Use Of Digital Games In Writing Education: An Action .

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CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, 2019, 10(3), 246-271DOI: https://doi.org/10.30935/cet.590005 - TYPE: Research ArticleUse of Digital Games in Writing Education: An Action Researchon GamificationMazhar BalAkdeniz University, TurkeyORCID: 0000-0001-6958-9130Received: 27.02.2019Accepted: 29.05.2019Published: 12.07.2019AbstractThe aim of the study is to determine the contribution of gamification to writing skills ofmiddle school students. For this study, a lesson plan has been developed to relate Writingand Authorship Skills lesson to the gamification for middle school students. From this lessonplan, it was tried to determine the effectiveness of the teaching process. Therefore, thestudy was designed as action research. The research group is composed of seventh gradestudents. Criteria sampling technique was used to determine the participants. As a datacollection tool, student diary, semi-structured interview form, semi-structured observationform, digital content of the students were used. Data obtained from the semi-structuredinterview form were analyzed by content analysis; other data were analyzed by descriptiveanalysis. Writing skills and gamification were related in the study. Turkish LanguageTeaching Program (2018) has been taken into consideration in the action plan which relatesto gamification and writing skill. As a result of the study, it was seen that all participantswere actively involved in the implementation process. In addition, it was concluded thatgamification increased the interest of students towards the course, combined school andnon-school life, facilitated classroom management, supported collaborative work, anddeveloped creativity. As a result of this study, it is suggested that digital games can be usedas a text type in Turkish language lessons with the method of gamification in order topositively affect motivation of the middle school students toward writing education.Keywords: Digital game; Writing skills; Gamification; Middle school students; Turkishlanguage educationIntroductionTechnology, as in many areas of the society, is felt in children's lives. One of the most noticeableeffects of technology in children's life is the games. Until recently, games based on physicalactivity in more open spaces; has been replaced by the possibilities of the digital world (Hazar,Tekkursun Demir & Dalkiran, 2017). These digital games became a worldwide market of about 100 billion in 2016. Until 2019, this sector is expected to reach a size of 120 billion dollars. Thissector, which has a large budget in economic terms, will reach a level of 128.5 billion dollars by2020 (Newzoo, 2017). In Turkey, it was determined that 30.8 million people in 2017 have playeddigital games. These people spent 773.9 million for games in 2017 (Newzoo, 2017).It is inevitable that digital games that appeal to such a wide audience are reflected in education.Therefore, different studies have been conducted to use digital games in education. Thesestudies reported that digital games develop cognitive skills (Homer, Raffaele, Ober, Plass & Ali,246

CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, 2019, 10(3), 246-271DOI: https://doi.org/10.30935/cet.590005 - TYPE: Research Article2018), which itself facilitates vocabulary teaching (Chen, Tseng, & Hsiao, 2018), and has animportant function as a pre-organizer (Denham, 2018). Digital games also develop skills insolving problems (Rugoero & Green, 2017) and collaborative learning (Sung & Hwang, 2018). Inaddition, it is seen that digital games are generally used in the field of gamification and gamebased learning (Cózar-Gutiérrez & Sáez-López, 2016; Karagiorgas & Niemann, 2017; Khan,Ahmad, & Malik, 2017; Nolan & McBride, 2013; Pesare et al., 2016). Although these two typesare different from each other, they are constantly mixed up (Prensky, 2007).Game-based learning is the acquisition of knowledge and skills for the teaching process throughgames (Qian & Clark, 2016 as cited in Bogott, 2017). Therefore, the tool through which theteaching process is carried out is as important as the teaching method (Piller, 2016).Gamification is associating the teaching process with game items such as badges, levels, andscores (Kapp, 2012). From this point of view, game-based learning is different from gamificationin terms of the realization of learning. In game-based learning, the game itself is a learningplatform (Kingsley & Grabner-Hagen, 2018). In gamification, the game is an element to increasemotivation. In the present study, the teaching process is related to gamification.Another reason for