Chemistry Learning Through Designing Digital Games

Chemistry Learning Through Designing Digital Games

Kamisah Osman (The National University of Malaysia, Malaysia) and Ah-Nam Lay (Institute of Teacher Education – Sultan Abdul Halim, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7601-3.ch006
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Students in the 21st century need to become proficient in both chemistry and the 21st century skills. Chemistry is often called the central science. Indeed, the knowledge of chemistry is the foundation for innovation, scientific literacy, and most notably, problem solving in connection with sustainable development. Apart from knowledge, innovation and problem solving in the 21st century requires a new range of skills known as 21st century skills. Unfortunately, chemistry is usually considered difficult. Moreover, there are fewer studies that focus simultaneously on enhancing conceptual understanding and developing the 21st century skills. Therefore, the authors initiated an innovation by designing a new module, known as MyKimDG, to support the acquisition of concepts and provide opportunities for them to apply the 21st century skills. The purpose of this chapter is to present conceptual framework of MyKimDG and demonstrate a brief lesson in MyKimDG to the teaching and learning of a specific chemistry unit.
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Chemistry is usually perceived as a difficult and unpopular subject due to the abstract nature of chemical concepts. Previous studies on students’ conception have revealed that students have many alternatives conception in chemistry. While the literature is replete with studies and papers, which investigate students’ understanding of chemical concepts and suggest potential remedies, fewer studies focus simultaneously on improving conceptual understanding and developing the 21st century skills. Hence, educators should be encouraged to design innovative and effective learning strategies to enhance both students’ conceptual understanding and their 21st century skills. In this case, a change in chemistry teaching and learning approaches is critical. This is especially more crucial when educating today’s students who are ‘digital natives’ (Prensky, 2001). The teaching and learning approaches must befit the needs of these digital natives and subsequently achieve the desired aspiration.

One approach suggested by researchers to educate the digital native generation is the integration of digital games in the teaching and learning processes as digital game is a medium favoured by students. Nowadays, the integration of digital games in learning or digital game-based learning (DGBL) is gaining popularity parallel with their popular reputation among students (Kamisah & Nurul Aini, 2013). Many studies have reported that DGBL can provide positive impact on students’ learning. In general, the studies on DGBL were carried out through two approaches, namely (1) student as game consumer or player, and (2) student as game designer.

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