Promoting Community Service and Global Awareness Through Gamucation- Laura A. Sharp

About the Author

 Laura Sharp is a graduate of Houston Community College where she received her A.A. in Communication Arts and Texas Lutheran College where she received her B.A. in German. Laura was granted a M.Ed. in Cross Categorical Special Education by Grand Canyon University and is in the third year of an Ed.D in Organizational Leadership - Higher Education. Awards include memberships in Alpha Chi, National Honor Society and Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education.


Technology is changing and affecting the world around us from all angles.  Research has shown that digital games can incorporate critical thinking, social interaction, and global issues supporting community service (Shaffer, Squire, Halverson & Gee, 2004).  Games fuse together caring and knowledge of values and social issues (Shaffer et al., 2004).  By creating a movement in educational transformation, it will be necessary to use sophisticated technology with today's students and gaming is one of the original vehicles for education technology (Crawford, 1984; Jones, 2003).  This type of global educational approach assists students in becoming socially responsible as world citizens (Pike & Selby, 1988).  The tendency has been to utilize edutainment, which focuses on the entertainment factor; however, there is a new option - Gamucation.  Gamucation is a fusion of digital gaming and education that promotes, attracts, engages, motivates, and helps student retain information to increase learning.  The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how Gamucation promotes community service and global awareness among students.

Technology is changing the world, as we know it, from communicating, shopping, thinking,developing values, and supporting the global community through service (Shaffer, Squire, Halverson & Gee, 2004). Most educators presume computers are personal computers (PCs) or laptops, when in fact today's computers include handheld devices such as iPads and yes, even cell phones or smart phones (Prensky, 2004). All of today's computers are capable of running a variety of digital games and these games unite ways of caring, being, doing, and knowing through understanding, shared values, and social issues (Shaffer et al., 2004). Studies conducted on digital games integrate thinking and social interaction through service while teaching students to do something about the topics they care about (Shaffer et al., 2004). In order to create a movement in educational transformation, it is necessary to use sophisticated technology with today's students and gaming is one of the original vehicles for education technology (Crawford, 1984; Jones, 2003). Squire (2005) posits games used in education provides the student with a rich learning experience and utilizes critical thinking skills. The tendency has been to utilize edutainment, which focuses on the entertainment factor; however, there is a new option - Gamucation. Gamucation is a fusion of digital gaming and education that promotes, attracts, engages, motivates, and helps students retain information to increase learning. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how Gamucation promotes community service and global awareness among students.

Our Challenge

Henry Kelly (2004), former President of the Federation of American Scientists, joked that the cookies stored on your child's computer probably know more about her than her teacher does. Our challenge in education and society is knowing our students, how to motivate and engage them to learn not only traditional curriculum, but also global issues and prepare them to cope with these issues through service (Cates, 2005; Prensky, 2007). Today's students are called Digital Natives because they were raised on media and spend over 7 hours per day engaged in simultaneous forms of media (Annetta, 2008; Johnson & Lomas, 2005; Prensky, 2007; Roberts, Foehr, & Rideout, 2005; Squire, 2003). Parents, educators, and citizens struggle for the students' attention in an over saturated media world; while these students access information on any topic at anytime, from any place that is available 24x7x365 through a variety of devices including laptops, cell phones, and iPads with Wi-Fi (Annetta, 2008; Brown, 2005; Squire, 2003).

Although schools typically sequester students from outside world issues, through Gamucation, numerous global learning opportunities are created that were not accessible in classrooms until recently (Shaffer et al., 2004). Digital Natives are very social, keeping in touch with everyone including their parents. If educators are able to take advantage of the media requirements and communication needs in order to motivate and engage even the hardest to reach student to participate in educational topics, society will benefit (Brown, 2005: Tanner & Jones, 2000). The internet has changed the way Digital Natives spend their time, learn, socialize, and live (Annetta, 2008). Students are learning through games to read news reviews and frequently asked questions, post to discussion boards all while becoming critical consumers of information (Shaffer et al., 2004). A movement using digital games in learning environments, called Serious Games that started in 2003 has transformed instruction to meet the needs of these Digital Natives (Annetta, 2008; Roberts et al., 2005). Serious games are designed for educational purposes, not merely for entertainment purposes (Roberts et al., 2005). In order for teachers to understand and be able to provide the best educational environment for the Digital Natives, a closer look at them is necessary.

