I’m a Ph.D. student in Learning, Literacies, and Technologies at Arizona State University where I am also a Teaching and Research Assistant.
For my research assistant duties, I have been involved most directly with two overarching projects. The first project is called AZ Delta (Designing Equitable Learning, Teaching, and Assessments) with my advisor Brian Nelson, Ed.D. At the moment, I am assisting primarily with the analysis of collected data and the writing of peer-reviewed articles on the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project called “Ask Dr. Discovery” (#1438825).
The second project is called Play in the Making as part of the Play2Connect Lab with Elisabeth Gee, Ed.D. At the moment, I am assisting primarily with the analysis of collected data and writing of peer-reviewed articles for the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project called Play in the Making (#1623558)
For my teaching assistant duties, I have most recently helped teach a doctoral-level graduate course on Interview Techniques and Dialogue. This course focused on interviewing as a data construction technique and as a form of a dialogue in the context of qualitative research. Students learned about different ways to theorize, conceptualize, and practice interviews. They carried out interview events and interactions in addition to articulating their theoretical orientations and epistemological goals that shape interviewing, and which ways interviews can be adapted to suit different inquiry purposes.
My research interests focus on the role video games can play in learning and literacy. That means that whenever I’m not playing–ahem–researching video games, I’m reading or writing about video games and learning.
This research interest is inspired by my personal story with video games and learning. I’m from Puerto Rico and I am a native Spanish speaker. This means that English is my second language. In Puerto Rico, English is taught as a school subject for 50 minutes a day in public schools (some private schools have English immersion strategies where all subjects are taught in English). I received my education from public schools where too often English was taught as a stand-alone subject through the memorization of decontextualized grammatical rules. This meant that the most consistent and contextualized exposure to English that I, and many other public school students, received came from entertainment media such as television, music, and video games. Of those three, my preferred way of “wasting time” had always been video games (and still is). As a result, I credited my proficiency in English to the video games I played, but I didn’t give it much thought. That changed when, at some point in the middle of my bachelor’s degree in English Linguistics, I had to write a research paper for a class (It’s worth noticing that this degree in English Linguistics represents the first time in my life I used English on a daily basis to communicate face to face). To do that class paper, I thought I would explore if anyone else had been crazy enough to think video games could actually help people learn anything–and oh, was I surprised.
It was 2011 when I came across the growing scholarly research on games; I could not believe this was a legitimate research area. I remember saying “You’re telling me that I could play video games and it can count as research? Sweet!”. On I went, taking my first steps down a research interest path that centered on video games and their affordances for learning and literacy that continues to this day. In fact, I gave a TEDx talk about this in December 2015:
Since then, my research interests have changed a bit. They’ve moved away (temporarily) from a focus on language learning into learning more broadly. Still, an important part of my interest continues to center on video games.
Most recently, my experiences with video gaming as a player and as a researcher have led me to develop a focused interest in the organized and competitive play of video games, better known as electronic sports (or esports). My guiding question here is, given the rise in popularity of esports programs at the universities and colleges (and most recently high schools) across the U.S., does esports contribute to the educational goals and general learning of the students that participate in them? In my pursuit to engage with this question as much as possible, I am working on multiple projects involving esports. One of these projects is a collaboration with a colleague at another university that will have us take close looks at our respective university’s campus esports’ cultures as perceived by the students that participate in them. Another such project is my dissertation project that is soon-to-launch and will focus on high school esports around my local area with the help of some amazing students, teachers, and administrators.
What else is there to know about me?
I have a Masters degree in English Education (2014) and a Bachelors degree in English Linguistics (2012). I earned both of these degrees at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez. I have taught Public Speaking as well as English composition targeted for pre-basic, basic, and intermediate proficiency levels at the University of Puerto Rico. In addition to these teaching experiences, I also co-coordinated the Intermediate English composition track for the English department at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez.
I somehow managed to marry the awesome Priscila Rodríguez García, with whom I’m currently playing through the games of doctoral studies, life, and the Dark Souls series.
You can find me gaming online on any of the major consoles as well as the PC.