Integrating Game-Enhanced Mathematics Learning into the Pre-Service Training of Teachers

Integrating Game-Enhanced Mathematics Learning into the Pre-Service Training of Teachers

Maria Meletiou-Mavrotheris (European University Cyprus, Cyprus)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3950-8.ch009
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Mathematical literacy is a core literacy that functions as a critical gatekeeper for participation in many aspects of modern society. Research has shown that the way mathematics is taught at school is highly associated with students’ achievement and interest levels. Declining interest in mathematics and the need to raise the educational standards of youth in this discipline set a critical agenda for the revision of pedagogical practices. Digital games hold a lot of promise as tools for improving mathematics instruction at the school level. This chapter reports the main insights gained from a study that implemented a game-enhanced learning environment for the training of pre-service elementary school teachers. Teachers experienced some of the ways in which online educational games could help students internalize key mathematical concepts across the school curriculum and build their problem-solving skills, while at the same time improving their attitudes towards the subject. The course also familiarized teachers with the design principles for constructivist gaming environments. Findings indicate a positive impact on teachers’ competence in selecting, evaluating, and productively using online games as an instructional tool.
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The formalist tradition has, in recent years, come under attack. A new paradigm has emerged, which views mathematics and science as meaning-making activities of a society of practitioners (Lakatos, 1976; Latour, 1987). Educational leaders and professional organizations in mathematics education (e.g. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000, Commission of the European Communities, 2007) have been advocating the adoption of more active learning environments that motivate learners, and encourage them through authentic inquiry to establish the relevance and meaning of mathematical concepts. These leaders stress the fact that the core of school mathematics should no longer be the teaching of techniques and calculations that computers can do much faster and more reliably, but the development of problem-solving skills that students will need to effectively live and function in a highly complex society. This shift is being reflected in most countries’ educational policies and official curricula, which advocate pedagogical approaches that support inquiry-based, problem-solving learning of mathematics.

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