Digital Natives

The Digital Native was born after 1980 (Carlson, 2005; Prensky, 2007). Digital Natives are impatient and have enough portable electronic devices that they can listen to iTunes, talk on the phone, share photos, surf the web, Twit, post on Facebook, and text a friend at the same time, while reading an electronic book for homework (Carlson, 2005; Prensky, 2007). The perfect learning environment for Digital Natives includes computers, iPads and cell phones; online videos and games; courseware, a variety of search engines; and anything animated, interactive, and musical (Carlson, 2005; Prensky, 2003, 2004). Digital Natives includes individuals from ages 8-18 who do not relate to traditional teaching methodologies (Roberts, et al., 2005). The Digital Native's bedroom has more electronic devices than most adults have in their entire house including television with DVD player, satellite with digital video recorder built in, radio with iPod docking station, laptop with wireless internet access and instant messaging tools, video game console, and cell phone (Roberts, et al., 2005). Digital Natives are difficult to motivate or engage in the learning process; these students spend over 7 hours per day using multiple media simultaneously, making that need for motivation and engagement more important (Annetta, 2008; Roberts, et al., 2005). Through games, players learn the reasons for rules and can express individuality (Rieber, Smith, & Noah, 1998). Research asserts that digital games can encourage authentic learning situations in the classroom (Gee, 2005). Barab, Gresalif, and Arici (2009), report that the use of games in the classroom is very beneficial for students, helping them develop zeal for the new curriculum, and allowing them to visualize mastering the content. Studies have shown that Digital Natives are accustomed to digital media that is engaging and motivating while allowing exploration, experimentation, and knowledge building (Annetta, 2008). Gaming offers opportunities to meet multiple students' learning style needs through complex thinking, decision-making, reaction time, hand eye coordination, and peer collaboration necessary in the ever-changing global marketplace (Annetta, 2008; Friedman, 2007). This constant media is extremely engaging.

Media Engagement

Communication today is through phone texting, beaming, instant chat, e-mail, blogs, games websites, and Facebook (Lenhart, Madden & Hitlin, 2005). As is envisioned, media usage is on the rise, nearly 7.5 hours a day, and continuing to reshape students especially where there is interactive and non-interactive media involved (Annetta, 2008; Roberts, et al., 2005). Computers and cell phones are important inventions that have affected the world and influence individual's lives daily (Wong, 2001).

With the development of cell phones, digital games have become even more popular versus when only computers were used to play them (Sugar & Brown, 2008).

Learning Styles

Childhood is a great time for building relationships and bridging the gap between play and the real world because this is when children learn to play and master various situations, while learning structure through scaffolding (Brougere, 1999). According to Csikszentmihalyi (1990), the optimal state for a learner is being in the flow or zone, which he defines as clarity and focus on a subject. Play is vital part of a student's development, both socially and cognitively (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). Csikszentmihalyi's (1990) theory of flow, where the gamers are totally enthralled in the activity, describes the reason gamers feel enjoyment and engagement while playing digital games. This flow necessitates a balance of gamers' skill and task difficulties in order to provide total engagement (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). Csikszentmihalyi (1993) contends that particular tasks create more flow than others do, including immediate feedback and specific goals, gamers' ability to perform and opportunities for accomplishment, means of control, and joining student awareness and opportunity making concentrating achievable. Csikszentmihalyi (1990) asserted that during favorable learning situations students are so entranced in the game they become oblivious to their surroundings.

With students spending so much time engaged in various media, teachers are less effective when they are only willing to present the curriculum through typical lecture and assessment methods (Prensky, 2007). Each student in the classroom is likely to have a different learning style, which the traditional method will not support. Think of an instructor only using a monologue and not interacting with the learners by leveraging their strengths (Aldrich, 2009). Yukl (2002) describes this interactivity as directly affecting a student and their relationship to the content; this interactivity directly relates to the leadership style of the teacher. The taxonomy involves giving and seeking information, making decisions, building relationships, and influencing people; all of which a good teacher does in order to facilitate the learning process through multiple channels such as gaming (Yukl, 2002).

Digital gaming involves multiple learning styles including auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Through research, game designers are able to create a better educational gaming environment that will make presenting material easier for the teacher while also presenting the required material through a number of learning styles; creating successful opportunities for their students (Prensky, 2007). The ideal methodology to reach the greatest number of students includes collaboration and participation, which is known to help students not only remember the content longer, but assists the student in being able to recall it for future use (Aldrich, 2009). By leveraging classrooms and providing the correct tools, Digital Natives can receive training to be productive members of society through service opportunities (Annetta, 2008; Friedman, 2007; Reiber et al., 1998).

