Using Digital Gaming in Classrooms

Findings

The literature review conducted above has outlined some benefits that digital games have on the learners and the learning process. Both the learner and the teacher stand to benefit if this strategy is implemented appropriately. In this section, the researcher will analyze the findings that were made from the data collected from the respondents. The findings will be analyzed in three sections based on their responses.

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A potential reason behind using games

The literature review strongly suggested that educators are increasingly finding it necessary to use digital games as part of the strategy in issuing instructions to their students. The researcher wanted to first determine how often these educators use digital technology. The following question was used and the graph below shows their responses.

How often do you use digital games in the classroom?

Frequency in the use of digital games in the classroom.
Figure 1: Frequency in the use of digital games in the classroom.

It was clear that majority of the respondents often use computer games to help them in issuing instructions to their students. When asked about potential reasons why they use these games, these respondents had different reasons. Dr. Coller said, “I found that the games were really motivating so students spent a lot of time figuring out how to make things work.” His main reason for using these games was to ensure that the students remain motivated even when it comes to handling complex concepts. Dr. Kapp had a different reason why he uses these games. He says, “Games are engaging and provide interactivity for the learners.” As evident in his statement, he believed that by using these games, students get fully engaged in the class work and they get to interact among themselves creating an environment where teamwork is cherished. Susan stated that she uses digital games “to make things more like hands-on.” She was emphasizing on the argument that games make students engaged in their work.

Teachers’ positive and negative attitudes toward using digital games

The review of literatures has revealed that there are positive and negative impacts of digital gaming on learning process and on the learners. The respondents also confirmed that digital gaming has both negative and positive consequences. They were asked to comparatively rate positive and negative consequences and the figure below shows their responses.

How would you rate both positive and negative consequences of digital gaming?

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Comparing positive and negative impact of digital gaming on learning
Figure 2: Comparing positive and negative impact of digital gaming on learning.

As shown in the figure above, all the respondents stated that the positive effect far outweigh the negative consequences. Dr. Coller said that “20% of students’ grade is based upon how they relate the academic work with the games.” The students who were able to relate the game to their class work registered a better score according to this respondent. Dr. Kapp said that “games are interactive which is extremely helpful in engaging learners.” He was emphasizing on the issue of student engagement and how digital gaming promotes it. The respondent noted that learning in the modern society is student-centered and as such they need to be fully engaged to help them understand the concepts taught. Susan believes that “digital gaming is a good way promoting creativity among students.” She says that by engaging these students in the digital games, they tend to find creative solutions and this creativity can be replicated when handling class works.

The respondents had a few issues that may make digital gaming undesirable. Dr. Kapp said that “variety games can have a negative effect if they are overused.” He stated that it may disorient these learners instead of helping them to be more focused. Dr. Caller said that “not everybody likes it.” It means that digital gaming is not a universal solution to all the learners because some find it irrelevant to their studies. Susan said that “some students feel off track and they pick a game that is not educational then start playing it.” As a result, they lose more than they gain educationally when they pick such wrong games.

Problem solving skill

The literatures have revealed that digital gaming helps students to improve their problem solving skills. It was necessary to determine if the respondents shared this view. The following question was posed and the response they gave is shown in the figure below.

Do you believe digital gaming improves learner’s problem solving skills?

Do you believe digital gaming improves learner’s problem solving skills?

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It is evident that all the respondents believe that digital gaming helps in improving problem solving skills. Dr. Kapp said “students can learn problem-solving skills if the game is about problem solving.” According to him, all that is necessary is to find the right games that focus on problem-solving. Dr. Collar said that “students will be more creative when solving problem.” Given that they use creativity to win the games, they are more likely to transfer that creativity to their class work. Dr. Xie said “digital gaming helps learners in understand concepts of problem solving.” They can use the skills in their games in the academic and social life to solve different types of problems.

Discussion

The analysis of both primary and secondary data has revealed that digital gaming is very important in improving the learning environment. The world is increasingly embracing emerging technologies and it is very important for the stakeholders in the education sector to adapt to these changes. Learners, especially those who are in pre-college stage of their education, rarely find books to be interesting in the modern society. They spend most of their times playing games in their phones, computers, and other digital devices. It is possible to take advantage of this trend and make these games a learning platform. The study has revealed that digital gaming has a number of benefits that should not be ignored by the modern-day teachers if they want to have significant impact on the academic and social life of their learners. The study has revealed that digital games improve student-engagement. When they are involved in the games, they get to focus their full attention on wining. As such, they learn to focus their attention on one thing at a time.

Engagement of students is also important because it makes them feel responsible. During the game, they feel that they are in full control of the outcome of the game. This makes them know that in life, they are fully responsible for what happens to them. The sense of responsibility among the learners makes them take their academic life. The discussion also shows that digital games make these learners improve their problem solving skills. To win most of these games, it requires the player to think critically and come up with the best solution that others had not imagined of in order to beat them. They learn to think beyond the obvious to fix the puzzles in the game. This is what is needed of them in their social and academic lives. When they transfer such skills to their academic work, they realize that they can come up with unique solutions to some of the problems that they previously thought were complex. They become very creative in solving problems in class, sometimes coming up with additional solutions beyond what the teacher has offered. This is what it takes to ensure that learners take full control of their academic lives. The study has identified some challenges relating to digital games that may need to be addressed. For instance, it has been established that when a wrong game is selected, then it may not be as educative as expected. These are shortcomings that can easily be addressed if the teacher is keen on selecting the right game.

Conclusion

A section of teachers and other stakeholders have been skeptical towards digital games questioning whether it can be used successfully in an academic setting. The study has revealed that indeed digital technology has a bright future as a tool used at various stages of learning for various reasons. The findings from the primary sources has reaffirmed the claim that digital games promotes creativity when solving problems, it enhances students’ engagement, and enables them to interact and work as teams to find common solutions to their common problems. These are very important skills that will not only help these learners in their academic lives but also their social lives. It is, therefore, important for the teachers and all the stakeholders in the education sector, to embrace digital gaming as a learning tool.

Using Digital Gaming in Classrooms
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