How Can Digital Educational Games Be Used to Improve Engagement with Mathematics in the Classroom?

Dele-Ajayi, Opeyemi (2018) How Can Digital Educational Games Be Used to Improve Engagement with Mathematics in the Classroom? Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Digital games are part of everyday childhood and adolescence. The debate has moved from whether young people should play digital games, to how they might best benefit from gameplay, including through education. Mathematics is under threat in Nigerian primary education: pupils report it to be boring and difficult, and teachers say pupils are not engaged. Research shows that even when pupils are achieving academically in mathematics, engagement with the subject is low. Previous research suggests digital games can help engage reluctant learners, but most of the studies have been carried out in developed countries where technology is widely used and classroom practices are different. The overall aim of this study is to see how games can be used to provide an engaging experience for pupils in the Nigerian mathematics classroom.

Using mixed methods approaches, two background studies on an engagement framework and a modified Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was used to inform the development of a prototype digital educational game SpeedyRocket. This was used over two weeks with 60 pupils and 9 teachers in Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria. Pupils were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Evaluation was carried out through a combination of a questionnaire, classroom observation and teachers’ focus groups. The quantitative results demonstrate significant improvements in the reported engagement of pupils with mathematics in the classroom after two weeks of using SpeedyRocket. In addition to this, the use of the game changed the dynamics of the classroom – learners played more active roles in the learning process, communicating and collaborating unlike before. Teachers as well saw the usefulness of the game although remained concerned about the inadequacy of resources, training, support, and availability of time. Overall this research demonstrates that if carefully designed and implemented, digital educational games can improve engagement with subjects that pupils may find boring and uninteresting as well as breakdown barriers to interaction and engagement in the traditional classroom.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
X300 Academic studies in Education
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2019 16:46
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 22:23

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