WoW once a week, which last ed between availability. For further analysis, a screen capture program, Camtasia was used to record the whole game play process on the screen. After each observation, the used memory in describi ng his experie nce (Gass & Mackey, 2000)while playing the game. Given the dense observation and the length of research time, I kept field notes and reflections of observations. In observing the participants playing the online game, I had a dual role in the observation meanwhile a partially participant observer in the real world. On the one hand, I was involved in nonparticipation observation, since my knowledge of the game play was Dewalt, 2002, p. 19) and I did not create an avatar to interact with the participants in the game world. Because my observations attended to what happened in the virtual environment as well as how participants acted (e.g., reading tutorial s) in the real environment, the research setting indicated the real world, the virtual world, and the interface between the two. On the other hand, how participants controlled their avatars in the game may hav e been partially af fected by my presence and questions

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102 (Dewalt & Dewalt, 2002) due to my occasional interactions with the participants playing online games. The dual research settings of the real and the virtual simultaneously and the synchronous interactions between the real environment and the virtual world determined the complexity of my role in observation. Archives An archive for each participant was kept. With the parti substantial products related to their online gaming experience, for example, the timelines of gaming history drawn by the participants and some snapshots of game play were collected as supplementary data. In order to demonstrate h ow the three kinds of data sources were gathered, I make the flow chart below delineates the data collection process. Figure 3 1. Flow of data collection Note: The arrow at the bottom indicates ar chive collection and stimulated recall procedures were carried out throughout the whole research process. was impossible to finish all data collection with each participant in six consecutive weeks. Due to the varied availability of the participants, the data collection with each participant lasted as short as two months and as long as four months. From the first interview with Mark at the end of July 2009 to the second interview with Jim at the

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103 end of December 2009, the whole data collection process lasted about 5 months. The data collection timeline is shown as Figure 3 2. Figure 3 2 Data collection timeline As mentioned above, I planned to have two one hour interviews and six one hour observations with each participant. When I collected data, there were some variations because some interviews and observations took either less or more than the time I planned. The table below summarizes the sources and the quantity of the data: Table 3 1. Sources of data Participant Interviews Observations (visual materials, fiel d notes, and reflections ) Archives Formal interviews (Planned: 1 hour/time x 2 times ) stimulated recalls Observations (Planned: 1hour/time x 6 times ) G aming history timeline and snapshot s Mark 2h55m 6h23m 5h43m Variable Fei 1h47m 6h12m 6h12m Variable Jim 1h51m 5h37m 5h37m Variable Kyle 1h55m 6h05m 6h05m Variable Total 7h48m 23h37m 23h37m Variable D ata Analysis A large corpus of data was produced in this study. I transcribed all the interviews, the stimulated recall audios and the game videos I collected. All the interviews and the stimulated recalls were transcribed into 74 pages of textual form

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104 of data. In transcribing the game videos of approximately of 24 hours, I described snap shots to supplement the descriptions. In addition, the entire chat log was also included in the video transcriptions. Finally, the transcription of the videos turned out to be 566 pages of verbal description with an immense amount of snapshot s. Dat a analysis involved categorizing, organizing, and synthesizing what is heard and seen in data collection process (Glesne, 1999). Two stages of data analysis, within case analysis and cross case a nalysis, were conducted. First, each case was used after the analysis of each case was completed. According to Miles and Huberman (1994), cros s p. 172). comparative method developed by Glaser and Strauss (1967) was used as a data analysis strategy in this study. According to Merriam (1 998), the constant building was to provide an in depth description. Apart from interview data, the constant

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105 comparison method was also employed to analyze large volume of archives and observations including visual materials and field notes. In delineating how constant comparison is used as a general data analysis strategy in qualitative research, Merri a particular incident from an interview, field notes, or document and compares it with (p. 159). In this study, there were three sets of data derive d from each case, in which there were three types of data, namely, individual interviews, observation field notes and reflections, and archives. In within case analysis, the categories constructed in each type of data were compared with another type (e.g. interviews vs. observation field notes vs. archives). In coding three sets of data I found the conceptual labels both within and across the data all the time. At very beginning, constant comparative methods (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) were used to comp are statements within the same set of data. Later, I could perceive similar categories of information while closely examining the codes across data. Comparisons occurred within one data and then across the data. The process was involved in word by word, line by line, and sentence and paragraph analysis to label the salient phenomena in the transcripts. I decomposed the lines into discrete unites and looked for the key words in each unit. Later, in cross case analysis, there were two levels of analysis. At the micro level, the tentative categories derived from each type of data were compared across three sets (e.g., interviews vs. interviews). At the macro level, the themes inducted in one set of data were compared with those in another set. In this w ay, comparisons were

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106 constantly made within and between levels of conceptualization (Merriam, 1998). Figure 3 3 depicts the flow of data analysis as follows: Figure 3 3 Flow of data analysis Note : The dotted line arrows and the solid line arrows indicate within case analyses and across case analyses respectively. The two headed arrows between same types of data between cases (e.g., observations observations) suggests an open cycle of compari son across cases i.e. 1 st other three participants rather than merely comparing the observation data of the 1 st participant and that of the 2 nd participant. Trustworthiness As reliability and validity provides the lens through which a quantitative study is evaluated, trustworthiness (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) illuminates the way to examine a qualitative study. Trustworthiness indicates the extent to which qualitative inquiry is 290). It is judged by four criteria: credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Parallel to internal validity in quantitative

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107 with the concept of external validity in quantitative studies, which designate s the degree to which the research findings are applicable to other research contexts. As an alternative term of reliability, dependability in a qualitative study reflects whether the research findings will be subject to change and instability (Creswell, 2007). Meanwhile, a qualitative researcher seeks confirmability rather than objectivity to demonstrate how research findings are supported by the data collected. To establish trustworthiness, I employed some techniques in the study process. Figure 3 3 s hows in which study phases what techniques were used for what purposes. Figure 3 4. Establish trustworthiness in the research process In order to promote credibility of the study, triangulating multiple data sources including interviews, observations, and archives contributed to credibility. Also, another technique of prolonged engagement (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) was used by following up interviews. Collecting additional data allowed me more time with the participants to ask some questions to arrive at data saturation. To make the research findings transferable to other settings, I provide a rich, thick description. Detailed descriptions of the participants and the research setting

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108 enable the audiences to decide how and to what extent the research fin dings can be transferred beyond this research setting. To address dependability and confirmability, I used three techniques. First, I used member checking. After interviews and observations were conducted and transcribed I checked with the participants about the interview transcripts and the field notes. Second, I kept an audit trail, which consists of raw data, analysis notes, reconstruction and synthesis products, process notes, personal notes, and preliminary developmental information (Lincoln & Gub a, 1985). In the data analysis stage, I enlisted my colleagues in my s, codes, and interpretations. My student group consisted of doctoral students majoring in ESL, literacy studies, math education, and educational tec hnology. Auditing led me to clearly describe and critically examine my research process. Third, I was engaged in reflexivity since the interpretation of the study Reflexivity suggests that the researcher consciously realizes that her/his own actions an d decisions inevitably impact upon the context and interpretation of the experience under investigation (Horsburgh, 2003). Reflexivity should be an ongoing process throughout the whole study. To be a self reflective researcher, I kept writing journals af ter interviews and observations to monitor and ponder the ways in which I could assist the process of collecting data. Chapter Summary This chapter outline d what methodology and methods I employed to collect data and how I analyzed the data. Altogether, I briefly discuss ed why a qualitative

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109 research is appropriate and how constructionism as the epistemology, interpretativism as the theoretical perspective, and an ethnographic multiple case study approach elucidate d my research. Also, I provide d a descrip tion of the multiple data sources including interviews, observations, and artifacts. To generate analysis of the data in a systematic way, the technique of comparative comparison was employed in within case analysis and cross case analysis. Finally, I describe d how trustworthiness was established by employing some techniques in the research process

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110 C HAPTER 4 A PROFILE OF THE PARTICIPANTS: FOUR TALES IN ONE WORLD Overview In order to understand what L2 literacy practices the participants were engaged in within and around WoW, it is important to know who the four participants were, what their previous gaming experience was like, and how they vie wed the game they played in this study. Therefore, this chapter provides a profile of the four participants. First, I briefly introduce the four participants and their avatars in WoW Second, I present the four s, and their views on WoW Three Novice WoW P layers and One Experienced WoW Player In this ethnographic multiple case study, there were four participants: Fei, Jim, Kyle, and Mark. All of the participants were Chinese adolescents who had lived in the U.S for between four to nine years Fei, Jim, and Mark were born in Mainland China and Kyle was born in Taiwan. All of them later immigrated to the U.S. Except for Kyle, the other three participants were in high school. Though Kyle had just finished 12 th grade, he still had two credits in order to obtain his high school diploma and was taking a history class when I worked with him in Fall 2009. Of the four adolescents, Mark was an experienced WoW player and had reached level 80, the maximum level in WoW The other three participants were new to WoW but they had been playing video games for between four years to ten years The table below

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111 Table 4 1. Name (Pseudonym) Age, gender Grade Length of time in the U.S. at time of study WoW level (lvl) during the study Length of game play history Fei 14, M 9 th 5 years From 1 to 8 8 years Jim 17, M 10 th 9 years From 1 to 12 4 years Kyle 18, M post 12 th 4 years From 1 to 11 10 years Mark 16, M 10 th 7 years 80 (Highest) 8 years Note: Kyle had finished 12 th grade, but he still had two credits for his high school diploma. Each participant had at least one avatar in WoW In creating an avatar the participants needed to be either Alliance or Horde, two warring factions. Characters from the same faction can group and interact. Also, the player must select the are currently ten races (Dwarf, Gnome, Human, Night Elf, Draenei, Orc, Taur en, Troll Undead, and Bloo d Elf) and ten classes (Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior and Death knight). Each race has its unique racial traits and certain class selections. The table below show s ars in WoW including their factions, races, and classes. In order to protect virtual confidentiality, I use pseudonyms for the actual avatars which appear in this study, including in the snapshots hereinafter Fei and Jim created only one avator, that i s, Blubolt and Lylefun respectively. Kyle had three avatars: Vanillat, Midiron, and Unokool. The two avatars that Mark often played were Marklull and SuperMark, though he had eight avatars in total with a range of level 11 rougue to level 80 warrior.

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112 Table 4 WoW Participant (Pseudonym) Fei Jim Kyle Mark Name (Pseudonym) Blubolt (L1 to L8) Lylefun (L1 to L12) Vanillat (L1 to L3) Midiron (L1 to L5) Unokool (L1 to L11) Marklull (L 80) SuperMark (L72) Faction Horde Horde Alliance Alliance Alliance Alliance Alliance Race Undead (Male) Troll (Male) Human (Female) Human (Male) Human (Male) Night elf (Male) Night elf (Male) Class Mage Warrior Warlock Warrior Mage Warrior Hunter Image

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113 Four Tales in One World This section provides a profile of the four cases. In each case, there are two parts First, I introduce the background of each participant, including their family background and his gam ing history. Second, their WoW experience. Fei: A P ersistent WoW P layer Fei was a 14 year old ninth grader when I met him in summer 2009. He had not played WoW before and started from level 1. As a newbie in WoW Fei enjoyed doing the quests alone. What was the most impressive in his game play was that he showed great perseverance when his avatar was killed for six times consecutively. His continuous efforts to solve the problem are described in Chapter 5. B ackground I heard about Fei from one friend one year before my dissertation data collection started. His parents worked as researchers in the university. My friend computer at home. But, he often sneaked to the library on campus to play games. I recruiting the part icipants for this study. To my let her son pa rticipate in this research. It was impressive that she mentioned Fei had been reading a lot about games but she was not clear about the specific cont ents he read. When Fei was in sixth grade, he told his mother that he thought the school

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114 should teach the m something about gaming since he learned even more from games my interest to know more about him. Fei had finished third grade in China before he came to the U.S. He had b een here for almost five years when I worked with him. Fei was identified and received ES L services. In conducting the oral survey questions, I was surprised to find that t Fei should practice English all the time. Fei could understand what I said in Chinese but most of the time he spoke English. English was the only language he spoke with his younger sister. Usually, his mother spoke in Chinese and he responded in Engli sh. As for his school performance, Fei received a 5 in reading and math and a 4 in writing in his AP test s However, his mother was worried, saying he was not highly motivated though he seemed not have problems dealing with the exams. During the summer I worked with Fei, he was tutored in mat h by a graduate student his mother fo und for him. Obviously, his parents had high expectations of his school performance. Fei started playing video games when he was in second grade in China. At that time, he play ed Starcraft in Chinese. Later, when he was 11 after he came to the U.S., he got a gameboy from his parents and played it for one year. Then, he played Runescape and Warcraft with a neighbor He played a lot of real time strategy (RTS) games like Warcra ft and some shooting games. Fei said he liked

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115 Runescape much because he enjoyed interacting with people in this game. He continued to point out that he learned communication skills in games: What I learn is mainly like communication skills from playing v ideo games... Just basic conversation how to beat somebody, how to...just how to talk to to approach them (08/06/ 2009 ). Fei believed that interacting with people helped him to learn English, especially the everyday English. Wh en he was in eighth grade, his father began to prevent him from playing gam es and even occasionally refused to allow him access to computers at home. Though he talked to his mother about his game play he knew his father would be against it In spite of Fei still insisted , went to the university library to play the games. He used to play games for about one an d a half to two hours per da y, but he did not play games that much when I met him. The timeline of his game history dr awn by Fei is demonstrated in Figure 4 1 To make it clear, I list all the games he played and the game types on the right. I was curious about why Fei said he le arned more from games than from some teachers when he was in the elementary school. He explained that he was taught pretty much the same content he had learned in China when he just came to the But school here...especially elementary school, you learned abso lutely nothing. in fifth doing...nobody the times table... So I think that was ridiculous... I mean nobody learns anything... Yeah. And sixth t learn anything either (08/06/2009).

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116 Figure 4 1 Note: RTS: real time strategy game; MMO: massively multi player online games Compared with the easy content he was exposed to at school that time, he And suppose dly we learn tha t this year in ninth grade. I knew that I played the ga me. I knew that since I was in sixth grade. Yes, just some anything soli d. You just learn random facts (08/06/2009). Fei towards games that they thought he was obsessed with playing games, which negatively a ffected his grades. However, Fei felt he had nothing to do if he did not play games and his grades would be not good enough to meet expectations anyway. Fei admitted that he spent a lot of time on games when he used to play at least one to two hours ev ery day but he emphasized that his attitude towards school per se was more important:

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117 about attitude. If at that time my attitude towards school was serious, matter wha t I do, my grades would still be good (08/06/2009) Fei did not agree that games per se were bad. He used the analogies of sports and reading to justify that it depended on how games should be played: get nearsighted if you, because it takes too much time. Instead of playing sports, you can sit in home and read a book. Yeah...the same argument can process pass time, entertainment lik bad (08/06/2009). d never run out of things to do playing Runescape Also, interacting with others was another reason he liked Runescap e He read a lot about Runescape i ncluding books and materials on line: ice it...Yeah, if I go looking at the game google it... You know, in Walm ke a look and find the answers (08/06/2009). Fei found the online foru ms were good resources too. Though he did not Well, chances are if you have any kind of questions, someone already ust looking at what others s ay (08/06/2009) If he could not find the answers he wanted on the forums, he probably would look for them somewhere else. He could google the answers he wanted to know. Also, he found books about walkthroughs of Runescape in Walmart. Fei said he would not

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118 pay thirty five dollars for those books but he could take a look and find the answers in the books. WoW experience As a novice player in WoW Fei felt bored in the beginning. He found that his access to the rich cont ent in the game was quite limited since his level was too low. However, he believed that more interactions with other players in higher levels such as level 40 would be exciting. Since he reached only a level 8 during this study Fei expected more variou s places he could explore when he got to a higher level. He felt that he just played and it could be (10/30/2009) when his level became higher. After playing WoW for a few times Fei told his mothe r that he found the quests became more interesting and would play WoW when he could pay the fee by himself in the future The best part of Wo W to Fei was to discover (10/30/2009) since he liked reading myths and adventures. However, Fei did not feel he read a lot in playing WoW based on his own way of estimating how much reading occurred: During this entire game, I read about 200 sentences and... If I pile that in a page... So, basically, I only read about twenty m inutes out of playing for six hours. ef ficient way of learning English (10/30/2009). I was wondering how he got the exact number of sentences he thought he had read. He explained his way of calculation: Just rough estimate. From sentences. I did about...completed 10 quests... suspended 20

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119 quests...fifteen or something quests. Sometimes, words popped up and hints popped up. So, I just estimate all of them and then I get 200 sentenc es (10/30/2009) Based on his previous gaming experience, Fei did not think he had problems figuring out the rules in WoW since the as those in other games Even though he had difficulties in game play like being trapped in mos t difficult part for Fei was to find direction s in WoW. He felt the mini map was not very helpful and wanted more labels on the map to indicate different sections. Thou gh Fei emphasized being able to interact with other players was a reason why he liked Runescape h e did not have much communication in text chat while playing WoW He thought communication would occur at higher levels: of the low level. If the level is higher, I will communicate a lot the need to interact with other people. Whereas in other games, like just playing cards, you actually have to interact with people... [At a higher ay actually have problems with a quest... If I have some difficulties or if I need to trade with them, I need to communicate with them (10/30/2009). Although h e felt working with others was more engaging, he did not believe communication in text chat was quite necessary when he was at a low level Also, interacting with others was an option not a must while he was at a low level.

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120 According to Fei, the texts in the quests were important, because they told him the purpose of the quests and how to complete the quests. The symbol s helped him find the items quickly. Though he did not use voice chat, he said it would be efficient in WoW for people to talk while playing. Other than English, Fei believed basic logic like bas ic deductive reasoning was needed i n playing WoW gave an example, saying there was definitely a door in the building so that he kept looking for the door. In discussing the possibility of using WoW for school learning Fei thought the re should be more words: Just not enough words to read. And I think the game is just like that, usually want to look at it (10 /30/2009). He made the further point that WoW was not designed to have an educational purpose. Even though there were some games for education, he would not play them : education and entert t, education usually view study as a job and view games as entertainment. So, you People view different things, different functions (10/30/2009).

