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Digital Games in Education: Exploring Teachers´ Practices and Challenges From Play to Co-Design
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2018 (English)In: Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Game-Based Learning / [ed] Mélanie Ciussi, Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited, 2018, p. 388-395Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Digital games have potential to support increased student motivation and engagement in education, but their use is not yet a widespread practice. Meta-research indicates that empirical evidence for digital games as effective learning tools is mixed. The research area is predominantly quantitative with an emphasis on researcher-led, stand-alone experiments that disconnect research from real-life practices of teachers. This study examined teachers´ practice-based use of digital games. We conducted in-depth interviews with eight teachers from five Swedish schools. Findings show that teachers using nonserious games and game development tools co-design the gaming and learning experience. They develop and share conceptual and practical game-based pedagogical tools or use alongside games, and adopt these to their unique contexts. While access to technology and diversity of students´ background have implications for game implementation, we also find that teachers not only understand digital games as teaching tools but also as contemporary literature to be subjected to critical analysis. Future research includes examining students’ interaction with the pedagogical tools in game-based learning settings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited, 2018. p. 388-395
Series
Proceedings of the European conference on games-based learning, ISSN 2049-0992, E-ISSN 2049-100X
Keywords [en]
K-12 education and games, ethical education using games, best practices for game-based learning
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Information Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-161392ISBN: 978-1-911218-99-9 (print)ISBN: 978-1-912764-00-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-161392DiVA, id: diva2:1258205
Conference
ECGBL 2018 : 12th European Conference on Games Based Learning, Sophia Antipolis, France, 4-5 October, 2018
Available from: 2018-10-24 Created: 2018-10-24 Last updated: 2020-04-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Mapping the Landscape of Digital Game-Based Learning in Swedish Compulsory and Upper Secondary Schools: Opportunities and Challenges for Teachers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mapping the Landscape of Digital Game-Based Learning in Swedish Compulsory and Upper Secondary Schools: Opportunities and Challenges for Teachers
2020 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Interest in the use of digital games in education has been increasing over the past few decades. Advocates argue that digital games are powerful learning tools with the potential to support increased motivational, cognitive, behavioural, affective, physiological and social outcomes. However, empirical evidence for their effectiveness is mixed. Research has focused primarily on measuring the effect of games on learning in researcher-controlled experiments, whilst relatively less attention has been paid to the role of teachers. The thesis addresses the research gap by investigating how teachers in Swedish compulsory and upper secondary schools use digital games on their own initiative and how they develop their competencies. It also considers the challenges they face.

Data from in-depth qualitative interviews and a mixed method survey are used to investigate the research questions. Both the data collection and analysis have been informed by activity theory. This is also used to problematise the adaptation of digital games as teaching and learning tools. In addition, the analysis explores teachers´ self-reported activities in relation to their disposition towards digital games.

The findings show that a diversity of digital games and gamification tools have found a foothold in Swedish classrooms. The participating teachers are interested in introducing and further developing digital game-based approaches, though there are limitations in their use of gaming resources and the extent to which they can leverage these to achieve educational outcomes. The research identifies and discusses four general categories of teachers: non-game users, sceptics, curious adopters and advanced adopters. Results indicate that the more positive disposition of game-using teachers tends to be related to a higher level of pedagogical integration, a greater variety of game use, and a wider range of educational outcomes, as well as an interest in professional development. Digital game-based learning is often understood as the use of gamification tools in the form of quizzes, whereas complex games and longer gameplay are less typical. Whilst most teachers agree on the motivational benefits of digital games, not as many perceive them as effective in teaching new knowledge and cognitive skills. The introduction of digital games is hampered by the lack of access to relevant and good-quality products, financial resources, preparation time and adequate technology, as well as contextualised and flexible forms of professional development. These challenges hint at deeper issues with preexisting education structures. Future research should have a twofold focus: the development of adequate game resources that can support collaborative forms of learning and higher-level skills, and flexible and contextualised competence-development solutions for teachers which are relevant to their needs.

The thesis contributes to the current literature by mapping the landscape of digital game-based learning in Swedish compulsory and upper secondary schools. It provides a nuanced understanding of the perspectives of teachers on digital game use and the opportunities and challenges presented by digital game-based learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2020. p. 69
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 20-007
Keywords
digital game-based learning, digital game-based teaching, digital games, education and games
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Information Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-181004 (URN)
Presentation
2020-05-04, Stockholm, 13:00
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-04-29 Created: 2020-04-23 Last updated: 2020-04-29Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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