Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Sara Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sanghoon Park, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janet Richards, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Enrico Gandolfi, Ph.D.


Minecraft, Pre-Service Teacher, Qualitative Research, Video Games, Digital Game-Based Learning


In today’s technological era, understanding if and how teachers’ acceptance and integration of technology evolves is critical to understanding their needs. Technology creates complicated demands on educators and research shows various factors may contribute to their limited success at integrating it (Bustos & Nussbaum, 2009). Research also shows that teachers’ perceptions and attitudes towards pedagogical innovations and information and communication technologies are prominent factors that impact adoption and integration (Tejedor & Muñoz-Repiso, 2006), and the perceptions teachers develop as pre-service teachers influence their classroom performance as in-service teachers (Moon et al., 2016). While research shows plentiful evidence of the educational benefits of technology integration (Balanskat et al., 2006; Harrison et al., 2002), guessing the reasons for teacher integration is not acceptable as teachers need to familiarize, utilize, and integrate technology, as well as reconfigure their desired learning outcomes and classroom practices to align with the culture of technological usage (Keengwe et al., (2009). There is an array of studies from the past two decades on pre-service teachers’ acceptance and usage of more traditional types of technology, including traditional video games, yet there is minimal research specifically relating to the acceptance and usage of Minecraft, and even less on Minecraft Education Edition. This dissertation attempts to fill that gap and pursue the goal of understanding the reasons and perceptions behind pre-service teachers’ acceptance and integration of Virtual Worlds. It is a compilation of academic papers covering the overarching theme of the acceptance and integration of Virtual Worlds, specifically Minecraft, in language teacher education submitted to various peer-reviewed journals. It is composed of an introduction chapter, an implications and future research chapter, and five manuscripts: 1) a systematic literature review of Virtual Worlds in language learning contexts, 2) a thematic literature review of Virtual Worlds in language learning contexts, an artifact analysis of two pre-service teachers’ Minecraft artifacts, and two thematic analyses focusing on pre-service teachers’ reasons and perceptions for their acceptance and integration of Minecraft Education Edition into their growing practice.