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121 Obviously, Fei distinguished well between education and entertainment which he thought would not coexist. M oreover he did not think incorporating gaming in the classroom teaching would work. To this question about gaming in the classroom, his work...well, first know, th attitu reactions...generally... (10/30/2009) Also, h e t hought that people would not play WoW any more if ( 10/30/2009) were added for learning purposes. Jim: A Quiet Boy Being Social in the Virtual W orld Jim was a 17 year old 10 th gra der. Most of the time, Jim was a quiet adolescent Unlike Fei and Kyle, Jim seldom talked unless I asked him some direct questions. However, Jim turned out to be a social novice player in WoW He and sought help from a more experienced player. Background Jim had been in the U.S. for almost 10 years. His parents ran a Chinese restaurant in the university town and he had a younger brother. He communicated

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122 with his family members using Fuzhounese, a southern China dialect. He spoke Mandarin and English in terchangeably with me. Jim liked working out at the gym. He spent about four hours a day lifting weights and doing other things almost every day during the summer vacation. Jim was quite busy when he was at school. His father told me that Jim could not sleep more than five hours a night during school days. He dealt with the AP class work, learn ed Kongfu, participat ed in military training, and work ed out at the gym. He also learned drawing on Saturdays and went to the local Chinese school on Sundays. I met Jim first at with me though personally he did not think gaming was good for his sons year old younger brother was good at study ing before but his grades dropped dramatically since he began to play computer games. A sked whether they guide d the children in playing games, h is father said it was no use and the children could hide them. Though they would have like d to send the boys to the libr think that children were willing to communicate with their parents about gaming and hoped that I could let him know about what the children really did while playing games. Jim used to play computer games for about one to two hours per day but he became too busy to do that since he was in high school. He played Runescape and Diablo He liked Diablo most, because it was easy to control with

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123 (08/13/2 009). Before taking part in my research, he heard a lot about WoW However he costly He started to p lay video games when he was in seventh grade. At that time, he played console games like X b ox games, PS2, and PSP. He thought doing quests in Diablo was a lot of fun. Also the graphic design of Diablo was attractive to him. He showed strong interests in Runescape which was easy to control Jim enjoyed selling gear in Runescape He recalled he had read some articles and updates about Runescape when he played that game Jim concluded that his previous experience playing Runescape was that randomly... (12/302009). The game history timeline below showed the games he had been playing since he was 12 To make it readable, I transcribed the games on the right and added the game types. Figure 4 2 When asked how gaming could be connected to school learning, Jim answered that playing games could communicate with other players Also, Jim said made of old time information

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124 (08/13/2009). He further pointed out there real information quests: ancient time, when the emperor look for try to find how to make gold...the quest is based on the you make someone immortal looking for alchemy... That plot t ell you how Alchemy started, where is Alchemy came from and what is Alchemy... teachers ask about Alchemy...probably ask me to make some research on philosopher stone and...or they might study on Ancient China about Alchemy... When I played it, I di Alchemy came from...but after...when teacher talk about it, give you some i dea about Alchemy...About in eighth grade... It was like in history Chinese and Europeans...n ew western colonist...try to... look for philosopher stone. They believe the philosopher stone can give life... In pop quiz...questions. Some people...even the teacher taught y with y people learn more when they play it. When you play games onl ine, you may even know you play it every day (08/13/2009) Another example he thought his previous gaming experience could be connected to school learning was that the games taught him some chemistry knowledge: to form the copper and tin to make bronze... those like the elements for it (08/13/2009) However, Jim d id not think he learned much English playing games. He thought the only useful way to learn English was to use a computer program called He h eard other players recommended that program but he never tried it He still believed speaking should be the only way that one could improve Engli sh while playing games. Although Jim

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125 believed that more talk in games could improve English learning, he di d not like talking to others on line. He had a strong sense of safety over this issue and tended to protect his identity on line. Jim did not like voice chat in game play. He did not feel comfortable thinking that his voice might be recorded by others. However, he felt safe when he typed, since others would not have a clue who he was. That was also why he did not display his personal information on Facebook except his name. Jim did not think there were many reading activities involved in game play. He took Runescape as an example, saying that he might have read some pop up s in the beginning but later he had an idea of how the game worked so that he could ignore some pop up s. WoW experience After playing WoW Jim thought the biggest concern was th at it was hard to He paid more attention to how he played than what he played. He mentioned how it was easier to play Runescape movements. He usually or asked other players when he did no t understand some rules in the game. Though I did not observe he use d the Internet to find any answers, he mentioned he did use Google to seek information in playing other games and believed Google was the best if he needed any information. Jim did not m eet many players when he played WoW He found it was not fun without many players in this multiplayer online game. The most rewarding experience to him in WoW was that he finished some quests with another player. The most difficulties

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126 he encountered wer e to figure out where he should go. Jim described his novice experience in WoW as: purpose...Beginners are just like that. You go (12/30/2009) In one observation, Jim played with another player, who helped him to finish quite a few quests. He commented on the experience as below : he knew more than me. He played it before. He got two accounts. His account is at level 25, so he knew more... Interactions make it easier. If you know the game well, you could be alone (12/30/2009) They used text chats in communication, from which he le arned how to finish the quests. Jim t hought reading the texts in quests informed him of what he should do, and he said talking to an experienced player was more helpful than reading: he played before. Sometimes, reading is efore and (12/30/2009) Though WoW was harder than Runescape he did not think WoW was very challenging, especially when he was at a very low le vel. Jim believed the player he talked to was a seven year old child, simply because that player said so. Another reason was that Jim found he misspelled some words: See that seven year Jim was the only participant who mentioned he would prefer reading the manual book: grabbed the manual book to explain] This is the manual book, right? If

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127 Jim did not care about the ba For him, they were just opposing for him to start playing this game rofessional WoW Having had played more than 30 video games since he was eight years old, mentioned see how all aspects are balanced in games. However, this avid player was also new to WoW Though both Fei and Jim mentioned how the Internet was useful in their previous game play experience, Kyle was the only novice WoW player who turned to the Interne t in this study. Background Kyle was from Taiwan and had been in the U.S. for four years. He lived with his sister and his cousin. They came here to study in the U.S. His mother and his uncle travelled between Taiwan and the U.S., taking turns to stay here, taking care of the three children. Kyle started hi s schooling in the U.S. from ninth grade. Kyle had finished 12 th grade, but he still had two credits to finish for his diploma. Every afternoon, he went to his high school to attend his American hi story class. several opportunities

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128 as well. She kept comparing the three children whenever she talked about Kyle. H was in 11 th grade cousin was in 12 th grade. In her eyes, her daughter was the type of students who studied well and had an active social life as well. However, her nephew only focused on school and seemed to be lonely at school. Kyle was the one who had a lot of friends but was not good at school school partially because of his addiction to games. mother still held a very open attitude towards She friends. computer skills. Kyle even fixed a laptop which his uncle thought was no use. She mentioned that she had been always using heuristic teaching for his son, which was often questioned and criticized by her other Taiwanese friends. Her friends thought that she should be stricter with Kyle. However her philosophy was that the children should be given opportunities to know what should be done by themselves. She was interested in my research and said we researchers should pay special attention to education system. Kyle also invited her to play games at times but, most of the time, she thought he was just busy keyboarding mothe r mentioned that Kyle learned to draw in Taiwan and had a g ood taste of designing and fashion. His fashion style was followed by his peers on campus. She

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129 hoped that he might develop his future career in designing. Moreover, she believed that gaming industry was a promising career, so she encouraged Kyle to know more abo ut game design rather than simply playing She hoped that Kyle might use his talent in designing to develop his future career in gaming industry. Kyle spoke Mandarin and rea d Chinese on line. Talking about his previous ESL class experience, Kyl e did not think his English was improved much in the ESL class. He thought making some friends and going online helped him acquire more English He was invited by his friends to use MySpace, where he made a lot of online was totally different from the y from after He searched the game materials, watched movi es, and chatted with friends on line. Sometimes, his mother or his uncle had to pull out the Internet cable after 11pm to stop him. Kyle started playing games when he was about seven or eight years old. He played various types of games, such as adventure games, racing games, shooting games, strategy game s and MMORPGs. Some of the games he played in Taiwan were in English audio background with Chinese subtitles. The game he played best was Lineage II in which he had reached Level 80. Of all the games, he liked AION and Lineage II most, because they we re MMORPGs. He thought the reason was that he could communicate with others not just play alone. He thought he could always compete with others and h ad the impulse to do his best in that way. Kyle

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130 played a lot of Asian games, including Chinese games, Japanese games, and Korean games. Figure 4 3 my retyped piece as well. choice of games was to a large extent affected by some of his friends. He did not play WoW before but heard a lot ab out it. During the two months when I worked with him, he often played AION a Korean MMORPG, which was very like WOW according to Kyle. However, he thought the graphic design was more refined in AION Furthermore, he had some good friends who met regula rly online playing AION Kyle could not help comparing WoW to AION when ever he was asked about his thoughts about WoW It was introduced to him by his best friend who was from mainland China. The game setting was very similar to WoW Kai was excited t o tell me that more WoW players switched to AION He thought the graphic s were more sophisticated and refined in AION. The AION players could spend more time working on the details of their avatars Sometimes, they may make the characters more like themselves while looking at their own pictures. At the very beginning, there were only Asian players. Later, when the English version was launched, more English speakers began to play AION. He said peopl e even grouped in the game based on their nationality. Kyle usually played AION with a group of Chinese friends including his best friend there. He used voice chat while communicating with them speaking Chinese.

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131 Figure 4

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132 Figure 4 3. Continued

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133 Asked about the connections between gaming and schooling, Kyle said it depended on what games they were. He exemplified Call of Duty 5 saying it was related to history. He found that it was about the War between Japan and the US during WWII. He learned the WWII history and later he found there were connections to the history course. He mentioned some words he acquired in the games were helpful: There are some military terms or what they say...those words...You play the game and you see the helicopters and you know how they are So, when the teache r talks about that, you know it (08/26/2009) like pathology molecular cloning and genetic engineering when he played Prototype There were some names about viruses, which he cou ld not avoid in this game: and finally you may know what they are. Or it might be a key word. If you you may not be able to understand the entire game. If you look it up, you get it. The words are about biology you can connect them to your course work... in it. (08/26/2009) In terms of English learning, besides vocabulary, Kyle mentioned he learned grammar in communicating with others in gaming. In his further explanation, I came k, The communication he referred to was not only interacting with other players but also in teracting with the

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134 They (NPC s ) will talk. k now what the mis (08/26/2009) He acquired some cyber language, especially acronyms in playing games: Americans like using acronyms. There is a lot of cyber language. I might the very beginning. Then, I saw it for times and I figured it out. I can also learn some similar languages while chatting with my American friends in chat BRB, be right back (11/11/2009). Kyle usually did not use headphone to chat with others, because he thought he typed faster. He said voice chat was noisy but there might be players from the whole world who spoke various Englishes. Even though he himself was an English American pronunciations. He would like to listen to the games while playing, because he thought that was also a part of the games. E specially, when he played PC games, there were some quests given without any subtitles. Rather than checking the quests in Chinese or watching the videos on line, he chose to listen to the games to figure out the problems. About writing in games, h e stres sed that it was a kind of informal writing with a lot of acronyms and cyber language. He thought reading in the games occurred when he read the story lines in the games: Because like some consol games, it would be fun as long as you read the story line. I going on. If you just simply follow the quests, you k now you need to kill some stuff but y why (08/26/2009) Outside of games, his reading activities included reading walkthroughs on the game Websites. Usually, Kyle would read the materials online before he discussed

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135 the fights with other players in the game. make people collaborate since it was impossible for a single person to finish some cert ain quests. But, he was not formal reading since the language was very casual. Kyle identified himself as that t ype of student who read only for exams and did not usually read a whole book. Asked about his general reading, Kyle said almost all his reading was online He visited some websites about games both in English and Chinese. With respect of printed books, he only read for exams and usually not the whole book. For those assigned books by his teachers, he would go on line to read was just for those books he was not interest ed in but had to do so for passing exams. He liked reading comic books and was not interested in reading the assigned books except one must read in his summer reading: The Cat c her in the Rye He thought the language was quite colloquial and they were some swearwords, which was not surprising just like the language he came across online. Kyle picked up some oral English, which was used by his friends in everyday life. Sometimes, he looked up s ome words that he came across in chatting with other players: ut seeing the words many times (08/26/2009)

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136 (11/11/2009) was a part of his English learning experience in playing games. Then, h e added that playing online games helped improve his interpersonal relationship s : at you make a lot of friends on line and you become to unde rstand what American people say (08/26/2009). Kyle said he was introduced to Greek mythology when he played Demigod There were a lot of gods in the game. Though it did not give him much deep information about each god, he felt he acquired a lot of cross cultural information. Besides the friends he knew on line, Kyle made many friends who played games in real life: Because many people play CS [ Counter Strike ] you may ask them if they play it too. Of course, only boys...Just like Americans like talk about football, we talk about games. All the pe ople can form a team to play it [ Counter Strike ] ( 08/26/2009 ). he played AION He would talk to his f riends in school to set a schedule to play together after school. Or they would use MSN to connect when they went home. Gaming became a main topic among his friends and they might not talk about anything but gaming. Sometimes, he would reject playing wi th those who he thought would not keep playing a game for a long time. Kyle had his own criteria of choosing a friend playing together that the friend should have perseverance and consistency and from whom he could It was interest ing that in playing games.

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137 Chinese players. You can see a person Some people are kind, you can tell. They give you armors. Some are not nice. For example, we just knew a player. He sold a stuff in AH, auction house. His price was 20 million. When someone in our legend asked him about it, he honest and was kicked out by us (11/11/2009). Talking about studying and game, he thought studying to some degree was just like playing games, because attitude was the most important In comp aring schooling with gaming and schooling, Kyle categorized himself into those who liked playing games versus others who liked studying: Because the stuff learned in sch ool is boring. But if you play [games] important stuff in the game. If at school, your goal is just to pass the exams. For th be satisf ied by merely passing the exams] They will compete with o thers, thinking about getting As. In fact, we who like playing games are just like those who like study. We also want to compete. In this competition, you want to learn more than others. But games are more exciting and relaxing than schooling t [to grasp] What you read in the games might be related to the history or other subjects. You might read more easily. n and learn faster tha n others (08/26/2009). Generally, he did not think studying and gaming were conflicting. But sometimes, if there were important fi ghts, he might put games first. WoW Kyle noted that doing the quests was most helpful for English practice in WoW because he had to understand the objectives and what he should do to finish the

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138 quests. Even though he did not read each word, he had to grasp the main points. He compared the quests in WoW with those in AION He liked the main points in each quest being highlighted and having a link in AION which was more efficient in reading. He felt he practiced fast reading in playing WoW since he should find the objects quickly and finish them. A s vocabulary, he felt it was not so difficult since he had been playing about three or four MMORPGs in English. Besides language skills, he thought experience of playing MMORPG was very important to play WoW Concerning the possibility of using WoW for t he classroom teaching, Kyle thought teachers might use the reading materials in the quests to engage students in reading However they should be asked to read the whole quests and be tested in order to urge them to read. To maximize the opportunities fo r ELLs, Kyle suggested more audio materials should be added into the game for students to practice listening. Besides some suggestions to improve the game per se, he believed there could be some interventions provided by teachers. For example, teachers should test students their quest reading like in reading comprehension, asking them the functions and purposes of some spells. In addition, the teacher might divide students in groups to playing so that they could be urged to use English either in text ch at or voice chat. He emphasized using games like WoW in the classroom was to take advantage of communicating in gaming: I think the most you learn in a game is to communicate while chatting tting. In

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139 chatting, you need to respond when others talk to you. In real life, you may be afraid to talk to others i on and, you can use the dictionary (11/11/2009). Associating with AION another Korean MMORPG he was playing, Kyle could be added for English language learners to create more listening opportunities. For classroom use, he adde d that the teacher could assign students who speak different languages as their first eit I d id not see Kyle use any swear w ords in WoW in which he only had very limited communication with other players. However, he used swear words in Chinese in playing AION with his friends. He thought it was natural to do that and it was a part of the gaming experience. Mark: A Savvy Wo W Player Mark was a 16 year old male 10 th grader when I met him in the summer of 2009. Unlike the other three participants who were new to WoW was not centered on questing. Instead, he remained actively engaged in raiding and chatting with others through text message. Background Mark h ad been in the U.S. for almost seven years at the time of the study After finishing thir d grade in China, he came to the U.S. to live with his parents and his elder sister, who had been in the U.S for several years. His parents owned a

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14 0 local Chinese grocery store and spent a lot of time in the store running their business. Most of the time, Mark and his sister took care of themselves. Mark often hung out with his friends, most of whom were Americans. He could understand and speak Chinese well, but he could no longer read or write Chinese any longer. Mark spoke English to his sister and us ed English and Chinese interchangeably with his parents. Like many adolescent boys, Mark was not only interested in games but also in computers During one observation Mark once got a phone call from his M ark was in an ESL pull out class when he just came to the U.S. He exited the ESL class after one year. When a only knew he had passed the exam in 2009 but did not care about the exact scores. He had A s B s and C s in his grades but not D s He showed me one newsletter about FCAT from his high school, saying that only 40% of the students passed the exam this year. He was satisfie d the scores as long as he could pass FCAT. Mark did not even remember when he started play ing video games, simply saying probably when he was very little. Paopao Tang Crazy Arcade ), a multiplayer game in Chinese w hen he was in 3 rd grade Mark was adept at that game and attained a very high level. When a sked to draw a timeline of his gaming history, Mark could not recall the specific time when he played each game. Instead, he listed all the games he played during the last five

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141 years since middle school. As the list below shows, sports games and shooting games were two kinds of games Mark liked most. Besides WoW he described Counters Strike t around (07/24/2009). WoW was the only MMORPG he listed. Figure 4 4. Mark spent a lot of time playing WoW In my first visit in July, 2009, Mark told me his accumulative time in WoW had been 77 days, which meant he had his characters spend 1,848 hours in the virtual world of WoW He was very proud that he spent only one week to level up from 70 to 80. kep t playing for about 36 hours and only slept probably for five or six hours. During summer vacation in 2009 when I worked with him, he often stayed up late. However, Mark said he seldom talked about WoW with his friends at school, because WoW Despite saying, WoW ] just sit there 24/7 to play WoW he admitted that he sometimes did that too.