A Tool

Is there a new tool for teaching students? Can the use of computers and digital games change the way students learn and participate? Seems everywhere we turn computers are changing the world around us; from communicating, educating, shopping, working, engaging in politics, and working on our health (Shaffer et al., 2004). The main concern is harnessing the power of digital games through a constructive force and using that power to engage and motivate students into learning about and participating in community service (Shaffer et al., 2004). Both Gestalt theorists and Dewey established gaming as an educational strategy in the early 20th century, but it did not gain momentum until the 1960's (Henry, 1997). According to Druckman (1995) (as cited in Bredemeier and Greenblat, 1981), a study found that gaming had value and merit as an educational tool, but not until much later did it find prominence in the educational field. Gaming not a new trend, but according to Gillespie (1997) and Salen and Zimmerman (2004) games are as widespread as humankind. Games offer views into new cultures and topics through integrating technology, social interaction, and thinking about what individuals care about (Shaffer et al., 2004). As reported by Gee (2009), previous studies indicated that a well-designed game facilitates delivery and dissemination of information in a socially complex environment and those games can blend real world situations with traditional learning environments. Game-based learning is one of many ways to meet the need for information for Digital Natives (An & Bonk, 2009).

A theory about intrinsic motivation in games comes from empirical research conducted by Malone and Lepper (1987) and Malone (1981) based on experimental manipulations proposed in games that offer numerous rewards due to curiosity and challenge. Research suggests that through the experience of flow and how players use information to make meaningful decisions during the game can increase the student critical thinking abilities (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Habgood, Ainsworth, & Benford, 2005).

Digital Divide

For a number of years, there was a digital divide, a disparity due to socio-economic factors preventing access to the internet connectivity and the skills necessary to obtain and use the information highway (Norris, 2001). Low-income students experienced the digital divide through access and usage, based on family income, race, and family structure (Wilhelm, Carmen, & Reynolds, 2002). For example, in 2002 only 33% students with a family income less than $15,000 had a home computer and 14% had internet access; compared to students with family income of $75,000 or more where 95% of students had home computers and 63% had internet access (Wilhelm, 2002). Family structure plays a role in access to both a computer and internet: 49% of students residing with a single mother had home computers and 27% internet connections; contrasted to students residing with married parents, 79% had home computers, and 47% had internet connections (Wilhelm, 2002).In conjunction with Stanford University, Roberts et al. (2005) surveyed 2,032 students from 3rd through 12th grades. A variety of topics reviewed every aspect of the student's life including family status, income, whether rules existed for the various media forms, race, and age just to name a few (Roberts et al., 2005). The number of computers in the home has increased from 73% to 86% and the number of internet connections increased from 47% to 74% between 1995 and 2005 (Roberts et al., 2005; Prensky, 2007; Entertainment Software Association [ESA], 2009). Pearson (2001) found that schools with a minority population over 50% had computers in only 37% of the classrooms, compared with 57% for schools with minority populations less than 6%. In addition, 71% of schools where students received free or reduced lunch had a 16 to 1 ratio of students to computers with internet connectivity, contrasted to a 7 to 1 ratio for schools where less than 11% received free or reduced lunches (Gorski, 2005; Pearson, 2001). According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (2006), almost 100% of the public schools have internet access in the United States. With this internet access, many schools are able to take advantage of internet resources including games, research, tutorials, and simulations (Handal & Herrington, 2003). Across the world, over 1.5 billion individuals have very powerful personal computers in their backpacks, purses, or pockets without even knowing it (Prensky, 2004). Today's cell phones have the computing power of the PCs from the mid-1990s, which are more powerful than the computers used to send spaceships to the moon (Prensky, 2004). It has been argued that smart phones can bridge the digital divide since they are less expensive than most PCs and comparatively priced to mini-notebooks with similar functionality (Johnson, Smith, Willis, Levine & Haywood, 2011). Smart phones can decrease the digital divide by allowing easy access to information through the internet and a variety of games, but can be challenging for users when attempting to complete employment applications (Washington, 2011). Kvavik, Caruso, and Morgan (2004), conducted a study of 4,374 students across 13 institutions establishing that 93.4% of students owned a personal computer and 82% possessed cell phones. The various types of computers make availability of games with educational purposes much more accessible, while permitting teachers the ability to enhance daily instruction for the 21st century not only in the classroom, but also at home (McDonald & Hannafin, 2003; Sugar et al., 2008). A 2010 Pew Internet and American Life Project study found that 51% of Hispanics and 46% of African Americans used cell phones to access the internet; also African American laptop ownership has risen from 34% in 2009 to 51% in 2010 (Fox, 2010).

