Like every other occupation, teaching may be pursued by those: who seek to be original, inventive and resourceful or those who accept their methods, which date back to their first attempts at teaching, as final. The latter prefer to have methods which are considered to be 'safe' in the sense that they fulfil one of teaching's purposes; content. Moreover, they prefer having dull and outdated methods rather than 'burden' themselves with time-consuming research and costly resources. No wonder such teachers complain about the rowdy students of today since these teachers don't realise that they are, 'working hard to educate a new generation in old ways, using tools that have ceased to be effective.' (Prensky, 2001) The former types of teachers are the reflective practitioners who improve their lessons in a way that they appeal more to the students presently being taught. The latter make up a generation that is different from us, since we have had traditional teaching. According to Van Eck, today's students 'require multiple streams of information, prefer inductive reasoning, want frequent and quick interactions with content, and have exceptional visual literacy skills.' (Eck, 2006) To emphasise the disparity between the two generations, the present generation is referred to as the 'digital natives', a term which makes me smile but nevertheless nod in agreement. One must admit that these are 'individuals [we] raised onâ€¦MTV, fast action films, video games, [Playstations] and the Internet.' (Prensky, 2001)
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Furthermore, teachers who fall under this category are: open minded and willing to try out new cutting edge teaching equipment that are presented by the education departments, or, are ready to update and research various resources to use them according to the students' preferred learning method whether it is visual, kinaesthetic or auditory. These teachers, therefore, justify today's students who complain that they cannot stay put during lessons. What's more, they believe that this is because of teachers who haven't revolutionised their teaching and haven't changed their ways. This calls to mind what Edward Westhead, a former Dartmouth professor, has said, 'Sure they have a short attention span - for the old ways of learning!' In order to move away from the said old ways of learning, teachers must prepare lessons in a way that have 'interactivity' (Maja Pivec, 2003) and GBL provides us with exactly this.
In the face of all this, what is amiable about GBL is that Student Books, Workbooks, stationery are not replaced but supported since 'technologies engage children with the immediacy they are used to in their everyday lives, and bends it to a new pedagogical purpose.' (Erik F Strommen, 1992)
In my opinion, in order for Game Based Learning to appeal to both categories of teachers, its idea must be sold well in order to make it worthwhile for those who do not usually update their teaching methods and make it noticeable to those teachers who have ample resources already at their disposal. There are many ways to do this. One could offer free samples, provide teachers with opportunities to attend courses during work hours so that it doesn't interfere with their personal life after school hours and involve HODs or EOs where they present a lesson using a game that is related to the subject content. Notwithstanding all this, one must consider the personnel that would carry out this training so that trainees would show up and participate actively in the courses and put them into use. I think this is of utmost importance because of the crude but truthful statement: "People hate training," by Roger Schank, who is head of the Learning Sciences Institute at Northwestern University. Sadly, I have also heard teachers in staffrooms during my teaching practice who find PD sessions an abomination.
During training sessions the interest could be kindled by the accompaniment of the successful and numerous 'research conducted by DGBL proponents. In each decade since the advent of digital games, researchers have published dozens of essays, articles, and mainstream books on the power of DGBL-including, most recently, Marc Prensky's Digital Game-Based Learning (2001), James Paul Gee's What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy (2003), Clark Aldrich's Simulations and the Future of Learning: An Innovative (and Perhaps Revolutionary) Approach to e-Learning (2004), Steven Johnson's Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter (2005), Prensky's new book "Don't Bother Me, Mom, I'm Learning!": How Computer and Video Games Are Preparing Your Kids for 21st Century Success and How You Can Help! (2006).' (Eck, 2006)
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However, an underlying concept that would capture the attention of all teachers is proving a positive correlation between motivation and Game Based Learning where '[u]sing educational video games, educational computer games in particular, is among the uprising strategies being used as a motivational tool because it provides an environment of enjoyment and challenge, among others.' (Yeh, 2009) One should keep in mind that classroom management is dependent on students' motivation where the former is considered to be a great challenge all teachers face not to mention that unconsciously, 'creating a motivational learning environment is one of the major objectives for educators.' (Yeh, 2009)
Something which I have found to be very interesting during my teaching practice is how much Facebook motivates students into spending hours perusing it. Upon the proposal of this research, I have realised that the concept behind how Facebook makes students feel, helps me understand what important trait makes up motivation. This prominent trait, in Elke Mattheis' terms, is 'the flow experience.' This refers to, 'a state of full immersion in an activity, which typically goes along with a loss of sense of time and no reflection on carrying out the action.' (E. Mattheiss, 2009)
Thus, in the research proposal I would tell the researcher that in order for Game Based Learning to take flight and gain popularity within schools and classroom by default, I would want to carry out research that shows that Game Based Learning increases motivation significantly.