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142 When a sked about his purpose of playing WoW Mark said he played for better gear. The game was fun and he could sell his account to get money. During my observation in summer, he said he planned to sell out his WoW account. When he was at level 70, someone wanted to give him $1,300. He felt a li ttle regretful that he had not sold it at that time, because he could buy another account with $300 so that he would earn $1,000. Mark had eight characters in WoW of whom the highest was level 80 and the lowest was 11. He played the 80 level warrior mos t. The main activities Mark was involved in WoW were chatting, raiding, and Pv P (player vs. player) battling. Mark chose his characters in Alliance, because he thought the Horde characters looked like ghosts. He liked multitasking while playing WoW He watched TV, listened to music, made phone calls, and sent messages to friends while playing WoW So, Mark d id not want to organize raids since a raid leader needed to know a lot and keep communicating with other p layers while organizing a raid. Most of the time, he chose to be a raid assistant. WoW experience To the question whether it was possible to connect WoW to his school, Mark said nothing but reading. He said teachers told them to read books, but he could read the quests. To him, there was so much information in each quest. His point was that someone had to read if he wanted to play WoW Mark said the r eading amount in WoW was really big. He said if he put them in books, he probably had

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143 read about ten to twenty books just in the game. He added that there would be more if chatting were included. He estimated there would be a hundred books with a hundre d pages long for each. He described the rich content of the books as below: Chat ting, questing, raiding, Pv P, patch notes, warrior stuff, getting advice from people, telling people what to do, guild message, getting a group for an instant, asking for help from guildies about questing, helping other guildies, trade stuff like put in an auction house, sell stuff and buy stuff, read about how the talent points work, learn how to play your class, learn when expansions come about, read about expansions like where is starting questing place... just everywhere. I have six different class characters. Basically, think a bout every have to read about how they work, learn about their talent points, how they [are] casting spells...So think about it. Every character has over 20 to 30 spells casting. Every one of them is like long...I beli eve right now at level 72 I have to do over about 800 do. You saw how lo ng a quest is, the reading part (08/02/2009) Though Mark did not like reading, he thought reading in WoW occurred unconsciously. He emphasized reading a lot was a must for a top level in WoW just like studying hard to be a lawyer or a doctor. He compared WoW with Counter Strike a shooting game he enjoyed: you. That game [ WoW ] is not like Counter Strike Counter Strike ... you want to be a doctor, be a doctor. You wanna be a lawyer, be a lawyer. But, before you get there, what do you have to do? Go to school. Same thing with this. You wanna be a good hunter, you wanna be a shitty hunter, you wanna be a level 80...What do you have to do? Read like studying for a lawyer. You have to practice, practice, practice to get to the top level you want to be. I mean, look at those, you want to work

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144 do anything. You want to be a level 10, (08/02/2009) WoW He h ad to read a lot since he wanted to play the game: If you want to play, you have to read a lot of things basically. Like... if If I want to read, how can I read? I have to learn En people explain either by talking to you or they will just type stuffs to you. middle of the fight I saw everyone moved to the left. So I move to the left. Oh, I know what that means. Basically, people would know forces you to...When you mean by for ce...force you to learn English (07/24/2009) He mentioned that he needed to read a lot of texts in doing quests: The quests are just texts. But 20 percent of the quests come with an before you look for the dragon, they o around S tor m Wind, look for a blue scale dragon, so you can Iron Forge he tells you deliver this envelop to Storm wind. All you see is an envelope. You can open, you can do anything. If you quest that tells you go to Strom wind...All you see is an envelope. What this envelope. You have to go and read the quests. The quest is gonna say take this envelope from I ron Forge to Strom wind. The envelope is not gonna say that. The envelope is just gonna like that...nothing right there. (07/24/2009)

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145 On the one hand, Mark emphasized that reading was very essential in playing WoW ; On the other hand, he had his own ways to avoid reading in order to finish the quests faster. He downloaded some add ons that helped him finish his quests in an easier and faster way. Those add ons included a database of quests and told Mark where he should go for what exactly: I have add ons t hat tell me where the quests are. That makes things what you have to do. I have add download add ons that help me where every quest is and shows o n the [Having add ons] faster. Like this druid, if I play, I can level him from 70 to 80 in like...less than a week. If you tell my reading, that proba bly take me over a month (08/02/2009). Mark said he often went on line to read about some fights. Usually, he visited Wowhead a WoW information database. which means a non player opponent in the game, h e just needed to put in the name He showed me what he read about the information of Emalon, a raid boss: Basically, it tells me how Emalon is like and what will happen at what time. If I am DPS [Damage per second, a class wh ose role is to deal damage] I need to watch for t the fight to others after I read it. But, all the people here played it before, five hours to kill a boss. Sometimes, it even takes us the wh ole week to fight for that boss (07/24/2009). Mark needed to check the whole raid. He would know what bosses there were. Then, he just clicked on the boss he wanted to know for more information. After YouTube He just

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146 wanted to know how others played. Another Website Mark visited was Tankspot comments on how to be a good tank whose role is to soak up damage. However, Mark said he did not make any posts online because he thought others would not read them. He did not join the discussion on the discussion boards either Instead, he usually discussed the strategies with othe rs in a guild. Chapter Summary This chapter presented a profile of four case studies, which depict each WoW Though Fei, Jim and Kyle were new to WoW they three had been playing other video games for many years. Mark was a veteran WoW player, who had reached the maximum level. WoW provide a thumbnail sketch of their gaming experiences. In the following chapter, I describe the literacy practices the four participants were engaged with in WoW

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147 CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS Overview This study is about L2 literacy practices four adolescent ELLs were engaged in with WoW the study, which suggests effective functioning in situated social practices through meaning making across various modalities (t exts, images, symbols, numerals, sound, movement and so forth). This definition is made on the basis of L/literacy (Lanksher & Knobel, 2006) in a multimodal environment and game literacy (Gee, 2007a). This chapter addresses the answers to the research qu estions, namely, what L2 literacy practices the participants were engaged in within and around WoW The findings range from looking at the gaming activities and the literacy activities to examining the literacy practices that the participants were engaged in. To exemplify Also, a host of snapshots are incorporated to illustrate the details. Gaming Activities, Literacy Activities, and Literacy Practices To review brief ly, this study differentiates among gaming activities, literacy activities, and literacy suggest utilising literacy (Barton & Hamilton, 2000, p. 8)

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148 Differentiation s among gaming activities, literacy activities, and literacy practices provides a bottom specified, contextualized and conceptualized as well. Thou gh findings are presented in three themes, it is noted that the three themes are closely related. Literacy practices are dependent on literacy activities, which are based on gaming activities. The way in which the findings are presented in this chapter is depicted in Figure 5 1 Figure 5 1. Gaming activities, literacy activities and literacy practices Gaming Activities within and around WoW WoW I first summarize within and around WoW All the gaming activities within WoW can be seen in Appendix L and Table 5 1 respectively. Due to the length and complexity, the table of gaming activities within WoW is put in Appendix L. In the two tables, I lay out all of the gaming activities observed and These activities are by no

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149 means an exhaustive list of all in WoW but rather are illustrations of the findings WoW play. Table 5 1 G aming activities around WoW Gaming activities (around WoW ) Participants (maximum level) Fei (lvl8) Jim (lvl12) Kyle (lvl11) Mark (lvl80) Reading on WoWhead and Tankspot Googling NPCs Checking patch info on WoW Web Watching YouTube videos about WoW 0 0 1 3 From Appendix L it is seen that s ix categories of gaming activities within WoW were generated from the 51 activities. Of all the within WoW gaming activities, doing WoW play. It included acquiring, accepting or rejecting, processing, completing, and tracking quests. Second, the activities that involved the virtual money transactions w ere categorized in managing economy. The most common economic activity in this virtual world was that the participants bought items from and sold items to merchants, who are important NPCs in WoW In addition Kyle used banks to save some items. Mark us ed auction houses to buy some items. Third, to survive and become competitive in the world, the participants needed to equip their characters and accept training. All of the activities that contributed to character management are listed in the table. Fo u rth, WoW provided a platform for social interacting. Compared with the three novice players, Mark had far more interactions with others through text chat. Fifth, in the game play process, the participants kept exploring the

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150 virtual world by checking their character information, the map, the calendar, some including travelling, resurrecting the avatars after death, and finding a home in the v irtual world. As can be seen from Appendix L and Table 5 1 the WoW gaming activities far outnumbered around WoW gaming activities There were 51 literacy activities identified within WoW play but only four gaming activities around WoW From the numbers of within WoW gaming activities no significant difference was found, especially among the three novice players. Fei and Kyle participated in 35 within WoW activities. Jim participated in 34 activities within WoW The most advance d WoW player, Mark, however, was involved in the least amount of gaming activities. Nonetheless, the fact that the more advanced player was inclined to participant in less gaming activities should not be oversimplified to say that he was less engaged in l iteracy activities than the novice players. Indeed, Mark was engaged in other ways. Compared with the three new WoW players, Mark had fewer activities in doing quests but more in socializing, exploring and checking. In contrast with various within WoW g aming activities, around WoW gaming shown in Table 5 2 out of the 51 activities within WoW 16 of them were found in all four WoW no gaming acti vities occurred in more than one part that around WoW gaming

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151 activities tended to be more optional in the game play. In this study, only Kyle and Mark had some gaming activities around WoW Kyle searched an NPC on Google when he had difficulty finding an NPC. Mark checked patches on WoW website and he mentioned he used to watch WoW videos on YouTube to preview some raids. Also, the experienced player, Mark, was involved in more around game activities. Table 5 2 Summary of g WoW play Within WoW gaming activities (Total: 51) Around WoW gaming activities (Total: 4) 4 participants 16 0 3 participants 14 0 2 participants 8 0 1 participant 13 4 The section below presents which are the main activities found in the three novice players and the experienced The description of the two gaming activities is provided to exemplify what the paritipants actually did while doing these activities in the game. Doing Quests Doing quests is fundamental in WoW experience. Table 5 3 shows the number of quests that were accepted and finished by each participant. As the table quests. In the observations, he only accepted one quest and finished four Obviously, the other three participants who were new to WoW did much more quests. Mark said he had done a lot of quests before b ut he would not do the quests when he reached the level 80. Instead, he would run the big raids and fight

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152 for the gears. His main activit ies were chatting and collaborating with other players in raiding. T able 5 3 Quests accepted and finished by the par ticipants Participants Quests Accepted Quests Finished Fei 28 20 Jim 18 13 Kyle 45 25 Mark 1 4 Doing quests starts from acquiring quests. Most of the quests can be acquired by clicking on the NPCs with a yellow exclamation mark over their heads, who are called quest givers. Compared with quests given by quest givers, acquiring quests from wanted posters and quest items was not common. WoW play, t here was only one instance Midiron came across a wanted poster. In that case, Kyle also recognized the yellow exclamation mark which i ndicated a quest was available. As Figure 5 2 shows, e ach quest consists of three parts: the description, the objectives, and the rewards. The descripti on provides a background story of the quest; the objective tells the player exactly what s/he should do; and the rewards indicate what the p l ayer will get upon finishing the quest. It is noted that the quests in WoW are set in narrative. For example, in the the gnoll, Hogger, is, why the gnoll, Hogger, is wanted for a bounty hunting, how the player will earn the reward, and what he should provide for the reward. In his stimulated recall, Kyle described that he read the rewards first, then the objectives,

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153 and the description about the quest at last. In reading the rewards, he looked at the icons of the rewards and how much gold he would get. In the process of acquiring the quest, Kyle first read the symbol (i.e., the exclamation mark) to recognize the quest. Then, he read texts (i.e., the text in the pop up of the quest) interwoven with symbols (i.e., the rewards), and numbers (i.e., the amount of gold). Figure 5 2 . The three novice p layers accepted almost all the quests they found. Kyle did not read the quests carefully but accepted all of them whenever the quests were available. Unlike Kyle, Fei and Jim we re willing to take time to read the quests. Fei was used to moving the cursor to read the quests line by line. Jim often murmured while he read the quests. As mentioned above the experienced WoW play er Mark did not have game play centered on doing quests. While doing the quests, the participants opened up their quest log from time to time to read the quests and checked the quest status. Of the three novice participants, Kyle checked his quest log most, because he did not spend much time

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154 re ading the quests before accepting them. Instead, he often checked his quest log to reread the quests and found where he should go and what he needed to do. Social Interacting Like many other MMORPGs, WoW provides rich opportunities for social interacting. The player can group with others for collaboration and talk to each other through text chat or voice chat. Unlike the three novice players who focused on questing, Mark spent most of his time chatting and raiding with other players. social interacting is depicted later in this chapter. Of the three novice players, only Jim played with another player to finish a few quests Fei preferred playing alone and declined all invitations for dueling. There was one time that Fei accepte d an invitation to join a group but he left that group soon player. He met Rhimasoyer while heading to Elwynn Forest. On his own initiat ive, R himasoyer gave Kyle buffs which are beneficial spells. Kyle thanked his kind offer and left. Then, Rhimasoyer wanted some intellect from Kyle Intellect, namely intelligence th e other four of which include strength, agility, stamina, and spirit. The chat log is excerpted below. Please note the words in angle brackets were added when I transcribed the game video. [Unokool] says: thx [thanks] [Rhimasoyer] says: w ait

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155 [Rhimasoyer] says: can i get intellect pls [Rhimasoyer] says: ty[thank you] [Unokool] says: npw [no problem whatsoever] [Unokool] says: np[no problem] A B Figure 5 3 Buffing each other. A) receiving buffs; B) being asked to give buffs give and take between him and Rhimasoyer. But, on occasion, ignored. For example, Kyle initiated one question about skill le arning but nobody responded. First, he clicked on the conversation balloon on the left and found ld learn skills (see Figure 5 4 ). However, nobody responded to his question. Later, Kyle happene d to find that he could learn new skills from one type of NPCs, trainers. Though Kyle did not find the answers he wanted from the WoW community. His action of initiating this question suggests that Kyle did take the community as an information source and expected help from others.

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156 Figure 5 4 Asking information in WoW Literacy Activities within and around WoW Given what is known about gaming activities as the most observable activities before exploring the literacy practices that occurred in their game process. Gaming activiti es cannot be simply eq uated with literacy activities. This is because the former are specific and noticeable activities the participants did in playing Wo W and the latter are those activities which are contextualized in but not necessarily unique to the game. Literacy Activities in Visual Presentations By asking what the participants did to accomplish each gaming activity, I found the literacy activities corresponding to the gaming activities which can be seen in Appendix M and Table 5 4 The two table s show the complexity and plurality of literacy activities WoW experience. Eighteen literacy activities and 3 literacy activities were found within WoW and around WoW respectively.

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157 Of all the literacy activities both within and aro und WoW it is obvious that reading was an activity that occurred in most of the gaming activities both within and around WoW Reading was a process of decoding texts, symbols, and numerals. Decision making was the literacy activity whose occurrence was second to reading. The participants made decisions when they were faced with more than one options. For instance, they decided whether to accept or reject a quest after reading. The third oft observed li teracy activity was discovering, which includes di scovering problems and resources as well. The fourth literacy activity was comparing. It is noted that decision making was related to but still different from comparing. Comparing happened when the participants had two or more concrete objects in the ga me to co nsider how they were similar or different. For example, whenever they finished a quest, the participants compared two rewards provided. Then, they chose one reward upon comparing them. It is fairly certain that comparing was always followed by d ecision making. However, some decisions were made without comparing if no specific objects were involved. Some of other literacy activities, for example, questing, repairing, competing, and recovering, as particular literacy activities that happened in t understanding of the game process. According to the frequency of each literacy practice that occurred in the gaming activities, the tables and pie charts above visualize the occurrence of all the literacy activ ities within and around WoW Table 5 5 highlights 18 within WoW literacy

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158 activities: reading, discovering, decision making, comparing, interacting, transacting, locating, writing, planning, advertising, recruiting, negotiating, searching, questing, compet ing, repairing, recovering and resurrecting However, there were only three around WoW literacy activities reading, and watching video. As s een in Table 5 5 and Figure 5 5 reading was the core literacy a ctivity within WoW Almost one third of all the within WoW literacy practices involved reading. With regard to around WoW literacy activities, searching and reading occurred more frequently than watching video. Players as Readers Since reading was found as the core literacy activity both within and around WoW it is significant to know what the participants said about themselves as readers in the game world. Without exception, all the participants referred to reading texts only wh en they talked about their reading in the game. As an avid player but a reluctant reader, Mark reported that he read everywhere in the game. He read quests, chat, raids, guild messages in the game; he read patch notes, warrior stuff, game updates on the Internet; he read when he got advice from others and told people what to do; he read when he traded items in an auction house, or sold and bought items. Affected by their own understanding of what is reading, Jim and Fei did not think they read much in t he game. The reading activities Jim mentioned were reading quests and reading pop ups. He said that he might have read some pop

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159 Table 5 4 Literacy activities around WoW Gaming Activities (around WoW ) Literacy Activities (around Wo W ) Reading on WoWhead and Tankspot searching reading (text) Googling NPCs searching reading (text) Checking patch info on WoW Web r eading (text) Watching YouTube videos about WoW searching watching video Table 5 5 Summary of literacy activities within and around WoW Literacy activities within WoW Frequency (time) Reading (text, numerals and symbols) 17 Decision making 9 Discovering 7 Comparing 5 Interacting 3 Transacting 3 Locating 2 Writing 2 Planning 1 Advertising 1 Recruiting 1 Negotiating 1 Searching 1 Questing 1 Competing 1 Repairing 1 Recovering 1 Resurrecting 1 Total 58 Literacy activities around WoW Frequency (time) Searching 3 Reading (text) 3 Watching video 1 Total 7

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160 Figure 5 5 Summary of literacy activities within and around WoW up s at the very beginning but later he had an idea of how the game worked so that he could ignore some pop up s. Similarly, Fei did not think all the materials he read about games w He had his own definition of reading: Reading (text, numerals & symbols) 29% Discovering 12% Decision making 16% Comparing 9% Interacting 5% Transacting 5% Locating 3% Writing 3% Planning 2% Advertising 2% Recruiting 2% Negotiating 2% Searching 2% Questing 2% Competing 2% Repairing 2% Recovering 2% Resurrecting 2% Others 10% Literacy activities within WoW Searching 43% Reading (text) 43% Watching video 14% Literacy activities around WoW

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161 mation out of So, I As for reading in the games, Fei mentioned the style of the texts in the games were short and simple. in like normal (08/06/2009) Fei thought the purpose of reading related to games was not to read but to play. Later, he added: reading Wikipedia...tha t (08/06/2009). Following It seems that he had a clear boundary between playing and reading. le playing even though he did de code the texts for the information which was necessary for playing. Kyle said language skills were necessary in play ing the game. Kyle thought reading to understand was the most important language skill in gaming, because he could type if he did not want to use voice chat. Kyle thought language ability was one of the basic skills a player must have while playing games In WoW doing the quests, especially reading the objectives was most helpful to his English practice. Kyle said it was not true that he did not use his brain and only click ed the mouse onl y in playing as his parents assumed He emphasized that language ability was quite essential in playing some games like WoW rather than the merely reactive ability. Kyle thought doing quests was most helpful with his English. Kyle found reading the quests in WoW helped his speed reading. He summarized that if a word that he did

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162 not know appeared many times, he might guess whether it would be the place where he should go. Literacy Practices within and around WoW Literacy activities demonstrated above are instances of literacy practices in the four parti WoW play. To answer the research questions, it is important to shift from looking at a wide array of literacy activities to examine ways in which the participants utilized literacy in their game process. In answering the question in what ways ea ch l iteracy activity was utilized I found that literacy activities can be inducted into four literacy practices: information seeking, strategizing, problem solving, and socializing. All of the around WoW literacy activities such as searching, reading, an d watching video are related to seeking information In other words, information seeking is the only literacy practice that occurred both within and around WoW The table below reflects an overview of all the literacy practices within and around WoW Th e table also includes literacy activities that literacy practices are grounded in. Table 5 6 Summary of literacy practices within and around WoW Literacy activities Literacy practices (Frequency) Reading (text, numerals and symbols) Discovering (problems and resources) Searching Watching video Information seeking (32) Planning Comparing Decision making Strategizing (15) Questing Competing Repairing Recovering Transacting Locating Problem solving (10)

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163 Table 5 6. Continued Literacy activities Literacy practices (Frequency) Writing Interacting Advertising Recruiting Negotiating Socializing (8) Based on the occurrence of the literacy activities, t he frequency of each literacy practice is also summarized in Table 5 6 The pie chart below provides a visual display of the frequency of each literacy practice both within and around WoW As a literacy practice whose occurrence was almost 50%, information seeking was the main literacy practice. Given the predominance of reading in information seeking, play. Figure 5 6 Literacy practices within and around WoW Socializing (within WoW) 12% Information seeking (within and around WoW) 49% Strategizing (within WoW) 23% Problem solving (within WoW) 16% Literacy practices within and around WoW

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164 For the sake of clarity four scenarios featured in each literacy practice are elaborated below. The four scenarios are also respective examples that are salient in the four case studies. Information Seeking Information seeking is a broad conception, which reflects a series of attempts made by the participants to obtain information both within and around the game. The information embodie s both the problems the participant s needed to solve in the game and the resources they could use to solve the problems. The information is m ultimodal and could be presented in the form of texts, numerals, symbols, or videos. Information seeking was the only literacy practice that was found both within and around WoW Reading, as the main activity of information seeking, was pervasive in the game process They read texts, and/or symbols, and/or numerals when they were involved in all the gaming activities: questing, chatting, managing characters, managing economy, randomly exploring and checking. Around WoW, information seekin he read the Websites about WoW, checked patch information on WoW Web, and watched WoW videos on YouTube. Though both Fei and Jim mentioned that they turned to outside sources for game information in playing other games, I did not have a chance to see their literacy activities around WoW Of the three novice WoW

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165 using the Internet in the game process is a typical example of seeking information around the game. Kyle: Seeking help from the Internet As Kyle said, he did not interact with others a lot during my observations. He focused on doing quests by himself. The most impressive activity he had was that arrived at a portal where he thought Jennea should be, he read the information in 7 ). Figure 5 7 Arriving at an inaccessible portal Realizing he could not find Jennea through the portal, Kyle had to get out of the building and check the mini map on the top right. He clicked on the question mark on the map, which brought out a pop 8).

