Transforming Classrooms through Game-Based Learning: A Feasibility Study in a Developing Country

Transforming Classrooms through Game-Based Learning: A Feasibility Study in a Developing Country

Poonsri Vate-U-Lan (Graduate School of eLearning, Assumption University, Bangkok, Thailand)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/ijgbl.2015010104

Abstract

This article reports an exploratory study which investigated attitudes towards the practice of game-based learning in teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) within a Thai educational context. This self-administered Internet-based survey yielded 169 responses from a snowball sampling technique. Three fifths of respondents were female (59.2% or N=100 females and 40.8% or N=69 males). Slightly more than half (55.6%) of the participants were elementary, secondary and university students. An additional second group of thirty-five per cent (N=59) were teachers who were in charge of STEM educational programs. Almost one tenth (9.5%, N=16) were parents. Frequency tables were used to analyze the quantitative data. The qualitative data was derived from a single open-ended question. The study found some divergent opinions that are useful in considering game-based learning for STEM education in Thailand. The overall average attitude towards the usage of game-based learning was very positive (3.92 out of 5, S.D. = 0.80). The study found that the majority of informants preferred that the delivery mode was online through a web browser followed by the mobile mode through an application and the least preferred was the offline mode recorded on CD-ROM (55.0%, 31.4% and 13.6% respectively). Thai was still the most preferred language to be used though both students and parents surveyed had a stronger preference for English and a Thai-English bilingual mode than the teachers. An important finding in this research was that stakeholders expected game-based learning to be integrated into the traditional classroom because of its enhanced learning approach.
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2. Literature Review

Disruptive technology has become a real phenomenon not only in developing and developed countries. People, particularly children and adolescents, have more opportunities to engage in new digital literacy practices, especially playing digital games on mobile devices as the price of these “gadgets” has become ever cheaper has vastly reduced. According to the International Telecommunication Union (2013) and Silicon India (2013) in 2014, the world will have more cell phone accounts than people on earth (7.3 billion accounts for 7.1 billion people). In 2013, two fifths (41%) of the world's households were connected to the Internet (International Telecommunication Union, 2013). In the developed world, 78 per cent of all households are connected to the Internet (International Telecommunication Union, 2013). The highest levels of household Internet penetration is the European region (87%) whereas the lowest levels occur in the African region (7%) (International Telecommunication Union, 2013). The profile of online entertainment and games in Thailand is similar to the U.S.A. where games have been the most popular mobile phone application followed by social networking - 64% and 56% respectively (International Telecommunication Union, 2011).

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