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Epistemic frames for epistemic games

Computers & Education Volume 46, Number 3, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This paper, develops the concept of epistemic frames as a mechanism through which students can use experiences in video games, computer games, and other interactive learning environments to help them deal more effectively with situations outside of the original context of learning. Building on ideas of islands of expertise [Crowley, K., & Jacobs, M. (2002). Islands of expertise and the development of family scientific literacy. In G. Leinhardt, K. Crowley, & K. Knutson (Eds.), Learning conversations in museums. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum], communities of practice [Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press], and ways of knowing [Broudy, H. (1977). Types of knowledge and purposes of education. In R. C. Anderson, R. J. Spiro, & W. E. Montague (Eds.), Schooling and the acquisition of knowledge (pp. 1–17). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum], epistemic frames are described as the ways of knowing, of deciding what is worth knowing, and of adding to the collective body of knowledge and understanding of a community of practice. Data from two experiments [Shaffer, D. W. (2004a). Pedagogical praxis: the professions as models for post-industrial education. Teachers College Record, 106(7); Shaffer, D. W. (2004b). When computer-supported collaboration means computer-supported competition: professional mediation as a model for collaborative learning. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 15(2); Shaffer, D. W. (2005a). Studio mathematics: The epistemology and practice of design pedagogy as a model for mathematics learning (WCER Working Paper Series No. 2005-3). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Center for Educational Research] are used to show that students can incorporate epistemic frames into their identities when engaged in extended educational role-playing games. Epistemic frames are thus proposed as a possible mechanism through which sufficiently rich experiences in computer-supported games based on real-world practices may help students deal more effectively with situations in the real-world and in school subjects.


Shaffer, D.W. (2006). Epistemic frames for epistemic games. Computers & Education, 46(3), 223-234. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved October 2, 2022 from .

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