The goal of this research proposal is to suggest a way on how to study the improvement of students engagement, motivation and learning effectives towards learning ICT in Malta by using game-based learning. The benefits of using game-based learning in our classrooms is highlighted in this paper together with the issue of gender with regards to gaming.
game-based learning, teaching ICT in Malta, Save La Vallette - An Trip in Time
"Game-based learning is the procedure of taking a concept and creating a task to deliver that idea in a manner that is motivating, interesting, challenging, effective and fun, and has a measurable learning target as a basis. " (Carson Learning Services in Tham & Tham, 2012)
Considering such description will lead us in thinking how to use game-based learning as a pedagogical tool to gain the students' learning process. This study is intended to review such premises, remember also the gender concern in relation to game taking part in and the topic to be educated - ICT. A sample of early supplementary students will be chosen to take part in this analysis. The individuals will be divided into two main communities, one group will be trained ICT skills carrying out a game-based strategy and the other group will follow a non-game-based approach. An analysis on both methods will be conducted in the form of a pre-test questionnaire, post-test questionnaire and a post-test responses questionnaire distributed to all individuals. After such analysis is carried out, it will be driven if game-based learning can certainly be utilized in Maltese supplementary schools to teach ICT in a fresh and perhaps better way and how effective, motivational and engaging it really is.
"They have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using personal computers, video gaming, digital music players, training video cams, mobile phones, and the rest of the toys and tools of the digital era. Today's average college grads have spent significantly less than 5, 000 time of these lives reading, but over 10, 000 hours playing video gaming (not forgetting 20, 000 hours watching TV). Video games, email, the Internet, cell phones and instant messaging are crucial elements of their lives. " (Prensky, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1, 2001)
Today's students are what Prensky refers to as Digital Natives and those who have or are adapting to these new scientific changes (such as today's parents) as Digital Immigrants. Therefore, since this is the reality how our Digital Local students are living, it makes sense to adopt these systems and use them in today's learning environments in order to make teaching and learning relevant to the students of the 21st century.
Since today's students are used to presenting any information they ask for immediately available to them and opinions is instantly shipped, they do not have the perseverance necessary for lectures and classes that follow traditional learning. Examinations are mainly viewed as being too much in the foreseeable future to inspire them. Thus, Digital Natives choose learning that is relevant, active, challenging, instantly useful and fun.
improving problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills
providing immediate feedback to learners and therefore, learners can learn from their actions
self-assessing learners through the game report and levels reached
allowing collaboration between learners to reach solutions and reveal their knowledge and skills
Malone lists test, fantasy and curiosity as vital game characteristics that contribute to this proposal (Malone, 1980). Prensky also highlights that if used appropriately the energy that games have on engaging the participant may be the largest motivator ever before.
increasing the level of motivation
Motivation is seen as a key element in using games in learning environments. The reason for this is that games motivate the learner to look for information in order to effectively complete a task, overcome an obstacle and promote to another level. In traditional learning environments (e. g. classrooms) the learner will get facts and information and then must work out how such data suits and is relevant to the general picture (Tham & Tham, 2012). Drive is also related to what is known as stream experience, that is, the ability of a casino game to totally immerse the learner into concluding that video gaming activity to the magnitude that the learner loses tabs on time and has no intention of concluding any other process except completing the gambling activity (Mattheiss et al. , 2009).
intensifying learning effectiveness
Games that are being used within an educational setting are expected to instruct learners. To be able to evaluate if learning has really taken place, there should be an alteration in behaviour. Whenever a learner encounters a similar situation in the foreseeable future, he must do something diversely from what he has recently done and instead apply what has been learned for the reason that particular situation. If a game does not manage to bring this change in behavior, then there exists something wrong with the game. The faultiness is not in the idea of game-based learning, but instead in the bad design of that particular game.
increasing the amount of remembering information
Play and fun are ways of rest. The psychiatrist William Glasser created the Glasser's Choise Theory and in it identified fun to be one of the essential needs that drive individuals behaviour. Brain researchers also claim that for genuine learning to occur as well as for learners to remember the material for a long time, fun is necessary. Thus, educational game titles can help the learner to incidentally increase the level of remembering information while playing and having a great time. (Tham & Tham, 2012)
Game-based learning is not a novelty. On the contrary, there are various games on the market that were designed specifically for educational purposes and there are certainly others who were implemented by professors as a learning reference (Williamson, 2009). Since the advent of game-based learning, several individuals researched on their results on learning in a number of curricular subjects (Divjak & Tomic, 2011) (Papastergiou, 2008) (Tham & Tham, 2012) (Yien et al. , 2011).