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166 Figure 5 8 Finding Jennea on the map Following the map, he took the old way b ut was taken to the same portal where he arrived before. Kyle got out of the building, studied the map again. However, he found the map still directed him to the same portal. Then, he visited Google and He clicked the first research re sult and found the Webpage as shown in Figure 5 9. He clicked the image of Jennea Cannon on the left of the Webpage. He saw a bigger image of Jennea Cannon and no further details about where she was. Figure 5 9 A Web concerning the NPC Jennea Cannon He did not find any useful information he wanted. He went back to the Google page and clicked another research result. It turned out to be some brief information

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167 about Jennea Cannon and two maps, saying that she was a M age Trainer in Stormwind City (see Figure 5 10 ). Figure 5 10 Another Web concerning the NPC Jennea Cannon Other than that, no more further details were provided. Though the information he searched did not tell Kyle where Jennea was exactly, it infor med Kyle of the city where Jennea was. Kyle kn ew he should be on the right track and went back to continue his exploration He took the old way again and got to the wall where he arrived before. He went upstairs, found another portal he could go through and finally found Jennea. The quest was completed. Figure 5 11 Finding the NPC Jennea Cannon

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168 Later in the stimulated recall, Kyle explained nothi ng in this search result actually revealed an important message to him Since there was no concrete or further information about Jennea, he realized it should not be very difficult so that no one would ask the question. He believed he should go back to take a further look. Though he did not find the information he needed directly, he was enlig htened to locate the NPC at last. His knowledge about under what conditions a game question might be asked online helped him determine how he should solve the problem. In this scenario, Fei used the Internet as an out of game inf ormation so urce to help his gaming process. Reading was the main activity he participated during the process of information seeking. He read both text and image s in the game feedback, the map, and the websites he located via Google. In this example of information seeking, other literacy practices such as strategizing and problem solving also occurred. Kyle made a decision of seeking help from the Internet when he found there was a difficulty in finding the NPC Jennea Cannon. His main task in this scenario was to locate the position of the NPC, which indicated he was involv ed in a problem solving process as well since information seeking is only the means but not the end. Strategizing Planning, comparing, and decision making are categorized as strategizing. This is a literacy practice that is involved in arranging and determining strategies. On the macro level, strategizing determined how their avatars were manipulated in the virtual world. On the micro level, some specific strategies that applied to game

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169 specific strategies were frequently applied by the participants. First, exploring was a strategy the participants often used when they had difficulties locating a certain place. Exploring was an individual learning process. For Fei, the biggest problem was the direction in which to search He did not think the map was very helpful and sometimes he was trapped in a building. Fei said [ing] (10/30/2009) was his way to look for something. Jim also felt that he had a hard time finding some places whose names were not clear. Sometimes, he randomly searched everywhere and happened to find some p laces that he was looking for in this manner. Second, searching for useful information online was effective. To my question of how he figured out something he did not know in p laying the game, Kyle simply G did not know was to Google them online just as he did when he could not find the NPC. Though all of the other three participants mentioned t hey had prior experience of seeking information online for game play, I only observed Mark who checked updated patch notes on the WoW web. Kyle usually skipped the quest descri ptions in reading quests. He said he only focused on the reading objects to know where he should go and what he should do. From the perspective of a player, this was an effective way that saved time for

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170 playing since reading was not the end in playing Wo W As mentioned previously, Mark installed some add ons for access to a database of quests, where he could get the key information of the quests rather than reading all the details. Although this st rategy could be interpreted as a way to avoid reading, i t is also true that reading was a means not the end in their game play. Fourth, collaborative play with other players was a strategy that all the game process. He not only a sk ed for but also gave information. Kyle and Fei, who did not interact with others much, also asked questions in their game play. Al hough no feedback was given to their questions and they finally figured out the answers by themselves, they did attempt to use the game community as a source of information. (pseudonym) for a shortcut. What made Jim most frustrated in WoW was that finding some places took Jim was brought to the right NPC directly with Sileo exemplifies how collaborating with others was effective in the game process. Jim: Encountering a friendly adventure Un like Fei and Kyle who did not have much interaction with other players, Jim, who was not talkative in real life, had a friendly encounter with another player, Sileo During my last ob ith the help of Sileo, Jim finished two qu

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171 used interchangeably. I divide d the whole friendly adventure into five parts. In each part, I listed the game log Also, my descripti italic s ) ar e also integrated in the game log. Part 1: Accepting Invitation. Sileo, a level 12 Troll Rogue invited Jim to join a group and asked Jim if he needed help. Jim accepted the invitation and asked what help Sileo could offer. Then Sileo defeated Jim in a duel and the group was disbanded. Again, Sileo invited Jim to join a group and Jim accepted it. The game [Sileo] has invited you to join a group. [Sileo] says: need help [Lylefu n] says: for what? [Sileo] says: lol [laugh out loud] [Lylefun] says: =p [Sileo] has invited you to join a group. [Sileo] says: =) Figure 5 12 Meeting Sileo

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172 basis collaboration with Sileo to finish two quests. Part 2: Getting to know each other. Jim ask ed which level Sileo was at. Sileo answered the question and levels, he taught Jim to click on his character portrait for the information. Sileo said he was seven years old and asked how old Jim was. Sileo def eated Jim again in a duel. The game log concerning how they knew each other is excerpted below: [Lylefun] says: what lvl[level] r u? [Sileo] says: 12 [Lylefun] says: unfair duel:) [Sileo] says: click on me [Lylefun] says: o i c [Oh, I see] [Sileo] says: im 7 years old and i beat oyu [you] [Sileo]: you < Sileo corrected his typo.> < .> A B C Figure 5 13 leo teaching Jim mentioned that he needed to finish some quests. Sileo volunteered to follow Jim and helped to kill the

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173 monsters. Again, S ileo offered help and Jim said he was going to kill a boss, which was a generic term for an NPC. While Sileo led Jim to look for Zalazane, Jim died twice. Sileo kept killing the monsters and waited for Jim to come back to life In was, Jim found he should go back to the town to find Gadrin. Sileo taught Jim how in to the water while swimming. Following Sileo, Jim details about the interactions between Jim and Sileo. Please note the chat n the chat log below indicates the message was sent as a private one. [Lylefun] says: o well nice meeting ya gong finish some quest [Sileo] says: o k [Sileo] says: you n eed help [Lylefun] says: yea gonna kill some boss [Sileo] says: ok i know were [where] he is [Lylefun] says: help me find zalazane [Sileo] says: follow me [Sileo] says: hes in re [Sileo] says: d [Sileo] says: done [Lylefun]: yay [Sileo] says: your [Lylefun] says: who i speak 2[to] 2[to] finish da [the] quest

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174 Figure 5 14 Jim asking for help [Lylefun] says: where gadrin at u[you] no[know] [Sileo] says:[The loot] were [was]small [Sileo] says: lol [laughing out loud] [Lylefun ] says: lol [laughing out loud] [Lylefun] says: going back to village 2[to] finish da[the] quest < Lylefun and Sileo were crossing a river. Sileo wanted to tell Jim how to typo. Instead, h e thought Sileo did not know how to spell the word correctly.> [Sileo] says: puch x [Sileo] says: hey [Sileo] says: puch x [Lylefun] says: lol [Sileo] says: lol [Sileo] says: lol In part 3, Sileo offered two kinds of assistance. One was that he showed J im the way to find an NPC. The other on e was to teach Jim a technique of getting down into the water while swimming. Jim asked Sileo what he wanted to do, but Sileo said he did not know. Then, Jim checked the qu est log and read Having known that Sileo did this quest before, Jim asked help from Sileo to finish the quest. Jim chose to follow Sileo, who told Jim that he had

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175 another character at level 25 and wondered if Jim could wait for him t o bring that asking Jim to wait for him come back and appreciated that Jim would be willing to wait for him. [Lylefun] says: hat[what] u wanna do now? [Sileo] says: what [Lylefu n] says: what u wanna do now? [Sileo] says: i dont know [Lylefun] says: have u done thazz ril pick quest [Sileo] says: yea [Lylefun] says: wanna help me on it [Sileo] says: hey [Sileo] says: i have a lv 25 [Sileo] says: level [Lylefun]: nice [Sileo] says: wait [Sileo] says: plz [please] Figure 5 15 Sileo offering another higher level character to help [Lylefun]: yea [Sileo] says: ok ty[thank you]

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176 As shown above, the friendship established between Jim and Sileo in a short period of time was demonstrated by Sileo offer ing further help, which was also valued by Jim. Part 5: Finishing th After almost six minutes, Sileo brought his 25 level Tauren Hunter, Stormy back. Jim asked whom he should talk with to finish the quest At first, Sileo joked saying Jim should talk to him. Jim reread the quest. La Jim finish the quest. < Jim waited for Sileo to come back. Sileo came back as Stormy with his pet: spike > [Stormy] says: its Sileo [Stormy] says: im [Lylefun] says: nice [Stormy] says: ty [thank you] [ Stormy] says: lets go [Lylefun] says: kk[ok] u[you] lead [Stormy] says: ok [Lylefun] says: is that ur[your] pet? Figure 5 16 Sileo returning with pet

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177 < Stormy is a 25 level Tauren Hunter. Stormy helped Lylefun with the [Lylefun] says: kk[ok] I got it who i talk 2 [to] [Stormy] says: me [Lylefun]: lol [laugh out loud ] [Stormy] whis pers: hey [Sto rmy] says: lol [laugh out loud ] This is the only time that I observed Jim had a long interaction with another player during his WoW encounter with Sileo presents a one way contribution from a more skilled player. In recalling, Jim said that playing with Sileo made his game play easier, since Sileo had pla yed it before and knew more than him. Though he could figure out what he should do reading the quest Jim thought talking to Sileo was more helpful than merely reading. In this scenario of strategizing, Jim read his quests, completed two quests with strategizing, he was also involved in the other three literacy practices: information seeking, problem solving, and socializ ing. Problem Solving Problem solving suggests a literacy practice that the participants utilized the information and resources they sought to accomplish some game specific tasks. These tasks included questing, competing, repairing armors, recovering he alth, buying, selling, auctioning, and locating. Problem solving here only indicates the

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178 final step in a l arger problem solving process. For example, doing quests, which is a larger problem, includes acquiring, accepting/rejecting, processing, completing and tr acking quests. Problem solving in this example only indicates the stage of level, while questing at the micro level. In a quest which requires the player to deliv er a certain item to an NPC, the player should discover the quest by clicking an exclamation mark which is a part of information seeking. Then, problem solving is a other of problem solving. Other gaming activities that he participated i n while resurrect ing his avatar, were typical ones in which other players were also engaged Fei: Trying with p ersistence in the observation on August 6 th 2009. During about 68 minutes of game play, Blubolt died six times. In WoW player characters can be resurrected after death. Fei kept resurrecting Blubolt again and again, continuing his WoW adventure. Below I narrate what This is an example of problem solving as a literacy practice in WoW which is also a process intertwined with information seeking, strategizing, and socializing. Fei In his stimulated recall later, F ei said he generally got the idea that he needed to deliver a letter to an innkeeper

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179 but he had not read the details. Fei opened his backpack and checked what items pop up informed that how the cap could be used and how mu ch it was worth (see Figure 5 1 7 ). When he found Figure 5 1 7. Checking items in backpack down to recover health (see the avatar in the red circle i n Figure 5 18 ). Figure 5 1 8. Recovering health to ch eck where he was (see Figure 5 1 9 ). When he saw the Tirisfal Farmer s he fought with them. He got two coppers as loot af ter fighting with the farmers. Then,

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180 Blubolt was killed by one Tirisfal Farmer. Fei clicked on the exclamation mark flashing on the bottom right, which brought a pop up about death: Figure 5 19 Pop up about death Fei found a spirit healer and then clicked on the NPC. Another pop up appeared: Figure 5 20 Pop up about resurrection Then Fei accepted resurrection. In the mini map on the top right, Fei clicked a flashing exclamation mark and found it indicated where the corpse was. Following the mini Figure5 21 ) A B Figure 5 21 Finding corpse A) finding corpse on the map; B) accepting resurrection Right after Blubolt was resurrected, he was killed again by a Tirisfal Farmer. While t he ghost of Blubolt passed Stillwater Pond a n exclamation mark flashed on

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181 the bottom right (see Figure 5 22 A). Fei noticed that and clicked the exclamation mark. Then, a pop up appeared (see Figure 5 22 B ) : A B Figure 5 22 Pop up about swimming A) reading a flashing exclamation; B) reading a pop up As one part of the in game help system, this pop up taught the tip of swimming in WoW Fei swam across the pond and later found the corpse again and resurrected Blubolt. Figure 5 23 Recurreci ng Blubolt Again, Blubolt was killed rig ht after resurrection. Following what he had done before, Fei resurrected Blubolt. Unfortunately, a Scarlet Warrior killed Blubolt. This th death. Fei clicked on his spellbook and then his achieve ment points. He did nothing but just read the two pop up s. As a part of his game play, Fei

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182 frequently checked his own state. Fei opened his quest log and read through the cursor from the left to right while re ading the quest (see Figure 5 24 ). Figure 5 24 Checking quests Fei found the corpse again and resurrected Blubolt. Then, Fei found one Tirisfal pumpkin, which was one item wanted by one of his previous quests. While Blubolt was collecting the pumpkin, a Tirisfal Farmer approached Blubolt and killed him. Fei did not to rush to resurrect Blubolt. Instead, he opened his quest log, browsing all his quests on the list. Then, Fei found the corpse and Blubolt came b ack to WoW Warrior. This was the sixth time that Blubolt died. Fei had Blubolt resurrected immedi ately. Then, he opened the world map. Another player character, Vileen invited Blubolt to join the guild Descendants from hell. However, Fei declined the invitation.

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183 Figure 5 25 Declining guild invitation When Blubolt arrived in a town, he met Archibald Kava, a Leather Armor Merchant. Fei checked his equipment, including Flax Gloves, Frayed Belt, Frayed Pants, and Flax Boots in the window of character information. Fei repaired Frayed Belt spending five coppers and another ten coppers respective ly on repairing Flax Boots and Frayed Pants. Fei dragged Flax Gloves to repairing area but a pop up Figure 5 26 Checking equipment

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184 Figure 5 2 7. Selling armors Then, Fei kept selling and repairing his armors until all of the copper was spent. While selling and buying, Fei kept reading symbols and numerals, comparing the items and computing his coppers. Table 5 7 summarizes his other transactions After checki ng his equipment again, he found one Young Night Web Spider and began to fight with it. An alert popped up accompanying with audio instruction, telling him that he was too far away to fight with the spider. Fei moved Blubolt Table 5 7 transactions in repairing armors Selling Repairing Total None 26 copper None 11 copper None Frayed Braces (5 copper) 6 copper None Flax Gloves (6 copper) 0 copper forward

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185 Figure 5 2 8 Too far away from fighting the spider Within 68 minutes of game play with a focus on resurrecting, Fei conducted 26 gaming activities in the WoW world while resurrecting his avatar six times. The flow chart (see Figure 5 2 9 ) demonstrates the gaming activities, which are differentiated with different colors. The table on the right shows the literacy activities that occurred in the 27 gaming activ ities. In the example of problem solving as one literacy practice, reading was s till the core literacy activity, which happened in all of the gaming activities. P interacting the chat. All the activities that are pertinent All of the gaming activities shown in the flow chart occurred while Fei resurrected his avatar. They were ty the guild invitation did not suggest much communication with other players, Fei was involved in a brief

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186 interaction in WoW As the figure abov e shows, checking was the most frequent activity, whereas managing economy and socializing had the least frequent read different information sources in the game to ensure that the avatar func tioned well. Though Fei admitted that he felt somewhat frustrated when he saw his avatar die again and again, he never thought of quitting in the game process. Fei explained he knew it was possible for him to do that. Also, he wanted to achieve higher l evels and expected it would be more challenging and fun at higher levels. In solving the main problem of resurrecting his avatar in this scenario, Fei was also in the process of dealing with other literacy practices. Choosing to keep trying when his avat ar was killed for six times was the major decision he made throughout the whole process. He read text, symbols, and num erals while questing, resurrecting, managing the avatar, repairing armors, and selling some items. Though there was only a brief intera ct ion in rejecting a guild invitation, he did socialize with other players. Hence, any of the other three literacy practices, including strategizing, information seeking, and socializing, was never singled out when Fei focused on the main problem of resurrecting his avatar. Socializing In the gaming world, socializing occurred when the participants interacted with or intended to interact with other players through text chat or voice chat, which are commonly characterized by situated language use. Wi thout exception, each

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187 Figure 5 2 WoW experience Note: Selling items is one activity of managing economy. Rejecting guild invitation is categorized to interacting.

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188 participant expressed a vi ew on the significance of social interaction in the game process. Jim, who benefited from playing with another player, said interacting with others made game player easier. He added that talking to a more experienced player like Sileo was more helpful t han reading the quests, because he felt there were some random places that he had never heard about it but had to find. Jim thought playing with others was more efficient than reading. Though both Kyle and Fei did not have much c ommunication with other players, their explanations for restricted socializing were different. Kyle mentioned he felt However, Fei simply thought it was not necessary to pl ay with othe rs for the quests in the beginning. It reflects that individual variables affect socializing. With regard to socializing, Kyle attached great importance to self esteem whereas Fei reveal ed his own belief about the best way for him to play at a particula r stage, which was based on his previous gaming experience. In spite of very limited interactions with others observed in their answer to what made him feel interested in WoW ple with people 11/11/2009). He said the NPCs were alike and there were not many changes. However, it was more interesting to play with other players since one might encounter all kinds of situations with those who played Wo W like him According to Kyle, he would definitely communicate a lot more if the level were higher. As for Fei, he thought there would be more occasions that he might be challenged and need h elp from others later. Also, Fei believed that working with others would be more engaging. Even

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189 though he had not played in raids with other players, he anticipated that he would communication via text chat played a central r ole and the interaction with his peers was most evident For Mark, WoW held social appeal to him. layin (08/02/2009) process was chatting. Social interaction was the means of his game play. He joked with his friends, talked about role assignments in raids, and asked for and gave information. Mark recalled most of his friends in WoW were also at low levels when he (07/24/2009) all the time. He described how he started playing with others: (07/4/2009). For example, since level 2, he had been playing with A nanivana, whom he often joked with in the game play. They talked a lot through voice chat too. While the same pace. She...the quest I did today she did yesterday. I can find it or I can ask her where did she get it done. So she would tell me where blablabla (08/02/2009) The collaboration built among the game players below: They would like...If I need help, they help. They need help, I help. The guild is like a big family. You need 10,000 gold, you got it. You want 5 gold, you got it. You want food, some cookers are g onna make f or you (08/02/2009).

