Thinking with Portals: How Play Transforms Pedagogy in the Digital Age
Cooperman, Garrett I.
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Valve Inc. released their heavily anticipated video game, Portal 2, in July, 2011. Building on the Portal franchise's existing reputation for subverting the first-person shooter, Portal 2 adds new, dynamic elements to its already mind-bending puzzles. Beyond simply being a puzzle game, Portal 2 functions as an allegory for educational reform, specifically by supporting the strategic integration of technology. Research suggests that learning is fun and that America's still-industrial education system has all but drained the fun from learning. On the other hand, games are inherently educational – one must learn to play before mastering a game. This thesis examines the relationships between pedagogy and digital technology with a focus on video games and their structure. It finds that shifting the technological paradigm in pedagogy in a way that implements the adaptive, connective nature of video games will help successfully bring education into the digital age.