Digital devices have come down drastically in price over the past few years, with many of them costing less than a new pair of name brand sneakers, around $100 (Prensky, 2003). So what if a student cannot afford these devices for their schoolwork? Each year schools checkout digital devices similar to the way textbooks are checked-out (Prensky, 2003). Further, some schools could subsidize the devices for students meeting certain income requirements similar to the free and reduced lunch program (Prensky, 2003). Cellular carriers have special school-use plans, which the school could also choose to subsidize (Prensky, 2003). Ethnicity and race are not entirely responsible for the discrepancy of living in a home without digital devices, other factors such as family income and level of parent education plays into the mix (Iacovides, Aczel, Scanlon, Taylor, & Woods, 2011). However, race does create differences in the availability for PC access (Iacovides et al., 2011).

Student Motivation

Defining motivation is difficult as there are a number of processes leading to preferred outcomes (Skinner & Belmont, 1993). Skinner and Belmont (1993) reported that it is easier to identify a motivated learner than to locate or create one. Other factors in motivation reported in literature include numerous opportunities for users to make choices, multiple levels of interactivity, and rapid delivery of feedback increase the student's motivation to reach higher levels of mastery (Garris, Ahlers, & Driskell, 2002). By providing the student with a challenging environment, immediate feedback, and short-term goals, students experience motivational factors showing the importance of learning (Blumenfeld, Soloway, Marx, Krajcik, Guzdial, & Palincsar, 1991; Pintrich & Schunk, 1996). Curiosity in games supporting learning stems from ideas that games are considered both effective as motivation tools and as learning environments (de Freitas, 2006; Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2004). Similar results are found with student engagement.

Student Engagement

When student engagement is low, games encourage students who do not have any interest in the content or are used to using rote learning (Aldrich, 2009). Games help make learning fun and light, while remaining challenging (Aldrich, 2009). Another benefit is games are recursive and scalable (Aldrich, 2009). Games make students feel like they are playing instead of wasting time learning irrelevant material (Aldrich, 2009). Traditional learning environments create a natural lack of motivation in students due to regular routines and presentation of abstract knowledge without developing the context of the material through linking to previous learning (Lave, 1998). Whenever learning takes cues from natural contexts, it removes students from natural learning and curiosity (Cordova & Lepper, 1996). Using effective games that have embedded learning in meaningful and creative situations allows learning through endogenous channels in the game (Cordova et al., 1996). Gee (2003) contended that in order for recreational games to include effective learning principles, they must be played and learned without high levels of stress, frustration, and anxiety. Yee (2006) remarked that game players frequently engage in activities that seem like they have a lot of work, energy, and time invested, but this investment is a normal part of game play. Games by nature are intrinsically motivating, offering experiences and environments to deliver rich global educational content (Cordova et al., 1996; Garris et al., 2003; Gee, 2003).

Global Education

Rarely do classrooms have an impact on the outside world, as the teacher is the only audience; however, when games are incorporated students have opportunities to develop shared values (Shaffer et al., 2004). The thought that professionals have a moral responsibility to society is as old as the Hippocratic Oath, an oath in ancient Greece that physicians swore to use their professional skills only for the good of society (Cates, 1990). Over the past few decades, there have been an increased number of professionals in education and politics working to solve global issues such as justice, peace, and service through research (Cates, 1990). Environmental, global, and peace issues essentially affect everyone on earth (Brown, 1990). Concerned teachers believe that young people around the world are inadequately prepared to understand or handle global problems. Thus, the need for teachers to understand that spending numerous hours in game play translates into learning values and exploring complex issues such as global concerns of over population, nuclear weapons, environmental issues, deforestation, and the spread of diseases that inherently affect humans around the earth (Brown, 1990; Maley, 1992). In the education world, global education issues are new words used to introduce students to a variety of world issues and allow service opportunities so students can become involved (de Aguilera & Mé-ndiz, 2003). These global issues promote attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary for responsible citizenship in an interdependent, multi-cultural world (Fisher & Hicks, 1985; Kniep, 1985). The global approach to education focuses on skills, knowledge, attitudes, and action (Cates, 1990). It is unfortunate that humanity is facing severe tragedies such as human rights violations around the globe daily; over 35,000 individuals die every day in the world from hunger, and millions of children die each year from preventable diseases all of which are solvable on a global scale (Cates, 2005; Reischauer, 1973).