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190 Mark knew that Ananivana was a fifteen year old female. Other tha n that he did not know much about this friend in WoW who he had been playing with for more than two years. F o r him, chatting with game friends about their real life w as ee py. At this point, Jim also mentioned that he tended not to talk about real life issues with those he met in games. This suggests that the affinity group (Gee, 2003) existed in a certain context. Social interactions generated within the affinity group in WoW enhanced the effective: definitely kill t hat, because there are two DPS (07/ 24/2009) When new raids came out, Mark tended to ask others in his guild. Though he might go online to check the raids later, he preferred getting the information from those who had been playing first. Besides, Mark received some buff from others: The increases tank by 50. This is given by Christ, by 165. All of these are given by them, not mine. (07/24/2009) Mark also offered help to others. He described what he needed to do in o rganizing a guild: warriors in my guild what to do, how to be a great DPS warrior, what steps about warriors. Basically, all the warriors in my guild...if they need how to play their class, they will come to me and ask me about it (08/02/2009).

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191 Undoubtedly, of the four participants, Mark was the most active in socializing with chat is taken as an example to understand the literacy practice of socializing in the game world. Mark: Voice chat Mark thought communication in WoW was just like the way how English was learned because the players had to communicate in team work either through text chat or voice chat. Most of the time, he used text chat. Though Mark mentioned communicating via voice chat was very basic in big raids, he only used voice chat once in my observati ons. Unfortunately, Mark uninstalled the screen video capture program, Camtasia from his laptop that day, because he felt the program occupied much of the capacity of his laptop. I could not record his game play of using voice chat. In talking about voi ce chat, Mark mentioned how voice chat was more efficient than text chat in some raids: Sometimes, you get tired of typing, so you just get on that to talk. Whenever I start a raid, everybody must be on Vent [Ventrilo, a voice communication software]. For tanking, tanking...every 15 seconds you ha ve to run now, turn away from chat, how would you know 15 seconds...he will say some on the chat, say DPS get out, 5 seconds left, DPS get out. All the DPS is gonna run now. No. Li gonna take 5 seconds to type it out. By dead. So what do I do on Vent? All I have to do is to hold on a button say

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192 Later, Mark explained that it was not necessary to use voice chat in those small raids minutes to finish. In that case, he said that everybody knew the fight and they did not need Ventrilo, a program us ed for voice communication. Also, those were raids that the players could get in whenever they wanted as long as they were at level 80. Even those wi th lower green gears would get in those easy raids. However, to get in a hard raid like Ulduar Mark said that he would not take those people with green gear but only those with fully purple gear. In Uldua r, they would get on Ven to use voice chat. In o rder to let me know how hard Ulduar was, Mark compared it with those easy raids which might take 10 minutes, saying that it might take them about 36 hours on one boss and there were about 20 bosses in Ulduar I was wondering how he communicated effectivel y with other players using voice chat in WoW My question about voice chat happened to open the topic of mutual respect in game play. Though Mark himself was not an adult yet, he emphasized how important it was to act like adults with responsibility and respect in WoW Mark explained how it worked: gonna sit there listen to you to explain. After I explain their jobs, steps... if Mark added that he nee d ed to have a ready check and saw if anyone want ed any help:

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193 Yeah, sometimes they do [ask questions]. Sometimes...I got it. I got the fight. So, I do a ready check. If everyone is ready, tank, go. If two people I did not have a chance to observe Mark lead the raid. In describing how they collaborated in a raid, Mark kept emphasizi Mark: Text chat stopped chatting and spent more than 90% of th e time in chatting. In Figure 5 3 0, There are four big categories: socio emotional functioning; reading involvement ; collaborating; and talking about fighting. In this section, a partial chat log is used to exemplify each chat ca tegory. Figure 5 3 categories

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194 Socio emotional functioning. WoW I found that some chats such as greetings and feeling expressions were not directly relevant to fighting per se. However, those chats socializing among players. They functioned as a strong tie between Mark and his socio emotional subcategories to demonstrate how Mark established interpersonal relationship with other players via chatting in WoW Greetings Just like communication in real life, chatting in the virtual world also opened further conversations. In greeting, Mark and his friends used some emotes to express emotions. Emotes are some commands that generate a chat message to express how the player feels or what s/he is doing. For example, some greetings in use of emotes You poke Laminia. Hey! You greet Laminia with a hearty hello! Laminia roars with bestial vigor at you. So fierce! In this example, greetings we re not simply a hey or a hello. Instead, Mark chose the emotes of poking and greeting with a hearty hello to make the action more vivid and emote of roaring. The use of emotes supplemented the text chats with rich emotional expressions.

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195 Joking Mark said they often joked around. Indeed, a significant proportion of text chat was about joking. The example below show s how he negotiated rewards while joking with his friends in the game. [Laminia] whispers: ill pay you to tank heroics To [Laminia]: 1000g and ill think about it. [Laminia] whispers: fuck no To [Laminia]: lol [laughing out loud] [Laminia] whispers: more li ke 5g To [Laminia]: hell no [Laminia] whispers: or maybe 1 copper because thats all your worth [Laminia] whispers: HAHAH! To [Laminia]: HAHAH GIRL U GOT JOKES [Laminia] whispers: i know [Laminia] whispers: your lame Laminia wanted Mark to tank. Mark said tank if Laminia could pay. Laminia asked Mark to tank heroics, but Mark did not want to do that. So, he was kidding with Laminia, asking for 1,000 gol ds. Laminia joked with him, s aying she would pay five golds. Later, she said one copper would be what Mark was worth. Obviously, Mark knew Laminia was just joking. This demonstrated that Mark and Laminia developed an acquaintance in the game. Raiding involvment Raid refers to a large scale attack designed for p layers whose characters have reached the highest level. Raid groups can have up to eight parties, w ith, at most five characters in each party. Raiding was a main activity in WoW play. As he said, his purpose of playing WoW after he reached level 80 around raiding, including joining a raid group, rejecting invitations to a raid groups, recruiting raid members, giving up organizing a raid, inquiring and selecti ng roles, and

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196 would be to soak damage in fighting with enemies. However, Mark preferred to be a DPS (Damage per second), namely, a damage dealer to kill mobs, the no n player entities. [Raid Leader] [Magegam]: need another tank [Raid] [Pipps]: well we need another tank [Laminia] whispers: mark stay tank To [Laminia]: LAMINIA STAY QUIET In this excerption above, Magegam, the raid leader was recruiting a tank to f orm a raid. Laminia clicked the chat menu and chose private message to Mark, asking him to be the tank. Mark responded with his Collaborating: Give and t ake Collaboration was a key aspect of socializing in WoW It was common that players c ontributed what they knew and received what they wanted as well. Giving and taking fostered peer scaffolding in WoW community. Asking for information To [Ana n ivana ] : have u read the patch notes yet? [Ananivana] whispers: uh i while ago i did, why? [Ananivana] whispers: a* To [Ananivana]: is it true that we will be able to buy tier shits with badges?* [Ananivana ] whispers: I think To [Ananivana]: like all tier?? [Ananivana] whispers: not sure, but i heard that badges of conque st are gonna drop in heroics now

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197 ... To [Ananivana]: oh wow thats cool but ive been turnin them into valor every time lol To [Ananivana]: wow so basically th e hero ism and valor r not that usefu after the aptch [patch] Later in his stimulated recall, Mark said he asked Aniavana if she had read the patch notes, because he did not want to read it. But, he still went online to read the patch information. He thought there might be some information that his friend did not know. He would choose to read what he was interested such as warriors, PvP, and PvE. While asking Aniavana the patch information, Mark visited WoW Web to find the patch. He read about what gear was given to him and what kind of gear he could buy with badges. Talking about fighting. There were some other times that Mark talked with his friends about their achievements, gears, other players, fighting resul ts and their further plans. Generally, those chats are put in to the category of talking about fighting. To [Darfly]: this is gonna be sad if we lose ... [Darfly] whispers: we wont

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198 To [Darfly]: wanna bet? ... [Darfly] whispers: yea 100 ... To [Darfly]: lol To [Darfly]: too late ... To [Darfly]: cheater [Darfly]: lol In the Wintergrasp battle, a PvP battle between the Alliance and the Horde, Mark thought they might lose the battle to the Horde. However, Darfly did not think so. Mark proposed a bet but Darfly rejected. Later, when Darfly saw the remaining time was short and knew they would win, he asked for 100 gold to bet with Mark. Mark was not willing to do that because the result was so obvious. He called Darfly a cheater, who knew Mark was joking. Chat ting took place everywhere as the major gaming activity Mark chatted with his friends in grouping, battling, and travelling. They joked around, formed groups, coordinated raid roles, exchanged information, and were in volved in various topics centered on fighting. Those text chats were delivered in informal language and with brief information. In text chats in the mode of writing all the time. Furthermore, socializing did not occur alone while Mark was chatting with others. In the chat examples above, he was involved in competing, comparing the roles in raiding, and searching patch information online Therefore, the other three literacy practices, namely, strategizing, problem solv ing, and information seeking also happened in his chatting. To sum up, four literacy practices occurred simultaneously and continuously in a dynamic process. However, without downplaying the complex interplay among the four

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199 literacy practices, each liter acy practice is delineated separately T he scenarios salient game play The three novice players mainly focused on questing only. Except for Jim who actively interacted with anoth er player, Fei and Kyle played alone for quests. Kyle used the Internet to seek the information he needed to assist his game play. Fei showed his tremendous perseverance facing failures in solving the problem of resurrecting his avatar. The experienced player, Mark, spent most of his time socializing with other players through text chat. Sense of Engagement The four literacy practices the participants were engaged in cannot be viewed independently What they enjoyed was a complex and dynamic process i nvolving all of the practices at the same time. Though reading was the core in information seeking, it does not mean the participants enjoyed reading per se in the game. For example, Mark ad since he wanted to play the game. To Mark, reading in the game was not the end, but the means to the end. Likewise, Kyle said he had to read to understand what he should do in the game. He added kipped the quest descriptions. He only paid attention to what mattered to his game play. Their emphasis on their ultimate purpose of reading for play sent me delving into the question of what brought the participants a sense of engagement in playing WoW felt about their gaming experience. Mark said he enjoyed playing this game. Kyle mentioned he was excit ed while playing. Fei was attracted

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200 sharing about what brought them enjoyment, excitement and pleasure in WoW three themes were summarized to reflect what fostered their sense of engagement in WoW : reward immersion, and immediacy Reward This was the primary reason why the participants wanted to play WoW Having reached the maximum level, Mark was moti vated to play for better gears. The other three novice players had been playing games for many years. They had heard ab out WoW before and had had a high expectation of the game. Fei thought (10/30/2009) were most interesting in WoW Jim enjoyed leveling up in WoW the whole play of the game 12/30/2009). Kyle felt t he purpose of playing WoW was to level up and for better armors and It turned out that they enjoyed leveling up and accumulating experience points through completing quests. The value of succes s the participants place d on game play revealed they expected their competence could be acknowledged in the virtual world Furthermore, the heated competition in the game made them highly motivated and contributed to their sense of achievement. Immersion In the game process, the participants were caught up in the virtual world. First, in The game design in WoW made the player have a sense of attachment to the game process. For example, the quests e incorporated in the text, which makes the player feel that these

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201 quests were specifically addressed to them. It made them fe el accountable for what they did with their avatars in the game world. Blubolt (pseudonym) appeared in the quest. Figure 5 31 name in the quest Second, the complexity of the game interface in conjunction with the accessibility of the rich information that absorbed the participants in persistent exploring. The figure below as an example demonstrates some characteristics of the interface that attracted the attention of the participants. Figure 5 32 A typical interface in WoW

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202 Table 5 8 Description of interface block s No. Interface block Description 1 Character portrait 2 Target portrait (green=friendly, yellow= neutral/passive until you attack, red=enemy) 3 Spellbook window All the spells and abilities the avatar has 4 Chat/Combat log Chat messages, miscellaneous cha racter messages, combat updates (The player can click the chat button to choose private messaging, emotes, and voiced speech by clicking chat menu.) 5 Experience bar 6 Action bar 7 Interface panel Panel with access to character information, spellbook, character talents, quest log, world map, social options, main menu, and help menu 8 Backpack/Inventory The place where all the loot goes 9 Quest status A brief summary of the current quests 10 Mini map 11 Status icons Buffs (positive conditions)that are active on the avatar 12 Alert message Alert both in text and in audio Figure 5 32 is a s It is a typical interface in WoW In this snapshot, t here are several block s, which are listed in Table 5 8 This snapshot can be viewed counterclockwise. On the top left, from the character portrait, Fei could see his avatar with level, health and rage indicator. On the right of his portrait, it was the target window for spellbook whe re Fei could check his spell s On the left corner, the updated game log informed Fei of his recent actions. Under the log, there were action bars with spells and abilities that Fei placed from h is s pellbook window. The interface panel in the middle of t he margin on the bottom enabled Fei to access his avatar information, spellbook and abilities window. The square area on the right bottom is the backpack.

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203 were shown in the small box over the backpack. The text above the backpack was the quest log recording the status of each accepted quest. On the top right corner, the mini map indicates where Fei was. Blubolt was fighting with a Wretched Zombie. reminded Fei about the danger he faced. Additionally, the later was also delivered in audio. As shown in the figure above varied information is passed in multiple modes of text, image, and sound as well. Evidentl y, the screen of WoW is overwhelmingly dominated by images. Complexity of the graphic design and multiplicity of the information presented the participants with various cues for further exploration Immediacy: Time and S peed Time and speed were two par allel issues when the participants narrated their game play. Time constraints and high speed in the game kept the attention of the indicate the condition of pressing t ime and high speed in WoW. Generally, all of the participants were more inclined to read symbols and nume rals than texts. As described previously each quest contains the description, the objectives, and the rewards. Usually, the participants first no ticed the rewards on the bottom, in which the symbols and the numerals were quickly understandable information of what and how much they could get upon finishing that quest The section they would pay attention next was the objectives, whi ch told them what they needed to do Finally, they might browse the description very briefly. The direction of their reading was bottom up and from symbols and numerals to texts. The participants tended to read symbols as

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204 opposed to dense words in their game process in order to perform under the constraints of time. While describing the difficulties he had in figuring out how to expand h is backpack, Kyle said he just ran everywhere. He thought of googling that but he did not to do so, 1/01/2009). Fei said he would never make posts on the forum because it was too slow to him. He preferred exploring the game world by himself, because he could not wait for someone to answer his questions. Jim mentioned that some quests took much time to Time was more important to Mark, who was involved in PvP battling and raiding. He needed to check the start time of a PvP battle in which he may want to participate He paid attention to the time left when he fought against the enemies in the battle. In discussing reading in the game, Mark mentioned he downloaded add ons to help him finish quests. Those add His intention of using add one of his characters, druid, from 70 to 80 in less than a week with the add ons on his computer. Without add ons, it would probably take him over a month because reading the quests took 8/02/2009): I can read it if I want to. If I know it, there s no meaning to read about it I mean, a quest is just in that paragraph to tell you go where, kill what and return it back. So, basically, is there any need to read that if you really understand what re doing ? Your point to play the game is to get level 80

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205 Again, Mark emphasized that reading was for playing the game. In order to progress at a faster pace, he chose a way to get the core information in completing quests. In addition, Mark sai d that the time limit in PVP battles made him more excited about the competition. To conclude, when totally immersed in the game world for achievements, the speed and tim e constraints. Chapter Summary In this chapter, I first presented what gaming activities were found in the identified on the basis of the gaming activities Of the rich and varied literacy activities, literacy practices including information seeking, strategizing, socializing, and problem solving were depicted. All the four literacy practices were found within WoW However, only one literacy practice, information seeking occurred around WoW Also, information seeking was the core literacy practice, in which reading stood out as the major activity. The four literacy pract ices were situated in the scenarios selected from game play. engagement in WoW It was found that reward, immersion, and immediacy fed the literacy practices in an interesting and fun way.

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206 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION Overview The study explore d adolescent L2 literacy engagement in WoW Insofar as WoW were depicted in Chapter 5 this chapter discusses context, and the nature of L2 literacy engagement in the game. To begin with the s Next it is noted that the literacy engagement proposed by Guthrie and his colleagues refers to involvement in a conventional literacy context. It is different from the complex environment in which these the participants were immersed Hence, I shift to the spotlight on the multimodal environment in WoW which involved in scaffolded, interactive and collaborative learning. I use the engagement mod el of reading development (Guthrie, 2001) as a framework to analyze the literacy practices in gaming and the multimodal learn ing environment. Lastly, drawing from the major findings in Chapter 5, I use a visual representation to demonstrate what L2 literacy engagement in WoW means. L2 Practices in WoW As indicated in Chapter 5, reading and writing were manifest game process Selecting a North American realm in game play, all the participants were immersed in a world where English was used as the only language. In terms of language practices, reading and writing are discussed in this section. All the participants were Engl ish language learners. Mark, Fei, and Kyle exited ESL classes but Jim never entered an ESL class. Of the four participants, Kyle was the newest immigrant and he had been in the U.S. for the shortest time. He was the

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207 only one who could read and write in Chinese and also spent a lot of time with Chinese speaking friends. Kyle felt comfortable speaking Chinese with me. Both Jim and Mark used Chinese and English interchangeably. Probably because Fei was required to speak En glish at home by his father, he did not speak Chinese with me except a few words. In observations, t he language did not impede game play. A dditionally, they had all the stimulations including symbols, numerals, sounds, which they could use in a multimodal envi ronment. Therefore, it was hard to pinpoint and gauge their L2 acquisition. Despite the fact that their L2 acquisition is not very salient the participants were indeed exposed to English as their second language and stayed on task using English all the time. Reading and writing were their typical activities which involved but were not limited to language use. Reading: Language Practice Embedded in Game Process As indicated in Chapter 5 reading was the most significant literacy activity in the particip essential to their game play that reading in order to play, not reading per se, brought them much enjoyment. When asked about their reading experience, all of the participants referred to reading text in terms of langua ge use only Indeed, reading text was only a part of their multimo dal reading in gaming. In the section below discussed. Reading the w ord Quests were where the participants could read a chunk of text in order to play the game Doing quests invited the participants to be involved in using task based language in a particular way In analyzing the quests in WoW Krzywinska (2008)

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208 p. 129), and WoW quests exemplified in Chapter 5, it is found that the quests in WoW always include a back story, characters, and settings, all of which are intertwined t o inform players of plotted story events (Carr, 2006) that are related to game play For instance, the (see Figure 6 1 ) told the y were, how they overran the northern part of the village, why and how they should be destroyed. Notwithstanding a mini story, the basic elements of a narrative including setting, character, plot, conflict, and resolution were vividly encapsulated in the description. Figure 6 In fact, the storytelling style as found in the WoW quests is not rare in video games. Research on game literacy state that r ic h narratives set in games should be taken as reading opportunities. For example, Alberti (2008) argues that video game Also Moberly (2008)

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209 of read In exploring narrative in computer games, Journet (2007) argues that video games succeed in their embedded situated meaning principles (Gee, 2003). Journet (2007) points out how video games integrate narrative to engage playe rs: games underscore the importance of situating knowledge and knowledge making in narrative modes; of paying attention to contextual, storied character of learning; and of finding texts and tasks that evoke narrative desire in students (p. 95). In co ntrast in this study, none of the participants showed interest in the background story of WoW Narrative embedded in quests seemed not to contribute to engage the participants, especially when infrequent words made reading more demanding. For example, i him what he should do direct ly, that is, to kill some zombies. To the player, rich narrative set in the quest description that provided back story might not be as informative as the succinct commands given in the quest objective. Likewise, the other two novice WoW players, Jim and Kyle, also mentioned that they only skimmed through most of the descriptions in doing quests and their attention was focused on the straightforward objectives which were most relevant to their game play. As Jim said, he did not care about the back story. Mark mentioned he was only concerned with what he should do in questing so that he downloaded the add ons to give him the information directly.