The research will be carried out by visiting different schools, surveying teachers and students in every participating classroom and statistically representing the increase in motivation, if any, when compared to the students' initial motivation when Game Based Learning was not being used. The reason behind surveying different schools is to have more reliable findings since there is a great variety of students and school settings. When I think about a 'variety of students', I would start with choosing the different types of schools in Malta, them being: private, catholic and state schools. Then, I would go about choosing different genders from catholic and state schools. In a similar way, I would choose different ability schools; area secondary schools and junior lyceums when surveying state schools. Most importantly, I would decide on the specific forms I would be including in my research. Also, I would keep in mind to choose the same forms in all of the schools to keep my research consistent. To be more specific I would choose those forms that contain the mean ages in Secondary Schools them being Form 1, Form 3 and Form 5. At this point, I would contemplate over the games I would choose as part of the study since not, 'all games are good for all learners and for all learning outcomes.' (Eck, 2006)
The method of research would be in the form of two surveys where one would be assigned to teachers and the other to students. In order to leave no room for misunderstanding, I would have each questions stated in Malta's national and mother language; Maltese and English. The research would consist of both quantitative and qualitative results. The research would attempt to get quantitative results in order to render it consistent, especially the end result which would strive to sum up figures that conjure a clear image of the magnitude of increase in motivation, if any. Qualitative Research would also be highly essential since it would need to confirm if the reason for increase in motivation is on account of Game Based Learning. In addition to this, qualitative research would be an excellent opportunity to delve into how Game Based Learning has been found to be advantageous to both student and teacher. For instance, one of the questions would be whether Game Based Learning has helped the student to remember the subject content more. This would further add to the pros and benefits of using Game Based Learning in class. No teacher would resist passing up the opportunity of having students do better especially if the reason is laid bare or is self-evident. Consequently, qualitative research would serve as a way of gathering an in-depth study of students' and teachers' behaviour as affected by Game based learning.
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The implementation of the survey would consist of questions determining the changes in attitude towards the lesson with and without Game Based Learning. Questions would examine the increase in interest in the lesson and the aspects of Game Based Learning students and teachers have found most attractive. In addition to this, I would ask both students and teachers to rate GBL in terms of 'subscales' that make up motivation. At this point I would consider the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) and subscales such as interest/enjoyment, perceived competence, effort/importance, pressure/tension, and value/usefulness. The IMI's 'reliability and validity [has] been established by previous studies (McAuley, Duncan, & Tammen, 1989; Tsigilis & Theodosiou, 2003.)' (Yeh, 2009)
Keeping in mind that no topic is the same in every subject, which means one, can never be sure if GBL or easier content has improved the students' marks, it would be interesting to compare how a certain level of motivation has affected the retention of information which would be entailed by test results. However, the latter would be a laborious additional exercise which would demand another research team working purposefully on the possible correlation between motivation and better grades.
The implementation of this study highlights an interest in humanistic behaviour which implies the need for a longitudinal study. Human behaviour cannot be measured by a single instance since this would leave room for erroneous suppositions. This study requires the observation of a process and the recording of a rational pattern. In order for the proposal of this idea to be accepted, wouldn't it be agreeable to present this research in the form of graphs that show convincing figures displaying a constant increase in the correlation between GBL and Motivation which would lead to an undeniably interest in the amelioration of test results? What's more, a new way of studying, 'is not a simple task that can be mastered in a short period (Feldgen & Clua, 2004; Jenkins, 2001); it is a cognitive task that has high complexity (Letovsky, 1986).' Therefore, students undertaking this new study method must be given enough time to get used to it. In addition to this, given that this study strives to carry out its research in different types of schools, especially where the issue of gender prominently arises, then longitudinal study makes up for those who, at face value, seem to be less predisposed to benefitting from GBL. According to the study of Cassell and Jenkins (1998), 'games have been traditionally considered a male-dominated domain, both in terms of content (e.g. many games comprise combat and reflect gender stereotypes) and centrality in males' and females' lives.' (Papastergiou, 2009) This issue, further implicates the usefulness of a longitudinal study.
I feel that the proposition of such research, that strives to combine the successes of the leisure world with that of the academic, is not one without its difficulties due to its elaborative research. However, when one visualises the extent of possible betterment within the educational system, then researchers know that they are not only improving on teaching methods but also helping our students find their place in the world by providing them with instructional methods they find to be as relevant to their personal lives as what they consider to be those things they do for leisure. 'Don't bother me, Mom, I'm learning' (Eck, 2006) - wouldn't that be music to a parent's earâ€¦or teacher's, for that matter.