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Thursday, October 5 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Distributed Teaching and Learning Systems Across Virtual and Blended-Learning Environments

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An important challenge that remains for supporting teaching and learning in digital-age contexts is developing systems that can help unify the diversity of pedagogical approaches aimed at supporting students through digital media technologies. This panel highlights three projects examining what such systems might look like across varying degrees of virtual, face-to-face, and blended contexts of learning. 

Distributed Teaching and Learning Systems, or DTALS (Gee & Gee, 2016; Holmes, Gee, & Tran, 2017, in press), can provide a useful framework for characterizing and analyzing elements of such systems. In a DTALS, teaching and learning are enacted not through a top-down model of knowledge transfer, but rather across a spectrum of designed and emergent experiences, negotiated between learners and experienced teachers, peers, mentors, or leaders in the community. 

In this panel, Jeff Holmes’ examination of “Videogames as Distributed Teaching and Learning Systems” in the Dota2 gaming community presents a model for characterizing core features of a DTALS. Kelly Tran’s research on “Informal Teaching and Learning in Pokemon Go” examines how DTALS in an augmented reality game can reveal how teaching and learning is enacted across physical and virtual contexts of gameplay. Finally, Earl Aguilera's presentation, “Library Code Clubs: Who is Doing the Teaching?” highlights tensions, challenges, and critical considerations of facilitating a DTALS as part of a blended learning experience. Together, these three projects demonstrate varying dimensions of DTALS as a means for unifying innovative pedagogies in a digital age.

This interactive presentation invites audience members to actively participate in constructing a DTALS during the presentations in order to experience (and challenge) the relevant implications for teaching and learning in the 21st Century.


Holmes, J. B., Tran, K. M., & Gee, E. R. (2017). Distributed Teaching and Learning Systems in the Wild. In M. F. Young & S. T. Slota (Eds.), Exploding the Castle: Rethinking How Video Games & Game Mechanics Can Shape the Future of Education (pp. 240–256). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Gee, J. P., & Gee, E. R. (2016). Games as distributed teaching and learning systems. Teachers College Record, Special Issue. Virtual Convergence: Creating Synergies between Research on Virtual Worlds and Videogames.

avatar for Earl Aguilera

Earl Aguilera

Graduate Research Assistant, Center for Games and Impact, Arizona State University
Former HS English teacher | Doctoral candidate: Learning, Literacies, and Technologies | Studying the role of youth literacies in digital-age learning environments

Thursday October 5, 2017 2:00pm - 3:00pm PDT
Emerald Bay C