Another important at the mercy of consider when studying games on the whole is the gender concern. Traditionally it is considered that game titles are mostly popular with males rather than females. Actually, it is normally assumed that young boys spend additional time playing than young girls of a similar years. However, from studies carried out (Williamson, 2009) it was identified that more powerful games, such that those that involve combat, firing and sports, are more popular with guys than women. Although girls do play such video games, however, the way they play game titles is not the same as the boys. As they grow up, young girls tend to lose interest in games quicker than kids and shift to using the computer for other reasons. On the other hand, young boys still use the computer mainly for video games purposes. Even the way, both genders take a look at game playing is different. While boys choose game participating in as their first choice activity, girls resolve to game playing when they get bored and have nothing at all more interesting to do. (Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2004)
Considering all of this, there will always be some who do not trust game-based learning and rightly so they have got their own reasons. Some may claim that gaming will further distract the students from the training objectives. Third, idea will lead to having students who are throwing away their time whilst doing offers and they're not being properly informed. Dr Heather Coffey, in the UNC Institution of Education believes that using games for educational purposes may cause unneeded burden on teachers as a result of idea that to be able to adopt this approach in category, the teacher needs to be a 'tech-savvy'. More burdens for the teacher will be triggered if the material being utilized is not technologically advanced. (Coffey)
From a researcher's point-of-view, it is worth noting that game-based learning can actually be an progressive way how to teach students nowadays. If games are properly designed, they would be means of how to motivate and participate students more. Insufficient drive and learning effectives shouldn't be attributed to the use of games but rather it could be due to presenting a terribly designed game that does not cater to teach the learning contexts and benefits properly. Another reason may be that the tutor didn't mash the game effectively within the lesson plan. A real-life on-going example that game-based learning can in fact be a efficiently method in teaching today's students is the New York City public school Goal to understand (Q2L). Q2L is based on the guidelines of game design and it is interesting to see how their teaching staffs have integrated play, socialization, teamwork and learning into its curriculum. If game-based learning worked in Q2L, it can also work in everyone's school room. It isn't an easy activity but through work and preparation it can be possible.
This research is thus designed to provide as a proposal for studying the effects of game-based learning in increasing engagement, drive and learning performance in ICT lessons in Malta taking into consideration the gender issue. More details about how precisely game-based learning can be utilized during ICT lessons will be described in the coming parts of this research proposal.
Overview of the proposed research method
This paper proposes the comparison of two methods how ICT is educated in the first secondary university years. The first method includes a gaming request and the second one those not. However, in both methods the same learning targets, outcomes and material will be covered. From an evaluation of both methods, it will be determined which method the learners favour on the basis of engagement, efficiency and desire.
The students participating in this research will be split into two teams. The first group (Group A) will be utilizing a gaming program whilst the next group won't (Group B). Both categories will be given equal amount of time in the learning sessions that will be used. A pre-test questionnaire will be allocated to both groups before the start of learning session in order to accumulate data related to rtotal variables and also gauge the amount of prior knowledge that the students have. Following the learning periods, the students will be asked to fill up a post-test questionnaire to elicit quantitative and qualitative data. Any change which regards to the students' knowledge foundation on the topic will be related to the learning method they followed. By the end of the learning classes, the students' views and suggestions on the training method followed will be appreciated in a opinions questionnaire in the form of open-questions. It's important that the data related questions allocated before and after the learning sessions contain the same questions to both groups.