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210 research on online reading that reading online involves Though the participants were unlikely to read the extended text and purposefully concentrated on the key information, they were unquestionably exposed to text and were involved i n decoding text. In the game, reading was abbreviated, task oriented, and situated in specific gaming context. Reading the world on the screen W oW provided a very real arena to use language and other semiotic systems for the participants to communicate and collaborate with others. In addition to reading the e ire & Macedo, 1987) in WoW Furthermore, the world w as a virtual one presented on the screen. When the participants read the game world as shown on the screen, reading text abbreviated specialized language was only a part of their reading experience in WoW Most of the time, the participants read a hybri d of text, symbols, and numerals, though they tended not to take account of decoding symbols and numerals as part of their reading experience. Kress (2003) maintains the screen of the game is multimodal, replete with music, soundtrack, writing and overwh elmingly dominated by the mode of image (p. 160). Likewise, Burn (2006) contends that multimodal texts exist in games Rich context clues in m ultimodal reading in WoW offered the degree of choice the participants required to invest productively. The participants as readers had more entries to the multimodal text, which also brought more freedom in designing how they could get access to the information wanted. For exa mple, in his stimulated recall of

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211 the zombies he was required to kill, but this did not hinder his game play at all. He said he only had a rough impression of the zombies and could pull out the infor mation from the quest log whenever it was needed Also, when Mindless Zombies and Wretched Zombies showed up, he would read the names of zombies in the target portrait and the color in In this case, Fei made choices about when to read and what to read which g a ve him a sense of power. This also shows the gaming activities in WoW are context embedded tasks, which fall 81) as illustrated in Figure 6 2 The rich context that is full of multimodal text provides the player alternative access to comprehension. Figure 6 2. Gaming activities in Quadrants I and II (adapted from Cummins, 1981) The concept of multimodal lit eracy (Kress, 2003) provides a new perspective on the issues concerning reading more than words in the game. When the participants

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212 read the screen, the r eading path (Kress, 2003) was no longer as traditional as the one of written texts. Obviously, the sc reen was ordered by the logic of image 2003, p. 48) even though written texts occasionally appeared in the mode of writing and in the medium of screen. When texts were presented on the screen, they were subject to the logic of image (Kress, 2003) In WoW, quest reading can be taken as a prime affected by the image. As presented in Chapter 5, in reading quests, the participants chose to read the images of re wards first, the text of objectives second and descriptions last. At times they even ignored the descriptions. This reading path was bottom up and reading text was preceded by reading image. As observed, the modes of text and image on the screen were not in an isolated perspective. Indeed, sometimes, the modes were mixed, in that they were governed by two logics : writing is in the logic of space and image is supplemented with text. Text in WoW is characterized by those spatial features such as block s of writing and titles in the quests The opposite is also true. Some images, for example, the rewards in the quests have descriptions to clarify what they actually are. This observation resonat e s with Kress s (2003) explanation of mixed logics, which are a feature of multimodal texts, that is, texts made up of elements of modes which are based on different logics (p. 46). In a quest narrative in writing is mixed with display in visual modes In WoW illustrated p ictures are not simply an add on of the text or vice versa. Text and image play their own roles in functional specialization Kress, 2003 p. 46 ). The texts tell

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213 shows that texts were subordinated to the spatial logic of the image. When the pa rticipants read the screen in playing the game i mages were no longer supplementary to texts Instead, images were overriding while texts were complementary to inform players with explicit instructions Kress (2003) claims that mode and choice of mode is a significant issue in the era of the new technologies of information and communication. In WoW it is very telling that texts exist but they are never the main focus of the screen. Literacy ownership: Reading or not? Previous studies (Sarsar, 2008; Wilhelm & Smith, 2001) have found that students who play video games tend not to think the y are involved in reading or writing because Whether the participants thought they were involved in reading depends on what literacy meant to them. In response to my interview questions about reading, none of the participants thought reading numerals and symbols was part of the a ctivity. Mark and Kyle identified some reading activit ies in the game, all of which were related to text. To Jim and Fei, their rough literacy practices was not claimed at all, even though reading as a cor e literacy activity that actually occur red in their game play. They had a relatively traditional idea Their notion of literacy (Dayson, 2005), in which reading in print was stressed. They did read in playing games, though it was different from the

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214 traditional pri Unclaimed found WoW experience is consistent sc hool (Wilhelm & Smith, 2001). A major finding in that study is that a complete disconnection existed The authors attribute the reason to the fact that school based reading lacks the qualities of t he activities (both literate and not) that ( Wilhelm & Smith, 2001, P. 17). According to Wilhelm and Smith (2001), t he boys, even those who were successful students, tended to reject school literacy tasks, while they were passionately reading magazines and manu als, chatting online, writing emails, designing Websites, and playing role playing games. Another interesting finding in Wilhelm and is that the boys actually valued school based reading in theory but o ften rejected in practice. Fei and Jim might not have necessarily rejected their school reading in practice, but their notion of reading was shaped on the basis of school reading. Though video games involved them to read occasionally in a multimodal envi ronment, they were not likely activities. Instead, th e y equated reading activities with merely reading print materials mostly for academic purpose.

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215 Informal Writing According to Gee (2007a), video gam decode meanings and produce meanings by using symbols. When the participants read the screen, they decoded meanings of a amalgam of texts, numerals, symbols. demonstrated in how they when they participated in writing in the game. The writing was embedded in text chat. As opposed to reading, writing is the secondary la nguage practice that was observed in this study. Of all the participants, Mark was most active in chatting. Hence some features of his text chat are discussed. S o cio emotional communicative functioning ed of four categories: socio emotional functioning, raiding involvement collaborating, and talking about fighting. Though the category of socio emotional functioning is not directly associated with concerned communication. The socio emotional chat played a central role in establishing positive interpersonal relationships. The subcategories of socio emotional functioning include d greetings, bidding farewell, expressing feelings, apologizing, and jok ing. The discussion below Mark and his friends used swear words occasionally such as fucking, shit, damn and ass in text chat. Indeed, some previous studies have foun d that a wide variety of mediated communication (CMC). Guzzetti

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216 (2006 ) found one girl used swear words in online writing as many other young people did journaling, Stenstrm, Andersen, and Hasund (200 6), n discu ssing swearing in teenage talk. The former usually reflect s usually is used to ( Stenstrm, Andersen, & Hasund 2002, p.77). Also, Andersen, & Hasund 2002, p. 77). To Mark, swearing in joking also bore social meanings and was an integral part of his gaming communication as he sought to cultivate and sustain social r elationships with other players. Mark adm WoW was just like how he joked around with friends in real life. Actually, Mark was aware of using swear Subrahmanyam, 2003). In other words in the social setting of the game Mark knew it was acceptable that he used swear words for a particular purpose of joking while chatting with his friends Indeed, Mark realized that the language use was not ( 08/02/2009 ). It is obvious that Mark knew when and in what condi tions this behavior was tolerated Along with the findings about online video game communications by Pea & e other three novice players did not use any swear words in their limited communication with others in WoW According to Pea more experienced participants are more skilled at involving socio emotional

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217 communication in a recreational way. Though Kyle did not use swearing in WoW I found that he used the equivalent swearing words in Chinese while playing AION with his Chinese speaking friends using voice chat. He explained it was natural to use those words with those he was quite familiar with but he would not do so in WoW with strangers. It is fairly certain that using swearwords in the game partially refle cted the close relationship with other players Nonlinear conversation order In analyzing online discourse in a teen chatroom, Greenfield and Subrahmanyam (2003) f oun d that conversational coherence in face to face settings cannot be maintained in the onl ine chat environment. Correspondingly, a ll the conversations in game play were nonlinear Ba sically, two factors make the conversations nonlinear. First, the chat log is interlaced with combat log. In addition to chat, the participants could also read n on such as notices of completing quests, receiving loot, or leveling up. Second, it is possible that the player converses with multiple players in a synchronous manner. The snapshot below from d & Subrahman yam, 2003, p. 717) are found. Mark ith another raid member, Popps. since the messages by Mega g im and Lomini a were inserted there. In Greenfield and

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218 Figure 6 3 Nonlinear conversations in text chat Note: The names on the black bars are pseudonyms. The white arrows are added to demonstrate the nonlinear style in game chat. Consistent with Gr he conversation in the game may be not one to one based. The chat is nonlinear so the player has to & Subrahmanyam, 2003, p. 718) to be in the loop of a conversati on. Informal language use Jim noticed informal language was used in WoW. WoW could be like that [informal game was used in the classroom. The informality denotes several aspects. First, a large volume of acronyms and abbreviations were used. This was a co mmon phenomenon in online chatting. Some examples include: K OK PPL: people LOL: laugh out loud np no problem

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219 lol laugh out loud grants congra ts/congratulation Second, gaming lingo as one specialized language was used among the insiders of the game. S ome examples are as follows : Lv L level Mob mobile (indicating one kind of NPC whose purpose is to be killed) Aggro aggravation/aggression (indicating aggressive interest of an NPC) Also, some words may have special meaning which is different from what it WoW meant something else. Before playing WoW vehicle. However, in the game, a (07/24/2009). He made the further point that people out of the game would just a character that protects other players by taking damages from enemies. with whom he had to fight The use of the lingo shows that the language use in the game world i s primarily context embedded. The game specific terms imply that vocabulary development based on player to progress in gaming. Third, typos and spelling errors appeared but were generally anything about the minor error. Later, Sileo asked Jim to punch water thought it was a spelling error and believed Sileo was only seven as he told Jim. In

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220 spite of typos or spell errors, Jim did not think they affected his communication with Sileo. The language use in text chat has features of conversational language in the real world and contains language that is specialized in the game world. As discussed in Chapter 2, Cummins (1981) makes the distinction b etween two kinds of second language proficiency: basic interpersonal communicative ski lls (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). The former indicates conversational language use, whereas the latter refers to academic language learning in content areas. In WoW play, the participants used both conversational language and game specific language for interpersonal communication in the virtual world. Given that BICS has social dimensions and CALP is always specialized in certain subject matter areas, the language use in text chat overlaps with BICS and CALP to some extent. It differs from BICS and CALP because the communication in the game world is very succinct and also highly context dependent. To more precisely depict the language use in text chat I expand Cummins BICS/CALP distinction to propose a third type of langu age use, that is, abbreviated specialized virtual communication ( ASVC ) The relationship among BICS, CALP, and ASVC is shown in the figure below. It is noted that ASVC shares more in common with BICS than with CALP. Although in a virtual world, ASVC is still one type of communication among players ASVC overlaps with CALP only when game specific language is viewed as a specialized language in In order to show succinctness and specialization embodied in text chat in WoW is great ly situated in the game context, I have the features of being only partially f it into BICS and CAL P respectively.

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221 Figure 6 4. BICS, CALP, and ASVC Thoughts P ertaining to L2 Acquisition Though the purpose of the study acquisition in the game process, they were undoubtedly immersed in a L2 environment. Because th e participants were at a high proficiency level, i t was difficult to see sec ond language acquisition happen. Notwit hstanding not much observable L2 acquisition two gaming issues related to language acquisition are worthy of discussion. Learning by doing: Total physical response (TPR) in gaming In the study, all the participants including the three novice players and the experienced one started their WoW adventure with playing in the virtual world rather (TPR ), an effective teaching method to facilitate L2 acquisition. TPR as comprehensible input (Krashen, 1998) is widely applied in second language learning. In the gam e, comprehensible input in a game is delivered in the form of words, numerals, symbols, so unds, all of which establish a multimodal and multi sensory environment. The participants reflected on their perception of how the game proceeded through manipulating their avatars to act in the virtual world. In other

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222 words, the physical response of the the game by virtue of reactions to the commands in the quests were demonstrated in how their avatars acted in the game. In a real L2 learning cl assroom, it is the instructor who models commands for students. In the virtual world, there are two situations in terms of instructing. First, as a replacement of an instructor showing physical responses, the game itself provides tutorials that the players can draw upon for consistent learning. In the previous example of how Kyle googled information for could not get through a portal. Then in functioned as instructions to suggest another attempt after the player would achieve a higher level. Second, one player may model some movements for another player. In s scenario, he was told by his helper, Sileo, that his avatar could swim if he both situations, the players demonstrated their understanding of a command through their Time It is interesting to notice that the conception of time have different denotations in In L2 acquisition, it is emphasized that ample time is nee ded for language learners to understand the context. However, in the gaming context, the fast pace requires speed and urgency. The high speed at which the game progressed made the game competitive and required the

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223 participants rapidly decode the highly v isual texts and encode meanings by demonstrating their understanding. In discussing digital game based learning, Prensky (p. 2). Though it was not obvious that the pa rticipants might be affected by the language problems whe n they needed to quickly react in the game world, the issue of time had a the participants were inclined to read symbols and numerals rather than texts only when they read the quests. Mark chose voice chat rather than text chat when he was involved in difficult raids, because speaking was faster than typing. When time was a concern, the participants were more likely to choose the faster and more efficient way to when they faced multiple modes of information. However, immediacy in the game context is not in accord with L2 le arning environment, where ample time is expected. Literacy Engagement in WoW As presented in Chapter 2, Guthrie (2001) proposes an engagement model of reading development to depict instructional contexts that foster literacy engagement processes. As the foundation in literacy engagement research, this model is taken as a WoW Given two essential dimensions of this model, which are the engagement process and the instructional context, the discussion below is first centered on the four literacy practices shifts to the multimodal learning environment that is embedded in WoW To differentiate the literacy engagement with

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224 an emphasis on rea ding in the classroom setting from the literacy engagement in gaming, hereafter, I use the terms reading literacy engagement (RLE) and gaming literacy engagement (GLE) Literacy Engagement Process According to Guthrie (2001), engagement is a dynamic system with the joint functioning of motivation, conceptual knowledge, strategies, and social interactions. Chapter 5 addressed that socializing, information seeking, strategizing, and problem solving were the four literacy practices that occurred in the GLE is similar to the RLE in that both are involved in social and strategic endeavors. Though motivation and conceptual knowledge do not emerge as literacy practices in GLE A no ther two gaming literacy practices, information seeking and problem solving are also related to some aspect s of reading engagement. Motivation ior (Weigield, 1997). Guthrie and Anderson (1999) point out that involvement, curiosity, being social, challenge, importance, and efficacy are six intrinsic motivations for reading. The extrinsic motivations for reading consist of recognition, competitio n, grades, and work avoidance (Guthrie & Anderson, 1999). However, work efforts and amount. In this study, motivation was the primary reason why the participants wanted to play WoW There ex isted both extrinsic and intrinsic motivations in their game play.

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225 Different from some previous research (e.g. Sherry, Lucas, Greenberg, & Lachlan, 2006) w hich showed social interaction wa play, the participants in this study stressed individual success as their fundamental their capability to solve problems in WoW gave them a sense of achievement and thus raised their self e 5, it was found that the rewards as extrinsic motivation appealed to them. The three reflected their d esire to be a competent player in the competitive virtual world. So, recognition and competition (Guthrie & Anderson, 1999) were two extrinsic motivations for their WoW play. Mark, as the veteran WoW player, mentioned he would sell his account with high level avatars. Though the rewards existed in the virtual world, Mark did realize the in game virtual property would bring him real economic benefits. The other three participants did not show their intention of playing for real money, which might be due to their low levels. since it reveals their involvement in a social setting of the virt ual world. In the previous game play from the first person point of view. In discussing communicating with other players in WoW I found Kyle took being a competent player in the virtual world as an important part of his identity in the real world. He recalled there was only once that another player asked him to help buff They

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226 had a very simple conversation. Kyle mentio ned he did not like to talk to others when what other players could see was a part of who he was and how he looked like in the game world Even though others would not be able to leveled player, Kyle did not feel comfortable. He stressed that people would look at him as his level suggested. Though they c ould not see him or hear him, Kyle believed people would feel th at. investment in game play. Gee (2003) defines three identities at play in a video game: second, a ly, a projective identity is actions which are controlled by the player. In playing computer games, on the one his/her avatar; on the other hand, the projective identity makes the player in the real world aware of the trajector y of his/her own acts in a virtual world and shape s the avatar according to his/her own mental picture. T here is no doubt that Kyle had his avatar represent him in the virtual world. How others looked at his avatar would affect how he as a real person wa s seen by others. When Kyle was immersed in WoW his acute self consciousness was integrated with his projective identity in the game

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227 Conceptual transfer As described in Chapter 4, though three of the participants were new to WoW all of them were experi knowled ge and is essential before discussing how the part scaffolded, interactive, and collaborative learning environment of WoW In this study, the Guthrie, 2004) of game play, which had originated from their previous gaming experience. This kind of transferring was mo st obvious in the three novice WoW game play. raiding if his level were higher. As a mage in the Alliance, he could raid against the Hord. Another example of how his previous knowledg e of gaming helped him is about trading armors with the merchants. He did not run randomly here and there to locate where he could sell his stuff. Instead, he knew where he should go, because he said it was almost the same in most games. He saw the sign WoW with me, he often referred to his experience of playing AION a Korean MMORPG he was playing then. Other than English, he thought previous MMORPG experience was quite ne cessary to play WoW because the general rules were alike. For example, Kyle said he expected im portant information delivered through flashing exclamation marks and he knew he should find merchants if he wanted to buy armors. Also, he did not have vocabu lary difficulties in playing WoW He exemplified some common game

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228 He believed that was because he had been playing a few MMORPGs in English like Cabal, RF, AION and Linage II, and the language use was almost identical According to Jim, the basic structure of WoW was the same as other MMORPGs and he just knew the rules because he had playe d a lot of games. For example, when Jim logged o n WoW for the first time, he clicked on one flashing exclamation mark at the bottom. One pop up appeared, telling him he could how he could recognize quest givers and how he could get quests from them. When asked why he cl icked on the exclamation mark Jim said he knew there would be somet hing important as it was like the other games he had played before. Fei expected he would communicate more with others at a higher level, because he believed there would be more difficult quests and he had to collaborate with others. He explained this thought because he had played a lo t of other games. Fei added that basic logic and deductive reasoning was quite necessary to play the game. For instance, if a quest mentioned a place, then the place must exist. That is also why he kept trying even though his avatar died for six times. rsistent playing in Chapter 5, checking was the activity that took place most often during the six times his avatar died Fe i used checking nine times including checking his backpack, map, spellbook, achievement points, quest log, and his equipment. He just clicked on the buttons to all th WoW play, checking seemed to be a habitual action.