the selection of gamification is the lack of literature. Existing researchexplores distance education (Sahin et al., 2017), biology education (Yapici & Karakoyun, 2017),science language lessons (Sahin & Namli, 2016), English language lessons (Polat, 2014),computer education (Ayhan & Taner, 2016; Fis Erumit, 2016; Kalkan, 2016; Ozturk, 2015; Sari &Altun, 2016), education at the undergraduate level (Yildirim & Demir, 2016), and measurementand evaluation (Bolat, Simsek, & Ulker, 2017; Taskin & Cakmak, 2017). Literature-based reviewstudies have also been carried out (Karatas, 2015; Kocadere, Caglar, & Simsek, 2015; Ozgur,Cuhadar, & Akgun, 2018; Sahin & Samur, 2017; Sever & Bical, 2018; Sezgin et al., 2018; Yildirim& Demir, 2014).It is seen that these studies have been published in the last two years. Most of the studiesconducted are aimed at reviewing or determining opinions. In addition, there is a deficiency inimplementation studies related to mother language education and gamification. As revealed inthe study of Cibik (2010) on Turkish language education, the studies on remote activities aremore abundant than those on digital media. Bal (2018) conducted a study related to digitalgamification to determine teachers’ opinions. Genc Ersoy (2017) conducted a study on fourthgrade students to understand the use of gamification in the mother tongue education. In herwork, she has taken gamification only from the point of vocabulary. Studies on the relationshipbetween language arts and gamification have been determined to be generally related to secondlanguage education (Cruaud, 2016; Figueroa Flores, 2015; Gellar-Goad, 2015; Huner, 2018;Karatekin, 2017; Rachels & Rockinson-Szapkiw, 2018).Guasch et al. (2013) and Cook, Gremo, and Morgan (2017) found gamification to be associatedwith mother tongue education. These studies are not related to Turkish language education.There are no studies in which writing is associated with gamification in Turkish languageeducation. This is argued to be an important deficiency because writing skills are the last inlanguage arts and therefore a complex process for students (Demirel & Sahinel, 2006). Studentsdevelop a negative attitude towards writing activities because they perform a complex anddifficult process related to all skills in writing education (Maltepe, 2006; Ungan, 2007). Thisdifficulty can be overcome with a content that can be done to the students with enthusiasm andwillingness (Gocer, 2010). Among the seven reasons for writing, Tompkins (1982), who considersentertainment and encouragement, draws attention to the importance of motivation. In thisrespect, environments in which students can express themselves more than knowledge are247

CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, 2019, 10(3), 246-271DOI: https://doi.org/10.30935/cet.590005 - TYPE: Research Articleimportant for writing education (Gocer, 2014). A writing process centering on students' feelingsand experiences will also positively affect their motivation towards writing (Gogus, 1978).It is thought that the increase in the motivation for writing education will contribute to thegamification by digital games because digital gamification contributes to the development ofwriting skill (El Tantawi, Sadaf, & AlHumaid, 2018). Associating digital gamification with thewriting process provides an active classroom environment and improves creativity (Hibbard,2015). It encourages students to be open to innovation (Cahyani, 2016); develops problemsolving skills (Gee, 2013; Kapp, 2012; Kayalı & Yilmaz, 2017; Ozer, Kanbul, & Ozdamli, 2018; Urh,Vukovic, & Jereb, 2015); supports collaborative learning (Buchinger & da SilvaHounsell, 2018;Halloluwa et al., 2018; Sánchez-Martín, Cañada-Cañadave ,& Dávila-Acedo, 2017). In addition,the students are motivated to write (Gee, 2008; Kingsley & Grabner-Hagen, 2015; Lam, Hew, &Chiu, 2018; Olson, 2010; Ozer, Kanbul, & Ozdamli, 2018).The Turkish Language Curriculum (2018) can also be used as a reason for the use of digitalgamification in writing education. In the current Turkish Language Curriculum (2018), which wasrenewed in 2017, unlike the previous Turkish Language Curriculum (2006), crucial innovationshave been introduced in terms of text types. The renewed program includes texts that are partof the students’ daily life such as blog, e-mail, news, advertising, social media messages, comics,cartoons. It is thought that these texts will have a positive effect on students' attitudes towardsTurkish course. In addition to these texts, it is known that digital games have an important placein students' daily lives, but it not included in the program. From this point of view, it can be saidthat digital games may be