A study by Hiller Spires, a professor of Literacy and Technology at North Carolina State University takes a look at how computer games can increase literacy in middle-school aged boys (a demographic that traditionally begins to loose interest in reading). A 2011 study found that teenage boys were able to read above grade level while playing computer games, even though they tested two grade-levels below on standardized reading tests.
Just as literacy practices are contextualized in social situations and relationships, game players establish shared language and understandings within a game; in essence, they gain fluency in specialized languages. This commentary explores the importance of digital game-based learning for schooling, the relationship between game-based learning, and results from Crystal Island, a NSF-funded research project on digital gameplay. Suggestions for how teachers can use games in the classroom are highlighted.