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229 There is no doubt that the participants transferred their prior knowledge of game they had played to WoW naturally. All the conceptual transfer (Guthrie et al., 1996) of the basic unders tanding of background, structure, rules, and vocabulary across languages and games helped prepare them to play this new game. Multiple sources could be attained in and out side of WoW None of the participants were seen to use the in game help menu. The participants tend ed to search the information online or ask others directly. Strategy Use contrast, s kills a re 31). Strategies are more goal oriented to solve problems. Searching for information, comprehending, and learning and automating basic processes are three strategies in engaged reading (Guthrie and Anderson, 1999). Learning and automating basic processes refer to a process that a beginning reader who learns strategies to make sense of text at the word and sentence levels becomes a strategic reader who is more automatic in strategy use (Guthrie & Anderson, 1999). g process are different from those in the reading engagement. As one gaming literacy practice depicted in Chapter 5, strategizing involves four strategies: exploring, using the Internet, reading with a purpose, and collaborative play. Compared with the s trategies in RLE the strategies WoW experience are more contextualized strategy use for gaming.

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230 Two gaming literacy practices, information seeking and problem solving, entail searching for information and comprehending, which o verlap with two strategies in RLE Readers search information from multiple sources, including libraries, multiple media, and informational books (Guthrie & Anderson, 1999). Similarly, information s eeking in gaming involves various types of information, i ncluding in game attributes such as quest logs, peers in chatting, and around game sources like YouTube videos, and multimodal information, including text, numerals, symbols, sounds, and videos. When it comes to comprehending, it is equally important bot h in RLE and GLE Comprehension is critical to successful reading. In gaming, problem solving is a process of acting upon comprehension. As Guthrie and Anderson (1999) claim, in reading, the strategies are a means to the end, which is content understanding. However, in gaming, beyond understanding, the player needs to dem onstrate their understanding by manipulating Social Interactions Apart from strategy use, socializing is another evident commonality between RLE and GLE According to G uthrie and Anderson (1999), engaged reading is social. Not only does social interaction contribute to motivation, it influences reading strategies and conceptual learning as well. Ang et al. (2005) argue that computer games, most notably MMOGs provide ample social interaction opp ortunities. As a MMORPG, WoW provides a social co ntext where players communicate d through text or voice chat. As delineated in Chapter 5, there was no exception as each participant expressed their views on the significance of social interaction s in the game process They interacted with those in the same affinity

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231 group (Gee, 2003a) in the game. The influence that the affinity group exerted on the In Wo W wa level The three players who were new to the game had very limited interactions with activitie WoW Instead, the three novice remembered there was only once he had interactions with another player when they buffed each other. Fei joined a group and left that group quickly. Jim joined a group and received help from another player to finish two quests, which demonstrated the WoW In addressing the issue of online communities in WoW from a perspective of of those who share similar interests and assist each other in game play. This Unlike the three players who were at low levels and mainly dealt with quests, Mark spent most of the time chatting with others, mostly through text chat Indeed, WoW play involved more social interactions because he joined guilds and raids. Th e two grouping patterns are actually essential social factors in WoW (Ducheneaut et al., 2006 ) so that Mark had far more opportunities to socialize with others. Multimodal Learning Environment in WoW In reading development also informs us of the instructional contexts that foster reading

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232 engagement. The context consists of ten instructional priorities, including learning and knowled ge goals, real world interaction, autonomy support, interesting texts for instruction, strategy instruction, collaboration support, praise and rewards, evaluation, teacher involvement, and coherence of instructional processes. Given that learning occur red environment embedded in the game world. Though not all of the ten instructional components in RLE model are found in the virtual world of WoW most of them are pertinent to the learning environment in WoW Multimodal environment RLE mainly address reading print in a classroom setting, whereas GLE occurs in a multimodal environment. Moreno and Mayer (2007) define multimodal learning environments as learning environments that use both verbal and non verbal modes to embody the content knowledge. Given that texts, symbols, and numerals pervade in WoW, the player is immersed in a multimodal environment. Gee (2003) contends that multimodality is an important feature of the semiotic in video games. He argues that online gaming environments generate a semiotic domain in multimodal literacies. All the images, gestures, symbols, movements and the voice communications are represented in semiotic domains. Situated meanings and leaning are very important in meanings of text and image are situated in the mu ltimodal environment. Beavis (2002) describes some central elements entailed in reading and playing games All these elements were also embedded gaming exper ience. All the

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233 participants game play. First, t he anim ated action of the game occupied the central section of the screen. Second there was a lot of supplementary information that w as supplied in icons in different sections. The players moved between these different layers of frames to find the information needed in the whole game process. They opened the spellbook s to check spells The game log updated the players on what was hap pening in the game world They could also read the public messages of those who were in the same surroundings. Third color plays an important role to deliver information to gamers. ptions and For example, the players could easily identify the notification of receiving loot in green and the loot in yellow. Fourth, dimensionality indicates the layout of the game. In WoW the players used the map on the top rig ht corner in the game to switch the location. Also, they could anticipate danger based on the opponents positions on the map. Finally, the main use of sound in this game was to create realism 02, p. 7). Though audio communication with other players the simulation of the fighting sounds made the participants have ritical information in game play is presented in more than one mode. For instance, w hen the avatar was too far away from their target the information about the distance was delivered both in text and als o indicated the degree of emergency.

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234 WoW presents a world of both visual and audio effects. As discussed above, the information in WoW is mainly conveyed through visual means both in texts and in images. The multimodal environment across text and image put the participants into a game context, in which their multisensory experienced was incorporated. One constituent of the instructional context for reading engagement is interesting texts (Guthrie, 2001). that center around the learning and knowledge goals. In WoW text is only one of the modes the player is exposed to. The player deals with a multimodal composition of text, symbols, nume rals, and sounds. Consequently, multimodal information in WoW replaces the supply of interesting texts in the instructional context for reading engagement. Scaffolded learning environment A scaffolded learning environment is twofold. First, the player actually needs scaffolding. Second, the player has access to scaffolding. In other words, the game must be challenging enough to keep the player engaged in playing, but not so demanding that the player feels unable to succeed. In the instructional conte xt for reading engagement, codeveloped by the teacher and the students along with school requirements. Though no teachers and external requirements are involved in WoW learning goal orient ed play WoW presents a challenging world to players. As Mark reflected t rying, because he knew he could make it eventually. His sense of efficacy was derived

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235 from his previous gaming experience and his conceptual knowledge about games. Though it was not easy, it was still possible to finish. Fei had the opportunity to try, seek help from peers. The Internet is another convenient source that the players used. For example, Kyle turned to the Internet for more information when he had dif ficulties locating the NPC. Other than the learning culture constituted by players through chat conversation (Nardi, Ly, & Harris, 2007), the WoW setting itself is a s caffol e d learning environment. The participants had several accesses to the in game tut orials. First, some new tutori als were set in the exclamation marks The three novice WoW encounter with an exclamation mark in the game process brought them a pop up, informing them that quest givers could be identified by the exclamation marks over their heads and he could talk t o quest givers by right clicking on them Second, some information was integrated in the chat log. Whenever the player logged in, a piece of information about updated patches, add on issues and forums on the Web site appeared. Given the availability of multiple sources, the participants could visit the Website for new information if not enough was found inside the game. Third, e ach quest in WoW is set in a narrative format. Some quests function as tutorials to provide show how the quests per se would be a tutorial. The two qu ests were the same type, which directed Kyle to explore a place a nd report back to an NPC. Also, the second one was built on the first one, since the second quest confirmed what was requested in

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236 the first one, that is, the Fargodeep Mine was infested with kobolds. The descriptions of the two quests told Kyle the locat ion of the mines. Figure 6 5 In game tutorials embedded in quests Note: The direction information is highlighted in the snapshopts These two quests were meant to have Kyle practice locating a certain place with detailed directions. Before acquiring the two quests Kyle had gained experience in reporting to or speaking t o some certain NPCs. All the in game tutorials designed in this game allowed the novice pl ayers to learn by doing rather than by reading a manual. The three types scaffolding provided explicit instruction to the players. Guthrie (2001) asserts that strategy instruction is fundamental in instructional context for reading engagement ; the explic it instructions embedded in the game scaffolding establish consistent learning while playing. WoW presents a learner centered learning environment. The objectives can be reloaded by retrieving quest logs and the fail ures can be redeemed by resurrecting the he th

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237 death. He admitted that the opportunities for him to strive for a higher level made him feel less frustrated. As Gee (2007) he knew the task was challenging but still doable. Moreover, the participants were give n sufficient a utonomy in playing WoW rom the very beginning, they had all kinds of options. They could select their factions, races, and classes. Then, they could select w hich realm, Pv P, role playing, or P v E as the place where their avatars were going to explo re the game world. Jim expect ed more game reflects that he wanted more power to be an independent player to manipulate his own play In depicting the instructional context, Guthrie (2001) maintains that autonomy support given by choices is critical to trigger stude self direct ed learning. Likewise, considerable individual autonomy given to the players in WoW allowed them a vast array of opportunities to make their own decisions. WoW allowed the participants a vast array of oppo rtunism to make their own decisions For example, Kyle could accept all the quests that he encountered whereas Fei did not accept all. After Kyle accepting the quests, he could choose or not choose to do each of them. Kyle and Fei could decide to play alone for most of the time rather than interact ing with others as Jim did. Fei was able to leave the group after he joined one and found nothing was achieved with the group members. Jim could manage to find the places where he was assigned to finish the quests or could play more efficiently by collaborating with someone who was more experienced All the options gave the participants a sense of agency and control (Gee, 2007) in the gaming process.

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238 Inte ractive learning environment WoW offered a high degree of interactivity to the participants. Different from also existed out of games (Raney, Smith, & Baker, 2006), no participants mentioned they discussed WoW with other friends. In the game, their learning was demonstrated through interactions with the game and with other players as well. None of t he three novice WoW p layers read the manuals, which did not prevent th em from playing Wo W Playing was the best way to demonstrate their understanding of the game. The social interactions in their pursuit of problem solving enhanced their motivation. This encounter with another player. It also happened between the player and the game. Interactions took case, he saved much Mark got in formation from his friends. Ho wever, it was also possible for initiation of communication to not be responded to. Both Kyle and Fei found their questions were not answered. Unlike the interaction among players, an instant interaction always existed between the participants and the game. The participants received feedback in their game process. If they were too far from the target, they could read the red alert or hear the warning if they kept the volume on. The chat log functioned as an entity that presented constant feedback. On the one hand, they gained rewarding confirmations if they successfully accepted and comple ted quests. On the other hand, they also

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239 agai n and again. He later found that the avatar had to turn to face the opponents right after he was resurrected. Whether th e participants were engaged in socializing with other players or playing independently, interactive learning promoted personal investment and encouraged both their social interactions and autonomy. Collaborative learning environment In presenting the instructional context for reading engagement, Guthrie (2001) interprets collaboration as constructing knowledge socially in a learning community. Indeed, this essential element of conventional classroom instruction is evidently displayed in WoW For example, Kyle provided buff to and accepted buff from a player. play, he was always involved in collaboration with those who were in the raids. It is only Fei who was observed not collaborating with others but he expected indispensable collaboration if he would reach a higher level. zone of proximal development ( ZPD ) demonstrates how collaboration occurred in Wo W According to Vygodsk y (1978), a distance exists his/her potential level with external assistance. The assistance could either be from This notion cou experience since both of them received assistance from others in the game play. friendly encounter with Sileo is a good example of how ZPD was fostered in collaboration with a more capable peer (Vogotsky, 1978). Admi ttedly, Jim might be able to finish the two quests with independent problem solving even though he had

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240 difficulties fi nding some designated places. However, i t would take him extended time to achieve the goals, however. His internal developmental process was accelerated by (Dannecker et. al, 2008) in WoW By analyzing conversations in WoW Nardi, Ly and Harris (2007) uncovered three areas of learning in WoW : fact finding, tactics and strategy, and game ethos. They found that player produced conversations in WoW fostered a zone of proximal development (ZPD) supplied by more experienced peers. In line with their findings, Mark mentioned how he and his friend Ananivana, started to help each other from the very beginning. Their shared experience would be the factor that boosted their learning. The ZPD was achieved through the scaffolding constructed through the peer collaboration. As is evident in the discus sion above, WoW cultivates scaffolded, interactive, and collaborative learning opportunities in a multimodal environment. Gaming environments provide a setting for literacy practices involved in communication and exchanging information with those in an af WoW provides a social context where players can communicate through text or voice chat. As expressed by Selfe, Mare ck, and Gardiner (2007), communication in gaming environments is increasingly multimodal and effective cross linguistic and cultural boundaries. I would add that the kind of communication may also cross age boundaries. For example, Jim had a friendly enc ounter with Sileo, who said he was only seven years old. Without asking for any thing in return, Sileo involuntarily offered

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241 Jim help to finish two quests. Seeing that Sileo kept having typos, Jim believed that Sileo was a boy who was much younger than hi m. However, this did not prevent Jim from playing with Sileo, who offered him much help. Similarly, Mark expressed that he the responsibility of an adult. Commonality exists between the instructional context for reading engagement and the learning environment in gaming, though they are not completely congruent with each other (see Figure 6 4) First, three of the ten components, including learning and knowledge goals, autonomy support, and strategy instruction, resonate with some features in the scaffolded learning environment in WoW Second, collaboration in RLE is evidently consistent with the collaborative learning environment in WoW Third, two factors involved in a conventional reading classroom undergo noticeable transformations in multimodal learning environment. One factor is interesting texts for instruction in RLE which becomes multimodal instruction s in the game environment. The other factor is teacher involvement, which is quite essential in RLE However, teacher involvement is not in the learning environment where peers assist each other. Fourth, two components of instructional context for reading engagement, praise and rewards, and evaluati can also be seen in WoW For instance, Loots are given when players level up and win battles. Players are evaluated by the game system and their evaluations reflect in the experience bar and the i ndicators of rage and health. Rewards and evaluation in the game are actually a part of instant interactions between the player and the game.

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242 Figure 6 6 Venn diagram of RLE and GLE Note: RLE and GLE stand for reading literacy engagement an d gaming literacy engagement, respectively. To be consistent with the visual representation of the engagement model of reading development by Guthrie (2001), this figure. Fifth only one of the instructional factors of the RLE model real world interaction, does not overlap with the learning environment in WoW R eal world interaction, which suggests the necessity of providing real world experience related to the learning goal ( world and a sense of wonder (Gurthrie, 2001). However, the participants in this study did not relate their game play in the virtual world of WoW with their real life. world In addressing the instructional context for reading engagement, Guthrie (2001) discusses each of the ni ne instructional processes in isolation and then emphasizes the coherence of all the components, which he adds as the tenth component. Similarly,

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243 connections also exist across the three aspects of the learning environment though they are discussed separat ely. On the one hand, a learning environment would not be supportive without collaboration and interaction. On the other hand, scaffolding emerges in collaboration and interaction. Furthermore, interaction is the precondition for collaboration and, in t urn, c ollaboration makes interactions more meaningful and engaging. In a nutshell, even though the three aspects of scaffolding, collaboration, and interaction are discussed separately, they are not mutually exclusive or independent of each other. On the contrary, they overlap and supplement each other in very intricate ways. L2 Literacy Engagement Model in WoW The four literacy practices, including information seeking, strategizing, problem solving, and socializing were depicted in Chapter 5 to unfold a game world in which literacy was understood as effective functioning in situated social practices through meaning making across various modalities. Later, the attention was given to the intricacy of reading and writing in gaming and the complexity of th e multimodal learning environment in WoW It boils down to one question : what does L2 literacy engagement in WoW mean? This chapter will cu lminate in discussing the nature of L2 literacy engagement in WoW Inspired by Guthrie and his colleagu ment model of reading development (Guthrie, 2001), I draw a visual representation below to demonstrate the WoW as a dynamic system The diagram on the left of the figure shows the relationship among literacy practices literacy activities, and gaming activities. All literacy practices are embedded

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244 Figure 6 7 Literacy engagement in WoW Note: The variety of the frame lines (from solid lines to dashed lines) of the four components (reading, listening, writing, and speaking) indicates the varied degrees of occurrence of the four language practices. Reading was most often observed language practice in the gaming process. Writing occurred less than reading but more than listening and speaking. in literac y activities, which are derived from gaming activities. In other words, gaming activities as the most observable activities in gaming provide opportunities where the literacy is utilized. To follow the arrow around literacy practices, the four aspects of literacy practices including socializing, information seeking, strategizing, and problem solving are depicted on the right. Sense of engagement occupies a central location with the four literacy practices around it This means the four literacy practice s that occur reward, immersion, and immediacy.

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245 It is noted that framework for understanding literacy engagement derives from research in the classroom context and using print literacy In this study, the participants were involved in multimodal meaning making processes. Mo reover all the participants were immersed in a scaffolded, interactive, and collaborative learning environment, where English is the second language. Thus, the multimodal environment is prominent in the GLE model generated in my study. The participants were eng aged in a complex process which involved all the four literacy practices not any single literacy practice in the game process. Only in this way, could their sense of engagement be stimulated through being completely immersed in the gaming environment, bei ng rewarded upon accomplishments, and being caught by WoW w as primarily confined finish when the game ends. Accordin g to Burn (2006), several activities out of the game communities, contributing to message boards, art galleries, and writing groups. In this study, three of the four literacy pr actices, that is, socializing, strategizing, and problem solving, happened within WoW Only information seeking occasionally occurred around While playing WoW t he English language, as a second language was necessary for th e participants to complete the task based activities. In terms of langu age use, reading and writing were the main languag e practices in which the participants were involved Furthermore, reading in the game is not confined to reading words. Reading

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246 is m ultimodal and intertwined with words, symbols, images, numbers, colors, and occasionally sounds all of which shaped a rhetorical context for the participants. Though writing was not as indispensable as reading in their WoW play, informal writing did occu The experienced player, Mark was most active in using informal and specialized game language to chat with other friends. Listening and speaking were optional literacy practices w hich happened infrequently. Some simple instructions could be heard as long as the participants turned the volume on when they played the game Of the four participants, only once did Mark use voice chat with other players once, through which he talked w ith others in an interactive way. The multimodal environment in WoW offered the participants a variety of literacy options that they could choose to effectively function in the game world. To summarize, exploring the literacy practices that the particip ants were engaged in reveals the nature of the literacy engagement. A bottom up perspective on gaming activi ties, literacy activities, and literacy practices provides the lens through which the nature of the literacy engagement can be viewed in a dynamic way. In WoW literacy joint functioning of reward immersion, and immediacy in a multimodal gaming environment replete with scaffolding, interaction and collaboration. The player is involved in a dynamic process of socializing, information seeking, strategizing, and problem solving simultaneously within and around the game. To the participants and others who learn English as their second language, the exposure to the English

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247 language is increased owing to the fact that reading and writing are incorporated into the gaming process while listening and spea king tend to be optional practices. Chapter Summary This chapter discussed the conditions in which the literacy engagement occurred. First, I discussed the L2 practices involved in WoW process, in which reading and writing were far more signif icant than listening and speaking. Secondly, by using the engagement model of reading development by Guthrie (2001), I analyzed the literacy engagement process and multimodal learning environment embedded in WoW It was found that there is a large degree of overlap between the instructional context for reading engagement and the learning environment for gaming engagement. However, unlike Guthr i that is set in the classroom WoW is constructed in a multimodal environment with an abundance of information in varied modes. Finally, on the basis of the findings, I used a diagram to demonstrate the dynamic process and the context of L2 literacy engagement in WoW

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248 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Conclusions In previous resea rch, literacy engagement has been confined to reading and writing in print in the classroom. Also, much research has been conducted with native English speakers that have yielded findings on their school literacy, thus not addressing out of school literac ies of either native English speakers or ELLs. There is a need for of school literac ies especially literacy activities initiated by the students themselves. Furthermore, a good deal is known about how s can promote learning, but far less This descriptive study demonstrated the literacy practices that four adolescent ELLs were engaged in within and around WoW I took a bottom up approach to presenting the findings in the themes of gaming activities, literacy activities, and literacy process, whic h outnumbered their around game process. As newbies in WoW Fei, Jim and Kyle focused on doing quests to level up. All their other gaming activities such as managing economy and characters, exploring and social interacting were also centered on questing. The only experienced WoW player, Mark, was involved in active chatting with other players. Insofar as the literacy activities were concerned, it was found that reading was a core literacy activity both within and around WoW Also, in marked contrast to only three literacy activities identified around the game, seventeen within WoW literacy activities were found. A deeper analysis pinpointed four literacy practices including socializing, information seeking, strategizing, and problem solving, which

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249 occu verb numerals in reading highly visual texts in the game process. By examining their literacy engagement in WoW and the gaming environment where the engagement took place, this s tudy found that scaffolded, interactive, and engagement in gaming. This multimodal learning environment also led the participants to be more motivated and competent in s eeking individual success in the virtual world. The instructional context for reading engagement proposed by Guthrie (2001) shed light WoW However, the multimodal learning environment in WoW features the oppo rtunities to use multiple modes such as words or images, multiple communication channels, and m ultiple information sources. These last two include voice or text chat and use of peers or internet search respectively, for investigatio n and presentation of their learning in the game process They understand how important the implicit clues and the explicit instructions in the games are and they can continue exploring in the game world. Multiple sources could be attained within and around WoW and the participants tended to search for the information online or ask others directly. In addition the social interactions in their pursuit of problem solving enhanced their motivation. WoW b playful multimodal environment.