Community Service

Theoretical research conducted by Wideman, Owston, Brown, Kushnirul, Ho, and Pitts (2007) posits that computer games provide great learning experiences by offering the student a sense of achievement, accomplishment, and power. Wideman et al. (2007) investigated student study habits as they played curriculum related games. Through research, gaming has proven to be an effective method for not only engagement and motivation, but also for maintaining a high level of focus and attention, which increases the learning experience (Gee, 2003; Wideman et al., 2007). While games are fun and motivating, they are also an exceptional learning tool that exceeds traditional teaching (Wideman et al., 2007). Traditional classroom activities often leave students lacking motivation and engagement resulting in disconnection from teaching; however, when games are embedded in the learning process, students are provided with meaningful learning experiences (Wideman et al., 2007). Through interactivity and competition, students are able to learn by instant feedback, which increases student motivation to continue to learn (Garris et al., 2002; Wideman et al., 2007).

Digital games are omnipresent and readily available in the daily lives of American teens from all points of the socio-economic spectrum (Lenhart, Kahne, Middaugh, Macgill, Evans, & Vitak, 2008). A Pew Internet and American Life Project study reported that 97% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 participate in computer games with 50% having played games the previous day, 86% playing on a game console, 73% playing on PC or laptop, 60% playing on a portable game device, and 48% playing on a cell phone (Lenhart et al., 2008). Once students are fully motivated and engaged, they are ready to make a difference in the world through community service, which provides students the opportunity to apply classroom-learned skills to real world community problems (Sheffield, 2005).

Community service learning has been used in schools for some time now; with projects including cleaning trash off roadsides, volunteering for different causes, teaching children how to read, and spending time with the elderly (Cates, 1990). This type of community and service learning creates understanding and in-depth knowledge while engaging with diverse cultures (Sheffield, 2005). Holland (1997, 1999) executed case studies showing the relationships between organization levels and factors of commitment to community service. When a lighthearted approach is applied to difficult and serious topics, students are able to disseminate complex and sensitive issues, the need for global values, social change, and taking action in the real world (Fullerton, Swain & Hoffman, 2004; Ziaeehezarjeribi, 2007). Gifford (1991) argues that games provide knowledge of other cultures, which helps students solve problems through societal change. Problem-based learning (PBL) provides self-directive, self-awareness, self-regulated, and authentic learning experiences geared toward peer collaboration and teacher facilitation (Driscoll, 2005; Savery, 2009). PBL often uses constructivist learning to engage the student in real-life active learning using reasoning, social interaction, and activation of previous learning (Clemons, 2006). When teachers are able to integrate meaningful community service with reflective instruction, students experience rich learning, civic responsibility, civic engagement, life-long learning, and strengthening of communities (Furco, 1996). Community service fosters a sense of community in students and provides them a sense of purpose for their hard work (Furco, 1996). According to Martin (2007), involved students improve their social impact and productivity in the community.

For students who engage in digital gaming, they are more likely to engage in civic and political activity, play an active role in society, and vote (Lenhart et al., 2008). In fact, Senator Barack Obama was the first U.S. Presidential candidate to advertise his candidacy through digital games ads entitled "Early Voting Has Begun" in a variety of games including Burnout paradise, Madden NFL 2009, and other digital games produced by Electronic Arts (Liszkiewicz, 2010, para 4). To enhance this global learning, teachers are adding volunteer work to complement the class assignments. This offers a great combination for students to work together to create a better future (Bamford, 1990). When teachers are role models, students are able to emulate these behaviors (Cates, 1990). Digital games, or more specifically, civic game experiences help persuade students to vote, contribute to charities, volunteer, and stay informed on both current and political events (Lenhart et al., 2008). While today's teens are playing online games, 65% are searching for information on politics, 64% have helped raise money for charity, 64% are committed to civic participation, and 26% have attempted to influence how others vote in upcoming elections (Lenhart et al., 2008). Companies like Starbucks have jumped on board civic gaming through collaboration and have created games to bring attention to issues such as global warming and free trade coffee (Brown et al., 1997; Gorman, 2007; Lieberman, 2001). Game companies are attempting to engage teenagers and young adults in ethical, moral, and social issues though a variety of games such as Food Force, United Nation aid-relief game, which had over four million downloads in 15 months; Darfur Is Dying had 800,000 players in five months; Re-Mission for saving the world sold over 110,000 copies in 78 countries; Evoke, a release by the World Bank; Traces of Hope, by the Red Cross; and Enercities, an environmental game (Cates, 2005; Time Magazine, 2006). In the past decades, several hundred games have been created to address social and public health issues in Latin America, Asia, and Africa (Singhal & Rogers, 2004).

