Digital Games & Computational Thinking in Pre-Service Teacher Education

  • Evaluating Computational Thinking in Digital Games Constructed by Pre-service Teachers|Pre-service Teachers Constructing Digital Games: What Genre do they create?

  • Author / Creator
    Artym, Corbett Raymond Walter
  • The thesis consists of two papers exploring the area of digital game construction in pre-service teacher education. The first paper details the analysis of 166 pre-service teachers’ experiences constructing a digital game in the Scratch development environment (MIT, 2009). Pre-service teachers (64% male, 36% female) had no previous digital game creation experience and self-selected into an elective educational technology course that included this game construction activity. The purpose of this research was twofold: A) to find if pre-service teachers have any predisposition to digital game creation relating to genre, gender, and previous time spent playing digital games or using social media, and B) to quantitatively assess the computational thinking and game design skills demonstrated in the game they create. In the first paper, the games were classified into nine genre categories, identified from the literature, and their differences were compared. Results indicate a significant quadratic relationship between genders on previous time spent game playing across the different age ranges that were explored (males played more). Both genders reported playing fewer hours of games in elementary school and university, but more in junior and senior high school. There was also an increase in usage of social media as these pre-service teachers progressed from elementary school to university. As a whole, pre-service teachers are significantly more likely to construct action games with non-violent genres. However, when gender is a factor, males are significantly more likely to create violent action games, whereas there was no significance when testing the preferred game genre created by females. In the second paper, the Quality Practices of Game Design Survey was developed to measure the skills pre-service teachers demonstrated in their created game. A comprehensive review of the literature identified 28 key skills which can be grouped into seven categories: Problem Solving, Computational Thinking, Customization of Player Experience, Player Interaction, Player Immersion, Player Motivation, and Interface Usability. A purposeful sample was selected (40 games) and used to evaluate the survey instrument. Frequencies were found in evaluations and items were compared in the form of a correlational matrix. Overall, the set of video games built by the pre-service teachers indicate that they have a partial, but not complete, awareness of computational and game design principles. This thesis may be valuable in motivating interventions to compensate for potential game design predispositions and for developing an assessment tool for computational thinking and game design skills outside of Scratch.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Technology in Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Carbonaro, Mike (Educational Psychology)
    • Buck, George (Educational Psychology)
    • Boechler, Patricia (Educational Psychology)