Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Joan Mazur


This embedded single-case study examined an elementary classroom implementation of a digital game authoring challenge aligned with state mandated content standards. Teachers used the game challenge over four 50 minute class periods during a three month period of time. A total of twenty five (n=25) 4th grade students, nine (n=9) 5th grade students and three (n=3) STEM teachers participated in the study.

The central research question for this study is: How do elementary teachers use a game challenge specifically aligned with Common Core/Next Generation Science (NGSS) state standards for instruction? Qualitative data, drawn from participating teacher interviews, classroom observations, student project reflections and document analysis of the student-authored digital games, were analyzed using Hatch’s (2002) typological analysis. Findings suggest that, while using a standards-based gaming task within instruction is effective in promoting dimensions of an authentic learning environment for students, more research is needed in the areas of 1) professional development for teachers in game design and computational thinking; 2) the use of a digital game task as an assessment for students with disabilities or who struggle in other content areas; 3) the use of a digital game task for assessment in other content areas; and 4) how the computational thinking skills and the dispositions of teachers affect the flow of knowledge in classrooms using a digital game task.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)