Reseach is to see things through a magnifying glass

Research was a new word for me in 2001 entering TESOL master program in Taiwan. Research was somewhat a familiar word for me upon finishing my master thesis in 2005. Research as a concept and as a practice was obliterated in me while serving in the army up until December 2007. Research is now finally clear to me in 2010 as I found a renewed interest in conducting research in educational technology and teacher education.

Technology is on the rise and its role in education cannot be overstressed. A curriculum design project that I’ve been working on for the past year and a half helped me learn about designing a technology-rich curriculum, embedding theory in the design of course content,  and devising assessment tools. Professional tools can only be used effectively and efficiently given the personnel with proper training. A pilot study stemming from the project revealed to me that professional development for teachers to learn to better utilize a tech-rich curriculum is necessary because otherwise teachers are inclined to teach the old way, teach the way they were taught. On the one hand, video case analysis of teaching can help teachers realize their strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand, I think the TPCK model is one useful framework on which professional development programs can be built on. For teachers in the 21st century, an elaborate understanding of technological pedogogical content knowledge is crucial if we are to expect them to teach successfully with the growingly inevitable incorporation of technology.

With regard to my ongoing research in digital game-based learning. I hereby stand on my soapbox:

Knowing the know-how is no longer sufficient, especially in the game world. I posit that game design transits players from the state of knowing to that of thinking and doing in the problem space evident in digital games. I have attempted to understand the historical evolution of educational games  and their applications in learning settings and thereby proposed how digital game-based learning (DGBL) could reframe thinking and learning with games and game design. In my game design research I have laid out some theoretical considerations underlying game design pedagogy, and the evaluation of design activities to gauge the emergent development of computational thinking skills. Studying how K-12 students develop computational thinking skills through game design could pose implications for teaching the core subjects of STEM.

Personal Research interests

  • Serious Game Design, Mechanisms, and Effects
  • Using Educational Games to Facilitate Computational Thinking or Complex Problem Solving Skills
  • Facilitating Second Language Learning via Playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games
  • Gaming to Learn in Formal and Informal Settings–After School Game Design Workshops
  • Video Case Analysis on Language Teachers’ Teaching– Teaching and Learning through Reflection
  • Sociohistorical Perspectives on Second Language Education in the U.S.–Chinese as a Heritage Language
  • Extensive Reading Methodology–Using Popular Fiction in EFL Contexts

Research Publications


      Wu, M.L. (2005). Read to enjoy: A case study using popular fiction in an EFL class. Unpublished master thesis in Tamkang University, DOI:oclc/62903763.


    Wu, M. L., Richards, K., & Saw, K. G. (2014). Examining a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game as a Digital Game-Based Learning Platform: Mixed Method Case Study on Motivations for Communicative Language Use. Special Issue on Digital Game-Based Learning in Journal of Computers in the Schools, 31(1-2), 65-83.


    Shaltry, C., Henriksen, D., Wu, M. L., &, Dickson, W. P. (2013). Teaching Preservice Teachers to Integrate Technology: Situated Learning with Online Portfolios, Classroom Websites and Facebook. TechTrends chapter in the Journal of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 57(3), 20-25.


      Wu, M.L., Ni, X. & Li, G. (2010). Challenges of Transitioning to Teaching in a Technology-Rich Curriculum: A Video Analysis. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2010 (pp. 1883-1888). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

      Khan, M.L., Richards, K. & Wu, M.L. (2010). Understanding the Effectiveness of Video-based Instruction versus Text-based Instruction. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2010 (pp. 3638-3646). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

    Kang, J.J., Wu, M.L., Ni, X. & Li, G. (2010). Developing a TPACK assessment framework for Evaluating teachers’ knowledge and practice to provide ongoing feedback. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications2010 (pp. 1980-1983). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

     Richards, K., & Wu, M. L. (2011). Examining Digital Game-based Learning through the Lens of 21st Century Gamers. In M. Koehler & P. Mishra (Eds.), In Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2011 (pp. 45-52). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

    Wu, M. L., & Richards, K. (2011). Facilitating Computational Thinking through Game Design. In M. Chang, W.-Y. Hwang, M.-P. Chen, & W. Müller (Eds.), In Proceedings of Edutainment Technologies. Educational Games and Virtual Reality/ Augmented Reality Applications 2011 (pp. 220-227). Heidelberg: Springer Berlin.

    Wu, M. L. & Richards, K. (2012). Learning with Educational Games for the Intrepid 21st Century Learners. In P. Resta (Ed.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2012 (pp. 55-74). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

    Wu, M. L., & Richards, K. (2012). Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game as Digital Game-Based English Learning Platform: A Study of the Effects of Digital Game Play on ESL Students’ English Use. In Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Computers, Government, Healthcare, & Higher Education 2012 (pp. 1370-1373). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

    Wu, M. L., & Richards, K. (2014). Pedagogical Considerations for the Implementation of Digital Game-Based Learning in the Classroom. In Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2014. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.


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