The engaging students will be arbitrarily preferred from Form 2 students from a Kids' Secondary University and a Females' Secondary College. The test will be 90 students, 47 kids and 43 females, aged between 12 and 13 yrs. old. Ideally, all students will be picked from the same university so that the study won't be affected due to the catchment area. The random selection is important to be able to have a mixture of students with different talents. It's important, however, that students have basic computer skills (e. g. learn how to manage opened glass windows, basic typing skills, mouse handling, etc)
This test of students will be split into six classes of fifteen students each, with each school having a mixture of children. Three classes will form Group A and for that reason, will be using the gambling program, whilst, the other three classes will form Group B.
The learning methods
The game playing approach
Rescue La Vallette - An Trip with time (Zammit, 2007) is the overall game being thought to teach ICT to create 2 students. It was developed by Manuel Zammit in 2007 with the primary purpose to be "for students to work collaboratively in a great and motivating environment and acquire ICT skills along the way". This game effectively immerses the students in the era of the Knights of St John of Malta and everything the game's responsibilities, travels and quests revolve for this historic storyboard. Through the use of Save La Vallette the students can learn ICT skills related to Term, Excel, PowerPoint, the web and email. It is worth noting that game has earned the EU eLearning Award. (Danish Technological Institute (ed. ), 2008)
A set of lessons plans should be prepared so as to incorporate the overall game within the training sessions.
The worksheet approach
From school observations that the researcher has completed, it was mentioned that Maltese ICT educators tend to instruct ICT with the primary goal being that their students successfully achieve the ECDL certificate. Third, approach, the professors have a tendency to deliver lessons with an introduction containing a conclusion on how a task can be executed and then the students are given a worksheet to work through, with content getting the same level of difficulty just as the ECDL exam.
For the purpose of this study, the sessions will observe a similar approach that of the students working out worksheets on the topic being provided.
The members of Group A will perform better in the post-knowledge test than Group B.
The members of Group A will post more positive post-questionnaire reactions than Group B.
Boys in Group A will perform much better than in the post-knowledge test than ladies in Group A.
Boys in Group A will submit more positive post-questionnaire responses than young ladies in Group A.
To investigate the above mentioned hypothesis also to gain results on the premises of engagement, effectiveness and desire for each learning method, the individuals will be asked to answer a pre and post-test questionnaire together with a post-test reviews questionnaire, as was already described in the last section.
to level how usually the participant employs a computer besides school hours, and,
to quality how usually the participant plays computer games outside school lessons.
how much the participant considers himself as being a computer literate,
how much the participant prefers playing video games, and,
how much computer gaming experience the participant has.
The second part of the pre-test questionnaire will be related to a knowledge test. The individuals will be provided with a couple of preferably true or incorrect and multiple choice questions to check their knowledge on ICT skills related to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, the Internet and email prior to the start of the learning classes.
This kind of questionnaire will be distributed to the individuals by the end of the learning classes. Another knowledge test questionnaire will be delivered, similar in format to the main one in the pre-test questionnaire. All of the learning benefits or misses will be attributed to the training method considered by the participant.
easy to understanding the ICT concepts
simple to use
In order for the participant to provide feedback on the learning method used, open-ended questions can be used. Questions related to the participant general opinion on the utilization of educational video games in institutions and proposals for enhancing the learning classes conducted may be queried.
This paper proposes a way how to study students' engagement, desire and learning performance using a game-based learning strategy. Since 21st century students spend hours per day playing computer games, this can be a continuous step to try include games within an educational context. Through the use of well-designed computer games and through teacher's assistance, video games can be utilized as a new teaching method. In such a research proposal, the gender concern is also taken into account.
A possible way how this bias can be evaluated is proposed. The study designs, the sampling of members, the training methods used including the gaming application are presented. Additionally, the material related to how to handle the analysis (through the syndication of the pre-test questionnaire, a post-test questionnaire and a post-test responses questionnaire) is also explained.
Following such method, the amount of student engagement, desire and learning efficiency can be established for both where a class uses a game-based approach and where not. The effects that gender plays on a single topic can even be evaluated.
In order to durability this bias it is suggested to consider carrying out such evaluation in another college or university so as to widen student participation or to apply the game-based methodology in other themes and evaluating the results achieved.
Considering such research, might provide an alternative way how ICT and other things can be educated in Maltese supplementary schools using the technology of the 21st century.
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