Primary School Students' Perceptions About the Use of Mobile Games in the Classroom

Primary School Students' Perceptions About the Use of Mobile Games in the Classroom

George Koutromanos (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1486-3.ch012
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This chapter investigates primary school students' perceptions regarding the use of games on mobile devices (i.e., smartphone, tablet) in classroom environment for teaching purposes. Data was collected from 10,381 students (Grades 4, 5, and 6) using a survey questionnaire. A series of semi-structured interviews were used to more deeply understand student perceptions. Those perceptions tended to range from neutral to positive regarding the use of games and their content. Students prefer games that enhance their knowledge and develop their thinking skills. They also believe lessons will be more enjoyable and interesting through the use of games, and learning will be easier and more effective. The results showed differences in students' perceptions in terms of their gender and grade level. Implications of this study and further research are discussed.
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Nowadays, tablets and smartphones have become the central computing and communication devices in people's lives and activities (Courage, 2019; OFCOM, 2019). These devices differ from others (e.g. mobile phones, computers, laptops) due to their comprehensive and relatively advanced features, such as geo-positioning systems and web browsing capabilities, touch screen displays, Wi-Fi connectivity, and sophisticated built-in applications (Lee et al., 2019). These features have given rise to new communication capabilities (e.g. WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, and Snapchat) and forms of leisure time entertainment for young people (Ericsson, 2015, 2016), who are often referred to as “digital natives” (Barak, 2018; Prensky, 2001a, 2001b; Thompson, 2013), “the net generation” (Barak, 2018; Tapscott, 1998; Tapscott, 2008), or “the gamer generation” (Beck & Wade, 2004). According to national surveys conducted in different countries, the number of young people who use smartphones and tablets is increasing year by year (Eurostat, 2015; Ericsson, 2016; Lenhart, 2015; OFCOM, 2019; Pew Research Center, 2015). It has been argued that playing games on tablets and smartphones has become the primary leisure activity for the new generation. These games are called mobile games (Huizenga, Admiraal, ten Dam, & Voogt, 2019; Koutromanos & Avraamidou, 2014) and are usually included in either the currently existing game categories (e.g. simulation games, puzzles, adventure games) (Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2004) or in new categories, such as location-based games (Reinhardt & Heinig, 2016), augmented reality games (Alha, Koskinen, Paavilainen, & Hamari, 2019; Koutromanos, Sofos & Avraamidou, 2015), or pervasive games (Arango-López, Valdivieso, Collazos, Vela, & Moreira, 2018; Kasapakis & Gavalas, 2015).

The growing popularity of games on tablets and smartphones as a leisure activity among young people (The Asian Parent, 2014; ESA, 2015; OFCOM, 2019) has led researchers to conclude that these games should also be used in formal learning environments to promote student engagement (Koutromanos & Avraamidou, 2014; Koutromanos et al., 2015). Previous review articles support that the games being played on mobile devices can have a significant impact on learning and the development of various skills among students in both formal and informal learning environments (Koutromanos & Avraamidou, 2014; Koutromanos et al., 2015). Furthermore, there are researchers who claim that games on mobile devices could overcome both the technological and curricular problems that arise in schools the moment students move to the computer laboratory to play digital games (Brom, Levcic, Buchtova, & Klement, 2015, p. 683).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tablet: A tablet is defined as a mobile device with a touchscreen interface, WiFi connectivity, and advanced operating systems.

Smartphone: A smartphone is a mobile phone with highly advanced features such as wireless capability, global positioning system (GPS), camera/video, speech recognition, various sensors and applications.

Mobile game: ? mobile game is a game that is played on mobile devices, such as a smartphone, tablet, PDA or portable media player.

Computer Game: A computer game is any game that is played on a personal computer.

Digital Game: A digital game is any game that is played with the assistance of a computer or other electronic device.

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