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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Carolyn Shields


With the current trend of K-12 student interest in video games increasing, schools have a responsibility to take measures to meet their students’ passions that fall outside of state curricula. Extracurricular activities have historically filled this need; therefore, an after-school approach with video games is an appropriate way to address this student interest. The purpose of this multiple case study was to identify the qualities that students and teachers participating in high school after-school video gaming clubs report as being important to their experience. Using a theoretical framework of student engagement, this study explored the experience of the participating students and faculty. Through one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and survey results, the findings from this study suggest affective and behavioral engagement benefits from attending a video game club in which the teacher sponsor focuses on building strong relationships with the participating students. The affective engagement benefits include students reporting much deeper connections to their peers, teachers, and to their school. Specifically, students reported their deep appreciation for having a vector through school in which they could make high quality friends, and how they are able to have a relationship with their teacher that is more familiar and has the effect of making teachers feel less intimidating. Behavioral engagement benefits included student desires to behave in more prosocial ways, and students approaching school work in positive ways like spending more time on work and seeking academic help from their peers more frequently. The significance of this study resides in its potential to pair schools interested in connecting to their students through their new gaming interests, with the empirical data that reflects the positive and unknown effects of video game clubs. Recommendations include structural advice for practitioners of video game clubs, such as how to design effective video game clubs based on the desires of the students. Further research propositions consist of the exploration of a connection between video game club participation and academic achievement, and if sites with differing demographics and leadership choices also express similar student engagement benefits.

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