The potential use of gaming pedagogy to teach mathematics : case studies in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia

YONG, SU TING (2017) The potential use of gaming pedagogy to teach mathematics : case studies in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This research explores how mathematics pedagogy can be improved by looking at how children are engaged in computer games. Two approaches were considered: (a) the use of computer games, either educational or commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) games, and (b) the use of embodied learning principles of computer games. The feasibility of these approaches was explored by examining the perceptions of students, mathematics teachers and parents along four major themes - mathematics education, technological experience, gaming experience and the use of computer games to learn mathematics. A mixed methods approach was employed in which qualitative interviews [six teachers, eight students and eight parents] and quantitative surveys [total students, n=175] were administered concurrently at two government secondary schools in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia. Both quantitative and qualitative data were analysed independently and combined in the final interpretation to provide a holistic and consolidated finding.

Data collected from teachers revealed that they gave most attention to the exams, syllabus completion, practice, and would only consider using educational computer games built on drill-and-practice. However, the students described the games as being monotonous and lack complexities. The students claimed that they enjoyed playing COTS games and reported learning of metacognitive skills through the games. Unfortunately, most teachers and parents disregarded COTS games as educational. In addition to that, the lack of infrastructural facilities, low level of computer literacy amongst school teachers as well as the time constraint to complete syllabus suggested the use of educational or COTS games to teach mathematics was deemed to be impractical in schools. All the respondents would still prefer to have teachers teaching in a classroom.

Hence, an alternative option was considered - the use of embodied learning principles of computer games. Identification of good practice in computer games could be used in the mathematics classroom for improvement. Mathematics pedagogy can be improved in three major aspects: (1) mathematics problems should be challenging, enable trial and error, work on bottom-up basic skills, provide instant feedback, and enable learning transfer; (2) classroom activities such as story-telling, role-playing, competition, collaboration and the use of visual aids should be fostered; (3) learning attitude should be changed where mistakes should be seen as opportunities to learn. Here, a more practical mathematics pedagogy is drawn out without overcommitting teachers and it fosters active learning. In this study, the benefits of employing embodied learning principles of computer games in mathematics pedagogy have been seen to be more comprehensive and sustainable in the long-term because it eliminates the possible culture shock, resistance, waste of resources and risk to students’ examination performance from using an unproven technology.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Gates, Peter
Harrison, Ian
Chan, Andy Tak Yee
Keywords: gaming pedagogy, mathematics
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1024 Teaching
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Faculties/Schools: UNMC Malaysia Campus > Faculty of Engineering > Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Item ID: 42422
Depositing User: YONG, SU TING
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2017 04:15
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 21:22

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