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250 To sum up experience in WoW demonstrated that vid eo games, as a type of multimodal literacy, hold great potential in the literacy development of adolescent s Four main literacy practices including socializing, information seeking, problem solving, and strategizing occur in tandem to foster the a engagement in playi ng the game. Since English is one of the dominant languages in the gaming world, video games provide to play. MMORPGs like WoW hold the promise and potential for E nglish language attainable challenges is provided. Suggestions and Recommendations for Future Research Given the findings of this study, I propose several suggestions for further research. First, the participants in this study were either quite experienced WoW player or novice players. Future research involving players at varied levels will enrich our vie ws on literacy opportunities that ma y vary for different level game players. Second, all the participants in this study were adolescent males. The only female adolescent ELL who played WoW found in my recruitment was, unfortunately not allowed to partic ipant in my research by her father. It is important to explore the gender any future research. Third, newly arrived ELLs will enable the future researchers to have more opportunities to inv estigate L2 acquisition that may occur in the game process. This study only recruited four participants who had been in the US for several years ranging from four to nine. The participants especially M ark who had been in the US for seven

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251 years and Fe i w ho had been here for five years, had a good c ommand of the English language. T heir second language English tended to pose fewer barriers in their understanding and communication. Newly arrived ELLs should allow more insights into their linguistic and cul tural experiences in a language enriched gaming environment. In terms of the four modes of language, the study also found that reading and writing were indigenous to the game playing process, whereas listening and speaking were optional If possible, it would be more interesting to know how ELLs are involved in the other two linguistic practices namely, listening and speaking. Lastly, this study is not directed to provide pedagogical suggestions of using computer games in the classroom. Instead, thi s study initiates the first step to understand how adolescent ELLs are engaged in L2 literacy practices in gaming outside the classroom Still, it is likely to see that future studies will explore the ways that video games could be applied to school teach ing and learning from an innovative perspective i school literacy and out of school literacy would be lessened Undoubtedly, the exploration of using video games for academic purposes millennial youth. Concluding Thoughts As an English language learner myself and a new researcher with an interest in cr oss language, and cross cultural experiences in a virtual gaming world. I call for future research on how a multimodal, playful learning environment replete with

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252 sc hool learning. If educators want to investigate the principles embedded in games and endeavor to create a game like learning environment to engage the disengaged students, we should attend to the features of games that appeal to the adolescents. The part s shed light on the ways in which some implications can be drawn for parents and teachers. The game process per se could be an opportunity for the players to investigate, construct, and present learning in a fun way. Being a competent WoW player requires much reading and the ability to explore and utilize the learning environment to enhance their skills. By examining their gaming which usually carry negative co nnotations, this study uncovers the literacy practices involved in gaming. First, parents can learn about what their children do in game play P arents are literacy ex perience rather than simply preventing children from playing video games which, unfortunately, makes the situation worse Parent child conflict caused by game play would be soothed if parents were willing to take time to know what children really do whil e playing games. To be specific, parents may be inspired to think about their crucial role in guiding children to make wise decisions in game play To do this, parents should open their eyes, ears, and minds. Parents are encouraged to be involved in chi looking at what th eir children actually do and listening to their voices about game play. It is also necessary for parents to initiate open minded conversations about noticed that game play took and also realized how game play contributed to his social life

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253 expected his son to know not only how to play the game but also how to design th e game, which may be an option for his future career. As long as parents know more about both the downside and the upside of game play, they can make the best use of s literacy. Second, though pedagogical suggestions are not t he primary focus of this study, unfolding the Teachers, especially those who teach second or foreign languages, may be inspired to use games to engage students in language learning and invite them to be immersed in a new culture. Teachers could use interest in gaming to boost their motivation for school learning. To do so, teachers should know what students do in gaming and find the connections betwee n games and academic learning. They may encourage students who are interested in gaming but reluctant in school to share their experience and thoughts in gaming and to use their interest and pleasure as a starting point for academic lea rning. Teachers may create some learning activities to bridge the gap between the ming experience and school reading and writing activities For example, teachers can ask students to write a narrative about their adventures in the game world or let students use the ir text chat in the game to compare with academic writing for understanding language use for different purposes. Taken together, this study is not to reinforce that video game play is invariably beneficial in all aspects for adolesc ent players As noted, Fei said WoW was not designed for educational purpose s. WoW cannot be an ideal language learning tool.

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254 I nstead, this study urge s educators and parents to get to know those who are attracted to computer games and find a way to channel their interest of gaming into academic learning. While this is beyond the scope of this study, it is important to keep in mind that educators and parents should approach adole scents who play games with enlightened attitudes and reach them by knowing what they do in gaming. Clearly, at the cutting edge of literacy education, more research is called for to examine heir gaming literacy to classroom instruction.

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255 APPENDIX A PARENTAL CONSENT Dear Parent/Guardian I am a doctoral student in the College of Education at the University of Florida. I am conducting my dissertation research under the supervis ion of Dr. Maria Coady. The purpose of this study is to explore how adolescent ELLs are engaged in second language literacy practices through World of Warcraf ( WoW ), a massively multiplayer online role laying game (MMORPG) by Blizzard Entertainment. I am i nviting your child playing this game. The study will last six weeks. With your permission, I would like to conduct two one hour formal interviews with your chi ld. At the beginning of the study, your child will be asked about her/his prior gaming experience. A second interview about her/his experience in playing WoW will be conducted at the end of the study. The interviews will be tape recorded. Also, I will obse rve your child playing WoW once a week, which will last between 60 and 90 minutes. In total, there are six to nine hours of observation over six weeks. I will take field notes and video tape what your child does while playing the game. A screen capture pro gram, Camtasia will also be used to record the game play on the screen. After each observation, I will let your child view the video recordings and ask her/him to describe what she/he does while playing WoW In addition, I will collect posts about WoW if she/he permits. All interviews and observations will be scheduled and conducted permission, I will collect data at your home if the computer and the Internet is accessible. Or data can be collected at the computer lab in School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida. The audio and video recordings will be accessible only to me, the researcher for research purpose. The audio recordings will be destr oyed six months after I collect data. With your consent, the video recordings of what your child does in playing WoW will be kept for future conference presentations if needed. aw. There are no more than minimal risks. I can help you to set up play schedules for your child in WoW

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256 participant in this study, it is hoped she/he will realize the learnin g potential of computer games and transform her/his gaming experience to academic learning. For compensation, I will pay WoW monthly fee of $19.99 for two months during the data collection phase. In addition, a Best Buy gift card worth $50 will be given to your child if she/he completes the study. Your child does not have to answer any questions that she/he does not wish to answer. Also, she/he is free to withdraw consent and may discontinue her/his participation at any time without consequence. If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact Zhuo Li at (352) 871 1482 or You may also contact the research supervisor, Dr. Maria Coady, at (352) 392 9191 ext. 232 or mcoady@coe.ufl .edu Questions or University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611, (352) 392 0433. Please sign an d return this copy of the letter to me. A second copy is provided for your record. By signing this letter, you give me permission to collect interview and observation data with your child. This report will be submitted to my dissertation research committee as part of my fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy. Also, by signing, you give me permission to use these data from your child in future presentations and publications. Thank you! Zhuo Li ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily give my consent for my child, __________________, to participate in the study second language literacy engagement in World or Warcraft ( WoW this consent. Parent/Guardian Date 2 nd Parent/Witness Date

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257 APPENDIX B PARENTAL CONSENT (CHINESE) / ---1 / / 60 90 6 9 Camtasia / 19.99 / 50 Best Buy :352 871 1482 352 392 9191 232

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258 112250 32611 352 392 0433 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, _________________, /

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259 APPENDIX C CONSENT TO AUDIO/ VIDEO RECORDING I, _______________________________________, hereby give my permission to writing and for her future presentations and publications. ________________________________________ Printed name of parent ________________________________________ Signature of parent ________________________________________ Date

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260 APPENDIX D CONSENT TO AUDIO/ VIDEO RECORDING (CHINESE) / _________________________, ________________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________

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261 APPENDIX E STUDENT ASSENT Dear Student, I am a doctoral student in the College of Education at the University of Florida. I am doing a research to understand how adolescent ELLs are engaged in second language learning through World of Warcraf ( WoW ), a massively multiplayer online role laying game (MMORPG) by Blizzard Entertainment. I am looking for ELLs to take part in the study for six weeks. If you agree, I would like to conduct two one hour formal interviews with you. At the beginning of the study, you will be asked about your prior gaming experience. At the end of the study, I will interview you about your experience of playing WoW The interviews will be tape recorded. Also, I will observe you playing WoW once a week. Each observation will take 60 to 90 minutes. In total, there are six to nine hours of observation over six weeks. I will take field notes and video tape what you do while playing WoW A screen capture prog ram, Camtasia will also be used to record the game play on the screen. After each observation, I will let you review the video recordings and ask you to describe your experience of playing the game. In addition, I will collect your online posts about WoW if you would like to share them with me. All interviews and observations will be scheduled and conducted in a place for your convenience. This study will help me understand how and what adolescent ELLs can learn about reading and writing in playing WoW It is completely your choice whether or not you decide to participant in this research, and there will be no penalty if you choose not to participate. During I observe your game play, I will pay WoW monthly fee of $19.99 for two months. If you help me to complete the study, I will give you a Best Buy gift card worth $50 to appreciate your great help. I would like to ask for your agreement to participate in the study. You also have the right to refuse to answer any questions you do not wish to answer an d stop participation in the study at any time. I am really looking forward to learning from you about your learning experience in playing WoW Thank you for your help! Zhuo Li ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Zhuo Li has explained her research to me, and I would like to participate in this research on experience in playing WoW I have received a copy of this letter

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262 APPENDIX F PARTICIPANT RECRUITMENT FLYER RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS NEEDED Does your kid like playing computer games? Do you wonder what and how s/he can LEARN while playing? Do you want to help use her/his gaming experience for LEARNING? 8 12 graders (aged 13 18 ) who speak CHINESE as first language are invited to take part in a 6 week study of Adolescent English Language Learners in World of Warcraft (WoW) Participants will be interviewed and invited to play WoW for free! The researcher will pay WoW monthly fee of $19.99 for two months and give a Best Buy gift card worth $50 to each participant! For more information about this study, or to volunteer for this study, please contact: Zhuo Li School of Teaching and Learning, College of Education University of Florida (352) 871 1482 Email:

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263 APPENDIX G PARTICIPANT RECRUITMENT FLYER (CHINESE) / / 8 12 13 1 8 6 $19.99/ $50 Best Buy (352)871 1482

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264 APPENDIX H ORAL SURVEY am conducting a research about experience in playing the online game, World of Warcraft ( WoW ). Would you please help to answer a few questions? 1. How old are you? 2. Which grade are you in? 3. How long have you been in the U.S.? 4. On average, how many hours do you play computer games per day? 5. Have you played WoW before? 1) If yes, when did you begin to play WoW ? What language do you usually use in this game? What level of player are you now? 2) If not, do you want to try this game? Thanks for your time.

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265 APPENDIX I ORAL SURVEY (CH INESE) ---1 2 3 4 5 1 2

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266 APPENDIX J INTERVIEW QUESTIONS I want to know your experience in playing World of Warcraft (WoW) I would like to hear how you think you can learn through WoW or you can share with me anything about your experience in WoW Interview 1 Questions asked at the beginning of data collection: I would like to ask you a few questions: When did you first play computer games? What games have you played? What games do you like best? Why? Can you think about how gaming is connected to school learning? Please give examples to explain. Please describe the activities in the games that affect your English learning. As an English language learner, how do you evaluate your English learning experience generally in the games you have played?

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267 Is there anything that you wo uld like to add? Do you have any questions or comments? Thank you for your time. Interview 2 Questions asked at the end of data collection: I would like to ask you a few questions: 1. What makes you interested in WoW ? Why? 2. Which parts of this game do yo u like best? Why? 3. Which parts of the game are most helpful for your English learning? Why? 4. How do you figure out the rules of the game when they are new to you? 5. How do you solve gaming problems, for example, when you have difficulties in understanding what you should do? 6. Do you communicate with other players out of WoW ? If yes, please describe the communication with them. 7. Do you have any friends who are also interested in WoW in your real life? Do you talk about WoW with them? Describe the communicat ions about WoW with your friends in real life.

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268 8. In addition to English, what knowledge is quite necessary for you to play WoW well? Besides English, what else do you learn playing WoW ? 9. In your opinion, can WoW be used for students to learn English in the classroom? Please explain why or why not. If yes, what should be done to make the game better for your classroom learning? Is there anything that you would like to add? Do you have any questions or comme nts? Thank you for your time.

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270 1 2 3 ? 4 5 6 7 8 ? 9

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271 APPENDIX L TABLE OF GAMING ACTIVITIES WITHIN WOW Gaming activities (within WoW ) Participants ( WoW level) Fei ( lvl 8) Jim ( lvl 12) Kyle ( lvl 11) Mark ( lvl 80) Doing quests Acquiring quests from exclamation marks from Wanted Posters from quest items Accepting quests Rejecting quests Processing quests Killing enemies/some certain items Killing enemies and deliver information /items to NPCs/place s Killing enemies and reporting to NPCs Collecting items (and delivering them to NPCs/places) Reading items and talking/reporting to NPCs Searching people/places/signs Defeating, burying and reporting Delivering items to NPCs Speaking with NPCs Presenting something to NPCs Exploring a place and report back to NPCs Retrieving special items for NPCs/a specific purpose Using an assigned item to capture enemies (and return the item to an NPC) Completing quests Claiming rewards Tracking quests Retrieving quest logs Social interacting Grouping Battling Player vs Player(PvP): dueling Player vs Player (PvP):Horde vs. Alliance Player vs Environment (PvE): raiding Chatting

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272 Gaming activities (within WoW ) Participants ( WoW level) Fei (lvl8) Jim (lvl12) Kyle (lvl11) Mark (lvl80) Managing characters Equipping characters Repairing armors Accepting training Managing backpacks/inventory Recovering health Managing economy Buying and selling Banking Auctioning Exploring and checking Day/Night clock Map Calendar NPCs Character info Spellbook Achievement points Quest log Backpack Action bar Experience bar Interface panel Auction house Bank Others Travelling by using Hearthstone Finding a home Resurrecting (choosing to be healed by a spirit healer or retrieving corpse) 35 34 35 32

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273 APPENDIX M TABLE OF LITERACY ACTIVITIES WITHIN WOW Gaming Activities (within WoW ) Literacy Activities (within WoW ) Doing Quests Acquiring quests from exclamation marks from Wanted Posters from quest items discovering (quests/problems) reading (symbols, text) Accepting/ Rejecting quests reading (text, symbols, numerals) decision making Processing quests reading (text, symbols, numerals) questing (demonstrating understanding by doing) Completing quests Claiming rewards reading( text, numerals, symbols) comparing decision making Tracking quests Retrieving quest logs reading (text, numerals) planning Social interacting Grouping decision making interacting (in chatting) Competing Player vs Environment (PvE): raiding Player vs Player(PvP): dueling Pl ayer vs Player (PvP): Horde vs. Alliance advertising recruiting negotiating interacting (rejecting/accepting,recruiting,deploying) reading (text, numerals, symbols) writing (in chatting) competing Chatting reading (text) writing Managing Characters Equipping characters reading (text, numerals, symbols) decision making Repairing armors discovering (weapon smiths) reading (text, numerals, symbols) comparing decision making repairing

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274 Gaming Activities(within WoW ) Literacy Activities(within WoW ) Accepting training discovering(trainers) reading (text, numerals, symbols) comparing decision making Managing backpacks/inventory discovering (problems) reading (text, numerals, symbols) comparing decision making Recovering health discovering (problems) reading (text, numerals, symbols) recovering Managing Economy Buying and selling discovering (merchants) reading (text, numerals, symbols) comparing decision making transacting Banking reading (text, numerals, symbols) transacting Auctioning discovering (auctioneer) reading (text, numerals, symbols) searching transacting (buying and bidding) Exploring and Checkin g Time, map, calendar, NPCs, character info, spellbook, icons, etc reading (text, numerals, symbols) Others Travelling using Hearthstone reading (text, symbols) locating Finding a home reading (text) Resurrecting(choosing to be healed by a spirit healer or retrieving corpse) decision making reading (text, symbols) locating resurrecting

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291 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Born and raised in China, Zhuo Li ear ned her Bachelor of Arts in English language at Sichuan Internatio nal Studies University in Chongqing, China, in July 2000 She came to the U.S. in August 2002 and obtained her Master of Education in secondary English education at Georgia Southern University in May 2004 Before starting her doctoral studies at the University of Florida in Fall 2005, Zhuo taught English as a foreign language in Shenzhen Polytechnic and several other training cen ters in Shenzhen, China In the meantime, she was a consul tant and supervisor in Shenzhen Cambridge Bilingu al Experimental Kindergarten. During her PhD studies Zhuo augmented her doctoral degree with a wide arra y of related professional development activities. She taught a blended course titled English for Speakers as Other Languages ( ESOL ) Foundations: Language and Culture in preservice teachers for more than t hree years Zhuo also t aught an online graduate in Summer 2011. Additionally, s he was actively involved in teaching Chinese as a foreign /second language across various levels She worked as a teaching assistant in th e Chinese Studies Program at the University of Florida and taught Chinese at the K 12 level in Hua Gen Chinese School in Gainesville. research interests include cross cultural communication, multiliterate approaches to language learning, and applying educational technology to second language acquisition and foreign language learning. She has made 14 research presentations at international, national, and state educational conferences. In addition, with ot her two colleagues, Zhuo has co authored a chapter about second language

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292 learning through video games in Handbook of research on e learning methodologies for language acquisition published by IGI Global.