Pre-service teachers’ beliefs, experiences and perceptions on mobile games

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2015
Güleroğlu, Merve
With the passing years, mobile platforms rapidly turn into preferred platforms for casual games, and there is a sharp increase and growth in the number of these platforms. Games can provide an enhanced learning experience. Today’s students already own advanced mobile devices and they use them for educational purposes personally such as searching information on the Internet or accessing the course materials. Introducing pre-service teachers to mobile games can enable the advantages of mobile educational games in classroom settings by employing this already present technology. The purpose of this study is to investigate pre-service teachers’ beliefs in integrating mobile games into teaching, and perceptions on the barriers and enablers in integrating mobile games into teaching after engaging them in an educational mobile game design and development process. This study also explores pre-service teachers’ experiences about mobile games. This study employed a mixed methods research design. Participants were 50 pre-service teachers from the departments of Early Childhood Education, Computer Education and Instructional Technology, Elementary Science Education, and Foreign Language Education at Middle East Technical University. The participants were engaged in training for 3 weeks. Then they were engaged in an educational mobile game design and development activity (mini-game project). Twenty-seven participants completed the mini-game project. Afterwards, the data were collected through a perception survey from 50 participants which was followed by semi structured interviews that conducted with 13 participants that are selected from the participants who successfully completed the mini-game project. The results indicated that pre-service teachers already had casual gaming experience. They showed positive opinions on game based learning and integration of educational mobile games into teaching. Their awareness towards educational game use in classroom was increased. The pre-service teachers expressed willingness to integrate mobile games in their future profession. The results also revealed the main enablers and barriers in integrating educational mobile games into classroom settings both in terms of creating a mobile game and using an already existing mobile game. Benefits of using or creating a game, the game being accessible and easy to use, teacher’s personal interest and game based learning knowledge of teacher are some of the enablers that were found. As for the barriers, learning environment and technology related barriers, teachers’ characteristics and beliefs towards technology, content appropriateness for game implementation, and barriers related to mobile game design and development process were noted.