useful in increasing motivation especially for writing education.Based on these explanations, it is thought that digital gamification is important for students tofeel comfortable in the teaching process and to be associated with writing activities in-schooland out-of-school. It is considered to be useful in terms of the development of writing skills in afun way. In addition, it is assumed that gamification will be beneficial for students to feelbelongingness to the lesson while developing their writing skills. In this context, the study aimsto determine the contribution of gamification to the writing education of seventh gradestudents. Unlike the studies in the literature, this study has prepared an action plan on howdigital gamification can be associated with writing skills. A content was presented in this actionplan about how to use digital games that are not recommended in Turkish Language Curriculum(2018) but which are thought to have an important place in their daily lives. In this way, it hasbeen investigated whether the negative motivation of the students that is emphasized in theliterature have changed or not. The following research questions were investigated in line withthe purpose of the study and the action plan:1. How is the implementation process for the use of digital gamification in developingwriting skills?2. What are student views on how digital gamification affects motivation for writing?MethodResearch ModelA lesson plan was developed for the 7th grade students to relate Authorship and Writing Skillslesson to gamification in this study. Based on this lesson plan, which focuses on the contribution248

CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, 2019, 10(3), 246-271DOI: https://doi.org/10.30935/cet.590005 - TYPE: Research Articleof gamification, the effectiveness of the teaching process has tried to be determined. Therefore,the study was designed with action research. Although studies were conducted in differentareas, action research was used to improve the effectiveness of the educational process (Baker,Davis & Dolgon, 2014; Cammarota, Romero, & Stovall, 2014; Ferguson, McNiff, & Whitehead,2000; Fettes, 2007) because action research is a design that teachers do research and implementit to make their teaching processes more efficient (Stringer, Christensen, & Baldwin, 2010;Zireva, 2017). In this regard, action research is also known as teacher research (Cohan &Honigsfeld, 2011; Vaughan & Burnaford, 2016).In this study, it is thought that action research is the most appropriate design since it is aimedto determine the contribution of digital games to writing skills of the seventh grade students. Inthis respect, it was designed with action research to make the teaching process more effective.In accordance with the quality of the action research, a problem that is thought to exist ineducation has been presented, a solution proposal has been presented and the implementationof this solution proposal in class activities has been tried to be determined. The underlyingproblem of this action research was the low motivation of middle school students for writingeducation. It is known that the games have an important place in the students' out-of-schoollife; however, there is no content in the Türkish Language Curriculum (MEB, 2018) that relatesgamification and writing skills. In addition, there are deficiencies in the studies related togamification and writing education. Therefore, the low motivation for the 7th grade students'writing skills are presented as the solution can be improved with digital gamification. In thiscontext, it has been tried to make writing education process more interesting for students. Anaction plan was prepared in line with this problem and solution proposal.This plan has been carried out in the following stages, taking into consideration the relevantresearch (Johnson, 2005; Kemmis, McTaggart, & Nixon, 2014; McNiff & Whitehead, 2006;Tomal, 2003): (1) The problem of digital gamification and writing skill was explained, (2) theresearch was based on a six-stage model of Werbach and Hunter (2012), (3) an action plan wasprepared before the data collection process was started, (4) data were collected and changeswere made to the teaching process where necessary during the data collection process, (5) datawere analyzed, (6) reporting, (7) results, discussions and suggestions were written.Research GroupThe research group comprised of seventh grade students. The criteria sampling technique wasused on the basis of the selection of participants. We set the criteria according to the literature(Yildirim & Simsek, 2013). The most basic criterion was determined by the Turkish languageteacher, who will perfor