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What Happens in the Arcade Shouldn't Stay in the Arcade: Lessons for Classroom Design


Language Arts Volume 88, Number 1, ISSN 0360-9170


What features of the physical environment in video game arcades lead kids to be so engaged? How can analysis of arcade space inform language arts teachers' decisions about designing classroom environments? This article presents an analysis of physical space in video game arcades and participants' positions therein to suggest how language arts teachers can explore student-designed learning spaces. Qualitative analysis of the arcade space revealed three learning principles: clustering and collaborating, inverting traditional structures of power, and reconstituting access and ownership. Following a detailed assessment of the existing literacy environment in one 5th-6th grade classroom, the researchers and the classroom teacher applied these principles through physical arrangement changes in the classroom. This study shows that arcades are not only places of fun and games for children, nor are they disruptive of learning. Rather, understanding the physical space in video arcades offers principles of design to advance opportunities for students' and teachers' literacy learning and identities. (Contains 3 figures and 3 photos.)


Whitmore, K.F. & Laurich, L. (2010). What Happens in the Arcade Shouldn't Stay in the Arcade: Lessons for Classroom Design. Language Arts, 88(1), 21-31. Retrieved October 1, 2020 from .

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