The Benefits

Students learn to be part of a community through shared values and goals while learning about new topics, learning to act, and to care (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Educators, parents, and community members need to understand that with students spending thousands of hours participating in and playing digital games they are also developing powerful identities, social and political knowledge, and shared values (Lave et al., 1991). Game design transforms the ways students think and offers them new situations to face (Shaffer et al., 2004). Digital gaming allows access to a powerful global culture that is constantly evolving through technological elements, which are a socially complex and intense process that affects all aspects of our lives (de Aguiler et al., 2003). Global Gamucation attempts to answer students' questions while enabling them to acquire skills, knowledge, and dedication required by world citizens to solve global issues (Cates, 2005). In order to create a memory, an individual needs to have an emotional involvement in the learning through active learning which will cause a chemical reaction in the brain (Ledoux, 1998). Thus, individuals remember good vacations, books, and happy times more than bad ones (Aldrich, 2009). Active learning through the use of digital gaming has shown a positive impact with the Digital Natives by allowing them to actively participate in a learning project instead of passively listening to lectures or watching videos (Annetta, 2008). Today, audio books, downloadable podcasts, class or subject blogs and wikis, and games with narrative texts embedded called expository, have replaced textbooks (Annetta, 2008). Embedded into virtual classroom environment teachers find expository material such as text, video, and graphics that explains, informs, describes, and defines a subject through a virtual mission (Annetta, 2008). Active learning principle focuses on games requiring players to use active instead of passive learning and reflective thinking, which generate information from this type of learning (Gee, 2007). Active learning allows for instant feedback and the opportunity to determine additional game solutions (Gee, 2007). The identity principle supports players assuming a virtual identity that is often drastically different from the students' real world identity (Gee, 2007).

Traditional learning environments create a natural lack of motivation in students due to regular routines and presentation of abstract knowledge without developing the context of the material through linking to previous learning (Lave, 1998). Whenever learning takes cues from natural contexts, it removes students from natural learning and curiosity (Cordova et al., 1996). Games by nature are intrinsically motivating, offering experiences and environments to deliver rich educational content (Cordova et al., 1996; Garris et al., 2003; Gee, 2002). When educators can use a playful approach to serious topics, students are able to engage more freely because playfulness is not an action, but a state of mind (Fullerton et al., 2004).

Future Research

Further research is needed to follow-up on whether the digital divide is continuing to shrink allowing all students, regardless of socio-economic or cultural factors, to have access to learning-based games through computer and cell phone access. In addition with No Child Left Behind pressing for full inclusions, research is needed regarding the digital inclusion comparing digital access for students with and without disabilities.


A global educational approach helps students become socially responsible as world citizens (Pike & Selby, 1988). Games have a way of uniting individuals through community service and social issues (Shaffer et al., 2004). Granted, the current design for instruction is not sufficient to engage and motivate Digital Native students to learn traditional school curriculum or their moral responsibility to society (de Aguilera et al., 2003; Friedman, 2007; Gee, 2009; Marx, 2006). Teachers need to look toward Gamucation as a tool to educate and motivate students to be more globally responsible both inside and outside the classroom (Crawford, 1984; Jones, 2003). Focusing on the ideas that students should learn how to solve global issues through community service demands student engagement and motivation, along with the traditional education of reading, writing, and arithmetic (de Aguilera et al., 2003)..

Author Biography

Laura Sharp is a graduate of Houston Community College where she received her A.A. in Communication Arts and Texas Lutheran College where she received her B.A. in German.  She was granted a M.Ed. in Cross Categorical Special Education by Grand Canyon University and is in the third year of an Ed.D in Organizational Leadership - Higher Education.  Awards include memberships in Alpha Chi, National Honor Society and Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education. Ms. Sharp can be contacted at


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