Preservice Teachers Consider Game-Based Teaching and Learning

Preservice Teachers Consider Game-Based Teaching and Learning

Nancy B. Sardone (Georgian Court University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2015-4.ch011


Gaming has become a core activity with children and more teachers are using games for teaching content than they did five years ago. Yet, teachers report that they learn about game titles, impact studies, and facilitation techniques through their own initiatives or from other teachers rather than from their teacher education program. This chapter reports on a combined curricular strategy built on game strategy research that asked teacher candidates (n= 125) to discuss news headlines about games, play educational games, review games, and game research, teach others how to play educational games, and construct games. Findings reveal that candidates saw value in using games in K-12 to teach content, were able to develop assessments based on game content at a novice level, and were able to construct games either alone or in small groups. Educators contemplating gaming as an instructional strategy may be interested in the espoused combination strategy to encourage game adoption in K-12 settings.
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Game-based learning has made significant strides over the past decade emerging as a powerful instructional strategy that can positively affect learning outcomes (Virvou et al., 2005; Yee, 2006; Siegler and Ramani, 2008; Gillispie, 2009; Papastergiou, 2009; Connolly, et al., 2012; Wouters, van Nimwegen, et al., 2013; Hainey, et al., 2016). In and out of school settings, gaming has become a core activity with children. A recent survey of parents with children under 18 years of age report their children as daily electronic game players (79%) indicating that game play is a big part of the youth culture (Pew Research Center, 2015). Further evidence of the growth in electronic gaming is the spending on commercial off-the-shelf electronic game titles contributing, in 2009, to the $10.5 billion computer and video gaming industry (Entertainment Software Association, 2014). There is also growth in the sales of non-electronic tabletop games, predicted to reach more than $12 billion by 2023 (Research & Markets, 2018). The growing number of game bars and cafes worldwide is helping companies attract a large number of consumers in the global board games market, encouraging adults, and teenagers to connect socially for meaningful interactions. Tabletop games are advancing into critical thinking and problem-solving opportunities such as game titles Gloomhaven, Pandemic Legacy, and Through the Ages (Board Game Geek, 2019) do.

Taking this new landscape into consideration, the first goal of this study was to examine the attitudes of preservice candidates toward using games as teaching and learning tools after extended play, discussion, peer teaching, and game construction. Attitude is the strongest predictor of intended use of games, most recently cited in a meta-analysis of 66 research papers published between 2004 and 2014 that examined the adoption, continued use, and loyalty in the context of games (Hamari, Keronen, & Alha, 2015). Since attitude predicts intended use of games, it can affect the choice of instructional strategies that teachers make when designing instruction for their students. Improving teacher candidates' attitudes toward games, in particular Social Studies games, may cultivate student interest in Social Studies, cited as the most disliked subject taught due to the use of stagnant instructional strategies (Leming, Ellington, & Schug, 2006) consisting mostly of rote memorization strategies (Stodolsky, Salk, & Glaessner, 1991). The teaching of social studies has changed little over the past 50-100 years (Levstik and Tyson, 2008).

The second goal of this study was to contribute to a larger understanding of the type of games candidates could construct in conjunction with student-learning standards as a benchmark for outcomes. For the purpose of this study, the term 'board game' refers to any game that requires a tabletop for play and includes board games, dice games, and card games. Digital games refer to any game that requires the use of an electronic source, such as a computer or hand-held device needed for play.

The following literature review discusses the effects of game play on learning gains and the status of teachers in conjunction with game use in formal educational settings. It provides the platform to investigate the central research question of this study: Does a combination strategy consisting of extended game play, class discussion, peer teaching, and game construction (this includes game modification) with a focus on Social Studies increase the likelihood that candidates' will use games in their future teaching practice?

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