The potential of serious games for teaching construction technologies : a case study
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The field of education is constantly evolving, and digital technology in the classroom is commonplace and includes the utilization of films, internet, computer aided instruction, educational video games, presentation software, edutainment, digital photography, cinematography, and computer aided drafting. As technology has advanced, so have the opportunities for its use in the classroom. This is particularly the case with serious games. “Serious games are generally defined as games whose primary intent is training or learning with definable learning goals, instead of being primarily intended for entertainment” (Hartz & Stern, 2008). Closely related to educational video games and often used synonymously, serious games commonly incorporate simulations and role play. The design and focus of serious games are being recognized by a widening array of audiences including educators of primary and secondary education. Much of the past research on serious games has focused largely on supporting the use of digital games in education. Little research has been done not only on why and how the games are effective, but also on how to incorporate the games into the curriculum (Becker, 2007). As the availability of serious games increases, it is important to build studies around specific games, exposing their potential and usability for specific curricular areas. This case study utilizes the serious game Building Homes of Our Own™, which has been created to educate students on the processes of planning, building, and selling a house. The study involved 18 Grade eleven students who were enrolled in Practical and Applied Arts (P.A.A.) and were engaged in the construction portion of their course. Three methods of data collection were used to explore four basic research questions: 1) How well does the game teach curriculum objectives? 2) How well does the game facilitate higher-order thinking? 3) What kind of environment is created by serious gaming in teaching construction? and, 4) What do students think about using serious games in the classroom? Research methods included the administration and evaluation of pre- and post-tests, administration and evaluation of critical thinking questions, direct observation of the serious gaming learning environment, and the utilization of a focus group interview. Findings in the study provide important information that serves to answer the main question addressed by this study, namely, what is the potential of serious games for teaching high-school construction technologies? The findings report how effectively the serious game Building Homes of Our Own™ supports Saskatchewan’s construction curriculum objectives. Findings also include relevant information on a variety of critical-thinking skills learned as a result of playing this particular serious game. The researcher and his assistant made significant observations of the learning environment created by this serious game, and, finally, the students provided important information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of using Building Homes of Our Own™ and serious games in general, for learning in the context of P.A.A.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeSchwier, Richard; Proctor, Leonard F.; Kelly, Ivan W.; Wilson, Jay
Practical and Applied Arts