Technology in the Classroom: Game Based Learning Platforms and Student Engagement
Ellen Spender and Lesley Davies
Does technology help to increase student engagement in our lectures? Lecturers are constantly trying to break down the barriers students face today and frequently use innovative methods to increase student attendance, and as a result, student engagement.
The last 20 years has seen technology advance at an exponential rate. The view of students being mainly reliant on textbooks and attendance at lectures to gain knowledge now appears outdated. As too is the image of a student studying hunched over a desk overflowing with textbooks is becoming a thing of the past. We are now more likely to see students hunched over an iPad or other form of electronic communications. As lecturers, should we be adapting to our students preferred methods of study and introducing more interactive electronic methods of learning into our classes?
More rigorously than ever before, as lecturers, we are using various pedagogies in constructing our lectures and seminars as we attempt to engage our students. To address the issue of to raising engagement with our students in our classes, during semester 2 we introduced Kahoot, an online game-based learning platform, into our lectures. A 10-minute “game” of questions, based on the content of the lecture, was used electronically and shown on screen at the end of each lecture. Students were required to access the “game” via their mobile phones and answer each question. Various studies have shown that students prefer technology believing it makes learning more interesting and fun. Students took ownership of their answers by entering a unique name and all scores were recorded. Thus introducing an element of competition.
By encouraging interaction in the lecture room, the aim was for students to gain experience in an alternative method of learning compared with more traditional approaches to learning. Establishing just how much knowledge our students are acquiring from lectures is a difficult task. The majority of students are reluctant to answer a verbal question from a lecturer in a lecture hall. When a lecturer is fortunate enough to engage with a willing student, we often find that the student will attempt to answer all questions asked in that lecture, and the rest of the students are content to allow this to happen. The result of this type of lecturer led Q&A session is that many students will often disassociate themselves from that part of the lecture. Any valuable feedback of student gained knowledge the lecturer is attempting to gather does not occur.
The aim of this session is to explore the role of technology in our classes in between how as lecturers we engage our students whilst also ensuring students best achieve their objective.
In our evaluation study we found evidence that online game-based learning platforms, in this study Kahoot, did indeed increase student engagement. However, there are still questions to be answered regarding the design of short questions requiring short answers and how students can acquire detailed knowledge of the topics being delivered.
Gaming is increasingly part of everyday life and has become hugely popular. One of the reasons being that mobile platforms, in terms of games, are available on smartphones, and as such, are portable and can be carried around. Including that technology and portability in the classroom seems a natural inclusion in the teacher-learner relationship and Game-Based learning has become increasingly used in teaching in recent years. Research has found that one of the positive effects is increasing motivation. The session will address the following topics:
1. A description of Game-Based Learning Platforms and why we chose Kahoot! Including a summary of its advantages and disadvantages.
2. A summary of our research and findings including percentage of students participating and their views on whether it was viewed as a game or as a learning tool.
3. How our findings will contribute to learning and teaching at Swansea University.
4. To engage our audience the presentation will conclude with a short Kahoot! quiz.
Why will the session be of interest to the conference audience? – The Pedagogic Rationale
Lectures historically have been used to convey information to our students but how can we assess the learning taking place with our students? Active participation in lecture halls can be daunting for some students who simply wish to remain passive. By using an anonymous online game-based learning platform lecturers can assess the learning that takes places. It can be used to assess understanding and to learn which areas need revisiting. It is a valuable tool in today’s learning environment.
The aim of our presentation is to present to peers an insight into our use of Kahoot! in assessing learning and engagement with our students. The data was collected via data from Kahoot! and also views from a questionnaire provided to students.
We can share our experiences and good practice with colleagues so that delegates may be able to implement the findings / initiative in their own practice. The session demonstrates an innovative approach because it is a real-life study. Dynamic and fluid. The findings, to date, have been shared with colleagues in the School of Management and we wish to share these findings university wide starting at the SALT conference.
The results of a study into the incorporation of technology in the classroom using Kahoot!
Technology Learning Engagement, Kahoot